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Farming and Relating to Your Animals

As I walked out to my vegetable garden and having also tucked many plant babies into flowerbeds here and there, I was suddenly struck by the vulnerability of gardening and farming. For me, both are a huge act of faith, that my puny efforts of watering and soil tucking, feeding and watering and sheltering animals (even children!), will eventually result in a beautiful end goal. It's a miracle really!

 

But even more so - often, we think of ourselves as serving our animals, and that is true - every day we feed and water and shelter them. But I think our animals serve us in much greater ways, especially cattle.


Tame cattle are large but gentle, with innocent wondering eyes. So much can be learned from sitting still in the grass and watching them. It's mesmerizing and slightly hypnotizing actually!


And the ways they serve us! Mothering their littles, providing us with meat and milk, regenerating soils and fields - they are a huge benefit to the earth, if properly handled and respected.

 

I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts into words but I think what I mean is how our animals are so vulnerable in front of us and how easily we could take advantage of them. For example, a good gentle cow is a very trusting animal and if we decided to pen her up and daily beat her, aside from kicking lots and becoming wild, there is not much she could do.

 

It's the same with the pigs and chickens and meatbirds. In a very really way we hold their lives in our hands and that is a huge and sobering responsibility.

 

While plants may not have that same 'aliveness' that it seems like animals have, yet I do think they deserve our respect and proper care.


This has become even more real to me since starting this blog post because the newest little member of our farm was born. Sunday night while doing chores suddenly we noticed someone new! A beautiful perfectly, healthy, lovely, active heifer calf, born from our trusted milk cow Kelle.


Since we currently only have 2 cows, every calf born is very special to us but this was also the first heifer (female calf) for our farm, which made it extra special. That means in about 2-3 years time, if all goes well, she could be having her own calf, right here on this farm.


Kelle is being an excellent gentle momma, taking care of her calf and protecting it from unwanted critters (Bruno the farm dog:) and coyotes), gentle enough to let us be in the pasture with her but aggressive enough to keep her calf safe is exactly what we want!


I love the continuity and specialness of a small farm like ours. Everything born is celebrated and has a place to fill! The miracle of witnessing birth never grows old.

 

And then I remember how kind our heavenly Father is to us, in spite of his power to crush us with his thumb if he so chose, and his care of us is so humbling. We are all a small part of something so insignificant and yet so great at the same time and we all have a work to do!

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