Faith Like Potatoes

Last evening upon arrival at church I talked with our Pastor and was informed about a movie. A different kind of movie. Folks like me sometimes miss what’s going on out there and I’m greatful that I was informed about this one. I plan on renting it sometimes very soon and also puchasing a couple copies, one to have around here and one to borrow out. I like doing that when a movie can be a life changer. As I said, I haven’t seen it yet but I did find the trailer today and it affects me deeply. The movie is called “Faith Like Potatoes” and to see the trailer, click here.

Its not every day when there’s a movie about farmers, let alone a farmer/preacher, and even though its about a farmer/preacher on the other side of the world there’s just something of a bond between us, because that’s the way it is with farmers. The true story takes place in South Africa and just watching the trailer makes me wish I could farm there. At least they don’t have thirty below zero month after month! But the message of faith that comes from that farmer/preacher is life changing in itself. I know it really gives me a boost. In a day and age when religion in America and the Western World is basically an extension of a materialistic culture its refreshing to come across real faith and in farming real faith is badly needed in order to even survive in this day and age.  One quote from the trailer. “Where there is faith, there is growth”, speaks volumes! The opposite is where there is no faith there is no growth and that should speak to a person just as well. Farming runs on faith! Many parables in the Gospels are about faith and most are related to a farming story, that should say something!

So to a dirt farmer and cattle man such as myself this is great news that there’s a movie out there about the two things I love, farming and faith, (of course this isn’t saying I’m leaving out family cause I figure they’re in both of those categories).

faith-like-potatoes

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Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm  Comments (19)  

Some Country Chat

Sometimes I love coming across some good sayings. Such as, “Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.” Speaks volumes! Or, “Quit griping about your church, if it was perfect you couldn’t belong.” I like that one! Maybe that’s what I like about rural areas so much, the straight forward truthfulness of so many of its people. Not all, mind you, but a durn good share!

Life is a bull session out here, its different for sure and even I can figure that out! Pretty much no matter where a person goes, no matter what business establishment a person goes to out here, there’s a bull session. In fact there’s more news to be had from them than the internet as far as I’m concerned. Take today, drive over to the co-op a little after opening this morning to get a quarter mile of barb wire and a multitude of subjects got covered. Some even made sense! The weather of course, which mean people complain if there’s rain in the forecast and people complain if there ain’t. Bull security I tell you, there’ll be complaining no matter what to keep things going. Look over on the counter and there’s a stack of papers telling about that guy that figures he’s president of this country and how he wants to take away our right to bear arms. I’ve said this before on Northern Farmer blog, if the homeland security people would have the co-ops bugged around here the countryside would be pretty empty because we’d all be labeled as terrorists! We know we ain’t, we’re just Americans that still believe that this is a great country and believe in the way it was set up. Of course folks that are running things now don’t want it that way and they don’t like real Americans, its a big threat to them. But that’s OK with me. There’s allot of us out here in the countryside, in fact we’re the majority and a bigger thorn in the side to the corrupt thugs in DC is hard to find!

But where was I? Oh yes, country bull sessions no matter where a fella goes. Find out who got sick, find out who got hurt, find out about the recent fires in the area, you know, that kinda stuff. And I ain’t safe even hauling manure! No sir! Loading up the manure spredder from the huge pile that accumulated this winter and the feed man comes driving in. So that’s a twenty minute break but I don’t get political with him cause he’ll agree with anything just to sell me mineral. To the feed man a fella got to say how your going broke, the animals sure ain’t producing, (with his mineral I might add here), and just generally give him the sob story so he doesn’t try and sell to much stuff. So after that he waves good bye and says he’ll stop back in a couple of months. Then driving to the field which is a mile and a half away a feller just prays he don’t meet to much traffic cause there’s a good chance it’ll be some other farmer or someone that I know and on these gravel roads out here we could block the road and talk for hours without a car coming by. Lucked out today and didn’t have a bull session out there so I got a few more loads of manure hauled than I had planned!

