To: Ingrid, Estate Steward
From: Gus, Estate Head Gardener
Subject: Beef for next year
As you are well aware, we don’t raise cattle here even though we do raise pigs, sheep, geese, chickens, turkeys, and even ducks. Obviously one of the Stewards that preceded you along with the Head Gardener at that time (I’m thinking well over several centuries ago but the Journals are fuzzy on just when) decided the land here was not suitable for cattle and I must agree that they were right as I’d hate to see the river that runs through the property polluted. We keep the sheep and pigs away from that watershed so they don’t add their waste to the water and the poultry gets nowhere near that water or the springs that we get our drinking water from.
(We stopped using horses in the early Fifties when tractors finally made sense. Though we still keep a small dairy herd here.)
That said, both staff and visitors here are fond of roast beef, beef stew, and the like during the long Winter so we either must buy it from another Estate such as Barrowhill, Riverrun Hall, or High Meadow Farm. Not to mention the guard dogs here need some beef protein as well.
So I’ve negotiated with Nick at Barrowhill for beef for this coming year as a trade for both libations and smoked bacon as they make neither; they also want to arrange for two of their daughters to stay here this coming Fall and Winter — one under the tutelage of our Head Cook as she wants to learn true culinary skills; the other daughter is going onward to University and her mother believes a period as a Several Annie would stand her well before going off to University. They’ll pay for their time here with flour, both wheat and rye, and lots of their cured beef sausage which I know you’re fond of.
So if you could draw up the contracts for the two children, I’ll have the parents and children over for an eventide meal. We’ll sign the contracts later in the evening. Oh and see if you can get our Librarian and Head Cook to understand that this is not up to them to decide if these two are suitable as we agreed centuries ago that these contracts were solely up to the Head Steward. Both can be far too stubborn on these matters for the good of this Estate!
If you wish to discuss this, I’ll be down by the river for most of this week as we’re creating more salmon breeding pools as the heavy rains this past Fall damaged many of the choice pools they use. And I for one like a properly-cooked salmon with new potatoes, steamed greens, and just from the over dinner rolls.