Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Til the Cows Come Home

It's my birthday.

 I was just sitting here thinking about birthdays on the farm which led me to think about the birthday when I was 9 or 10.

I remember that they made me go out to bring in the cows for milking. I wasn't happy at all about that. I complained and grumbled to myself the whole time because I thought I shouldn't have to do the chores. After all, it WAS my birthday.

Photo credit: Kathy & Yale Dawson
Pictures from my cousin's farm

All in all, bringing in the cattle was not all that bad of a job ...unless it was raining. The cattle don't cooperate too well especially if the wind is blowing. They want to turn their backs to the wind, so if the wind is blowing the opposite direction it is quite a challenge to get them to do anything. (Who can blame them)?

Speaking of driving cattle in the rain

We once had a young man from Germany come to the farm as an agriculture exchange student. Bringing in the cattle was Franz's job every morning. One morning, a great thunderstorm came just at the time for bringing in the cattle for the morning milking. I'm not sure whether Franz had even seen a thunderstorm before since storms in the midwest are not the same as those in Germany.

My father rose to the sound of thunder and went to tell Franz that he should wait to bring in the cattle. But it was already too late. Franz had gone out into the storm to bring in the cattle. My father drove down in the truck to find him. To my recollection, the winds were blowing the wrong direction and had driven the cattle to the far end of the pasture with their back to the rain! Since Franz is still connected to us, maybe he'll be willing to share "the rest of the story".

Back to my cattle driving story

In Ohio, we had this creek bed that would turn into a bed of mud nearly up to your knees.  Crossing that mud bed can be a real challenge for a short kid like me. I remember many times walking right out of my boots! There I would be standing in the middle of this mud with one leg and a socked foot up in the air. In retrospect, I should have just taken off the boots and socks and walked through barefooted. It could be that I did figure that out after a while because I was always the first one to go barefooted in the spring.

When we moved to Wisconsin, I think this job was awarded to the younger kids. Though we did buy a good cow dog when we arrived.  I do recall having to do the job once though, (sadly with the same grumbly attitude). But Jack and I headed off towards the pasture to bring in the cattle. In a few moments, Jack was nowhere to be seen and I started grumbling about the worthless dog. UNTIL, moments later when the cows met me coming. Jack had run on ahead and brought them in. I only had to treck half way down the pasture. That's when I found a new appreciation for dogs. Up until then I really didn't have much use for him.

Back to my birthday story

I'm sure you can figure out how it all turned out. When I got back to the house, the dining area was all set up for a little birthday party. That can make a person feel really guilty.

It reminds me of a little wisdom found in the Bible

  ...and it comes right after we are told to have the same attitude as Christ.

Do Everything Without Grumbling12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

 I'm pretty sure the Christ would not have complained and grumbled about doing a simple chare little bringing in the cattle. Our selfish attitudes can most times get the best of us especially when we find out later that our "trials" were all for our good. There was something good at the end.

And don't we all know that is true? God has something very good at the end for us. Much better than cake and ice cream. Let's persevere with the attitude of Christ.

P.S. Hey, farm friends, and family. Share your story about bringing in the cows in the comments