Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weed Eatin'

My spouse took a few days off last week for a stay home vacation.  His work requires that he travel often so his time at home and on "the ranch" are very limited.  He posted thoughts about weeds in the pasture last week (check out his blog at  In the endeavor that we began when we moved to northeast Texas last year, conservation is very important to us.  One of the previous posts was about the desire to maintain the pasture, water, and wooded areas for the wildlife that is present.  In the effort to maintain the pasture, weeds have to be dealt with on a regular basis.  There are several that are considered "invader species" and are not palatable to the cattle or the wildlife.  Those plants need to be eliminated as they utilize nutrients from the soil and water that is needed for the grass and desirable plants.  However, we work very hard to limit the use of chemicals and pesticides on the pasture, preferring to take care of the issue with manual labor (some days I would be more willing to use chemical applications on some of the weeds!  Those 90+ degree days and 80 - 90% humidity are killers).  So we take a hoe and we start the process.

He works much harder at it than I do and is able to accomplish more weed control.  However, I took up the hoe this week and went to work on one of the areas that had a lot of wooly croton (goatweeds) growing up in it.  As I went through methodically hacking the weeds down, it made me think about my spiritual life.  Where the weeds are coming up, there actually are more species that crop up around the ones I am trying to control.  The croton plants get bigger and the other species begin to come up too, choking out the grass that we desperately want to maintain for grazing.  Some of those stems were as big or bigger than a man's thumb and were really tough to chop.  The small ones were really easy and I could go through a large area quickly.  The large ones were a major PAIN and took more time and a lot more effort to chop them down. 

When I allow any sin to come into my life, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear, it can grow quickly if allowed to remain.  It will grow and begin to choke out the good things-time with God, spending time in His Word, spending time with fellow believers.  It will get bigger and bigger and allow other sins to come in and begin to grow.  It will drown out the voice calling me back to the One who knows me best and wants the best for me.  When I realize what has happened and I want the sin gone, God will help me, but it will not be an easy task.  Those big, thick trunks are hard to chop down and if I leave even one small portion attached to the root, it may come back stronger than before.  It takes a tremendous amount of effort on my part and I have to be willing to stick with it.  Now that is not to say that God just sits by and waits for me to do it on my own.  That is not the case.  He gives me His strength when I yield to Him, but I have to yield.  Not only do those weeds (sin) that have been allowed to grow take more effort, but in my life, the process of trying to clean my heart is also painful.  God promises that He will discipline His children because He loves each one too much to leave them in a state that is less than His will.  However, I can choke out that voice and ignore the discipline, thereby hardening my heart to hear God's voice.  Makes it much harder to clean the field that is my heart and also more painful.  In addition, if I ignore the voice and the discipline, I am allowing other sins to come in and take root, just like other unwanted plants come in when small weeds are left and not taken out early.

Just my thoughts on weeds in the pasture and weeds in my life.

Proverbs 24:30-34  "I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man."

I do not want to be the one who has no sense and allows the weeds and thorns to thrive!  Oh - and I did use the hoe again this week and made more of a dent in those pesky goatweeds!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Working Day

I know it's been a while since I posted.  Between jobs, computer problems, and just simply life, the blog has been neglected.

In April, a work day was scheduled to tag, brand, vaccinate, de-worm, dehorn, and other "necessary procedures" for all calves; brand, vaccinate, and deworm cows and bulls.  Family members were recruited - or volunteered or whatever to help.  Supplies, equipment, and medicine were gathered and all personnel were excited for the day.  Yep - most of us were "greenhorns" and really didn't know what to expect, but it didn't matter.

Everyone got out to the ranch early to get started before the day got too warm.  All headed to the pasture to begin the process of gathering the cattle and get them moved to the working pens.  This job was the first of many to see plans change throughout the day!  All hands attempted to work together to herd the cows and calves into the working pens.  The cows had other ideas!  They would start towards the pens, then one would get in her head to go the opposite direction.  Needless to say it was a long, LONG morning!  Finally got all the animals into the working pens and got the calves separated off to begin the processing.  Duties were assigned with quick lessons on what to do, equipment distributed, and record keeping set up.

The first calf came through the chute, worked and sent on through.  For the most part, it went well.

The picture below shows the first mishap - he's holding his ripped jeans.  A calf's hoof caught his jeans and ripped from the pocket to below the knee - duct tape fixes anything!  Fortunately - no injury other than the jeans.

 The pictures below were the cheerleaders for the day!  They were such troopers and stayed most of the day!

The calves made it through the processing so the next group was the cows.  Things started out ok, but as is quite often the truth, it didn't stay that way.  Equipment didn't break down but certainly threw some kinks.  It took much longer to work through the cows than calves and everyone had to be very flexible in how their job was handled.  The head gate on the chute began to stick and made it interesting trying to catch a 1600 lb. cow!  More than once gates had to be reset quickly to keep a cow from heading out before getting all the goodies she needed.  

Even though the day was over 12 hours long, all cows and calves got worked ( the last few in the dark - and they are black cows!), and all the help survived the day without too many hurt feelings, injured pride, or physical injuries.  All in all - it was a good day and I loved it!

The process has occurred a couple of times since that day.  It actually goes much smoother and the calves are much calmer now and for the most part, don't balk or hesitate going through the working chute.  There is always one or two that are a little crazy but most go through quietly.  It sure makes it easier especially since there are normally only one or two doing the processing now.  

What a learning experience this has been!  But as I've stated in multiple posts since starting on this journey - I love it and wouldn't trade any of it!