Now I was just thinking, and as always when I write most things I have absolutely nothing planned, I just write. But I was thinking about in the few hundred words I just wrote how it could possible make me look like a unsaved heathen, certainly not like someone who is in ministry. Because when you read ministry stuff its always so nice or else as I have found on the internet over the years, it can be condemning! I won’t dive into that direction though, just thinking about how different a real country person is from, well say a regular person from society today. It is real, the difference. I’ve written and written over the past few years about it but have never hit it right on to my satisfaction. Maybe its because a real country person is involved with so much reality that they turn out that way. You have weather, animals and a multitude of things that in reality a person has very little control over and the big thing, nobody to back you up such as in what’s called regular society. There ain’t no unemployment, there ain’t someone putting money in a retirement account for you, there ain’t an employer that’s paying for medical insurance for you and your family,  there ain’t no government bailout when you have three disastrous drought years in a row and it ends with a flood! Nope, your kinda on your own!

There might be something to this thought, that in the countryside the folks living off the land might have a similar situation to folks in third world countries. In those counties folks can’t depend on society to help them out with much, thus the faith in God when they get saved is at a higher level than someone living in modern luxury. Makes sense to me. People “must” depend on God, there is no other choice. Same here, the odds are against a person and I can’t see how a person could live a joyful life without that simple faith in God because there really is not that false backing that comes with “normal” society. So, this might explain why the way a person looks at thing, the way a person talks or writes is a tad bit different than the norm. The way a person can joke around and have a good time no matter what the situation. The way a person can act like a kid and not seem serious as is expected by society. Yup, must be on to something tonight here!

A Short Post Turned Long

Just got in for the evening here. The rain we had yesterday amounted to a half inch and that’s just about perfect for this time of the year. The hay fields are greening up and so are the pastures which is a dream come true to a short of hay cowman. Looks like we’ll just make it this year with what we have and the 25 or 30 bales I have spoken for from a friend. Those extras should take me into our own hay time easily. Because not all the animals get to graze even in summer. The bulls are penned up till mid July and those guys sure can eat being they ain’t entertaining the ladies! Hmm, guess there ain’t all that much difference between them and people! There’s a breaktime between now and corn planting for us. Many of the neighbors will be hitting the corn planting from now on out, but we wait a bit cause I don’t want it to mature being its for green chop silage. Not all that interested in the grain portion and I sure don’t want to be chopping in late August when its in the 90s outside and about a hundred and fifty inside that old JD 4320’s cab. I think that thing was made before air conditioning became the in thing in tractors. Long before! Good old tractor though, just a big old workhorse. I don’t use it much in winter cause then it does seem to have air conditioning!

Its a bustle around here right now in this in between time. Manure to haul, lots of it, fences to make and repair. This coming weekend will be the start of major cattle moving around here. Cow and the calves already born heading into small starter pastures as the remaining large pastures continue to grow for a few weeks. Plus the pregnant cows go out too and those lucky newborns get to be born out on fresh green grass! Gotta move the steers down the hill to the calving barn for easy loading for weighing, and for easy separation for butchering days. In all over 200 hundred head get shuffled around starting this weekend. But then…… this guy’s chores really get wittled down bigtime! So when a feller is planting corn, well, that’s about it, don’t have to worry about hours of chores except feed a few hens and hogs and our trusty hayburning horse!

Looks like I should make it back to church this Wednesday evening! Yee Haw! But I wonder if anyone remembers me? Man, its been so long I feel like a registered heathen! That old bark of a cough is really taming down these last couple of days and I for one am thankful for that! So it looks at this time that this feller will be back in the doublewide trailer home teaching the young’uns the important stuff. I’m really looking forward to returning to that faithful batch of kids! Then the week after that we miss our church, go to another one and just give a hand with a Hispanic outreach they are doing. Never know how that’ll go, but then again there ain’t one person on this earth that’s 100% sure that they’ll wake up tomorrow morning either. So we take er as it comes I guess!

