Tag Archives: this crazy little farm

Unexpected

In a season that catches by surprise, I’ve come to anticipate the unexpected.

Four kids fill this house and this calendar and these rooms…

and the minds and the lives and the hearts of their parents.

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Critters live and critters die, and sometimes it comes by way of sudden chirping from the woods when a nest of nine stumbles and weaves behind mama turkey, and sometimes it comes by way of the quiet death of a loud guinea or the noble fight and fall of a beloved pony.

“Moment by moment” round here is never an exaggeration.

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But what’s never expected is the cold stare from one who was once a warm friend.

What catches by surprise and catches in the throat are the words stuck that stream through quiet moments and that are outlined with bold strokes of anger and frustration but mostly just scream Why?? When?? I thought we were friends??

And a rejection like that can make a mama pull in and pull close and focus on just the ones around her, the ones she knows for sure love her.

Making friends never gets easier does it?

And down deep, isn’t there always that little girl who lives inside of us? That first grader in a room full of new classmates who’s standing there awkward when she realizes she’s tied the back of her dress up into her waistband while she shifts from foot to foot at the front of the classroom with her underwear and tights all exposed to the world?

Don’t the bruises get blacker when a soul gets older?

Unexpected.

And when the demands are so great a big gal feels small and sometimes has a hard time breathing let alone doing anything extra, a mama can only just bear down and push through the cramp and know she’s doing what she was meant to do in this moment: deliver these babies out into the world.

She’ll keep pushing and she’ll keep grunting and she’ll try not to swear even though she might yell out during the especially hard parts.

She didn’t know it’d be like this over a dozen years after they were born.

Unexpected.

And sometimes just the day to day can be enough to make us keep things shy and reserved and holding the heart close to the chest and the real feelings tight in the pocket.

Enough of the keeping it tight can make us keep it closed and before we know it, we’ve holed ourselves up while we tell ourselves we’re just in a quiet season of bearing down.

And then the real unexpected…

The exceptional unexpected.

The beautiful unexpected.

The unexpected gift of the unexpected time of an unexpected dinner with a couple from church, two souls just ahead on the sidewalk, and all the unexpected tears and laughter that come from that kind of unexpected encounter.

How the path we’re walking is so very familiar to them.

How the struggles we wrestle are ones they’ve conquered.

How the unexpected keeps on into the empty nest years.

How the unexpected keeps on…

My heart carries the day this month that we drove to the place where we sailed to the spot…

that gate where three seas meet, -just past the sanctuary for mariners- and the wind blew fierce and the waves pounded hard and how could I not feel God hold me there in that spot where warm tears of praise slipped down cold cheeks of wonder?

Unexpected.

The whales of September came by surprise and Native founders sailed those waters on kayaks and I sailed them with my children who stood bravely against the gusts and they braced themselves to the threat and they laughed into the wind because they are young and they trust their father and their mother, but they especially trust the One who made the skies.

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The joy we’ve had this month can be lost in the hard of this month and the hard of lost friendship and the hard of this life…

but when I focus on the good…when I fix my eyes on the pure…the hard isn’t so hard and the good is pure joy.

The unexpected moments from the unexpected trip that grew my babies and grew my mama and that grew me.

The unexpected victories that taught us that sometimes a person will win when they practice hard but that sometimes even hard practice won’t win, and that that’s okay too.

The unexpected setbacks that taught us that sometimes a plan needs a bit more time and a bit more stitching before it becomes a whole quilt.

The unexpected friends that came with what could’ve been a tight and tough competition but instead turned into a tight and tender time.

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All the unexpected.

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How the unexpected keeps on…

And then, just as a mama might start to come out of her September shell and decide rejection won’t keep her because she’s already accepted by the One who made her and Who holds her…

a routine night at church brings the unexpected, a gift, a sweet out-of-the-blue message and warm watery eyes from a new friend who is trailing just behind on the parenting sidewalk, and she might think it a small gift…

but it is bigger than that.

It makes me think of you she tells me.

And I tear up some because I don’t know her that well yet but still she thought of me, and by thinking of me she didn’t reject me, and by not rejecting me she reminds me that even when the world is cold and some people are cold, we really are each other’s keeper and we needn’t be cold back because if we are…if we close ourselves off and make ourselves cold…

we won’t ever make this planet warmer.

How the unexpected keeps on…

So I squeeze her once because her gift is so precious.

