Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whatever State . . . to Be Content

Unable to determine a title for this article, I'm writing while hoping it comes to me before publishing time.  I've become so aware of just how existential I can be and although I am very grateful to live moment by moment and appreciate the time I've been given, in that I am also aware that it's easy to forget how differently, others live.  I need the reminder that the rest of the world isn't tucked away in a little pocket of timber in the Ozarks.

This winter has been particular harsh with bitter unrelenting cold fronts.  December brought early snow and unusually cold temperatures, everywhere.  I hadn't seen this much snow in December since I lived in the north part of the state.  I am still constantly amazed at the weather difference in less than 250 miles.  I feel quite blessed in pretty mild winters, and summers are not horrendous.

A friend and I both moved from northern Missouri within about a year of each other.  She and her husband moved about 140 miles north, and I moved about 230 south.  The winters were like two different worlds.  She'd speak of shoveling and shoveling and shoveling, and I'd be enjoying fresh garden salads before they could even begin to plant.

Of course, now, social media serves to remind us all just how different life can be in a relative short distance.  This winter, however; it seems we've all had our varying reports of fighting the elements.  As friends post photos of their neighborhoods and surrounding landscapes, I'm reminded these are not postcards, these are actual photos of what they are facing.  I'm blessed to know a number of folks through social media who truly do enjoy the climate in which they live.  I have friends in Michigan who speak of ice fishing and traveling through feet of snow.  On the other hand, I have friends in Florida who were left out of the December winter blast, but who now have their hats and mittens on at 50°.

So many of us are truly blessed to be content in the climate of our area.  Perhaps this unrelenting winter is allowing us all to share the varying reports to further appreciate the climate in which we live.  I know for myself, a few extra days of ice is nothing compared to traveling in a few feet of snow.  I also know, come this summer, a few days of perspiring in the garden will be nothing, compared to the dry desert of the Southwest or the humidity of the Gulf states.

I am very grateful to enjoy all four seasons, while none of them are extremely mild or exceedingly harsh.   I am also grateful for the increased awareness of what others are facing and enjoying as well.  It truly keeps life in perspective and hopefully a greater contentment in all things.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  words of the Apostle Paul to one of the early churches.

Friday, January 17, 2014

All Done!

I spent Monday processing two deer.  So far this meat is reported to have graced five homes.  My share is all in the freezer, except for the ribs I grilled last night.  They are superb.  I'll be enjoying those left-over Shabbat afternoon.  When it's all said and done, eating meat is labor intensive.  Perhaps that's why preparing a young kid or fatted calf was considered preferential treatment, in Bible days.  Even in all the years of processing wild game and my own livestock, I cannot imagine sitting down to "a fatted calf" grilled for a single meal.

A kid for Passover, I've done, but they are small.  I've also noticed that my hunger for meat is different when I've just processed it and it's still quite recognizable on the platter.  A big o' steak just doesn't hold the same appeal when it's taken directly from the roasted carcass.  Now back to our day of processing.

Daddy drives quite a ways to have his game processed just the way he likes it.  He likes it boned, some of it sliced for jerky, a few of the quality steaks, and the rest we grind lean.  He gives quite a bit of it away, as well as filling a shelf in my freezer.  I get my choice of cuts, and the rest is ground.  Deer meat really is a great red meat, with very little fat, and hopefully not full of GMOs, growth hormones, and antibiotics.  I can't really attest to the GMO content, but most deer are free of antibiotics and growth hormone.

I'm thankful to be able to process meat and of course grateful for the opportunity to do this for Daddy.  The hunting quota was severely down this year, and many hunters spent a great many hours to no avail.  I noticed several herds of deer this year just grazing along side the highway, yes highway.   One doesn't even have to be in the country timber, anymore, to see deer.  Sadly, auto accidents with deer have become common place.  The deer have literally moved to town, and the hunters in the country are hard pressed to see them.

The Department of Conservation is turning predators loose in many secluded timbered areas, and the deer have found safety, and food, in town.  Not to mention, suburban sprawl has moved into deer territory, and the deer have simply stayed.  That is also a safety for them, in that there is no hunting in these areas.  Much of what was once farm land and timber is now high end housing editions, and deer are delighted to feast on the ornamental fruit trees, and under the bird feeders.  As America has been settled and changed, and "progressed" from a time that was truly free, we've overlooked some of the unintended consequences, as they call it.  

Meanwhile, some of the old tribal ways are worth keeping.
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.  a Proverb of Holy Scripture

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Special Report

We'll have a special report this week, from here at the Preservation.  I'll be sure to post the article when it becomes available.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Faith and Provision

Another lesson in trust and provision from YHWH, as discovered through the critters.  It's just amazing how much we can learn from animals, but then, they didn't need redemption . . . They live the way they were created to live.

As the shepherd/chicken rancher, the animals are very aware of my approach and presence.  They are aware that their provision comes from my presence.  I'm not suggesting this is a deep spiritual fact of faith on their part, but they do come running when they hear the back door open, and I can literally hear the chickens hopping off their roost in the chicken house as I approach.

Something really hit me this year, although; I've been doing it this way for a number of winters.  I chop the ice out of the chicken water before I open the chicken house door.  I feed the goats as a distraction, and chop the ice before they finish; because they trust me . . .  This year the analogy came to my mind, as to how protective our Heavenly Father is in His provision, especially when everything doesn't happen as soon as we want it to.

In chopping ice in the stock tanks and water tubs has the potential to be hazardous, even deadly.  My animals know I wouldn't harm them, and they know where the fresh water is.  The problem is, while they know I'll provide that fresh water, they don't consider the danger.  If it were someone else out there swinging a sharp object, they'd stay back, but with me, they will walk right up to the tank while I'm swinging.  I cannot imagine how devastated I would be if I injured a trusting animal.

The chickens aren't as innocently trusting, they just aren't very bright.   They gather round the water pan, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I'm even there.  So, considering one ill fated stroke with the shovel would result in a forced chicken dinner, I simply leave the chicken house door closed until everything is ready for their "mad morning rush."

I wondered as finished up the chores, how many times I've been in a such a rush, trying to go through doors not meant for me, when Abba was truly trying to just keep me from being hurt.  How many times do we presumptuously place ourselves in harm's way, calling it faith?