Artichokes and Frogspawn

A few weeks ago, I visited a friend’s house in Freestone, an off-the-grid home powered by solar. Walking the grounds, I admired a beautiful, vigorous artichoke plant that I wished was in my yard. (I have smaller plants which are frequently attacked by gophers.) This picture makes the artichoke look even bigger, as I shot from below, looking up the hill at it.


They also had a small stone-walled pond near their house. Inside it were clusters of frog eggs, so called frogspawn (look it up in wikipedia). You can see them near the center bottom of the photo below. It won’t be long before there are tadpoles swimming in the pond.


The tadpoles will develop into night-singing Pacific Tree Frogs.

A Good Steer



About two years ago, I got a steer for $500. An Angus-cross, he was about six-months old then. He had various names; his ear tag was “95”; he was “Dave” to some and “Ribeye” to others. He enjoyed our pastures and befriended the sheep, particularly the ram — the two of them would push each other around like two brothers wrestling.

Last week, our steer went away, which I’m trying to say in a nice way. Actually, Bud’s Meats came out and took care of him. I watched some of the process but it was hard to watch, I must admit. Being in the presence of death and even being responsible for this death is not something to take lightly. It is better than avoiding death, such as we do when we eat or buy meat that we haven’t been responsible for. While I’ve raised meat chickens and processed them myself, the size of this animal makes the act more significant, and sadder.

I thought seriously about not having him butchered for meat. My daughters who are vegetarians are very persuasive. In the end, the possibility of him getting older and having problems (and vet bills) made me decide to go ahead as originally planned.

The man from Bud’s Meats said that we had a good animal, a good steer. I’m proud that he was raised humanely in open pastures with plenty of grass to eat.

Dave had a good life and I’m very grateful for it. I will miss seeing him in the pasture, his dominant black form with head bowed, always eating grass.