Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A warm day....

 Three sets of prints in the snow:  sharptail grouse, man, and tractor.

I spent quite a bit of time at the lambing shed today.  A ewe had triplets.  One lamb came at 5:00 a.m.  Her lamb was small and that generally tells us there will be at least one more.  If the lamb is quite large, it's usually a single lamb.  She didn't have a lamb later on in the morning either which seemed odd.  Finally one of the men decided to check her.  Yes, there was another lamb inside.  No.  Two more.  So they helped her by pushing them in, finding the feet, and pulling them out, one at a time.  These lambs were born at 9:00 a.m., four hours after the first.  The guys thought they'd be dead, but they turned them upside down to drain any fluids that might be in the lungs and they began to breath.

A while later, we checked on the lambs and Hubs decided we ought to try feeding them by bottle because he wasn't sure if the ewe had enough milk for the three of them.  At our house, there is one deep freeze that is mostly full of cow's colostrum.  I took a pint out and began to thaw it to feed these little lambies whose mother didn't even lick them off.  I wondered if she didn't feel very well?    When I got to the barn, I found one of the triplets dead and the other two cold and wet and quite hungry.  It usually takes some doing to get newborn lambs to suck a bottle.  They would rather have the teat, but in this case, mama ewe wasn't "mothering up" very well so they had little choice.

I pulled up a five gallon bucket and turned it upside down for a chair, grabbed a wet lamb and put it between my legs with it's head facing away, and I proceeded to force the nipple into it's mouth, maneuvering the jaw to open and then allowing it to close down.  From here on, there was a lot of sitting and waiting and fiddling to  get the lamb to suck.  These things take time and patience.  The big barn door was slid open today since it was very warm -- 50 degrees by noon.  The roof was dripping and I was staring off out the door. There wasn't much to look at except for the snow, but I could see the top of the hill where the county road goes by and I saw the mailman stop at the boxes.  Other than that, I just sat there thinking, "Here I am, sitting on a bucket in the barn, trying to get a scrawny lamb to suck a bottle.  Nobody knows I'm here and it really doesn't matter much in the scope of global economics.  But I'm here, and I want this lil fella to make it."  Then  I thought of the shepherds back in Jesus' day, watching their flocks by night,  and I wondered what they might have been thinking way back then.  "Here we are, out here with a bunch of stupid sheep, watching them sleep and watching for coyotes and waiting for morning to come.  Why are we out here anyway?  Who cares?  I wonder if there will be anything for breakfast at home?"  And what happened next?  A heavenly host of angels appeared announcing the birth of the Savior of the World to them.  They were to be the first to see Him, and the first to spread the Good News!

Well, no heavenly host of angels came down from the clouds today, but a simple revelation did.  I have been meditating on the verse from Matthew 6 which says, "Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?"  If God cares for the hungry sparrows and if He set me to feeding the hungry lambies, well then,   He cares for me too and all those people that I love and care about.  He's watching over us all, thinking of us all.  We don't have to worry or be afraid because He is with us right where we are whether we are in a lambing barn or a sky scraper, in a ship in the middle of the ocean or in the middle of a hard situation we don't know how to handle.  He knows our needs; we can trust Him.  I know this sounds simple, but when you are out in the middle of nowhere feeding lambs, you think about things like why you are here on this earth.  Some folks wouldn't think that taking care of sheep is very glorifying, but if it's His work and He sets me to it, then it glorifies Him somehow.  That's good enough for me.  I draw near to Him and He draws near to me and that, I think, is what matters at the end of the day.


I had a little time to go for a walk today too.  I just had to spend some of this gorgeous day appreciating the things around me and walking out in the midst of a warm dripping day because I know the next few days are going to be cold again and the snow will come again, so I intended to enjoy the day God gave.  I noticed that many of the ewes were lying on their sides with their full lamb-bellies sticking up, bulls were stretched out soaking up every bit of sunshine they could.  The cats were sitting on fence posts and lying on hay bales soaking up the warmth. I let the chickens out of the coop so they could go scratch and pick through the straw and the manure piles. I noticed the tracks in the snow and the comings and goings of  the sharptail grouse and the gray partridge.  Every beast and bird was all about soaking in the sunshine today and so were all of us human creatures too.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures, great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well!

Maker of Heaven and Earth
by Cecil Frances Alexander


  1. Thank you for your post today. It is just what my heart needed. Time for me to get outside and appreciate all that's around me, instead of being inside and fretting. There is so much more out there than what's inside the box we create for ourselves. Have a blessed evening!

