Here’s the scene: I’m picking up the oldest son from school. A spotless and shiny white convertible pulls up next to us.
“Dad, that’s a convertible. We should get a convertible,” my son says.
“Yeah, convertibles are cool.”
At this, my son continues to gaze at the convertible, no doubt thinking thoughts about riding in the open, wind, sunshine, and sky. Something, for sure.
“Tell you what,” I say. “I didn’t buy a convertible today, but I did buy three baby cows.”
“Yes!” my son erupts. “Dad, those are waaaay cooler than a convertible. All right!”
As I turned my attention back to the road, I thought I caught a fist pump out of the corner of my eye.
There are many different types of adventures and experiences, but none are really comparable to experiencing the cycle of life first hand. Hunting removes you from the personal connection of the cycle by putting distance between you and the animal. Raising and butchering your own food is about as manly as it gets. Ask yourself, “Can I bottle feed an animal for eight weeks, fatten it up with grain and feed for another six months . . . and then slaughter and eat it?”
Well, my boys and I are going to put ourselves to the test. Fortunately, we’re not going it entirely alone. The Admiral — the guy in our local band of men who owns a fleet of kayaks and introduced me to duck hunting from a ‘yak — is in it with us. I think he put it best when he floated the idea my way:
“There is no better way to store food for the zombie apocalypse than on hooves.”
Buying a day old calf is easier than you might think. You don’t have to know a rancher or anyone that might challenge your social circle. Day old calves are sold and bought at auction — a cattle auction to be exact. Just a heads up here: If you go to a cattle auction, you won’t need your Woulky Boots and Nixon Watch.
Day old calf auctions work a little differently than regular auctions. When the winning bid is reached, the winner can choose as many cows at that price as he likes. Once the winner is finished taking the cows he wants the process starts all over until the cows are gone. At our auction the prime cows went for $175 and we purchased our three for $42.50. When I asked around, no one could give me a good explanation why anyone wanted a particular cow over the others.
The Admiral and I have an arrangement. He is the money man with the land, and I’m the muscle with kids. So the boys and I head out there twice a day to feed the cows. On our first feeding, I knew I was headed down the right path when my youngest saunters up to the fence and leans over like a pro cowboy and says:
“We’re going to eat those.”
We are about a week into it now and the boys are still getting up earlier and going out late, but there are no complaints.