Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Place of Safety

   This week my husband and I got busy working on a fence. For quite some time we have discussed buying a few goats to help with clearing some underbrush and vines on our property. Last week we got a call from a lady I’d met a couple of years ago. She told me a mutual friend had mentioned to her we were interested in some goats and that she had two for sale. After a brief conversation it was decided that it would be best to come see them first. Upon visiting and seeing the two young does we told her we wanted them.

For the following week plans set into motion for a new home for the little goats. We chose a location that already had a small structure which we could convert to a shelter. We knew we would need a tall fence in order to keep them in. We did not want to invest a great deal of money in case we decide we don’t want to keep them. Also, since we had only a short time to prepare for them the fence would need to go up quickly. We bought two loads of slab lumber from a nearby sawmill, mostly cedar. We already had a lot of cedar posts from trees that had been cleared for our electric line to be installed.
   At last the fence was completed along with a gate that hubby agreed to let me design and build…since I really wanted to help with the construction. I might add that my design had the gate hung backwards actually. I liked the look of the cedar and wanted the wood grain to show when I went to the gate. Yes, I know quite silly. Yet, my sweet husband went along with my idea. The pen for them has quite the “rag-tag” appearance but we were proud to have it finished in time and with little expense. Later we plan to construct a larger pen for them.
   The next day we drove back to the lady’s farm to pick up our purchase. She had them in a small pen so they could be easily caught for transport. Did I mention these goats are not gentle? The lady’s son was present and caught them and loaded them for us and away we went. When we got back to our place I went and opened the gate to their pen while hubby caught them and carried them to their new home. Needless to say the poor things were terrified after all the trauma of being moved. This situation was not at all helped by our 88lb. Black Lab “Dixie” who saw them as a threat to “her” territory, I suppose. She barked loudly and ran to their fence, which in turn had them running from one end of the pen to the other, as if looking for a way out. After we got Dixie away from the fence they finally settled down in a far corner.
   On the following afternoon four of our grandchildren came over to see the new “family members” which had been named “Cream & Sugar” because of their color. We all discussed how terribly afraid they were because they are in a strange place with people they are not familiar with and a huge dog they probably see as a predator. The children did so well remaining calm and keeping their voices down. They sat down inside the goat’s pen in order to seem less threatening. They watched the goats and the goats watched them. All was well in the safe confines of the pen.

   Suddenly, Dixie came running toward the pen, barking! All sense of calm quickly vanished. Both goats sprang into action and ran, as it were, for their lives. Sugar, already deemed to be the more adventuresome of the two, sped right past the startled children who were still sitting on the ground. All at once that little goat came to the part of the wall where the gate was, and that connected to their shelter building. Like a flash those little hooves ran right up the side of the fence, up onto the roof and she jumped to the ground and ran like lightening. It was all I could do to grab and hold our dog back. In an instant the goat was out of sight. We had the children come out from the pen while we tried to figure just what to do. The only one of us that possibly could have run fast enough to catch the goat, if we could find it, was Dixie… and I doubt she could have.
   Within a few minutes Cream, the goat sibling left behind began to bleat and a pitiful sound it was. We were all still standing around still half in shock at what we’d just observed. Just as suddenly as she had made her exit Sugar reappeared. She sped toward the pen and took a giant leap, landing back on the roof then with another leap wound up right back in the pen from which she had just escaped. The whole family roared in laughter, well except Dixie, which I still held tightly. I think she was even in shock. She made no further attempt to chase the poor frightened goats.
   After the children had gone home I got to thinking how very much the behavior of these little goats compares to my own at times. Sometimes I find myself feeling “pinned in” by circumstances. I get uncomfortable and rather than being still and calmly seeking what the Lord would have me learn from the experience, I “bolt”. I begin to look for a way out or a place I can hide rather that face whatever the situation is. I’m sure I have missed many blessings in my life by taking thoughtless control rather than being content and trusting the Lord to protect and provide for me right where I was.
   My hubby quickly got busy and built the fence a bit taller, hopefully enough to prevent a reoccurance of the events earlier today. I hope the goats have realized that the open area outside their pen feels even less safe, however I doubt it.
      This day is coming to a close and it is now dark outside. The goats are safe and secure in their pen with a nice bed of straw inside their shelter. Each day they will become more adjusted to our family, even Dixie. As I sit here comfortable and safe as well, I am happy the Lord allowed me to think of the analogy and to be reminded He has a path for me and that I need to trust that He will always care for me.              

