A confession, a testimony, and a lesson

As you all know we are pretty much buried in snow right now. We have not been successful in arranging to have the drive plowed for several days, and things have continued at an uninterrupted pace here at Big Oak Ridge; the snow just makes the work a little more difficult.

The confession:
Today’s big harassment was one of the cows (steer if you live in Ohio) getting out. The black one figured out that the fence wasn’t working, and because the snow is so deep he was able to just step over it, which he did. I was attempting to entice him into joining his fellows in the pasture when one of the grand kids, for reasons yet unknown, decided to let Danny out. The cow took off and I “popped a gasket” – yelling, cursing, running, trying to get the dog in, the kids out, the cow back on my own property, etc. etc. I asked Paula to get me a gun, which she wisely refused to do.

With the dog locked up, the terrified kids all back at the big house, and the cow 500 feet down the road, I finally paused and realized what I had done. I walked back up the road away from the cow and took some time to repent and ask God for help (there’s a novel idea, eh?).

The testimony:
The cow now was wandering up the neighbor’s driveway, but he stopped and looked at me; and I did something kind of weird. I just spoke to him in a firm voice and said “in the name of Jesus get back in the pasture. Now.” The cow/steer looked at me for a minute, and then took a tentative step in my direction. I said “In the authority of Jesus Christ I command you to get back in the pasture”. The cow took a couple of more steps toward me, and honestly he looked like he wasn’t sure why he was doing what he was doing. I was as astonished as he was, but I didn’t give up. I said “you have no right to refuse the name of Jesus. Lord, send some angels to give him a push.” Then I started speaking to the cow/steer in tongues. (I’m not making this up). I turned around and walked back to the pasture. I climbed into the fence with the other cows and started feeding them hay while I watched the escapee and prayed. The cow outside the fence continued toward the pasture; then he would stop and act like he was going to bolt back out onto the road, but it was almost like he couldn’t do it. It was pretty funny to watch, actually. Eventually, dancing and jumping, turning and writhing, he arrived at the fence and finally hopped over it. I was very humbled and amazed.

The lesson:
Cows/steer will not walk in deep snow; they know they will flounder. The reason the cow/steer got out is because he watched me coming and going up to the fence. We have been feeding the cows in a trough that sits right up against the fence, and the water buckets also sit right up against the fence – for our convenience. So the cows/steer have made a path right along the fence from their shelter to the feed trough and water buckets. With the snow so deep the cow/steer that got out just did the natural thing and continued to “follow the path” – out of the pasture and up to the driveway, from whence he had easy access to the road (but no easy access to get back except the way he came).

The new feeding rules are these:

  1. Don’t feed near the fence (now we know why on big ranches they feed the animals out in the middle of the pasture).
  2. Don’t water near the fence (see #1)
  3. ONLY approach the pasture at the gate; the cows/steer can’t jump the gate, and they will not get out of the pasture where there is no path to walk on.

I put up an extra strand of fence across the place where the path approaches the pasture, and I filled the old path in with snow. I moved the water buckets and a feed pan out into the pasture in front of the gate so that the animals have to walk AWAY from the fence to get to the feed and water. Hopefully that will be sufficient to discourage any more escapes.