Saturday, March 14, 2009


This has been an amazing week.  I have so much to share...I hope after reading this you'll forgive my absence...

I have many people call me from all across the nation with dreams of farms, wide green fields filled with organic food to feed their families, happy critters grazing in the fields and time to enjoy it all.  There are days like this on our farm but this is a very idealized vision of the agrarian lifestyle.  There is lots of hard work...LOTS OF HARD WORK!  There are times the food in those green fields doesn't come to fruition and there are times that the critters aren't doing so well.

This past Monday we experienced one of those times.  It is kidding season here....a bit earlier than hoped for but easily explained when we noted the date that some of the girls decided to sneak out and play in the buck's pen.  Monday morning, when we went to feed goats, one of them didn't come to the barn.  We found her laying in a field and in very bad condition.  My best guest is that she had been in labor all night.  I think the first kid was transverse. No feet, no nose, just blood.

We worked with her and tried everything we knew to do.  We called our favorite vet and got some excellent advice and a good dose of reality ("don't think she'll make it Cheri - be prepared for that").  We implemented all that he no avail.  She died with all of us around her stroking her, weeping with and for her.  It was a hard day.  There are hard days when you live an agrarian life.  This was especially hard for Elijah...he has pictures of himself as a baby with her as a very young doe.  Elijah says "We were babies together".....well, not quite but I understood his sorrow.  I think he cried for about 3 hours.  This was really hard for me.  She has always been my favorite doe.  She was sweet, beautiful, easy to milk....a pleasure to care for....I was looking forward to her babies this year - I am sure she was carrying three.  We briefly discussed cutting her open in an attempt to save babies but I could detect no movement at all, even though she was still breathing, still trying to birth those babies.  I think they died sometime during the night.

This then presented other problems.  We needed to find a proper place to bury her, and  we needed to dig a hole - a pretty big hole.  We also had an appointment that we absolutely had to keep.  Our friends the Willis family were playing locally for a home school talent show.  They were going to play two of the songs from their CD that Jeremy had accompanied on drums.... and they asked if he would play for the talent show.  We really needed to keep that commitment.

So, we placed her in an unused stall in the barn and covered her with a tarp.  We cleaned up and headed for town.  I was hoping that being around friends would help Elijah stop weeping.  After the show, we helped carry instruments, amps, cables, and soundboards back.  We were asked if we were going to attend a gathering of friends that night.  We explained that we needed to get home and bury our doe and wouldn't make that gathering.  Our friends offered to come and help my boys with that job.  Jeremy says,  friends help you move but real friends help you move (and bury) a dead body.

Many hands making light work

So, Walter and Nate came  by and helped my boys dig a huge hole and bury our doe.  Hard and dirty work for several hours.  But, the boys said they had a great time of encouragement and fellowship as they worked together.  Because of their generous offer, we were all able to clean up and head to a gathering that evening that helped encourage us and lightened our sorrow.  What a wonderful time to be surrounded by friends who love you, can encourage you and even make you smile.  We are so blessed!

I was thankful to hear my boys praying that night...thanking their Father for the life of this doe, for the joy she brought to us, the untold gallons of wonderful milk and then countless pounds of fresh cheese.  She served her purpose well and blessed us....we are grateful for the many years she served our family....

We remember...that ALL that comes to us from our Father is good.  Every bit of it....and we are thankful to Him for our sustenance, for our comfort and for His blessings.

Thank you for your patience this week,


  1. We've had a rough lambing season ourselves. Lost 2 of 8 for various, sometimes unknown reasons. We didn't lose any of our ewes, for which we are thankful. But you are correct: farming isn't all fun and games.

    So sorry for your loss.

  2. A Brooke Fraser song comes to mind ("C.S. Lewis Song")

    "Speak to me in the light of the dawn
    Mercy comes with the morning
    I will sigh and with all creation groan
    As I wait for hope to come for me

    For we, we are not long here
    Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
    And I, I was made to live,
    I was made to love, I was made to know you
    Hope is coming for me "

    Although we are not permanent beings on this earth, HIS mercies are new every morning while we are here! I know this was a sad post, but it was beautifully written, Cheri. :)

  3. Oh Cheri, I am so sorry. That is always the hardest part of farm life... the death of a beloved animal. I am glad you had understanding and kind friends who came and helped.

  4. No words....just thoughts and prayers sent you and your families way! I couldn't even begin to are a VERY STRONG woman! May God Richly bless you all for such deep love, compassion and understanding of the true life that you have gone back to.
    I can only dream of doing that with mine ... That is a life I would LOVE to live with my family ... but just do not have "know how" or have the farm to do it. I live vicariously through your posts! I await and learn from your posts as much as I can. You can add me to that list of people who you have spoken to that urn for that way of life! God's intended way of life... My your children are growing up so fast!
    Much love to you all!

  5. Thank you ladies....just as He cometh in the morning....wait till you hear what happened :)

  6. I too am feeling sad for you. It can be hard to see animals die, especially the ones you take a special care for. I remember when we lived in the city and my son's pet gerbil died -- I didn't think he would ever get over it. It was tough! Thankfully, since moving here we have come to the realization that it is a reality when living on a farm. I can't say I'll ever get attached to a chicken, though!

  7. Dear Cheri,
    I am so sorry. Please tell the boys that I send love and hugs from Colorado, across the Plains to your farm. And that includes an especially big hug for Elijah.

  8. Oh so sorry for your loss!! We do get so attached to our animals!! That is the downside of farming/ranching. But sometimes it just cannot be helped. Blessings on you all and may the rest of the birthing season go well!!

  9. I'm so sorry. Our milk cow died in September after giving birth. I cried and cried and sobbed and cried some more. It is hard to lose a beloved animal--and one that is so useful and productive as well.

  10. Cheri~ I know exactly how you feel. We live and farm on a small place here in central Alabama and last fall we lost one of our favorite does.She was older and had an out of season baby, and she never recovered. I was with her when she died and I just sobbed. She was a very opinionated goat with a very determined personality! I adored her! we have her daughters, but Miss Willie will be a favorite forever.

    Amy Jett

  11. Oh Cheri, how sad. Please know our prayers are with you guys, and how tough for Elijah. I can only imagine how attached he was - Charlie's been praying for our cow every day since she came, if something were to happen to her... yikes.

  12. So glad that our Father is so wise! And He raises up friends who ease your sorrow....or, at least share it.

    So glad He's taking such good care of you!


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