Not my plans…

So many days farm life is full of rewarding treasures.  We get up and head out each morning to bring nourishment to our families, to care for the creatures God has entrusted to us, to learn a new skill and to come in at the end of the day with a job well done.  Most days. Then there are those days where you sit wondering, “what am I doing wrong?”  One of those weeks popped up about a month ago.  We had a rash of crazy events happen way too close together for common understanding to grasp.  We have been building a barn, putting up fencing and putting in water lines to the barn.  All these tasks have required a lot of makeshift pens, close quarters, and odd combinations of animals in pastures.  Lessons learned the hard way would tell you that these are not the best practices.  We had a couple of accidents, goat v. horse etc.  I sat in the barn one morning just crying out to the Lord, asking Him if I have been moving in the wrong direction  with our farm plans. During this time, Elsie, Trenton and Buttercup had been down in the back forty for a few days.  I walked down to coax her up to the barn because I was running low on milk.  She got the hint and was waiting at the barn for me the next morning.  I put Trenton in the barn for the day with plans to milk her in the evening.  We headed down to town for a meeting and Elsie was standing on the other side of the fence by the barn.  My last thought on that was, ” great, she be ready when I get home.”  Only, that’s not how it went.  I got home and was walking around the barn to find Elsie on her belly, head down the hill and her left leg straight out behind her.  My cow friends are thinking “oh no” huh?  I ran over to her to find she had stepped too close to the edge of the bank and the ground gave way due to the bounty of rain we have had lately.  She had also gotten tangled in a piece of fencing that was under the edge of the bank.   My daughter ran and got the bolt cutters as I tried to figure out where to start.  My husband was on his way home, so I called my neighbor.  Within about twenty minutes we had a team of six working to get the cow back up the hill.  One four by eight piece of plywood, multiple tie down straps, a couple of lassoes, a track hoe, six bodies and five hours later we at least had her up on the ledge.  We put up cow panels behind her so she wouldn’t slip down the hill.  All night we watched her.  By ten pm she was sitting upright and seemed comfortable.  We had some hope that she might get up.  The next morning more helped arrived and five hours later we had her up to the barn.  It had rained the whole time and we were covered with mud and soaked to the skin.  No one complained.  We sure did look like a sorry bunch of drowned rats though.  Elsie, we thought , might actually get up.  And she did try.  She moved back and forth from one side of the barn to the other, but she could never get both of her back legs under her.  Days, then weeks later she tried.  Then she just stopped.  She didn’t even shift sides.  She didn’t call out to Trenton, then she didn’t eat.  Then we had a long talk.  Elsie was used to this, since I would chat with her in the morning as I would wash her up and milk her. This was usually followed with a sloppy nozzle of Chafhaye and grain in complete agreement with the chosen topic.   Now she just looked at me with those huge Jersey eyes and I cried, not just a little, I bawled.  She was done.  She didn’t have any more try left and all the begging or prodding wasn’t going to change that.  I felt like such a failure.  I didn’t want to give up.  But it was not fair to keep pushing.  So I told her to either get up or go on.  Again those big sad eyes.  An hour later she was gone.   And I cried “Lord, I just don’t get this one.”  I don’t know the why on this one, on this crazy year we’ve had, on the multiple losses on the farm.  But this I do know~ The Lord knows the plans He has for me, for my family, for our farm. Plans for a hope and a future. I’ll wait on Him for the next step.

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