Saturday, Jan 28, 2023



Nostrils are flaring as acrid smoke rises from the valley and stunned calves hobble off to find their mothers. Once again cowboys and cowgirls are heating up the branding irons for the annual branding of the calves.

Many in Arbon still brand the tired and true way of the West. Calves are roped, thrown down, and held in place awaiting the hot iron which will designate ownership of the calf. Neighbors all pitch in and help each other. Often city slickers attend making for an interesting day. There are those who believe they can keep their new white tennies clean by tiptoeing in manure. Some can’t stand the sight of burns, blood, and the never ending bawling of the calves, let alone castration! Which came up in a class discussion last week at high school.

Trying to keep a straight face and use school appropriate vocabulary, the discussion ensued. It all began with the vocabulary word castigate. After several mispronunciations it went to castrate and on to Rocky Mountain oysters. Very few in the junior English class knew what they were or why they are removed.

What are Rocky Mountain oysters? They are calf testicles that are removed to help the calf grow meatier and become more docile than the average bull. These calves are now known as steers. The oysters are peeled, washed, rolled in flour, and fried up in a pan . According to history this practice dates back to the Roman times and is presently considered an aphrodisiac in much of the world. And one bright boy told me they taste just like chicken! I wouldn’t know! Just in case your curious about such cowboy fare, many recipes can be found on the internet for your cooking pleasure. Bon appetit!