Ain’t got no Bible verses tonight for the blog, like I say, just got in a bit ago and haven’t had the time to unwind. So this is just an update from the countryside and that’s good enough for me tonight. Or if I was in a bind and needed a Bible verse I guess I could go to the old reliable, John 3:16!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Can’t go wrong with that one! I once heard Billy Graham say that the whole Bible is summed up in that one verse and I tend to agree with him on that!  Amen! And that is the message that I pray to carry with me where ever I go, what ever I do, what ever I write. The message that “God loves you!” In all the world there is nothing bigger than that, nothing! Don’t matter if a feller was a die hard drunk, God is there waiting for him to come home to Him.  Ok, I guess that verse tripped the wire for me and I’m coming out of the holding pen. Now I read how old Paul said he was the worsed of the sinners. And in Paul’s eyes he was. Just like I look at myself and see a vile piece of sinning garbage that never had a nickels worth of hope. But call on the name of the Lord and the promise is you will be saved. Hmm, no, no, no! I gotta do all this church stuff, I gotta follow the church rules, I gotta follow this or that covenant and dress a certain way and observe this and that or else some elder that’s sinning worse than me can give me the boot out of the church and then I have to come crawling back to a bunch of sinners and earn my way back into salvation!  Or else I gotta sit in a church and listen to a bunch of funeral music all the time and see a bunch of grumps sitting in the pews and figure, wow, so this is what heaven is going to be like!  Any brochures for the alternative place that I can take a look at?

Off subject, but not really, I heard a thing on the radio while driving the nice tractor hauling manure the other day and they were talking about Muslims. About how they never get converted by arguing the points of the Koran to the Bible. But multitudes of them are being converted when the see Christians acting Christlike, for real, and seeing the love of God in action on this earth through them. I wonder how that would work around this region, not with Muslims but with regular country folk that don’t trust the dried up churches. Something to ponder on.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Little Sunday Update

A rainy Sunday around these parts. Not a flood by any means, just a gentle rain. It doesn’t seem to bother the cow herd and the calves at all out there. They’re laying around all comfy and happy. Unlike the cattleman taking care of them, who has had a deep cough since last Monday. In fact this was the second Sunday in a row I missed church! First one missed because of an injury here and now missing because I sound like I’m impersonating a barking seal! But the intencity and pain that was going with those coughs is lessening and that’s fine by me when I’m outside in the rain and mud. I suppose they’ll have to send a missionary team out to the farm from church to see why such a loyal church goer as myself has the looks of a backslider misssing so much. Not to fear, I’ll be back!

Well, it seems like the switch over went fine from my other blogs and condensing into just this one. It might be a change for some, might lose a few folks, but that’s the way it is with everything in life so no need to worry about it, just keep going ahead. I was looking around here a bit and discovered that this format can really be expanded into a multitude of things, kinda like a high class web site and I’m gonna be playing with that now that I can concentrate only on this one blog. Its endless how far this blog can go pertaining to things put on it. The possibilities of a farm/ranch/ministry site are endless! Also about links, give me time and I’ll be getting things in order as I go. That will grow! A month from now it’ll be different than now and a year from now, who knows!

A Twin Day!

When taking care of cattle sometimes the unexpected happens. Today was one of those days out here. The cowherd is just starting into their calving season here and not on green pastures yet. That’s coming in the next two weeks and then the major chore times will be done around here. Then chores sometimes consist of checking the cows with a pair of binoculars when they are far off in a section of the pasture that’s not easily ridden too in a truck or four-wheeler. So the cow herd still gets some corn silage every morning in the barn lot feeders. They’re kept out of that lot except for eating the silage in the early morning. This morning as I opened the gate and the cows came rushing in there was one cow left outside with a new born calf and then I seen another newborn a ways away from that one, all alone. So after a while when the cows were finished eating and it was time to release them out into the calving pasture I stood by to see if any cow would claim the calf on the way out. And no such luck! Then as they were over a ways on the gravel knob eating their daily hay I inspected every one to see if there were signs of any calving overnight, and again no such luck. Then it started to dawn on me, those calves could be twins and seeing that most cows can’t count past one I figured I’d bring the calf that was all alone over to the cow with the newborn calf at her side. And then the mystery was solved! That old cow licked the second calf just like the first. In a situation like that I like to lock them up together, away from the main herd, for a few days so the calves get to knowing mama better. Once they were in the nice bedded down calving pen especially made for situations like that and other things it was a delight to see both calves sucking mama at once. One on each side of her and that old mama cow would take turns turning her head back licking a calf on one side and then turning the head to the other and licking that calf while they were getting that precious first milk.

Being its a windy cloudy day and I have a pretty bad sore throat and cough I decided to lay low a bit today being that the oats is planted and the hay along with it. And in my short time periods in the house I came across a Bible verse, Proverbs 12:10.