I stare at it for a second and see how perfect it is and how sweet the words are, and she smiles and I smile and then I squeeze her again because I’m so touched at her gift and how it is straight from her heart.

And so very unexpected.

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I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
~Big Daddy Weave

Pushing

I decided to update my folder of barn records in the morning and before long there were surprised tears in my coffee as I typed up Beau’s last notes.

Our long weekend with him…

and then his final lay down.

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The afternoon was filled with 4-H and phone calls and sunshine and then yells from the front yard that the dog had eaten the sheep’s leg off.

There were angry tears when I saw that the dog hadn’t actually EATEN the sheep’s leg, but had tried to herd the sheep and a tied sheep won’t herd and a cattle dog without a job sometimes herds too hard.

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The evening saw us in the hayfield, dropping everything to go on that one day a year when the hay man says it’s here, and the injured sheep stayed home with his girl and my boys donned gloves and my big man does what he does best, he hefts and he pushes through life so he hefts and he pushes through the field of hay and I want to lay down but I drive slow instead and sometimes heft too and then, when my littlest baby is driving the truck and the music is playing and the sun is shining, tired tears come because sometimes a mama really does just want to lay down.

Because sometimes all life is, is hopping from one mishap to another…one mess to the next…one big job to one more big job…

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and it can be overwhelming.

And a mama gets tired.

But when a few more quiet tears come on the way home, hay loaded up and midnight approaching, they’re both sad and sweet and grateful because sometimes in the tired we can forget who we are and where our strength comes from.

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And while I follow in the second truck and the hay on the trailer in front of me rocks through the Alaska wilderness and the construction zones, I realize how far I am from where I want to be. From where I should be.

All the things…all the places…all the words…how have I gotten this far and left them all undone, unsaid?

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But as the midnight sun glares and my baby switches songs on the playlist like a big boy next to me, I remember that I’m close to the One who’s taking me there.

And that every breath is the opposite of mishap and an opportunity to do the things and go the places and say the words.

The mountains are purple on the flats and we take our hay home and my men unload and my girls put the crock pot away and we tuck in the sheep and we go to bed.

And I tell myself that tomorrow there will probably be more mishaps and messes. But that I need to listen. I need to remember the wide open sky and the freshness of hay and the muscles that move.

I need to listen to it all.

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So I’ll remember. I’ll remember that tears come when I’m listening and when I’m listening, I am strong.

I’ll remember that my job is to grow into who He made me to be and while I’m doing that, to love.

To share.

To remember where I get my strength.

And to use that strength to manage the mishaps and weather the worries and surrender the sorrows so that I’ll keep standing.

I’ll keep standing and I’ll keep lifting and I’ll keep pushing and I’ll keep hefting…

All the way up to my final lay down.

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Great is Your faithfulness oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

~Your Grace is Enough, Chris Tomlin

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13

 

 

 

 

It’ll Be Okay

There was something wrong with my Wishy.

Lord, No. Please.

It’s too soon after Beau.

I wiped the inside of her hind legs off with a warm wet cloth and tried to figure out what could be causing her diarrhea.

I’m irritated with myself and wondering how it was that her symptoms slipped by my eagle eye that’s become even more watchful this spring.

She’s my low-maintenance mini. Beau was our big boy and Charlotte is our keyed-up mare, but Wishes…Wishes is a go-with-the-flow horse if ever there was one. Her previous owner compared her to Eeyore, and the personality suits her perfectly. She goes along and gets along and she’ll get a little pout to her every now and then, but nothing that a few soft words and two soft hands can’t soothe.

I love that horse.

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And now, as I put her back in the pen with Char, my brain goes into high gear thinking on how I’m going to get my kids to the good-bye party for friends that we all realllly really want to go to, yet be here too in order to assess Wishes a little better while trying to get the vet out. My hands tremble while latching the gate and in my mind I’m standing in the barn at 4 a.m., exhausted after days on my feet in hopeful vigil while watching a brave and noble pony’s lips clamp tight in pain and dehydration just hours before his body lies down one last time.

I can’t stand up under it if something happens to her, Lord. Not now.

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A sweet friend shuttles my kids, and my man-boy and I watch Wishy in the pen, and before I say anything about what I think, he tells me “I think she’s having a hard time holding her back end up. She’s swaying in the hind.”

