Secret to Life?

I read a book I think some of you might enjoy. It’s not about stockmanship, but it is a real nice book about how to live life to its fullest. I know the author and he is just a good, hard working honest guy that knows how to tell a story. Reading the book brought lots of memories up as we crossed the same tracks quite often. If you like to read about real life you’ll enjoy it. It’s available on Amazon.

It’s a great title!

A few years ago I bought some mini cows and calves. I thought they would be easy to sell, but they weren’t. I enjoyed having them around here but did end up selling them.

I kept three steers and finally had them butchered. They were three or four years old so I was a little worried about the quality of the beef. They didn’t get any grain, just hay in the winter and grass in the summer.

I grew up with a grandfather that was a butcher and was very good at picking good beef to kill for meat. Most of the beef in this part of the country was grass finished before the feedlots in the 1950’s.

He always finished our beef on grass, as it was easier than just feeding one animal grain. So I learned how to get high quality beef on grass from my grandfather. Having the slaughter house while I was in high school and working all parts of it taught me about the inside of a beef animal and I could see it before it was slaughtered so I could tell from the live animal what a good handing carcass looked like before it was hanging.

I was worried what the eating quality of these three minis was going to be. I hauled them to Tizer meats in Helena, where I have had beef killed and processed for a long time.

I’ll cut to the chase, they are great eating. They marbled very well, and we aged them for a little over 21 days, so they were good. We are used to the stronger flavor of grass finished “aged beef”. Ours is aged two ways. In the Ben K Green book “Wild Cow Tales” he said aged beef used to mean 4 or 5 years old. The thing about older beef is that it is done growing from so the lower energy grass will put fat in the muscle after it is done growing frame so you can get the good eating quality and if you enjoy the flavor it is great.

Now you can have the best beef in the world and if it’s not cooked right, it doesn’t matter. We live on the Musselshell River bottom and there is lots of cottonwood. I read in one of the old trail drive books that the chuck wagon cooks liked it when they got to the cottonwood country as their time for getting a fire burned down to cook on was much less than the harder woods.

With cottonwood I put the steak on with the flame to sear it and as the flame burns down I turn it often until it is medium rare. I often cut sausages up and put them on when I first start the fire and a nice snack while the meal is being prepared.

just on with flame to sear in the flavor and juices

I tried using it to cook on and really like the flavor and it is easy to find and is ready to go quick. I bought a California style barbecue that I can raise and lower and I can really cook steaks and sausages! I enjoy raising and cooking our own beef.

I really get so much enjoyment out of eating good steak. I enjoy going to the really great steakhouses all over North America. It’s really fun to go with a group and eat a great meal, especially when some corporate outfit is paying the bill! I used to always treat myself to a steak dinner before I flew out after working in Canada. They finish there beef on a barley based ration. I had some very good steak and conversions while working in the feedlot industry in Mexico. They serve steak different than in the US but it is very good. To me I don’t care how it was finished, I like steak. I can also really enjoy steak at a Waffle House or Golden Corral. If it’s a little tough I just get a little more flavor out of it. My Grandfather would say, “ It would be a hell of a lot tougher if we didn’t have any”.

After my eating fake meat last week and learning just how disgusting it is I even enjoy steak even more. I didn’t mention last week that Cattleman to Cattleman host Kate Maher brought us donuts and I chose a maple bar with bacon bits on top just to get over the fake meat from the night before.

I hope you enjoy good beef as much as we do. It is so good to be a part of an industry and get to really enjoy the product from the industry.

The reason I wanted to write this is to share in the really enjoyable things in life. Eating well is one of the things that can really create a great experience. We in the livestock industry should be very satisfied with the fact we provide some high quality eating and enjoyment for the rest of the world. It is so important to do it right environmentally and quality wise. Raising and cooking it well is even better!

I was riding out this morning and my dogs were all playing and having a good time. They truly enjoy life. They love to play, love to work, love to eat just about anything and when they get down time they are plumb happy to take a nap. I wish I could live life a little more like them.

Several years ago I was reading lots of books on long flights. Some one gave me a book by the Dali Lama and he said the purpose of life was to be happy. I was doing demonstrations in North Catalina and mentioned what the Dali Lama said. When I was done a lady came up to me and very angrily told me the purpose of life was to serve the Lord. I asked her if serving the Lord made her happy and she said of course it did.

As I watch the world and how unhappy, confused and scared most everyone seems to be these days with all the crazy stuff going on, it might be good to learn from the dogs and figure out your purpose in life, and then be happy.

The reason I mentioned the book Horse, Highballs, and Handlebars, above is because it’s a great lesson in enjoying life.

For me simple is good. The challenge is keeping everyone else from complicating my very simple ways of enjoying life. The older I get, the more I realize how to truly enjoy life for myself, but that doesn’t always fit everyone else. That’s when it gets complicated being simple.

We need to find ways to make everyone happy. Companionship is about enjoying the company of your companions.

Eating great food is a way to be happy. How about loving your work? What does that do to quality of life? And of course family and friends.

You never know what’s coming up next in life. Enjoy it now.

1 thought on “Secret to Life?

  1. Elisha

    I love this. So much truth. Thank you for sharing as always. Reading your articles brings some happy to all of us, and a lot of wisdom.

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