It’s the end of a busy day, the sun just set behind the mountains. Mountains that, at the beginning of the week, had a beautiful layer of snow over them! I’ve got a cup of hot matcha and passionfruit tea sitting beside me—a friend gave me a boxful several months ago, which I used for a while and subsequently forgot.
I just stopped to re-read that paragraph. Isn’t it amazing how life can be made to sound so idyllic at times? And it is, in many ways, I guess. I was able to sit down to read a book for almost an entire hour today—broken up into many 5–15-minute segments, true, but that’s still a lot more reading time than I get some days. What a blessing.
Earlier today, I helped out in an hour-long hunt for our new calf. That wasn’t quite so idyllic. My brother was certain last Monday that the calf would come that night, and Mom had a look at our cow. “No, probably not.” Then he was certain last night that it was again impending. Mom had another look—“A few more days, perhaps.”
She was due today . . . and this morning, when taking care of the other cows, he discovered evidence that indeed, the calf had been born, but where did it go? The cows were up in a hill paddock surrounded by moveable fencing, and one side drops steeply away in a cliff. Steep enough that I’ve never desired to try to descend it. After he and Mom spent half an hour searching the easier surrounds this morning—stumps and a great variety of bushes and other hiding places around the general area—they gave up. Perhaps the cow had just hidden him, and this afternoon, the calf would get hungry enough to come out for a feed. We could catch him then.
Several rainstorms blew through, pounding rain for a few minutes before clearing to brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine again. In one sunny patch, around noon, several of us decided to go up and give a concerted effort to see if we could locate the new calf. It was a bit concerning to know it was here, but not to know just where it was.
My search area was a tangle of wild gorse, broom, and other native bushes interspersed with patches of wild crocrosmia (one of my favorite summer flowers, and yes, I can never remember the name). Those lined the cliff edge, and then, further along, were stacks of old rusty tin, pipes, iron, bits of wood, old trailers, and who knows what else surrounding the sheds bordering the far end of the fenced-in area. As I searched, I prayed. Where did that calf go? I imagined it curling up under a piece of roofing iron, tucked just out of sight under a patch of ferns, or hiding in a dark cranny in one of the sheds.
Finally, I thought I heard someone calling my name. Three of my brothers were also searching, and they had decided to take the cliff’s slopes, amidst great tangles of gorse and blackberry vines and other creepers and bushes, large and small, to see if they could spot the calf. I wasn’t sure whether I had heard correctly—sound doesn’t always travel up and through bushes and around buildings all that well! After several tries, I could make out that they had found it! It was alive and uninjured (praise the Lord; it could have easily fallen to its death or been injured on the way down), and now all they needed was a machete to free them from the blackberry vines. Mom brought that up for them, and then once they had disentangled themselves from that mess, it was a fairly steep climb back to the top.
I circled down and around to the bottom, to see if there was any chance of an easier path out beside the 20–30 meter (60–90 ft) straight-up-and-down tangle of the cliff. As I soon saw, if they went down, they’d have to carry the calf through at least another 10 meters (30 ft) of old blackberry vines, so old and tangled that they were up to a man’s chest or deeper in places. Then they’d have to cross a swampy basin, fighting through tangled bush again, before climbing another 2-meter cliff to get up to the road! My oldest brother decided it would be easier to go up–the distance was about the same either way, and this way they wouldn’t be ripped to shreds by the blackberries.
It was a tough haul. But he made it, mud-splattered, scratched, kicked, and all—impressing me with his strength and determination!—and we were able to reunite mother and baby. They are now staying in another paddock with better fencing and without a steep drop-off along one edge. Both seem quite happy now.
God is good.
And so ends an idyllic day. The sky is now quite dark, even though it’s only 6:30 pm—we’re still very much in winter!—and soon we’ll be sitting down to have dinner together. I can hear Mom out in the milking shed, finishing up for the night.
Several times, while I’ve been writing this, my youngest sister has come in to say hello to me, to talk about different troubles she has. One time, she was pointing at her forehead, saying it was ouchy.
“Do you need a kiss to fix it?”
“Yeah.” So I kissed it.
She just came back again, pointing to her tongue. “It ouchy!”
“You want me to kiss your tongue?” I asked.
“Yeah.” Big sister duties. . . .
What have you had happening lately?