Which is a sign of neurological damage from the common weed called mare’s tail that grows prevelantly in our area. I’ve not seen it in our yard, but I remember a week or so ago when we found her grazing behind a new shed we put up last year. My boy and I wander back to take a look and sure enough, the area is packed full of brand new shoots of the toxic horsetail.

My heart falls and I get my horse friend on text and she’s Googling and I’m researching and watching Wishy at the same time, and there right in front of my eyes she tries to pee and can only pee down her legs.

I can’t stop scared tears from coming and I’m trying to keep a grip on my fear and my big boy, he tells me it’ll be okay Mama.

I breathe deep and amp up my calls and texts to the vet and track down another one that’s a friend-of-a-friend and we all suspect plant toxicity and if that doesn’t take her, it’ll throw her into colic and if she pulls out of the toxicity, she might not pull out of the colic and that’s what took Beau and there she goes swaying her hind again and then settling into a new place that she’s never lain before in the shady part of the pen not the sunny, and that’s a bad sign too so I text the vet.

Again.

He tells me just what shot to give her to relieve pain and help her pee and says he can come see her some time the next day.

So we order pizza and eat out at the barn and I watch her and as I watch her close…so closely…I remember something small.

Small like her.

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The day we rolled our little horse trailer onto the barnyard and walked the new pony Beau over to the horse pen, both minis went into a wild fit of star struck crazy horse love. They fussed and fought and bucked and ran around him so much it was like watching a bunch of barfly groupies at a Tim McGraw concert.

Both of them were thrown into heat that day and for about a week, every time we’d go out to do chores, we were stepping into a world of premenstrual high school girls. Hair flinging and head tossing and eye rolling and snap talking had become the norm on the barnyard.

Our boy horse, though castrated, (gelded in horse terminology) had thrown both our mares into heat.

But once things leveled out on our barnyard, -in the hormones and in the herd- I never saw either of our mares behave that way again. The three of them made a happy herd, and if any one of the three got grumpy, it was usually Beau, tired of their constant snuggling up to him, them preferring to stand in the warmth of his flanks over the barn almost every time. Marish behavior had gone by the wayside after that first few days of getting over their boy-horse crush and a calm, serene trio prevailed.

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And now, here they were, just over a month without him, and right around the time when mares in our area go into season.

But why wasn’t Wishes drinking much water? Why was her hind end swaying like her back legs weren’t working? It couldn’t be that my wee little mare was just in heat. These symptoms were so different from anything I’ve ever seen before. She’s so level-headed and submissive and quiet, this couldn’t all be just a normal hormonal thing.

I lunged her in circles in the driveway to make sure all her legs and her back were working. I put a bucket of water in front of her so I could monitor her intake. I tied her outside the pen so I could watch and see how much she peed and pooped.

I saw how she reacted to her half ration of feed and gave her a little more when she still acted hungry. I saw how she blinked her soft, wide-eyed blink at me, just like normal with no flaring of her nostrils or clamping of her lips.

She seemed just like my regular ol’ Wishes.

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I pondered the possibilities and I put her back in the pen for the night and my panic level came down after seeing her eat and drink and poop and kind of pee. I kept thinking over her symptoms and worried about them, but felt secure enough to let her overnight until I’d do an early morning check, so I tucked her in with a fresh trough of water, a few flakes of hay, and her pal Charlotte.

In the morning the vet texted that he’d be out later in the day and I posted my son as sentry and watcher of Wishy while I went to another appointment that I needed to keep. I raced home after the appointment, anxious at the fact that she’d not taken in much water all morning. At this point I was convinced that she had an Urinary Tract Infection, which was causing her to not be able to pee, which would cause her hind end to hurt and sway, and which could be deadly.

Doc came just as I was pulling Wishes out and getting her ready to see him and he took his stethoscope and his old sparkly blue veterinarian eyes and his knarled up country hands and he looked her over.

And then he looked at me and he said if I wanted him to, he could find a little miniature stallion to come on over and visit my little mare because it was pretty obvious to him that my little girl horse was just in heat.

Oh!

My deep-down was right!

I was paying attention.

I did know my little horse.

And my fears, -those doubts, that grief, that insecure feeling that I must’ve done everything wrong with Beau since he didn’t live- they had just manifested so much louder than my deep-down knowledge of my little mare.

My tears started to push against my eyes and pretty soon my shoulders were shaking because I lost a horse once and once was once too many times but now, today, I wasn’t going to lose this one.

I wasn’t going to have to say goodbye to the soft eyes of a creature that loves so loyally.

