Winter on the farm this year hasn’t been much of a winter but it surely has left its mark. After wearing shorts on Christmas, the normal high has been around 75°, sometimes 80°. And don’t get me started on the humidity from all the rain falling from the sky. But, all of that disappeared when we had our first hard freeze of 2017. Because of all the rain we were having, water was in puddles all over the pasture which in turn, froze. The horses were crunching around the pasture, breaking ice as they nibbled, not really slowing their speed too much.
I don’t know what’s more alarming – the fact that this is the size of our rain puddles at the farm or that it’s completely frozen in South Louisiana. Take your pick.
Even though we lacked snow, it was South Louisiana’s version of a winter wonderland. My cowboy was out of town that weekend, hunting Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area in North Louisiana. The temperatures were in the teens for several days where he was and the camp on Black River Lake was frozen solid.
While he was battling the outside elements, we were snuggling up at home. That is until the heater decided to crap out the one weekend my cowboy is gone and our town has record lows for the year. I held my pooches close, kept a fire crackling and added a few space heaters until the part was fixed.
Shortly after we survived the cold snap, I began noticing severe swelling on Freedom’s shaft and stomach. Warning – pictures below may be graphic. Everything grew twice the size overnight. He was recently gelded which you can read about here.
I was beginning to panic again. Andrew told me I was being dramatic but seriously, none of that looks healthy. Right?
Since the incision on his testicles was left open for drainage, we assumed some dirt and debris made its way inside and caused an infection. The vet confirmed our suspicions and we are now treating it with an antibiotic which we add to his food twice a day. Swelling is subsiding more each day but we are still keeping a close eye on his healing.
Freedom is also going through an adjustment period since his surgery. We are attributing some of his snarly behavior to his hormones balancing out and him feeling all around terrible with the infection. He attempted to kick me the other day when I was trying to peek at his healing. I know if I was swollen like that, I wouldn’t be a happy camper either. I have since forgiven him because I know he hasn’t been himself lately. There have been moments when I questioned our decision to fix him after seeing his post-surgery infection but the vet assured us we did the right thing. He is a young horse and his libido and hormones were just starting to mature which would bring on issues later for us.
One thing that does brighten Freedom’s day is a handful of Cheerios as a late afternoon treat. He and Sparkle can’t get enough of these things and I could stay in the barn all day feeding them. It’s the simple things like this that iron out the rough edges of my heart on my bad days.
We love our horses but we love cows just as much. The prior owners of our slice of paradise live only two doors down and have a beautiful haven of their own, an 80 acre cattle ranch. My sweet cowboy helps out when they are out of town and has learned so much from assisting with the day to day cattle responsibilities. We feel very fortunate to have access to a cattle ranch up close and personal. Visiting the newborn calves and veteran mommas in the fog of the morning brings life full circle for me. The little details I get hung up on during my day seem to dissipate when my eyes rest upon the babies of the ranch.
Witnessing a nursing calf early one morning melted my heart. The particular calf in the video is older and at the weaning age which could be the reason for such a rough encounter.
Not only have we witnessed new life on the nearby ranch but we also welcomed the newest member to my cowboy’s family, his nephew Ted “Cooper”.
He is the first grandbaby and the first grandson to Andrew’s parents as well as the great grandbaby and great grandson to Andrew’s grandparents. His arrival has been one glorious celebration and filled with such tender moments.
My cowboy was asked to be the Uncle Parrain, also known as a Godfather down here in the South. I will never forget the look on his face when he told me the touching news. He smiled so sweetly at the thought of being a part of Cooper’s spiritual upbringing and connected to his brother’s firstborn son in such a special way.
Although me and my sweet cowboy have struggled with infertility for 3.5 years now and the weight of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy hung heavy on my heart at times, the instant this beautiful life arrived on this earth, our heartache, our despair and my internal pain about our situation lessened.
I’m finding myself emotional even now as I glance at my husband with his brother’s first born cradled in his arms. Cooper doesn’t even know what his arrival means for this family but he will one day. How such innocence can heal wounds and repair bruised pieces of my heart is yet another example of God’s work in my life.
It’s in this work I stand firm with the armor of God – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. The enemy will not keep me bound with thoughts of inadequacy wrapped in fear, anger and bitterness. When I surrendered my life to Christ, I committed to his teachings. Because of that, the Lord’s glory appears in my life over and over again as I continue to press into Him. If only every person on this earth knew the love of our King, an unconditional love, never failing and one that is first in His eyes everyday. As my life is touched and changed, I realize it is my purpose to spread this message to others, more than anything else.
Although I share about our farm, our infertility and everyday life, it is the strength and the love of Christ that is the glue holding it all together. God has carried us in ways I never thought was possible. He has been holding us, encouraging us and loving us the entire way. The hard parts, the rough road and the unbearable pain has brought so much clarity to my life. We don’t find our value in other things because we see our value in our Lord and Savior. That is where our freedom lies – in His love.
May you have a blessed week and please stay tuned for more farm updates and winter wanderings. There’s so much going on around these parts, I can’t fit it all in one post!