A couple of weekends ago we finally did the deed: we had Sheila slaughtered. We interviewed a new butcher and visited their little shop, and took the plunge. This butcher - a former logger and his wife - runs a tight little shop north of Montesano, out toward the coast. Since they are in the process of having a slaughter truck built, they preferred to haul her live to their own place, let her mellow with hay and water overnight, and then slaughter on site the next day. It was a relief to have it all handled out of our sight.
Catching her wasn't any trouble, although that early on a Saturday morning, the entire herd was waaaayyyy in the furthest back corner of the pasture, not interested in coming to say hi. Paul and I walked out there with a bucket holding a bit of grain - mistake! Nothing quite like having a crazy excited running group of horned cattle following right behind you. We know better, too. Duh. Sheila and Eiger brought up the rear and couldn't help but stop a couple of times for some head-butting sessions. (According to the landowner, that occurred every single day. Geez.) We opened the gates to the paddock and in they went.
She loaded like a dream, we said goodbye, and they were off. I didn't shed any tears - I'd used them up in the days before - but the rest of the weekend was pretty somber. We went back and loaded Eiger, then hauled him home to Yacolt.
Amazingly, a quite peace fell over the remaining four once Sheila and Eiger were both gone. I'd wondered if that would be the case and was thrilled that it was indeed. Paul and I have walked among three other Highland folds lately and are clear now that we covet a quiet herd, one where folks can walk amongst the cattle without getting the stink eye or having someone spook and run off. With Sheila the Watcher and Eiger the Ever-Head-Butting out of the picture, we seem to be on our way.
Case in point: a few days into last week Paul and I drove out with our scotch combs to give the girls a good combing. They're shedding but looked like they could use a little help, and it's an enjoyable task for both us and them. I got to work on Roxy while Paul worked on little Xoe. Soon, I heard, "Babe, look!" I turned around and there was Clyde, nose nearly to the ground, getting a full body combing from Paul! Well, I never! Cowboy still isn't interested so he'll probably go into the summer looking like a yeti again, but oh, well. He can be ratty if he's calm about it!
By the way, if you're local, we are taking orders for fall beef!