A righteous man regards the life of his animal,

That verse strikes home to people on farms and ranches. And its not only about money, or lost income when having to take care of animal problems such as today’s perplexing situation out in the calving pasture. No, its more about caring for the herd, knowing that your the difference between life and death with many of the animals every day. I couldn’t imagine walking away from a problem or a wreck on this place. Everything else stops to lend a hand where needed concerning the well being of the herd. That trip to town that I was planning gets put on hold. That trip to church has to wait. Everything goes into the well being of the herd.

Now they say that the Lord is the Good Shepherd. And seeing that I have no sheep on the place at the present time I have to adjust this a bit and change it to Good Cattleman. Most of the problems on the place with the cattle are self induced by the cattle themselves. Such as today’s problem with the twins. There’da been a wreck without that intervention and care. Now all is well. I figure we’re like that too. Most problems are self induced and the Good Cattleman has to lock us up sometimes and get us heading the right direction. I know that I’m penned up durn near daily and for good reason! But just as those cows trust that the feed will be there every day for them in the morning, gee, talk about faith, I gotta trust in the Lord to see me through. And again I came across another Bible verse a few hours ago while reading in the house this afternoon. Its from Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Just like those cows trusting me, I gotta trust the Lord to see me through every day. If I stray off on my own, well, that’s when the trouble begins! And it might take penning me up a bit to get me back on the straight and narrow.

One more Bible verse for today. Again, I came across this and it all came together today for me as the events unfolded and daily life goes on around this place. Its from Psalms 37:3-5

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

This is a different kind of post for me, just dwelling on life out here today. And from reading the Word it all comes together. There’s allot of lessons to be had out on a farm or ranch. Lessons that line up with the Good Book in every way!

Calving, Rustlers, Fences and Faith

Windier than the dickens today with occasional showers and ice showers. The temp is well above freezing as I write, in fact its forty five above but the ice pellets are hitting the window as I type. Tomorrow I should be able to finally hit the fields and they’re talking that by Thursday it should be in the mid eighties. So being that its going to be warm weather I decided to run to town late this afternoon and but 75 more eartags for the new born calves. Plus being that I was at the fleet store I figured I’d better pick up one more straw cowboy hat for the hot weather to come. Kinda like that hat they sell there, plus like the low price. I had bought one a couple weeks ago there but decided that I need a Sunday best and a work hat also. My supposedly good hats from years ago kinda lost that nice look that’s so important to fashion conscience cow/calf raisers like me! The calves are starting to hit the ground here. Three were born today as it slowly starts and all are doing well! The youngest daughter was looking out the window before we headed to town this afternoon and saw a cow with some feet sticking out of here rear end, called me to take a gander and from our kitchen window I declared it to be a good looking labor and we’d check how it went when we got back from the fleet store. Well, we got back and the little black baldie heifer is sucking away out there in the blasting wind and ice pellets, happy as a lark! I tell you, it pays to have good cattle! Now being that this might be the last evening for a bit that I can kinda relax around this place, its too windy to even attempt anything anywhere around here by the looks of it, I was reading in the free publication that I get called “Iowa Farmer Today” and came across a thing in the livestock section which by the way ain’t half bad. And the price is right. But I was taking a gander at a thing from Texas about the cattle rustling down that way and it sure sparked my interest, especially the part where this cattle rustler was talking about how he can load a big trailer full of cows in a half an hour from a pasture. Now I figured if it wasn’t for the prison sentence hanging over a guy’s head it would be good to team up with a gang like that for a few days and learn how they do that cause I sure can’t. Getting our cattle caught is an adventure in itself. And to just pull up to a place and load em up, well, these guys must be good! Now once ours are corraled its a different story, but to get em corraled is quite a feat! The way I figure it, once that rustler gets out on parole he’d have a good career holding livestock handling clinics all over cattle country. But maybe its the excitement of doing it sneeky that makes it more fun. Plus as I was reading, you go steal a computer or electrical junk and the hot price is pennies on the dollar, but you steal some cattle and the price is what they are worth on the market and a feller could make considerable money in a short amount of time. Luckily that problem is not much of an issue in these parts and I’m thankful for that! I noticed on the way to town a while ago as I drove past one of our fences it looked like someone musta drove through one a ways from the road. No big deal, just another hour’s worth of work to do. Wonder who did it?? Last time old Tom found the license plate that the barb wire tore off the truck that smashed a fence of ours and the deputy was so happy about the only piece of evidence I had that the drunken truck driver was getting visited by the county deputy shortly after the crime scene investigation. Maybe if I have time I’ll head over to that area of fence tomorrow or shortly there after. To blame windy now! This sure is the busy time of the year, but there will always be room for faith things. Faith the country way! Just the way I like it! In many ways its hard to focus on things like that now because of the workload, but once I start in the fields that’s when a person can think all day long on faith matters. Working out here I can see no other way than giving it all to the Lord! And when He’s in charge of the place things happen! I couldn’t even attempt to imagine what it would have been like in the multiple bad years of severe drought without faith that the Lord would see us through it all and we’d come out the other end in good shape. In fact I’m chomping at the bit I’m so excited about getting things back in order around here. The cow herd is smaller than it used to be, but there’s a silver lining with that! The gals that are left around here are the good ones, the survivors, the ones who could take the tough times and keep going, not the slackers that made a good show of it during the years of abundance and then couldn’t hold their own in the tough times. I asked the Lord for a durn good herd and one way or another that’s what I have now! And one must remember, the slackers were a drain on family money, and a feller put up with it, but now they’re gone and the steady cows are left. God is good! And He sees things in the big picture, something no human can really figure. The Lord loves a dirty faced beef cow man as much as He loves high tuned preacher that never gets his fingernails dirty. I think the Lord loves calving season too, watching them little things running doing the calf dance in the evenings. Well, He made them to do that stuff and a God like that is awesome!

