In 1842, a bull was born in Scotland. Named Old Jock, he was a one of the black, polled (hornless) cattle known in the area as Angus doddies. Old Jock became the first registered Black Angus, a breed known widely for its winter hardiness and delicious beef.
Countless Angus bull calves have been born since. Some are assigned registration numbers and names, ordained for the show ring or bull sale, followed by a career of pasture procreation. The vast majority of Angus bull calves, however, become steers and, ultimately, steaks and burgers.
In 2011, another little Angus calf was born to a heifer named Petunia. She was having trouble, so Hubby and I helped pull the calf. I was greatly relieved when the delivery was safely accomplished but disappointed when I saw that the darling calf was a bull.
I knew that the calf would live a happy life here on the ranch. Except for vaccinations and castration, he’d never be hurt. Unlike some cattle, he’d never be hollered at, prodded, hit, overly confined, go without shade or shelter, or go hungry. He'd not be given hormones, unnecessary medications, or corn. He’d be named, prayed for, and loved. But I knew that his destiny was also his purpose—feeding families—and as such, his life would be short.
This morning, Peder, a gentle soul like his mama, fulfilled that noble objective. But Hubby could barely choke down his breakfast, and I cried—am still crying, actually.
“Maybe we should grow potatoes instead of raise cattle,” I said to Hubby.
“He gives food to every living thing. His faithful love endures forever.” –PSALM 136:25