Saturday, 25 June 2016

For the Farmers by Susan L.

  It's been weeks since we had any rain worth mentioning. While ideal for making hay, other crops are suffering. Without rain, the hayfields won't regrow either to enable the second cut later in the season.  Any livestock on pasture will quickly eat what little green is left. The rest of the grass will have no nutrition whatsoever as it shrivels and dries up.
  This drought will hurt everyone by impacting food prices.
  Since having attempted farming and therefore quickly losing the idyllic stereotypes about it, my heart goes out to those who are dedicated to working the land. It's a tough job.
  Raising livestock takes dedication and commitment. It runs twenty-four hours at certain times if they have been bred. Babies mostly come in the wee hours of the night. A moment's inattention could mean a loss.
  Time needs to be spent simply watching the animals for signs of physical injury or illness. A limp, a runny nose or even blindness can strike quickly.
  Then there's the predators who also only come at night. Coyotes will take lambs and goats or even a calf. Smaller predators like foxes, weasels or skunks will take chickens. A hen house doesn't mean they are safe.
  We had a lot of losses. I say "we" but it was mostly me who was shepherd. The deaths haunt me still. The sheep whose throat was torn out by an extremely bold coyote one night only meters from the house. The newborn lambs or goats that froze to death or got crushed. A foal that got hung up by its halter and strangled. The ignorant mistake of breeding our cows to a different breed of bull meant the loss of a couple of calves one year because they were too big for the girls to deliver. Thankfully, we were able to save the mothers.
  Lord, why are you taking me back into these sad memories? Every loss is as clear as if it happened yesterday...
  Help me, Lord, see this through Your eyes of Honesty.
  There was a lot to take care of. Too much. At our biggest, we had seven cows with calves, an unusually docile bull, nearly fifty sheep and goats, a couple of pigs, a half dozen horses, never mind counting the free range chickens, ducks and geese with the added responsibility of raising over a hundred and fifty meat chickens each year. I don't even want to go into the haying nightmare.
  I suppose I am still angry that all this ended up being my responsibility but then, shouldering responsibility was what I was good at. Saying "no", not so much. Although, I did draw the line at buffalo (extremely dangerous and we had very inadequate fencing) or dairy farming (not just tied to the farm but tied to the clock).
  Later I heard that the buffalo killed the farmer raising them.
  During this time I also didn't know the Lord. I felt so terribly alone. But He obviously was watching over me, waiting until I had nothing left but to turn to Him.
  Where was my ex? Away at work. We needed the money because the farm didn't generate enough income to pay its way. It was mostly a tax write off and a back breaking one at that. Lord, help me not be bitter about it all. I know there was also a lot of good that came out of those years it's just sometimes, the hurts and pain need to come out.
  So, Lord, I am grateful for the dedicated men and women who have made farming their life, who have to hold down a full time job as well so they can fulfill their calling. Bless them and keep them safe. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain." Jas 5:7


  1. It is such an insight to realize that you are still angry that all the "stuff" was your responsibility. I understand that a lot. I too struggle to get over the resentment and anger in regards to misplaced responsibility. And it always surprises me what triggers it. I think I have dealt with it, and then I get blindsided. My determination, through the grace of God, is to realize that He is sovereign. He is sovereign now and He was sovereign at the time I resent. If He willed it, who am I to fight it. It really is a waste of energy. My head gets it - but boy oh boy the heart is still tender. It is a battle, which thankfully has been won, and has to be celebrated.

    1. I can also add that there was a lot of good times that came about by dealing with animals. I never knew each species has its own particular "Mommy Voice". The soft, gentle moo of a cow whose wide eyed delight in her babe was sweet to hear.
      The sheep had a deep, rolling baa reserved for lambs. These were sounds of an innocent and pure love that touched my heart each season.