In 2005 there was a movie entitled “The Island.” The story was of people living within a type of bio-dome, supposedly due to contamination outside the dome. They were all waiting to be picked in a lottery. The prize was a ticket to “The Island” – something greatly coveted. Screens around the bio-dome would play scenes from this island getaway. It was a beautiful place and everyone wanted to go.
If you haven’t seen the movie and want to, I don’t want to ruin it for you. You may want to skip on down to paragraph 5 starting with “What”.
The truth was, The Island was a non-existent place. When one’s lottery number came up, it was because… ready? They were clones of real people who lived on the outside of the bio-dome, in the real world. These clones were created as insurance for wealthy people who had purchased the scientific ability to create a complete clone of themselves.
When something went wrong for the wealthy person – they became deathly ill, they lost a body part, or they were dying of old age – the clone “won” the lottery and was use as spare parts – or a complete overhaul – of the wealthy person’s body. Thus the wealthy person could keep on living, the clone died and everyone else assumed the clone was living happily ever after on The Island.
What, you may ask, does this have to do with Lilybird Ranch cattle? Well, a lot!
People often ask me how I handle when the steers are sent to the processor for the freezer beef sales. It’s easy – I just think of them going to The Island for Steers, and tell them so.
I tell them they are going to love The Island for Steers. It is a place where other steers frolic in meadows of alfalfa and clover. They’ll dance, run, butt heads, and play. They’ll eat to their heart’s content. It’s a wondrous place. They assume they are going to a beautiful place living happily after on The Island for Steers and it makes them happy steers.
HEY! To each his own. Or in this case, her own. It’s MY world so just let me enjoy my fantasy. It’s how I cope.
Oh OK – truth is, I did have a problem the very first time we.. um.. processed a steer for our own freezer. It was a lesson in NOT naming your steer personal names and bonding with them.
I was sad because Wooly had a fun personality and I liked watching him. He was my first.
I had a problem for a hamburger or two – until I ate an amazing rib eye steak. Then it was like, “Wooly who?”
You do become attached to the cattle, no doubt. Leland interacts with them more than I do, feeding them their sweet feed, talking to them, scratching their heads. It’s hard for him because they bond with one another and he knows they’re going to The Island soon. He likes them all; well, except for the one steer who thought he’d take on Leland, trying to butt him, giving him an Alpha Death Stare.
HA! Leland perfected the Alpha Death Stare. I’m proud to say (bwahaha), he out-stared that pushy steer, along with giving him verbal threats. You know, like, “You wanna piece of me?” and “You wanna take me on?” or “I’ll show you who’s boss.” Fun times (snicker)!
The benefit this year is that, because of our increase in calves (up to 14 now), he will soon have more steers to bond with. That will take away the sting of those who are being sent to The Island in June.
The cycle of life. The way God created it to be.
On a ranch, one experiences that circle more often than other people do. But it’s all good. One good steak and I’m like, “Steers who??”