Saturday, December 21, 2013

"The Cattle are Lowing"

I love Christmas time. Trees and lights, presents under the tree in a warm house. Hot chocolate by the fire with the ones I love.  I must admit that I even use wrapping paper with glitter on it, much to my husbands displeasure. It's all just so cozy. The love that fills homes and families, the closeness of being together.  How I wish I could pause the beauty of the Christmas season and let it linger just a bit longer. 

But every morning I must leave the hot chocolate and presents behind. One step at a time my Muck boots carry me out the door. Out the door into the cold, into the stress, into the busy. Into a world of animals and people that don't recognize how much I have on my list to accomplish by December 25th. 

But it's out this door that I find things that fill me with as much warmth as any Christmas lights ever could.

I find a happy cow, warm and dry.

I find a bucket of steaming, warm milk to feed calves.


A sleepy kitty.

A curious face.

Ice crystals in the dirt.



Something that makes me stop in my tracks.

New concrete.

Constant companions.

A tolerant baby.

Christmas. I find Christmas.

There in the dark, in my dirty clothes, without having all my presents wrapped yet I remember how to enjoy Christmas. 

So I gladly dust off the glitter, put on my boots, and take my hot chocolate to go.  
After all...

"Away in the manger 
No crib for his bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars
In the bright sky 
Look down where he lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Take Up Your Spade

I never knew there was so much waiting in farming. For those of you who know me, patience has never been a strong characteristic of mine. I have to work at it, hard. Yet here I am, in a career where waiting is a part of life. 

Wait for the seed to grow and wait for the rain to come.

 Wait for the calf to be born and wait for it to grow strong and healthy.

Wait for spring to come again.

Since the beginning of Advent on Sunday, I have been thinking a lot more about all this waiting. Every year, my husband Scott climbs to the top of the silo and carefully fastens a beautiful star he built for his mother a few years back. And every year I am reminded that the season of waiting can be a beautiful thing.

For the past several years we have been planning, and drawing, and then re-planning the construction of a new dairy facility for our cows. It has been a lot of waiting. 

There have been many walks out onto the hill in the evening, pointing here and pointing there. We have agreed, we have disagreed, we have laughed and we have cried. 

There have been meetings and contracts and many cups of coffee shared at the kitchen table. Phone calls and emails and decisions have seemed never ending at times. 

But a few weeks ago, on an unassuming cloudy November morning, the bulldozer pulled in and began its trek onto the hill. The hill that so many times I have stood on envisioning these plans in my head. The hill that so many times we have walked out on and then walked home again with a faint smile at the thought of what is to come. 

And this day, at 7:30 a.m. it feels like the waiting is over. Something is happening on the hill. I can see it with my own two eyes.

I run behind the dozer, desperate for one more picture. And then I stand there and watch. 

It's like the plane has taken off and all I can do now is watch it fly.
Now we just have to wait for it to land.

There is a song I was introduced to a few months ago that resonated strongly with me during all this waiting. 
I was reminded then and continue to be reminded that we must make the most of every day whether we are waiting or ground has been broken on the project of your dreams. That we must take up our spade and continue to work towards what we believe in, even if it's a little at a time.

"Take Up Your Spade"
 by Sara Watkins

"Sun is up, a new day is before you
Sun is up, wake your sleepy soul
Sun is up, hold on to what is yours
Take up your spade and break ground
Shake off your shoes,
Leave yesterday behind you
Shake off your shoes,
But forget not where youve been
Shake off your shoes,
Forgive and be forgiven
Take up your spade and break ground
Give thanks, for all that youve been given
Give thanks, for who you can become
Give thanks, for each moment and every crumb
Take up your spade and break ground
Break ground, break ground, break ground"

Scott looks on as we "break ground" 

Laura demonstrating how much dirt has moved thus far

Sunset on the grading site

View from new barn site looking back towards dairy

Quitting time
Bandit watches the bulldozers work