This God—his way is perfect

the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.  Ps 18:30 (NOAB)

For three days I cut grass with a push mower and delivered the cuttings to my farm pals: Sonny, Holly, Buff, Jack and Bebe.

Hay is scarce. Following droughts in neighboring states farmers and ranchers learning of available supplies in West Tennessee traveled with their trailers and hauled full loads back to their animals.

Following breakfast grain Bebe diness on hay

The local farm supply held out serving locals until there was no more.  Last weekend I found someone who had older rolls of mixed grass. Two rolls were delivered the next day. While it lacks that fresh, sweet scent my group is accustomed to at least the cattle will eat it with a sprinkling of green. Except for the edges it is too rough to feed the horses.

Jack eats Bermuda with breakfast

Buff washes up while standing in the morning sun

Yesterday I connected with the person who delivered nine square bales of Bermuda a week ago, and he brought us 15 squares.

We have hay. We have fuel. We have grain and chow for all of us. Everyone is in relatively good health.  And we have a safe place to sleep and good tenants for neighbors.

Life is good on the farm thanks to God’s grace.

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What’s a little barbwire between friends?

Sonny’s share of hay captures Holly’s interest

Holly is welcome to Sonny's hay and even his grain

A lick of the ear shows appreciation

Outdoor water arrives

with perfect timing

For nearly a week we have had a superb outdoor faucet thanks again to Rev. Jim and one of his grown sons, Jake.

Jake prepares outdoor faucet

When we moved to this new location a previously installed faucet leaked in two places. Wanting to avoid pushing it to a gusher, I opted to fill buckets from the kitchen sink and haul them outside including up the hill to provide water to Bebe, Buff, Jack, Holly and Sonny—outdoor large farm pals.

Jake completes installation of new freeze-proof faucet

All this week with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and higher heat indices (117 yesterday), oh how thankful I am to run a long hose out to three and just haul buckets from there to the Charolais bull and filly.

And Rev. Jim, who grew up in Arkansas and knows about farming, has been instructing me in best uses of fertilizer, i.e. for the garden, as well as helping me plan for planting seasonal grasses for rotating my horses and cattle.

Rev. Jim rakes equine manure for garden

This former suburbanite may one day be a real farmer!

Bebe improves exponentially

following farm visit by vet

Bebe three days after vet visit

Injured three months ago my sweet filly, Bebe, had reached a plateau with her recovery. There was a lip along the inside leading edge of her leg just below the hock, and skin would not cover it.

So last week I called our large animal vet, Amy, who arrived Friday and trimmed a half-inch of granulated tissue.

With instruction to clean, apply prescription strength medicine and bandage daily, Bebe made marked improvement in 24 hours.

Now three days later it is obvious she will most likely heal without residual scarring, for which I am immensely grateful.

Rolls of hay protected

by a blue tarp

Improvised tie down

A large roll of hay lasts a week since the horses and cattle do not have any pasture on our new farm. For close to a year now the nutritional value of the hay we have been receiving has been minimal. Despite a reasonable price, the hay was a year old and had been left uncovered. In some cases, I had to remove half the outer hay to get to clean, dry layers.

Changing the animals feed to a higher quality grain to compensate for poor forage helped but was still insufficient nutrition. And at the end of each week I became anxious about where we were going to get the next roll of hay and what the quality would be. Each roll seemed to vary in the amount of waste.

Rolls of hay delivered

Through a gracious gift from friends Jimmie and Dee we received 21 rolls of freshly cut hay last week. Jimmie and Dee own a nearby farm where much of their land is in pasture. Without animals they just wanted the grass to be cut and hay not left in the fields which is what happened last year when a contractor cut and baled but never returned to collect it.

After a year with the hay left in the fields to rot, using a tractor but no spear Dee pushed the rolls off into outlying gullies and treed areas. Once again, it was Rev. Jim, their minister and mine, who put us together. For arranging to have their grass cut, baled and hauled, I could keep whatever percentage the new contractor would agree to share and deliver.

Grass cutting on Jimmie and Dee's farm

It took me a couple of months to get someone to do the work. Yet, in the end, 67 rolls were baled, and we received 21 rolls which will last us through November. More than likely there will be another cutting this summer.

Relief, joy, grace and hay abound.

Hay bale released

July has been

a busy month

Pulling poison ivy vine from tree

Rev. Jim and son Tom arrived early one morning and began stretching three strands of barbwire up the hill expanding Buff’s space among the trees and ground cover of pine needles. Buff did not have a clean, dry square-foot of ground before Rev. Jim and Tom went to work. After a very wet spring Buff’s previously fenced area was tramped down and muddy.

The men pulled vines from trees, helped remove large fallen tree limbs and did not leave until Buff was released into new quarters. By day’s end Buff had repositioned himself and sat in every corner, tasted the foilage and rubbed against sapplings, scratching his backside. A content bovine is he.

Buff tastes foilage

Settling into life

on our new farm

Sonny and Holly together

The Brahma Sonny and 12 year old heifer Holly have been extraordinarily lovey-dovey of late. It must be spring!

Palomino paint Jack has moved to a space adjoining Buff, the Charolais-Angus bull who has been spending time up against their shared fence.

Sweetest of all, chestnut Bebe, whose leg was injured the end of April, is nearly healed. She began prancing about as her grain was served yesterday. New tissue has filled the gouge and a sulfur-oil antifungal crème is being applied to complete the repair. Soon her bandage will be reduced to expose the edges of her wound to the air.

Tiger stripe kittens Ty and Mimi turned one year the end of May and both are solicitous of affection just like their mother Nikki. Tab, Alma, Gordy—orange tabbies—and sister Audrey enjoyed their first anniversary the beginning of June.

The only long hair in the group, Gordy, goes everywhere including the kitchen counter despite my admonitions. He is quick, whether leaping in the air on fly-catching missions or escaping capture jumping from the loft to the living room below.

When storms arrive, which have been occurring frequently, Peek, an all-American canine, panics. So she, and another canine Sam, and 17 year old feline Patches join me in the living room where we watch through the glass door tree branches sway and listen to the rain and sometimes hail spitter-spat on the metal roof.

Watching nature’s showy display with some trepidation we see lightning strikes and hear the thunder on its heels.

By grace we are settling into our new home.