Better than Church

8 years ago

It's Sunday morning at Wild Type Ranch.  We returned late
last night from 2 days at an Angus cattle sale in Fredericksburg, TX.  Everyone
else is having a well-deserved lie-in, but I've already gotten too used to the
summer early rising schedule to sleep in.  [Between needing to leave early for
farmer's markets twice a week and the need to get out and work before it gets
hot here in Texas, our summer schedule typically starts at dawn and involves a
mid-day shower and siesta]. 

While we were away at the sale, we've had a blessed 1.5 inches of
rain.  Judging by the flattened sweet corn patch we also had quite a bit of wind
accompanying what is likely to be one of the last cool fronts of the spring. 
Quiet and cool are two things I don't get much of, especially lately.

The economy is affecting us almost as much as the drought has.  Cattle prices
are down, customer purchases at the market are smaller, breeding season has been
delayed by poor grass and hay quality.  We've been making lemonade out of lemons
as much as possible, but it's still too easy to get discouraged, over-worked and
lose sight of why we are here.

Cup of coffee in hand, Tess, our blue heeler, and I set off across the
wonderfully wet grass in the refreshing cool breeze--I'm actually wearing a
sweatshirt this morning!  A quick check of the cattle we purchased this
weekend and those we brought back home because they didn't sell for a price
higher than what we could get if we harvested them for beef, shows all to be

Tess and I cross into the paddock where our heifers are, to check if any are
in heat (ready to be bred) or any appear by the silver scratch-off patches on
their rumps to have come into heat while we were gone.  It is a well-known fact
when trying to A.I. (artificially inseminate) cattle, the most likely time for
them to come into heat is whenever it will be most inconvenient to breed them. 
Looks like we got lucky while we were gone.  Now I park myself in the middle of
the paddock, having successfully climbed over the fence with a full coffee cup,
and watch. 

Emmy Lu, one of our heifers, comes up for a scratch.  Evangeline, her full
sister (they are the product of embryo transfer, so were born of foster mamas at
the same time) can't stand to be left out and gives my knee a lick before Tess
decides I need protecting.  A game of tag ensues between Tess and Emmy Lu,
neither taking the other seriously even though they usually take on the roles of
predator and prey. 

It's Sunday.  I'm lucky to make it to church once a month, since our church
is 80 miles from the ranch.  Sometimes I feel like this life I chose,
expressly to live in line with my values, leaves me little time to reflect on
said values.  This morning, I'm feeling a part of the web of life.  I feel that
deep sense of peace that comes from believing that things will work and that I'm
in the right place. 

I'm thankful to my parents, both devout Catholics, who were wise enough to
teach me that sometimes the most holy thing you can do on a Sunday morning is to
go sit in your garden, or go take a walk.  I remember a sign that was posted at
the entryway to their wildflower garden:

The kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the birds for mirth

One is nearer God's heart in the garden

Than anywhere else on earth


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