It’s time to get down to the nut cuttin’.
I’ve just encountered your 3rd edition of Canadian Sayings. Grand! Now I’m out to find your volumes 1 and 2. Darned if I don’t have a collection!
This is my favourite saying. Circumstance and location? Memory often casts a rosy, nostalgic hue over accurate recall, but this seems right: I first heard this on a big south-western Alberta cattle ranch at a summer branding in 1960. The Cow Boss prodded his cattle crew with: “It’s time to get down to the nut cuttin’.” Time for the nitty-gritty, the main purpose before us. I use it to bring a conversation to the most important point, conclusion or decision. Gets people’s attention every time.”
This rough expression refers to castrating a bull calf when it weighs five or six hundred pounds, usually in the feed lot. After castration, it’s a steer and fattens up to about 1100 pounds. By then it’s a yearling or a bit older and it is slaughtered for its meat. Do you find the process ugly and revolting to contemplate. Well then: give up hamburgers!
© 2012 William Gordon Casselman
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