It’s Sunday morning at Wild Type Ranch. We returned late last night from 2 days at an Angus cattle sale in Fredericksburg, TX. Everyone else is having a well-deserved lie-in, but I’ve already gotten too used to the summer early rising schedule to sleep in. [Between needing to leave early for farmer’s markets twice a week and the need to get out and work before it gets hot here in Texas, our summer schedule typically starts at dawn and involves a mid-day shower and siesta].
While we were away at the sale, we’ve had a blessed 1.5 inches of rain. Judging by the flattened sweet corn patch we also had quite a bit of wind accompanying what is likely to be one of the last cool fronts of the spring. Quiet and cool are two things I don’t get much of, especially lately.
The economy is affecting us almost as much as the drought has. Cattle prices are down, customer purchases at the market are smaller, breeding season has been delayed by poor grass and hay quality. We’ve been making lemonade out of lemons as much as possible, but it’s still too easy to get discouraged, over-worked and lose sight of why we are here.
Cup of coffee in hand, Tess, our blue heeler, and I set off across the wonderfully wet grass in the refreshing cool breeze–I’m actually wearing a sweatshirt this morning! A quick check of the cattle we purchased this weekend and those we brought back home because they didn’t sell for a price higher than what we could get if we harvested them for beef, shows all to be well.
Tess and I cross into the paddock where our heifers are, to check if any are in heat (ready to be bred) or any appear by the silver scratch-off patches on their rumps to have come into heat while we were gone. It is a well-known fact when trying to A.I. (artificially inseminate) cattle, the most likely time for them to come into heat is whenever it will be most inconvenient to breed them. Looks like we got lucky while we were gone. Now I park myself in the middle of the paddock, having successfully climbed over the fence with a full coffee cup, and watch.
Emmy Lu, one of our heifers, comes up for a scratch. Evangeline, her full sister (they are the product of embryo transfer, so were born of foster mamas at the same time) can’t stand to be left out and gives my knee a lick before Tess decides I need protecting. A game of tag ensues between Tess and Emmy Lu, neither taking the other seriously even though they usually take on the roles of predator and prey.
It’s Sunday. I’m lucky to make it to church once a month, since our church is 80 miles from the ranch. Sometimes I feel like this life I chose, expressly to live in line with my values, leaves me little time to reflect on said values. This morning, I’m feeling a part of the web of life. I feel that deep sense of peace that comes from believing that things will work and that I’m in the right place.
I’m thankful to my parents, both devout Catholics, who were wise enough to teach me that sometimes the most holy thing you can do on a Sunday morning is to go sit in your garden, or go take a walk. I remember a sign that was posted at the entryway to their wildflower garden:
The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God’s heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth