Oxtail Soup

Everything went well on Friday – and yes, I do have a pot of oxtail soup on my stove right now!  I made some changes to my usual recipe and used soaked cassava instead of potatoes, pumpkin instead of carrots, and Shungiku (an edible chrysanthemum) and cutting celery instead of celery.  It made me happy to not have to run to the store!  And it turned out extra-good this time.

It’s good we have a rich soup going, because we are both so tired!  It was a long day and lots of hard work.  You have to quarter the carcass to get it to the butcher.  Ethan did most of the sawing.  There is a LOT of sawing to cut through that large of a carcass.  It was 575 pounds of beef, not including a piece of neck we saved back, the feet, the organs, and the tail, and several huge bags of tallow.

It was Isla we culled on Friday.  She was the first calf born on our farm, and we were sad to do it.  It took us about two years of talking about it to get up the courage.  She just could not get pregnant.  I even gave her the cod liver oil/herbal supplement last winter that seemed to make her start cycling finally.  But she still didn’t get pregnant.  Two of her mother’s other calves were also infertile, so I think there was probably a genetic/congenital problem.  The vet did an ultrasound on her and said she had atrophied ovaries.

I had really hoped that the herbs and vitamin A would help her get pregnant, but it didn’t.  She was bred many times by three different bulls, and AI’d twice.  We thought about doing the hormone treatments that the vet suggested, but didn’t like the idea of the synthetic hormones, or trying to get her to cooperate with giving her injections every week.

But we can’t afford a pet cow.  She was so, so fat, and she hogged the hay bale and kelp from other cows like Flora who are very productive but not as bossy.  She looked as fat as butter, and she was fat.  Three 2 1/2 gallon bags of butter-yellow tallow, and there will be more when we get it back from the butcher.

She was very friendly, but also very unpredictable.  The first to come over to see if you had something to eat, but also the most likely to kick you in the face.  So while it was very hard to do, now that it’s over I mostly feel relieved.  We won’t have to pay so much to feed her.  I don’t have to worry about being kicked in the face by her when we roll in the hay bale.  And I have oxtail soup, my favorite.

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