As often as it seems that our days are filled with trials on the farm, I (Joy) feel I just can't let the opportunity slip by when beautiful, wonderful things happen. Such is the case today.
Elliott and Oliver each have particular areas of the farm that are their responsibility to manage as well as opportunity to profit. Elliott oversees the Nubian goat herd, an exceptional breed known for their high quality milk. Oliver manages the Yorkshire pigs, great for breeding and raising for pork.
When Oliver received his pigs for his birthday last November, it was his intention to breed the sow with one of the boars. Unfortunately, the boar never grew very well to be used for that purpose so Oliver decided to prepare him for the market instead. However, because of his research and wisdom, he decided to monitor the sow and make sure the time had passed for the boar's last chance before Oliver castrated him to prepare him for the market.
That was more than 3 months ago. During these last few months, we've searched for a replacement boar which has been very difficult to find. Finding pigs is like searching for a needle in a haystack!
Imagine our complete surprise when Timmy called back to the house a couple of days ago announcing that Big Sow was a mother! We all dropped what we were doing and drove, ran, and bicycled to the pasture. God had blessed Oliver with a litter of piglets.
As we try to farm successfully, we are so aware of our complete dependence on God - in the fertility of the animals, in our ever-dwindling energy stores, and in our limited pasture land. The farm continues to grow although our land has not. We have had to simply trust that "where God guides, He provides".
We were so blessed several months ago when a neighbor offered to let us use her vacant pasture for our growing farm. In exchange for occasional help with some of her tasks, she has welcomed us onto her land - even encouraging us to enjoy the fruit from her peach and apple trees!
As more calves have been born, and with severely limited rainfall, we found ourselves at our Father's feet again with requests for pasture land. How amazed and blessed we were when another neighbor recently came over to give us scraps for the pigs and offered us his vacant pasture as well. Tim and the boys worked to repair and install fences and suddenly our pasture land multiplied! How did that neighbor know our need? What prompted him to offer his land? We know it was God and God alone. Somehow God put it in this man's heart to not only offer his land, but also a desire to see our animals grazing peacefully in his view. My heart was so deeply moved when Elliott told me that after our cows were moved over to the new land, our older neighbor man took a lawn chair and positioned it just outside the fence so he could sit and watch the cows graze. How could the very thing that I'm assuming would be a bother to others actually bring them joy? God and God alone.
So for these few minutes, we simply pause between the milking and mucking to be incredibly thankful for God's provision. Piglets and pasture...our God is very good to us!