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Not today.

So I cried quietly.

All the grief that’s been working its way out…all the hoping that it would go differently…all the wishing that it could’ve been this easy with Beau too…I just let the tears fall while the sun shined and the minis munched their hay.

And my vet, the vet to all the farms and mushers and 4-H kids here in paradise, he looked at me and saw I was crying and he was quiet too and he just stood with me like a gentlemanly elderly man would while the woman next to him cries, and then he gave me a little pat on the shoulder and he said I know. It’s hard. 

And I know he knows every last thing I’m crying about and how it’s all tied up into farming and the future and the kids and the critters and our hearts and our life and how a soul crumples a little when she loses a beloved animal and how the loss puts something into that soul that makes it never quite be the same.

And then he tells me it’s okay.

It’ll be okay.

So we stood quiet for a few more seconds in the sunshine and looked at my fuzzy little mini in heat and I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and he honked into his hankerchief and then we walked past the barn and past the chickens and back toward his truck that was waiting to take him to the next call.

And as it is with a farm vet, he was soon sitting on the tailgate surrounded by kids and showing them his veterinarian bible, a current edition of the book he read every night in vet school. They oohed and aahed and coveted the thick copy and learned from him and from it the number of days in the estrus cycles of horses…and barn cats…guinea pigs…goats…alpacas…ferrets…and fox.

We learn from him and we glean from him and we send him on his way with a dozen pheasant eggs and his refusal to take a penny for his care and his call and his time.

It’s good that you called he tells me.

His blue eyes twinkle when he tells me we’ll just call this one an ‘information only’ call.

And it was information.

Good information.

The disruption in the herd, losing their gelding, this being the first heat cycle of the season…those things can cause a mare to have an out-of-whack cycle, one that involves hind-end swaying and pheromone peeing and out-of-the-ordinary behavior. That’s good information. That’s information I didn’t have before.

But knowing that I can trust my deep-down when it comes to my animals…that’s good information too. Being able to sense when something is just slightly off… Knowing that I had a gut instinct and action behind it is important for me right now as we still process the loss of one of our animals and fight to not second-guess all we did.

But the best information that came out of our farm call was information that I already knew: that while us folks that manage animals and farms tend to the critters we love, one of the most valuable resources we will ever have is the kindness, care, and compassion of a country vet.

He puts on his sunglasses and starts his truck and it rumbles to life, and while I wave him goodbye and watch him leave our driveway and turn toward his next call, a farm up the road, I’m thankful…so thankful.

Thankful my wee horse will be fine…

Thankful for the life and love and lessons of the one we lost…

Thankful for this farm and these kids and these critters…

And thankful that while I tend to them all, I have a good farm vet on my side.

~

To everything there is a season,  a time for every purpose under heaven…Ecclesiastes 3:1

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The Leveling

I haven’t written since Beau.

At all.

Well, a couple bursts of Facebook posts here and there, but this is the first time I’ve come back to this place I love so much.

That horse did something to my heart.

It’s only been a month since he died but it seems like a year and then at night, when I wake up for my normal 3 a.m. insomnia check…it’s last week all over again.

As with any death I suppose, I think of “if only”. If only we would’ve caught it sooner. If only we would’ve known he was compromised. If only we would’ve…

And I go round and round and while I know a horse is a horse and not a human, I still grieve. We are still quiet when we speak of him.

But I know this:

Life is fragile and life is precious and sometimes life is too short. But life is a joy and a push and an embrace and sometimes you have to pause but you can never stop.

So I’m here.

I’m here and I’m yearning to write and my heart spills over now with words needing saying and letters needing typed, and this is where I want to be.

Because when God put a pen in the heart, there’s never any stopping it.

There might be a pause.

But today, again, I write.

A word-stringer might slow and her tears might flow, and her words might cease, and her heart might twist…

but after it all settles and that grief smooths some…

a writer will write.

~

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king…Psalm 45:1

Crazy For The Birds

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I made our manager of the poultry department take inventory yesterday. This is what he came up with:

18 layer hens of varying ages

2 roosters, one big, one tiny

5 baby chicks

4 hen pheasants

2 rooster pheasants

1 guinea fowl

2 Embden geese

1 house quail named Rooster Cogburn; Chuck for short.

Thirty-five birds total.

He then proceeded to convince his Dad and I that we should let him purchase two full grown turkeys to live on the barnyard and go to the fair with him this summer.

