It’s always kind of a sad day when we load the beef steers into the trailer the day before they go to butcher. We treat all of our animals with kindness and love and they all learn to enjoy being scratched, coming for treats, and having people work around them. So they are not wild at all. I hate loading them, both because I feel sort of like an axe murderer and because Will always ends up yelling at me when we’re working them into the chute. But today Will loaded them by himself. (He knows how I hate it.) The two steers, one Shorthorn and the other a Black Angus, are comfortably in the trailer and ready to go first thing in the morning.

Our beef steers are loaded up and ready to go tomorrow.

Besides the meat we set aside for ourselves, we’ve sold a steer and ¾ to buyers who love our organically raised beef. It sure helps with the feed costs. You can check out my article in the Twenty-Third Year Anthology or read more about raising your own meat in my book, Homesteading Simplified.

Since we’ll be having a lot of meat heading home soon, I’ve got to get busy and can up the remaining beef in the freezer and clean it out to receive this year’s meat. I love that a lot and quickly get over feeling bad that we butchered the steers. After all, we do eat like kings around here! — Jackie


  1. Our hoop houses are really simple; a treated 2″x4″ or 2″x6″ (depending on size) frame for the bottom, EMT (electric conduit made of plastic) for he hoops, again depends on size as to what diameter to use; ours is 1″ for the bigger house and 7/8 for the smaller one. We use another two-by for a ridge pole with braces from the front and back door framework to help support it as we do have heavy snow here. The fabric is regular 6 mil greenhouse fabric from Growers Supply. Our 16’x 32″ hoop house cost us about $150 but that also included enough plastic fabric to make another like-sized house. The fabric has lasted through two winters and summers, already and is guaranteed for 4 years.

  2. When we were kids, My dad brought home two piglets and told us kids that they were not pets and not to name them. Well, being kids the first thing we did was name them. Pork chop and sausage was their names. We treated them like pets but keeping in mind all along they were food. That’s just the way it is when you raise your own food.

  3. My daughter named her chickens would not stick around or learn how to butcher,this was after I told her several times don’t give a name to something you are going to eat will see how things go this year.

  4. I’m so relieved that I’m not alone when it comes to taking a steer to the butcher. My heart just sinks and I feel like the worst mommy in the world. I also realize that God blessed us with this meat for our bodies. We were and are good stewards of our animals, providing them with wonderful lives. In the end, I feel very blessed and very thankful.

  5. Jackie, the same day you loaded your steers I took our milk cow to the butcher. She kept having one problem after another and was going downhill. It is a hard thing, and I never looked at her after she was loaded. Not everything about homesteading goes as you would hope.

    I think I’ve canned as much this winter as I do in the summer, it’s just meats and meals instead of vegetables and fruits. Boy, the pantry looks great! I really appreciate all your helpful hints.

    Stay healthy this winter.

  6. Jackie, yes, I remember Ice Cube my first calf that I raised close up and when market time came it was an emotional thing. We didn’t send him to freezer camp but just sold him to the stock yards. Some one enjoyed the burgers and roasts but it wasn’t the family. He was a bull calf that was born in the Winter and froze the tips of his ears off hence the name Ice Cube. He was an ornery little cuss and when he became of age he would not be confined from the neighbor’s pure bred Angus cattle. There wasn’t a fence made that he could jump or climb over. So as we left the stock yards we could see him checking out the rail fences and Dad and I knew what was going through his mind. I often wonder if he found a way to climb those high rail fences. It would have been a fitting end for sure.

    Have a great meat canning day.

    Nebraska Dave

  7. I think a little yelling is pretty common. A few years ago I told my husband he better get more help before I came back out to gather cows with him again. That resulted in us raising Cheaper Than A Divorce Registered Border Collies. I say “if you have to ask about the name you have never gathered cattle with your spouse.” Lol

  8. It could be worse. We have in the past done the whole job on the farm for cows, pigs, sheep and chickens. You probably also have. We thought about meat goats until I visited with some people who had really friendly goats and decided I couldn’t wack one. Have’nt raised large animals in a couple years. Still hoping for a caribou this winter. Good job on your blog.

    • Yep, both Will and I have done plenty of home butchering and I’ve also done elk, moose and lots of deer. But at our age, having it done by someone who is younger and has good facilities is much easier on us. Of course we still do chickens, turkeys and deer but they’re much smaller and easier to handle. Good luck with caribou hunting!

  9. I know it’s hard Jackie! I even get sad at chickens. But by the 10th meat bird I have adjusted. I think steers would be harder since they have been with you so long. But look at all the nice meat you will have!!

    Can I ask you how you have your portion cut? How many lbs of hamburger, kinds of steaks, stew meat etc? I am sure you ask for the bones correct?

    Thank you for all you share. I am trying to finalize my seed order. I always want too much!!

    • We have a pound of ground beef per pack, as we can always thaw two packs if we need to, T-bone and Rib steaks, lots of 3-4 pound roasts, stewing beef (we use the round steak here, too). And yes, we get the bones too to cook up for broth and soup. We also get the suet both for grinding up with venison and making sausage and for the birds, too.

  10. Jackie..can I have some instructions on your easy hoop houses..I see where you grow your peppers etc in….can’t invest a lot if money right now in one. .but want to grow early greens and seedlings….caldwell idaho… for your seed catalog

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