Thursday, January 10, 2013

All I need to know I learned from livestock...

If you're like me you can get inspiration from about...anywhere :) . Recently, I was thinking about life skills. I can't look to very many people in Washington to learn these skills, I can focus on things my teachers, pastors, parents and peers have taught me but that wouldn't be too original. I realized that we can sure pick up a lot of life skills from our livestock.

1. No sheep ever said "It can't be done." No matter the thought, sweat, blood and tears that go into a good "sheep tight" fence, those dang things can, and probably will, crawl through them. Thus, I'm convinced that their philosophy of getting an idea and sticking to it, is a good one. With God all things are possible so be like fence crawling sheep and never say it can't be done.

2. When a task looks "all up hill from here" run up the hill. I remember when I was little and still had a very healthy fear of horses. I'd been dumped once or twice after being stuck on a runaway I couldn't control. I remember I would avoid hills like the plague. The reason? Horses run up hill and then, if the other side isn't too steep, they will pick up a little speed going back down. I was always certain that once I'd rode the lunging horse to the top, he'd jump off the other side and never see my mom again. That never happened and my fear of horses has subsided. I now respect horses, and other livestock alike, who get speed going up hill.

3. Care for people like a brocle face mama cares for her babies. It might just be at our place, but I've always felt like brocle face (black cows with white faces that have unique patches on them, similar to a freckle faced human (: ) cows are the most feisty of all. Like many producers, we tag and vaccinate our calves during their first week of life. Let me tell ya, there are more times than once when I thought my life was gonna be taken by one of those brocle face mama's while we were caring for her calf. Although they're scary in the corral, those are the best kinds of mama's to send out to the pasture. You can bet no thieving coyote has ever been able to get past one of those hot tempered brocle faces!

4. Be willing to do behind-the-scene leg work. If you've ever been around cows who have calves I'm sure you've noticed this too. One cow will stay with all of the calves while the other cows go to eat and drink. Those cows have to get their nutrition so that they can feed their babies. The one sacrificial cow is willing to lay down her needs, momentarily, for the health of the herd.

5. When all else fails be adaptable...eat snow. We already discussed the determination sheep posses. Their can-do attitude is again highlighted when all water sources freeze over. In times like these life could be pretty discouraging but the sheep say "No problem" (or maybe they just bahhh) anyway, instead of giving up they eat the snow on the ground.

6. Always answer your master's call. Whether it is a winter storm and we're trying to gather up sheep before they end up in a snow drift, or a calm winter morning and we're going out to feed, we call our sheep and cattle. Every producer has different ways of getting their livestock to come to them, whether it be honking their horn or yelling a well known "call", livestock know that it's time to find the rancher. When they do locate their owner, they can be assured something great will be their reward.

So...in life, we should have a stubborn stick-to-it-iveness like the sheep when they wanna crawl fences. We need to take issues head on and "run uphill" like horses. We were put on this earth to show God's love and to protect the people in our lives, just like those brocle faced cows do. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices and we don't always need to be in the spotlight. Adaptability is key. If we can't reposition ourselves in order to take on an issue, what could have been a stepping stone may just turn in to a stumbling block. Finally, we have hope. Even when our lives seem discouraging. Even if we can't accomplish things right and we never feel like we're all the way put together. We have a master who is. He is calling out to each of us and one day will come to take us home-answer your master's call. I guess that's it. Maybe not all I need to know...but a lot of it...came from livestock.

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