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 8:15 pm  Comments (8)  
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Just Starting to Settle In

I feel like a new man today in this weather, that’s all it takes for the dead to come back to life! In the lower seventies and a gentle wind makes for a fine day. Had the first official calf of the year born sometime last night out in the neighbor’s corn stubble field and its a beautiful Red Baldie! A little heifer, a keeper for the herd. Those gals are some of the best cows I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen allot of cows in my time! Nothing like raising a herd of beef cows to satisfy a man! Plus they taste good to boot! Which reminds me that barbecue season is upon us and I’d better get to grilling some of that beef!

Oh Lord, it does feel good to work without mud rubbers and insulated clothing! A whole new outlook on life to say the least! And many, many less pounds of clothing to carry around on a body all day long working. The new sunburn and windburn feels kinda nice too, cause it sure beats frostbite!  Now as the days go by this blog will be taking over all of my other ones. The others will just be left alone and this is where anything and everything will be at. It will take some time to get the links all up to order and such, but slowly it will get done. I started to put this blog on blogger but remembered that Brad can’t get blogger so switched it to WordPress and that should take care of that!

So, as the days go by the other blogs will be winding down and I’ll be getting this one up and running smoothly, (I hope), and we’ll see where it goes from here!

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Finally Home!

This has been a dream of mine for quite sometime, to start a blog such as this, a blog for country folk. Farmers, ranchers, full time, part time, or just wishing they were! Makes no difference, none at all. Over the last four years I’ve blogged and had a very good readership. As the years went by the pull, or the call to go in this direction has been strong, very strong.

I don’t care what denomination a person is in, if any. I don’t care if a person never attended a church in their life. Jesus loves them and they are welcome here. Now this blog is written by a farmer/rancher, a beef cow guy. And besides raising the cow calf part of the outfit I keep steers and fatten them up too. Plus the raising of replacement heifers. The breeds we raise here are Black Angus and Herefords, Horned Herefords. We raise all the feed for the whole herd on any given year except for a few recent drought years that hit this area hard. But I’m believing that this year and for many years to come there will be no need for hay being bought and all will go well again!

So as time goes by this is where I’ll be settling in. Hopefully it’ll just be a laid back place where farm and ranch combines with faith in a risen Saviour. Shortly, if all goes as planned I’ll be retiring a couple blogs that I’ve had for a few years and going mostly full time here. This will also be an on line extension of our rural based farm and ranch ministry that we are setting up. news will be here and happenings, but mostly just thoughts and conversation.

Folks in the rural areas need Jesus too, and so many are not going to step foot in any established church. It is our desire to reach many of those that are left behind. To bring the love of Christ to those who have never experienced it! To those outside the walls!

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm  Leave a Comment