1. What does “Angus” mean?
Mrs. HH was asked this question while dining at a restaurant that had ‘Angus Ribeye’ on the menu. “It’s a breed of cattle,” she explained, “like pit bull is a breed of dog.” “You mean it’s not a brand name?” Umm, no.
2. Why don’t your bulls have horns?
This question came from one of my colleagues who volunteered to come help us work calves. (I bet that won’t happen again.) He was under the impression all bulls have horns just like in the movies. I explained to him that this isn’t the movies and a majority of cattle producers have polled cattle. What does polled mean? No horns!
3. If the bulls don’t have horns, how do you tell them from cows?
Another horn question! Thanks, Hollywood. This was a different conversation, but according to Mrs. HH it went something like this:
Friend: “The bulls are the scariest, right?”
Mrs. HH: “Yeah, the bulls can get really big, but most of ours are big pets.”
Friend: “But the horns are what is scary, I bet.”
Mrs. HH: “Our bulls don’t have horns.”
Friend: “But if the bulls don’t have horns, how do you tell them apart from the rest of the cows?”
Mrs. HH: “ummmmmmm, outdoor plumbing?”
4. I thought all cows were black and white?
Here’s another television-steriotype.
Friend: “Why are your cows all black?”
Me: “Those are Holstiens, and Holsteins are milk cows.”
Friend: “Milk cows? But I thought since they are on the Eat More Chicken commercials then that is what kind of cattle are in the grocery store.
Me: “They are, just in the milk section.”
6. What is a steer?
I’ve been asked this question so much I don’t know who first asked. I usually answer in a variety of ways. They have misplaced their manhood. They are the ones that have lost their marbles. They're the ones who back-talked their wife?
7. Where do the cows go in the winter?
In the winter time cattle depend on us to provide them protein and hay when they get short on grass or if there is bad weather. I thought that was clear enough, but a barrage of follow-up questions proved me wrong. “They stay outside? What is hay? What kind of protein? Like the protein bars?” This took me a while to sort out. I nearly had a question overload.
8. Do they always moo this much?
This question was asked when we had separated the cows from their calves for working. The answer is yes, cows can be quite the annoyance this time of year.
9. What are calf fries (or Rocky Mountain Oysters)?
I never know how to answer this question with grace. I tend to answer it with a question. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT CALF FRIES ARE? ARE YOU SERIOUS? I try not to say that, but it almost always pops out before my brain disengages my mouth. Then I’ll say, “They are the aftermath of a long day's work with little pay.”
10. With all of this work, why doesn’t beef cost more?
Remember the colleague who came to work calves? The day went something like this.
5:30 am: Get up to cook breakfast.
6:00 am: Eat breakfast.
7:00 am: Pen all pastures of cattle
8:00 am: Work calves and worm cattle until complete, or until we collapse from heat exhaustion. Which ever comes first.
1:30 pm: “How come beef is so cheap?”
Exactly, my friend. Exactly.
Note: This post is actually by Mr. HH; due to a power outage it was posted using my laptop, because it was the only one with enough battery life.--Mrs. HH