  2. I think that is what matters at the end of the day for sure. Blessings on you and little lambs...

  3. Thank you for this post. Its come at just the right time to reassure and renforce what I already know - that all will be well because God is watching over us and I must be patient to see his plan for us revealed.

  4. Oh, you are such a good shepherd-ess...and such a good writer. I loved this post, I was right there with you. What a good work you are doing, an important work. I have a Greg Olsen painting of Jesus sitting on a rock, staff in one hand and his other hand cradling the chin of a baby lamb...John 10:27...My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I believe you know his voice and he loves you. I am so glad to know you too. Come say hi :D

  5. Jody, you were in that lambing barn with those thoughts so that you could share them. I really needed to hear your God thoughts this morning for situations that I face. Thank you that you were willing to be used by Him.

    Some blogs are just to heavy and theological for me to read first thing in the morning. You present things simply and beautifully. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being that way. You just never know when you bless someone.

    Have a great day.

  6. I enjoyed both the ranching details and the bigger message in this post. And yep, if all the birds and beasts are soaking up the sunshine, it's probably time for us to get a little, too! I hope you enjoyed your warm afternoon ;-).

  7. Great post!!! I love to see all the animals getting the most out of the sunshine and fresh air, sometimes I get to caught up in life and forget to enjoy the beauty.

    Patty is a beautiful cat!

  8. I think that caring for little lambs must be a profession especially close to God's heart. What encouraging words and ones that I'll take to heart. Thanks Jody!

  9. Ahhhh, Ms. Gumbo. It sounds like the perfect life! I'd love to be quietly sitting on that pain feeding the little sheep. It must have been beautiful. It certainly was beautiful reading about it!

  10. Jody,

    This is sooooo good. Thank you friend!


  11. Beautiful post. God provides those glimpses into His heart for us, doesn't He?

  12. Thank you for the great post - we are His little lambs and He cares for us.

  13. I truly enjoyed this post Jody. We have never raised livestock (not yet but it's a desire)so I can't totally relate. I remember when a neighbor who raised sheep was sharing that she was saddened because one of her sheep died while giving birth to triplets. All that I could think of was those poor little lambs alone. On a bittersweet note, another sheep lost her lambs so God had provided lambs that need a mother to the mother that needed lambs. God is awesome and I think that being outdoors (or even indoors) pluggin along gives us so many opportunites to ponder His word and to remember what He has done for us.
    Thanks for sharing and have a blessed evening!

  14. On my way to school this morning I was thinking about your lambs and how you must switch them around when a mama doesn't mother up. They don't get a say in the matter, they need to eat. We hold on to so many entitlements and those little lambs trust the shepherd (shepherdess) with their very lives. Thinking of myself as a hungry little lamb - well, it's humbling in a very good way. Now tonight, you soothe my heart with this eloquent post. YOU are such a picture of obedience sitting on the upturned bucket, watching the snow melt, feeding a hungry lamb.

  15. Wonderful! I went for a walk today too and it was soothing as well. We are gaining sunlight! Savoring that too.:)
    I have some close pictures of two moose that chased our dog and myself home! Whew!

    Lovely post, thanks.

  16. You are all so very kind and generous with your comments. I want you to know that these are just "my thoughts" not my sermonettes. As my days go by, there are so many little ways that I hear God speaking to me or He shows me something in nature or in the work we do here. It's humbling and joyful. I'm glad that the little snippets I share here are a blessing to you too.


  17. Jody, I am wondering, when you were first married, new to this life, did it overwhelm you. Or did you just jump in with both feet ??? xoxox Clarice

  18. Clarice,
    What an interesting question.
    As a newly married 19 year old, ranch life was a new adventure, so I jumped in with both feet. However, I had a MIL who could do ANYTHING on the ranch, and I mean anything! I *thought* I had to be like her to be a good ranchwife, but I realized I just couldn't. I could do lots of things and I loved it, but I couldn't do all that she did. When I finally realized that I didn't have to be *just* like her, I enjoyed life a lot more and enjoyed doing those things I could do.

    I sometimes did get very frustrated and there were plenty of tears in my learning stage. Actually, the learning stage has never stopped. There's always something new to learn after 28 years of living on a ranch.


  19. Ah Jody what a sweet post. We are blessed to live this life are we not? I find that the biggest spiritual lessons often come from the simplest of things.


  20. How full of heart your post is. Thank you for your appreciation and love. I could feel your words about God being in every situation really resonate in my heart. Thank you!

  21. Jody, I'm just reading through some of your old posts, rocking Clate...and this very nearly had me in tears. You have good thoughts. Love your blog. Water ran here today too, not sure where it's all going to go.


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