The educational approach at Green Valley School, and our campus at Buck Brook Farm, was students having hands-on experience with the world we live in. One annual hands-on experience we practiced at Buck Brook was getting close to how we satisfy our appetite for meat.
The campus had a small dairy operation that supplied our fresh milk. It was up the hill from were most of us lived and we didn’t spend time there. The guy who spent all his time there was about my age and he came visiting on occasion. To this day I can smell the combination of odors that seeped from every pore of his body and from every fiber of his clothes. A very earthy aroma that professional dairymen call, “The smell of money.”
Pungent as his aroma was it also manifested a cow’s warmth. I suppose I associate the smell from childhood times at my uncle’s farm when he milked his five cows and squirted streams of milk right from the teat into the mouths of the waiting cats. That manure-strewn shed was a young lad’s adventure.
One day the dairy guy at Buck Brook ran off with the headmaster’s wife—something that caused a stir! The fact they took one of the school’s credit cards to finance their escape got things even more riled up.
Before that particular ruckus the entire population of Buck Brook Farm trekked to the dairy where a cow was brought to the yard. We all gathered facing the submissive animal while one of our students volunteered to do the deed that had to be done. One blow of the sledgehammer between the eyes and the cow buckled to the dust.
None of us complained when our getting close to the price of how we come to eat meat was cut short. We did not hang around for the gutting and cutting. And now that I think of it, the dairy guy who knew about feeding and milking cows was probably not qualified to do the butchering. It’s likely a professional butchery was hired to pick up the carcass and finish the job in their certified facility.