(Wow, first of all I want to say thank you to all of the get well wishes and sympathy notes after I wrote about my recent sickness! I had no idea so many people read my blog because not everyone comments, but I got a lot of notes (both here at the blog and via email) and I appreciate every single one of them…especially now that I actually am feeling better, LOL! Thank you, thank you!!!
Something I did a few days ago that I didn’t get the chance to write about before I got sick was to “walk” clover seed onto some of our pastures. My farmer type readers will know what I mean by this, but for those of you who don’t it is just what it sounds like….walking back and forth across pasture fields spreading seed by hand. In this case, we are adding a “new, improved” variety of clover to our pastures as it is supposed to be good, hardy, drought resistant once established and not so prone to cause bloat in the sheep. Some of our existing pastures are getting pretty old and need some new energy. We are a small farm, utilizing old-fashioned, more traditional methods for everything we can. Real low-tech but high quality and satisfying jobs for the most part. The tools used are old, but effective – an old time hand seeder and your own two feet! In the photo above is a picture of the Seeder, or Sower as they are sometimes called. I'll bet some of you have one of these in your barn, and lots of you have them and find there are holes in the canvas bag from mice chewing in to get some stray seed. Ours did and we had to borrow this one from our friend, Hilda. Below is a close up picture of the directions that are still very legible on the bottom:
For me, this seeding was something that I've watched my grandfather, my father and my husband do. It seemed like a very soothing and purposeful job to me, but there was always someone else who did it. Now that job falls to me and at first, everyone seemed worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it (grin).
First, Dad “Let me try to get up there (note ~ Dad lives 75 miles away) and get that seed on for you” Me: “I think I can do it, Dad, don’t worry about it” Then Husband “Why don’t you get Mark (son-in-law) to come and do this for you? That’s a lot of walking” Me: “I think I can do it, if you show me how. Let’s not bother Mark” Dad: “I think I can get up there this week to get that seed on for you” Me: “Really Dad, it’s okay, don’t worry about it. I’ll get Mark to help me” (remember, I said I wouldn’t bother Mark, but I don’t want my Dad to worry about me – he has enough things to do!) Husband: “Maybe Paul (our neighbor) would come and help you get that seed on if you ask him” Me: “ Really, honey, I want to do it, if you will show me what to do. I hate to bother someone else with our work” Husband: “What about Alex (our foster son) He can help you” Me: “Yes, he can. Alex and I can take turns, if you will show us how”
Can you see how the conversation went? LOL…in the end, when the weather conditions were just right, we gathered all the things needed for the job and Bill sets it all up for me. Things had to be adjusted to suit my length of stride, my height, and the size of the seed in the seeder (clover seed is TINY! I kept thinking of the scripture in Matthew about having faith the size of a mustard seed…) Then, I helped Bill into the van and we drove to the pasture field. My thinking was that if I had trouble or the seeder needed more adjustments, I would have him close by rather than having to walk all the way back up to the house. I knew he would be watching from the porch, anyway ;)
He went over the instructions with me one more time. These were the same instructions given me, via phone message, by my Dad which were basically this: "Remember to look straight ahead, across the field and walk towards that landmark….Every time your right leg goes forward, start another turn on the seeder… If you have to stop, be sure to close down the seeder so seed doesn’t continue to fall out on the ground when you aren’t moving (this is expensive seed, by the way)” I couln't help but think of how all of these instructions were wonderful directions for life...
I draw a deep breath, fix my eyes on the second fence post in from the corner across the pasture…and begin. Step, crank; step, crank….one, two; one, two…OOPS, there’s a dip in the ground, made by one of the big horses hooves and I twist my ankle and get a bit off stride – take my eyes off my distant “marking post”. Collect myself and get back to it…I’m doing it!!! Oops, don’t get so excited and forget to crank the handle of the seeder! Back in stride, this is going great! Darn, here’s the dividing fence, I have to slow down and step over but I do it and don’t have to shut down the seeder. Step, crank; step, crank….before I know it I am to the other side. I shut down the seeder to make my turn and to fix my eyes on a different “land mark” to head towards. Hey, this is good!
Bill was encouraging and proud of me, I could tell. It felt good, to do this. The more I walked, the more confident I got and soon I was nearly done. I was tired, but I kept going. Twenty five trips across that five acre pasture field were a lot of trips for this girl with the beginnings of an awful cold (by this time, Alex was already sick and missing school - that's why he couldn't help me. He wanted to, but I wouldn't let him) But I did it! My heart sang when Bill told me I had done a good job. Teamwork.
On my very last trip across, at the very end of the field, what do you suppose? I looked down and saw sticking up out of the mud - a Horseshoe!!! I reached down to pull it up, wondering which of our long ago draft horses had lost this shoe here in pasture and remembering that probably one of us or the daughter had walked the field looking for it. It seemed so symbolic to me...a lucky find, planting clover, a change in times and circumstances for us, yet working together. I had made it through my new "job" with love and support and encouragement and out of necessity. I ended my pasture walk with only a cupful of seed left in the Seeder...we had planned things out just right.
(I thought you would like to see the size of shoe some of these draft horses wear)
We will hang that horseshoe above the barn door as a reminder of so many things. I will always think of the sunny, cold spring day and be reminded of how God has blessed us in our life. I will think of "faith the size of clover seed..."
Matthew 17:20 "...I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Some versions say, and I like this "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" It reminds us that we have our part to do, too)