July 17, 2013

My accidental week as a cattle rancher

It's kind of a long story...aren't all the GOOD ones, long stories?

My parents were out visiting us for a week here in California.  Ironically, the temps in OK were COOLER than the temps here in CA.  Go figure.  Prior to their leaving OK, my grandpa (my dad's dad) had fallen.  Dad and mom went to visit him in the hospital and decided to come on out anyway.  During their visit, dad would get update texts on grandpa.  It went from bad to a bit worse.  By Sunday, the day the were scheduled to fly out, the news was bad and I had decided to fly home.  My grandpa passed that evening.  I got the news during church.  There is no way to describe him accurately or appropriately via a blog.  He was a legend of a man.  A spiritual giant.  He left behind a legacy and a heritage that I am very proud to be a part of.  

Anyway, the wheels were in motion for me to be in OK.  After attending the funeral, I spent the next several days pretending to be an only child.  Wow.  That was quite a new experience for me (the oldest of three).  

So, my accidental week as a cattle rancher began almost immediately upon arrival to my parent's house Wednesday evening after the funeral.  Per his routine, dad headed to "go check on the cows" and mom and I graciously tagged along.  To our surprise, there was a baby calf!  Yippee!!!  Dad noticed that one of the pregnant cows was no longer pregnant, so it was necessary to check and make sure the calf was ok.  And the hunt began....
Calf Hunting Party!  Silly Hats are Required!
Very carefully hidden (and protected) by nature
Here's a little lesson in extreme patience...  Momma cows will hide their babies in the grass or trees to keep them safe from potential threats while they graze or hang out with the herd.  The babies will remain there, lying where they were left until the mother returns.  They will NOT move an inch.  They know that their momma will return soon.  The thing with locating a baby calf is you have to drive (we were riding my dad's Gator--like a 4-wheeler/quad) VERY VERY VERY slow, because it's possible to literally run right over top of a calf and not even know you were anywhere near it.  They remain motionless and quiet until their mother returns.  So, we spotted the mom, and watched her.  She would look in the direction she left her calf and quietly moo to it.  Then, she would act disinterested and kind of wander off.  Well, we knew the general location she had left it, because she kept glancing that way, but there was no way to know exactly where.  Eventually, she wandered off, trusting her ability to camouflage her baby from danger.  Well, now we were stumped.  So, very slowly, we creeped and inched our way in circles in the general direction the momma cow was eyeballing.  At one point, we got close enough that she started giving us the "stink eye".  We were close.  And then, I noticed something different.  The grass didn't look quite right.  There was something there!  The baby!!!  We had found it.  Well, it was laying so still and quiet, my stomach sank.  Oh no!!  It was sick or perhaps dead.  Dad reassured me it was fine.  But, I wasn't convinced.  We got closer.  It was breathing.  Whew!!  We were literally less than 2 feet from the calf now and it still hadn't moved anything more than an eyelid.  Incredible.  Dad, went over to the calf and began petting it and I just could not resist...I got over there and petted that baby as well!  It was still damp and dad guessed the baby to be about 2-3 hours old.  Highlight of my trip!!!  Well, at this point, dad really wanted to make sure that mom & baby had bonded, but he couldn't get the momma to come anywhere near the baby--probably because we were so close.  So, dad did what any sane cow rancher would do.  He tried to lift the baby and expose it out in the open, hoping the momma would come over.  To his surprise, that "little baby" weighed probably 90 lbs!  And, after getting the baby up and running about, the momma did come running.  All was well.

Crazy Tina's 90 lb baby
The next day, we saw the momma and baby with the herd.  A good sign.  But the momma got a good whiff of me and dad and kind of went loco.  I am convinced she smelled me and dad and recognized our smell from what she smelled on her baby.  She was not a happy momma.  She mooed at us and charged us!  Kind of scary and thrilling at the same time.  I nicknamed her "Crazy Tina".  (No offense to anyone named Tina....I do NOT personally know a "crazy Tina" and she was named purely out of my own wild imagination--nothing more).
Morning bath from Momma
I'm ready for my close-up!
So, here's a little spiritual parallel, I gleaned from this experience.  The Lord is like a momma cow.  He "hides" us or protects us with strict instructions to not move from where he left us.  When we do this, we are safe from the enemy.  We are protected.  We are safe.  If we decide to get up and move from the place God has us, we are subject to an attack.  If you have been called to a place, a church, or a calling, don't move until God moves you.  Stay where you are, safe in the protection and covering of God's hand.  It seems counter intuitive to just "lay there" while the enemy is swarming about, but trust that God knows how to keep you and protect you from danger.  Just as that baby calf trusts its momma to know how to keep it hidden and safe, so should we trust in God and His Word and calling.  He wants what's best for us no matter what.  And the beautiful thing is that when it's time to move, God will gently call to you and as His child, we will hear and recognize the voice and know it's safe.
This is "Cletus".  Cletus was always super curious and would venture close enough to lick my hand!


No comments: