The Calm Rancher

I have always wanted to see a calf be born, and I finally got the chance! (You’ll have to deal with amateur cell phone pictures since I was holding William and left picture duty to Elliana or tried to taking them with one hand while bouncing a baby.)

Our main purpose for the outing to my in-laws’ (a.k.a. the local petting zoo) was to see the new lambs. When we arrived two heifers were almost ready to have their babies, so we piled three adults and six kids into a pickup and went to check things out. Don’t fret – we didn’t have far to go since they keep these first time mamas close to the house.heifer calving

See those hooves on the way out? We watched this heifer for over a half hour. She was working hard but not making progress. After a little bit, we did see the calves pink tongue sticking out, but then it turned purple and we called for Darin to come. He calmly walked behind her and guided her into the barn.calving

Imagine yourself in this situation. I would’ve been like a frantic, spastic, crazy woman (like I am any time all of us are trying to go somewhere). Darin acted like he was going for a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. He’s clearly done this more than once.

Katie, our tour guide, said if the cow is off by herself, Darin can sometimes just walk up behind and try pulling the calf out right there, a hefty tug is all that’s needed. This one wasn’t off by herself and she needed more than a little pull.Heifer in barnSomehow he got her with her head in the contraption that doesn’t let her back out. Please notice the nice long gloves Darin put on before you look at the next picture.

Since the hooves were out and the head right next to them, Darin tried to push it back in to see if it would help if more leg could come out before the head. That’s at least how I understood it. Ask a real veterinarian or rancher for clarity.Dirtiest Jobs

Then he tried just pulling with his hands as hard as he could. This is where Wyatt determined that he would not become a veterinarian and decided to go check out the sheep.hand pulling a calfPulling by hand didn’t work, so Darin (still as calm as can be) went and got the chain contraption. He attached the chain to the calf hoof and to a lever. Physics at work. calf pulling contraption

He cranked the lever and the calf came on out.

It didn’t start crying like we would expect a human new baby to do, but it was fine. Darin tickled its nose with some straw to make sure to get it breathing. tickling calf's nose with strawHe moved the calf and its mom into stall into the barn to make sure the new mama would take care of her calf before sending them back out with the rest of the heifers. I had to go take care of my hungry baby so I didn’t get to stick around to see it standing up and dried off. What I did get to see what rather impressive!

If you have questions, let me know and I’ll find the answers.

As for pictures of sheep…

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Hold You Over

I must follow up my last post by directing you to a reminder to better consider our blessings. It’s a quick read that will challenge you in a good way.

I’ve been trying to get an exciting calving post done, but life keeps happening. Here are a couple of animal pictures to hold you over.black white face calf

A fainting goat - just looking at him makes me chuckle

A fainting goat – just looking at him makes me chuckle.

Liza likes her earrings.

Liza likes her earrings.

 

4 kids

Having another child was a major step of faith for me. Three kids was far from easy. Call me crazy or tell me I’m making things up, but I felt very strongly like God wanted us to have another one. I’m guessing I’ve thought of all the selfish arguments that could be made as to the practicality of not having four children but being obedient seemed like the better option.

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God has a perfect plan for him.

I had to come to grips with the truth that just because I do what I think God wants me to do doesn’t mean that He’s going to make it easy. I didn’t have a guarantee of an uncomplicated pregnancy or a baby without significant medical issues. This was actually my worst pregnancy (which still wasn’t that terrible considering what some women endure), Brad got SICK two and a half weeks after William was born, our third child is determined to always be the center of all attention, and our house and vehicle haven’t magically expanded; but we don’t regret our number four at all.

img_0791We’re a month into the four kids journey and have seen so many blessings. Parenting any number of children is a great daily reminder of how much you NEED God every moment. We have the guarantee that He will show up, and He definitely has.

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When we were in the hospital waiting for William to be born, we had people text that they were praying for us and we hadn’t even told them we were at the hospital. We’ve been well taken care of with food, gifts, and extra help with taking care of kids and house work. God keeps showing up everyday.

Yes, she put a blue stamp on her forehead.

Yes, she put a blue stamp on her forehead.

Then there’s the bizarre events. Since having my fourth child, I’ve started making my bed and I’ve read three books. How does that even fit into the four kid equation?

New Plates

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While we were in the hospital after having William, Uncle Darin had two reasons to come to town. One reason was to meet William. Another reason was to stop at the county treasurer to hopefully get the farm license plate numbers he wanted before someone else took them. I’m not sure which reason was more of the priority for him.

This year all vehicles registered with farm plates in Nebraska get new license plate numbers, and some people (all of the men in Brad’s family) like having meaningful plate numbers. The extra fee of getting new plates before the old ones were expired was worth it to them.img_0384 Barely into the second week of January all five of the men in Brad’s family had been in to get the plates they wanted. When you live in a small county in Nebraska, the county treasurer tells you this when you’re there. “Your dad was just in this morning.” “You’re the last of your family to come in.” She also told us one farmer was waiting outside the first day they were open this year to make sure no one else took his number.

Brad got license plates that are our birthdays. Yes, he licenses enough vehicles that all six of us have our own plate, plus one or two more! That doesn’t even include our non-farm vehicle or any trailers. Minimalistic living isn’t in Brad’s future.

More in 2017

2017 feels like it needs to be the year of “more” for us.

We know it will be the year of more farming. God has provided Brad with more land to rent. It is all unirrigated, which is positive in that he doesn’t have the daily work of pivot checking in the middle of the summer; but it means will be praying more for rain and for the price of corn to increase.

Brad also has more opportunities for spraying. That means when April hits I plan to be on my own with the kids at home. I’m thinking I’m going to need more help – mental help, physical help, personal chef help, spiritual help – you name it, I think I’ll need it. I either need to chill out and let go of expectations more or actually get help; or maybe what I’m anticipating won’t be that bad. Time will tell. Actually if you could pray about that for me and let me know what help for me is actually supposed to look like, I’d be appreciative.

While you’re at it if you could pray and let me know how we should go about getting more living space, I’d appreciate that too. We waffle between thinking we need to be content with what we have and thinking we are so crammed we can’t take it anymore! Today, I’m feeling we’re at the packed like sardines point and could get really excited if 2017 was the year we figured out what more living space is supposed to look like for us.

I’d like to say that 2017 means I will blog more, but if I have any more mental blocks like I just had for the last month I promise I won’t waste your time on posting just to post. I’d like to read more in 2017 and spend more time with friends, but I see I can’t let those things to trump my need to love my family more.

I definitely know I need 2017 to be more about worshipping our mighty God. I want to be intentional about living for Him more and less for myself. As a friend recently posted, “John 10:10. “Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I [Jesus] have come to give you abundant life! Life to the full.” If I need anything in 2017, I need more abundant life.

How about you?