Friday, November 7, 2014

An Unknown Story

Everybody has a story.
A beginning and an end.
Sometimes it is joyful and sometimes sad.
Sometimes easy and sometimes hard.
Sometimes obvious
Sometimes hidden.

Today the story of three somebodies that I know nothing about wrecked me completely.
I drove by twice.
One woman long stringy blond hair.
Sunken, sad eyes.
Exhausted features.
Sloppy clothes and a coat that was far too big.
Two small versions of herself playing in the bark dust of a grocery store.
A sign pleading for help.
A safe place to lay her head with her babies.

As I drove by, my own life slowed down and her face etched in  my mind.
I texted my friend asking what I could do.
She suggested whatever I do don't give cash.
As I bought groceries for my family I also bought some for her.
For her children.
Simple food just enough that she could carry.

When I left the store she was gone.
I was disappointed thinking I should have hurried and gotten what I wanted for her then returned to the store for my own family.
As I turned the corner to leave
I saw her again.
She had moved to maybe what she had hoped would be a more lucrative spot.
When I stopped to give her the bag of groceries.
She reached out her dirty hand letting go of her sign and said
"That's really cool"
Her kids..
They jumped up and down cheering 

They were no older than 5 and they were cheering for food.
They already know the feeling of desperation
They probably know what it feels like to have the burning pain of hunger as they close their eyes and drift off to sleep.
Waking up still hungry.
Their mom.. She might even go without so they don't have to.

I realize in this jaded world that this mom might be a 
scammer, a drug addict or someone who works the system.
She might not be though.
She might be a battered mom who's children have watched her be hit.
She might be someone who has been abused all her life.
She might just be down on her luck.

I don't care what she is.
 For one second when I reached out my hand and our eyes locked
She knew someone cared.
Someone thought of her.
Someone thought of her kids.
For a few hours the burning pain of hunger in those babies bellies went away.
I hope they smiled when they drank their chocolate milk or crunched their way through an apple.

When I drove away
I cried.
I cried because 
I am a mom
  I know what it feels like to tuck my babies into their warm bed snuggled in jammies with mountains of pillows and blankets
while the whirl of the furnace fills the silence in the room
wondering if I did my best for them in that day.
I can't imagine what it feels like for my kids to be cold and hungry and for their backyard to be
the bark pile at a grocery store.
The burden must be heavy.

This mom has stayed with me all day.
I wanted to go and pick her up and take her somewhere.

All day I have prayed.
I've prayed that she is safe.
That her kids are safe.
I've prayed that she knows that she is loved.

We live in a world of excess where nothing is ever good enough.
We complain that we don't have the latest and greatest cell phone, fancy boots, or another warm coat.
We complain about our jobs and the long hours.
Our homes are too small or too big.
I do it all the time.

Today my biggest decision wasn't if I could feed or keep my kids warm.
It was if I should stay at work and get a massage or go do chores.
I get to sit down once a month and pay all our household bills at one time
with money left over for food, dinners out and new shoes.
I get to take my kids on week long camping trips in a travel trailer that sits empty most of the year.
I get to take my kids to the happiest place on earth soon.
And yet I still find things to complain about.

We all at some point have had or will have struggles.
 I bet that right now at least one person we know of is on the edge of being one of the people wondering if they are going to have enough food to make it another day.
Praying for payday.
Trying to work up the courage to go to the food bank or ask for help.

I hope that I have eyes to see what I saw today everytime I see it.
I hope I see a person.
Not a scammer or a drug addict
A person.
I don't have to be happy with the choices they make.
I just have to be happy with the choices that I make and the choices that we are teaching our kids to make..

I hope as the month of thanks continues and the celebration of Christmas approaches that
more gentle hearts
A small gesture of kindness could be the one thing that gives hope to someone
If even for just a moment.

Blessed is me..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moooving Day

The roar of the fire
Tapping of the computer keys from The Farmer
Sounds from The Farm Manager and The Fancy Farm Girl playing together in their room
Dawn breaking and showing the thick blankets of fog resting on the pastures
It's Sunday
The one day we all get to be together for the whole day
It is my favorite

Yesterday we spent the afternoon helping Papa Moo move cows.

The Farm Manager running down our driveway to meet Papa Moo in the tractor.

The Farmer, The Fancy Farm Girl and me on our 4 wheel drive "horse".
It was The Fancy Farm Girls first trip to move cows.
She of course looked smashing.

Out into the pasture with the cows who will follow the tractor and/or 4wheeler knowing they are either going to get fed delicious round bales or be moved.
The pasture was filled with
A BIG bull
Cows-who are bred
Heifers-who have never had a calf, but will next year
Steers-castrated bulls who will be raised for food.
Calves-born this year

That farm you can see in the background is Papa and Grandma Moos

This is Dottie West she is the lone Jersey cow.
She is a dairy cow and it's ok that she looks skinnier than the other beef cows.
If you want to read why dairy cows are skinny head over to here and read all about it from Dairy Carrie.

Papa shoots feed to the left of the gate with the Teagle so that all the cows will be positioned to go to the right up through the gate and down the dyke

 Then positions the tractor to the right of the gate as a blockade so when he opens the gate and some cows, who have been moved down the dyke before, don't go up the dyke and down while some of the unseasoned cows see them running and get confused and go down the pasture instead.

 Papa then opens the gate, claps his hands and ALL the cows follow him.
He is the whisperer of cows.

 We followed the cows down the dyke to ensure that no one gets turned around and tries to go back to the pasture they just came from.

While The Farmer closed the gate we took a break for a cow moving 4 wheeler riding 

Papa Moo and The Farm Manager on their "horse" to help push the cows into the barn.
This wasn't Fancy Farm Girls favorite part. 
She though we were getting too close to the cows.
We weren't.

up into the loafing shed they go.

The Farm Manager on his "horse"

Once in the loafing shed the cows pig out on silage

Isn't she just the cutest!

Some of the cows get sorted because they will be moved to different pastures and a couple are going to their new farms.

This little calf was a surprise a couple weeks ago.
Baby calves are so cute and fluffy
Papa Moo helping The Farm Manager give the calf some loves while The Farmer
keeps an eye on the momma cow.
Momma cows are very protective of their babies.

When all the cows were tucked snug in the barn The Farmer and I headed back down the road to our own farm.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my head against his back.

I love that our kids come in after a busy day
lay down in their mound of blankets "not tired"
and drift off to sleep.
I love the sweet smell of the silage and the sounds of the barn.
Mostly, I love to watch The Farmer with Papa Moo and how seamless they work together. 
They are a great father/son team.
I love how they are teaching The Farm Manager where to stand, when to move and how a gentle hand stretched out towards a cows head will calm them.
I love to watch The Farm Manager in his element thriving.
I love to see Fancy Farm Girl twirling in the barn not a care in the world..
I love that this is our life.

Blessed is me...