Life on a sustainable farm has it’s drama.

As he raised the rifle and drew the bead on the massive forehead, Mark realized that he didn’t hate this animal, the bull who was tipping his head to keep a wary eye on that guy who drove the hated tractor. Endeavor often did that to all of us, side eyeing us to keep close tabs on who was where doing what.  He had trapped Mark a couple of times up on the tractor as he butted at the bucket and back blade, or banged the barn door around, effectively locking one cow or another inside. He could shove sod into a trench with that same massive head, leaving my mama heart quaking imagining if he ever got a human pinned there.  

But he was just being who he was made to be: a bull. The champion and protector of his harem. And he did it well! We didn’t hate him for it, most of the time, but we certainly respected his power and potential and dedication to his job.

This is the nature of things on a sustainable farm.  Nature is our partner but not always a friend. And sometimes we have to do things we’d rather not as a result. 

The photo below marks the culmination of much thought, effort, a restless night’s sleep, and a few tears.

The rail was one of this year’s big construction projects, built for processing the larger animals. This was the first time Jim and Frank were in charge of dealing with a cow. And we all shed a tear and thanked Endeavor, grateful for his faithful service and the gift of sustenance he was now giving us. 

It was a momentous moment. Some of our animals will live in memory for years beyond their natural lives, and Endeavor has now entered that hallowed hall.  Anyone in sustainable farming is in it to grow food, but also to be a husbandman of nature.  That’s a very old word meaning “to take care of.” That’s what we do, because we’re as much a part of the system as a leader in it.  

This is a tribute to Endeavor. We’ll honor him by using every bit of the gift he’s given.

  • Blood to enrich the soil
  • Lungs to create delicious and healthful seasoning mixes
  • Heart, liver, tongue, and spleen in various recipes
  • Tallow to be rendered for skin care and frying, or ground in with the meat for better flavor and digestion
  • Ox tail for soups and stews
  • All the bones for bone broth and a new experiment: marrow boats
  • The powerful and rich muscles for all the fabulous beef
  • Anything left over goes to the dogs, chickens, and pigs

Life is a precious gift and the universal law is “more life to all.” Therefore, nothing gets wasted. We’ll appreciate and be grateful to Endeavor for a long time to come yet!

So, this picture isn’t just a “trophy” shot. It’s a reminder of the poignant drama of life on a sustainable farm and the intricate responsibilities of being a “husbandman.”  Endeavor’s spirit lives on, echoing in the sustainable harmony of our farm, a lasting tribute to the profound interconnectedness that defines our journey as farmers and custodians of nature.

sustainable farm, grass fed beef, farm kids, guernsey

Check out another story about Endeavor here: Bull Adventures