Winter is here
Winter is here. Just typing those words out make it that much more real. Sure, we have had cold weather and snow for weeks now, but somehow my spirit wasn't ready to commit to the idea of winter. But, finally, I am ready to embrace it.
A snow day (or month) on the ranch means not a day off of work - but rather extra work: Breaking ice, unrolling bale after bale after bale of hay. Constantly evaluating, "Do we need to move the cows to better shelter? No, they are ok." Ranchers care deeply about their livestock. Every pound of hay is considered based upon the condition of the livestock, the cycle of life they are in (steer, bull, pregnant cow, open cow, yearling, calf), etc. Mineral and other supplements are administered appropriately. Everything we do functions to provide the lowest stress and produce the greatest positive effects on the herd as possible.
Intentional care for this intentional life of agriculture.
It is cold, it is snowy. It is hard, laborious, rewarding work, being stewards of God's creation. They cattle don't always appreciate it, might I add. Oh, they come around to the idea eventually. But if you've ever tried to move a cow somewhere she needs to go but she doesn't want to go... you understand what I'm talking about. (Or, if you're a parent reading this... just think about your toddler.) I can see a lot of God-and-me in cows-and-ranchers. When the seasons and storms of life come, God as my Shepherd and Steward is constantly leaning into me and providing me with the tools that I need to release my stress to Him so that I might come through the hard a better person. It's interesting. In the spring and summer when grasses are plentiful and "life is easy" so-to-speak for the cattle, they are a rather ungrateful bunch. Sure, as cows go, they are a generally gentle crew. But, they'd rather be left alone in their valley of plenty they have found. Yet, when the grasses turn harder and less palatable, when the snow comes to cover and make life just that much more difficult... they turn to the rancher. They know when fall is coming and it is time to come home, and often they start the process of moving themselves closer to winter feeding grounds before we even go to collect them. They know the sound of the feed truck, the sound of the tractor. Ever tried to beep the horn of your vehicle at a group of cows blocking the county road? I made that mistake once. The whole bunch of them got very excited and came to me, not moved away! That horn beep, the steady chug-chug of the diesel engine, and the realization that sustenance in the form of good hay is being brought in by us, the ranchers, is a well known, learned fact for our Angus friends. They have learned to recognize the signs of the hard weather seasons, and anticipate the help that we bring to them. This is absolutely a learned habit. Have you ever watched the process of weaning calves? Calves are separated from their mothers and learn to look to us humans for their new source of feed. Quickly, they realize that we are up to their good, and they eagerly anticipate what we have to offer. I think we could learn a lot from cows. In the seasons where life is easy, "it's all roses" so-to-speak, we tend to forget how GOOD our God is. How He is sustaining us and providing for us even in the seasons of green. In the seasons of hard, in the seasons of dry, we must lean on our Sustainer and Provider. God is always up to something good with our best interests in mind. Sometimes amidst the snow and the storms and the cold and the days / weeks / months of drought or flood, it is hard to understand or trust. But when we lean in to what we know to be true, we will find God faithful. God doesn't take a snow day. Thank You, Father! He is there for the good. Let us rejoice!
He is our Sustainer in the hard. Let us trust! Let's eagerly anticipate what our Good, Good Father is bringing to us. Just like the cattle perk their ears at the chug-chug, hum of the feed truck... ... may my ears be trained and ready to receive all that God has to offer. He's always there. God is up to good things for my benefit, and for His glory.