As each one has received a gift

minister it to one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  1 Peter 4:10 NKJV

In my writers’ group the suggestion was made to approach a local coffee shop to host a book signing. The next day sipping a latte’ and checking messages on my cell phone, I began a conversation with a family at an adjacent table in Square Beans Coffee in Collierville, Tenn.

From Texas and visiting a daughter and grandchild, the grandfather, who has authored several books, asked to see a copy of Whippoorwill Calls. The couple became interested in my poetry and drawings. Following our lengthy and cordial discussion, I met the coffee shop owners’ daughter who had become available and agreed to my book signing and sale of prints on Valentine’s Day from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

It was certainly helpful that a patron had shown interest in my work: one author to another, not to mention the original suggestion from the first author to visit Square Beans Coffee shop.

It is noteworthy: Sometimes the manifold gift of creating art, is less the actual art than it is the generosity of the artist.

R_12_15 FINAL Crouchingcopyright

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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.

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

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.