He’s even got us seriously considering letting him add peacocks to the farm.

I think we may have officially gone to the birds.

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Barn Report: 8 a.m.

Sunrise: 9:15   Sunset: 4:26     Temp: -8

Cold. Below zero cold. Outside chores after breakfast. Inside chores? The ones inside my head…they come before my eyes even open.

Deep-freeze means last-minute tasks before the big hunker down, and round here, we work with checklists.

Today’s barn report brought to you from The Farm Manager (aka Mama):

HORSES:

Littlest equine getting run off her feed by her big stall mates. Bad time of year for a wee horse to drop weight. Had the vet put his hands on her yesterday, he said she’s fine but even so, as the Farm Manager, (AND Resource Manager, Lunch Lady and Nurse…meaning I look after the over-all health and well being of ALL kin and critters, outside and in) I polled the team and it was decided by group consensus (we took the vote of the Farm Superintendent who was conveniently out of town) that it was best to bring her in at night until the pretty little pink horse blanket gets here (YAY for Amazon Prime!) and my Barnyard Foreman can get a little horse apartment built this week so the wee one can eat in peace and without anyone stealing her chow.

Until then, every night, the song in the school room….

is House Party….

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DOGS:

-Annie’s pill day. No pee-pee has been nice. Don’t miss pill night.

-Thaw the salmon head slop from fish season. Extra oil and energy will help with this snap.

CATS:

-Get their hidey hole built in the hay bales. I like to have a place they can go hole up at night. If I had a few more pallets I might make Joe his own room too. Between you and me, I’ve been pushing for a garage (for Joe of course) for years. (Also on my list of roles: Joe Spoiler, Advocate and Doter All My Days)

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POULTRY:

-Check combs and feet for frostbite

-Small kennel with perch for the banties since they can’t reach the big perches

-Get wider winter perches up to help the birds keep their feet covered with their breasts while perching. (Cue my chicken whisperer Barnyard Foreman)

-Freshen hay in next boxes

-More hay to the goose house

-Freshen alder and pine boughs in the pheasant pen for heavy cover during deep freeze. Hay to their shelter.

That’s all for today. I better get to it.

What’s on YOUR chore list today?

Happy Tuesday from our crazy little farm to yours. 🙂

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The Crow of the Rooster

Way back when, my husband used to call me and one of my besties a coupla’ hens.

We may have sounded a bit like em when we’d get to clucking about life and all the funny stuff that comes with it.

I never took it in a bad way though…it was more of an endearing little compliment, especially because his eyes would sparkle when he’d smile at us.

Like he thought we were cute when we’d get to giggling.

I don’t think it was an endearing compliment though, when one of the gentlemen on a neighborhood chat page called a handful of us women “hens in a house”.

Something tells me his heart wasn’t swelling in adoration over the feminine laughter that can tend toward a cackle when something’s really funny.

No, I didn’t get the impression he was complimenting us at all.

We were disagreeing with him you see.

And not everyone likes it when you disagree with them.

That’s when they’ll resort to name calling.

And that night, as I read his comments and the ones that followed from various hens, I couldn’t help but wonder why no one mentioned the very first thing that popped into my mind when I read his comment.

Yep, you know what’s comin’…

Roosters.

I sure don’t want to focus on this poor guy too long because some folks just have a knack for saying what’s on their mind without thinking it through. And, because I’m a writer, I always have to think things through twice; once before I say them, and again before I write them. So I just sat on his comment a while and thought I’d let it slide on by like we all do when someone opens their mouth and lets something rude slip out.

But as I read the thread, the irony of his analogy did make me giggle as I knew there were at least two of us in the chat group who are die hard chicken farmers.

He may or may not know how much us farmer types admire hens and how hard they work, as if their industriousness is bred right on into them, or how entertaining they can be with their individual and adorable poultry quirks, or how loyal they are to their farm and their offspring…but it was funny to me that what he thought was an insult, several of us could actually view as a compliment.

As I lay my head down that night, and then again the next morning, I couldn’t help but write in my mind (because that’s what us writers do even when we don’t realize it don’t we?) about all the different traits of chickens.

And then my thoughts settled right in on the three different kinds of roosters.

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So my son, he knows roosters. One of the types we have on our barnyard right now are called bantams. They’re tiny. Wittle bitty guys that fit in the palm of your hand. One is fluffy and purty, a silkie, the other has little snow-shoe feet with feathers fluffing off of them and he tiptoes around like a little old man on the ice. He’s a high falutin’ D’Uccle.