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blackberry Winter

     It is a good thing I am not depending on blogging to keep me fed, or I would be pretty hungry right now. My intentions to "get back at it"were good yet I find myself well into 2012 as I write my first blog for this year. Here in Kentucky we hardly had Winter and jumped right into Spring very early. I am so glad I took the time to plant bulbs at several different locations here on our new property last Fall. This Spring I have so enjoyed seeing all the Daffodils, Tulips and the Crocus peeking through the soil and later blooming so beautifully. Our place also has many, many Red Bud and Dogwood trees so this has been one of the most enjoyable Springs ever as I have taken the time just to soak in all the beauty. I am ever thankful to the Creator who has provided the lovely scenes of nature for us to enjoy.
     This year I started doing raised bed gardening, with help from my hubby, who built the beds. I love having fresh healthy veggies and  saving so much on food costs by growing my own. Yet, all the bending and weeding required with a regular garden just take more physically than I have ability to give these days. After doing some research in books on gardening and through internet search my first raised bed was started in March. I am happy to report it has been a success, so far. I have snow peas about ready to bloom, and lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and green onions all preparing to be enjoyed in my salad bowl. It was a bit of work initally constructing the bed, working the soil beneath it and then filling it with rich topsoil and compost but it has already yielded dividends. I have pulled only 4 or 5 tiny weeds and the garden looks so neat and healthy.

     March was unusually warm this year many days in the 60's and 70's. By the first part of April the temperatures had soared into the 80's.  Last week the temperatures began to come down a bit and now have dropped into the low 30's! So the windows are closed again and the heat has been turned back on. As we took a stroll April 8th. we noticed that the blackberries are starting to bloom, a bit early it seems. Seeing those blooms, along with the drop in temperature, brought back memories of my dad telling me  it was "Blackberry Winter" when the weather would get cold about the time they bloomed in the spring. He said if I would watch the same thing happens every year. I must admit it does seem to happen that way. For sure this year that has been the case. I just hope all these blooms provide lots of delicious berries in a few weeks, yum. Looking forward to some Blackberry Cobbler.
     As soon as this spurt of cold weather passes I will forge ahead to the planting of my second garden bed, already built and hopefully get even another constructed and planted, too. I have seedlings started already of green pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and several herbs to season them with. A small strawberry patch will be planted, too. As you may have gathered I am excited about Spring and all the new life it brings.
     With my thoughts on planting I am reminded of how God has planted each of us here in this garden "Earth". In order for us to grow spiritually and be fruitful for him we must have tilled soil (a receptive spirit), have soil that is kept moist (regular time in God's Word),  provide lots of sunlight (fellowship with Christ, or Sonlight), and keep the weeds pulled (remove things from our life that hinder our Spiritual growth). As with a vegetable garden, this all requires much diligence. We must be aware that there are times of "spiritual drought" and try as one might those "weeds" do appear. However, we have the promise in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." The Lord does not give up on us and will be faithful to keep working on us helping us grow and become fruitful. One day the harvest will come. I want to have a bountiful supply of delicious, healthy vegetables and fruits. Christ wants to find us mature with "... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (or patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (or moderation)... Galations 5:22,23
     I truly hope each of you, my readers, find much enjoyment in this most beautiful Spring. Also, may our God of grace and mercy prepare each of us for the harvest time which is to come.

17 days after planting