The funny thing is, they don’t know they’re little. They strut around like they’re big shots on the barnyard and when they see something they don’t like they’ll puff up and get ready to let out a big ol’ crow. Except their manly COCKADOODLEDOOO coming out of their itty bitty body sounds more like a COCK-UH-UHHNNNNnnnn like they started to yell but just ended up clearing their throat instead.

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We call these roosters “the babies”. They’d probably die in disgrace if they understood, they think they’re roosters after all, but as my son says, “Mom, they’re so cute. They can’t even reach the perch to sit with the hens. I have to pick them up and set them up there just so they can go to bed with the flock at night.”

We laugh at how cute our little roosters are…trying to be just like the big boys but really, not even being big boy enough to have a big boy walk or talk.

 

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Then there are the roosters we all think of when we think “ROOSTER”.

That’s right, the mean and nasty ones. We had one once but he doesn’t live here any more. In fact, he just doesn’t live period.

See, Sir Lolly started out nice enough. Just another little cockerel in the flock. He played nicely with the hens, he wasn’t mean to the kids, and he was growing into a real gentleman.

But when Lolly started to get his spurs, he started to turn mean, and no amount of sweet talk from his owner, my littlest boy, would change him. My youngest even tried preaching to Lolly. He’d climb up into the bed of his Daddy’s pickup truck and give Lolly the lo down on the greatest stories of all. He’d worked his way all the way up to the Ten Commandments but Lolly just got nastier. My boy’s Sunday school teacher told him to just keep at it and that once Lolly heard about Jesus, he’d probably repent from his bad behavior. (We kinda love our chickens round here.)

But Lolly never heard the gospel message from my little preacher because one day, after a whole lot of bluffs and charges and noise and false alarms, Lolly charged my big farmer full on.

And then my big farmer had a decision to make.

If Lolly would go after the biggest of us, he had officially become a danger to the smallest of us.

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So, late one night, my husband removed the danger from our barnyard, and between a few tears and a truck ride and a cold slushie, he explained to our little boy about how, as man of the barnyard,  sometimes a farmer has to do hard things to protect those who are in his care.

Lolly was too mean for his own good. He used his spurs for nastiness and all it did was hurt others and end ugly.

After a sweet little funeral for our too-mean rooster, we left the barnyard to the hens for a while and they did okay. Hens are like that. They just carry on and do what needs doing.

But as is with farming, birds soon change hands and here came a rooster and we all watched him for a bit to see if he’d be a Sir Lolly wanna-be.

The kids even named him Monster, thinking he would be.

But he wasn’t.

He was sweet.

He let he hens eat first.

He kept the boundary line of the barnyard intact by patrolling several times a day.

He shuffled all the hens to the safety of the woods line when there was danger afoot and we realized one day he often turned his head up to the sky and watched when a raven or an eagle was flying over.

We thought maybe when his spurs grew out he’d turn.

He once acted like he wanted to chase my daughter but when she stood her ground and looked him in the eye, he retreated and went back to doing his job and he let her do hers.

Once he reached maturity, we realized he was going to be a b-I-g rooster. With b-I-g spurs. They are well over an inch long now.

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But guess what?

In all the time we’ve owned this rooster, he’s never once used them on us.

He’s done a fine job of protecting his hens, his barnyard, and himself, but he’s never once been needlessly nasty or mean.

His rare displays of his strength come with a reason.

They are short-lived.

He uses his spurs only when he needs to.

He could have a whole barnyard in fear and dread of him but he doesn’t.

He simply does his job and lets everyone else do theirs.

What kind of rooster are you?

My big farmer husband is teaching our boys to be like Monster.

One who is gentle and lets others do their job.

One who doesn’t feel the need to show their spurs.

One who knows their strength but chooses not to strut it.

He is teaching them to be men who serve gently, respect others, keep an eye on those in their care, protect against danger, and show their strength in times of peril.

I want to be that kind of critter.

The kind who has your back.

The kind who will fight the enemy and protect his own fiercely, but is always kind and gentle with his family and friends and neighbors.

The kind who isn’t mean.

The kind who doesn’t need to be lifted up to sit with their peers.

The kind who knows how to talk AND walk.

The kind who doesn’t show his spurs just for show.

And with roosters like that on the barnyard, it’s a pretty good job being a hen in the house.

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The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
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