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Posts Tagged ‘answered prayer’

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Mid-September marks the time when ranchers in Southeast Texas sow the seeds of winter grasses. An old-timer told my husband that the 20th was the day. He had planted rye grass on the September 20th for the last three decades without any problems.

The danger of planting too early is that as the seed germinates and shoots up tender grass from the soil the scorching end-of-summer temperatures will kill it. Winter grass needs much cooler temperatures to grow than the native grasses typically filling the pastures. Planting too late will not allow sufficient time for the grass to grow to full height in order to get the most bang for your buck. The whole point of planting winter grass is to give your cattle fresh, green grass during the winter months.

Seeds and grass both need water, too. Rain helps settle the seeds into the soil and water is a necessary element in the growth of grasses. Too much water will sweep away the seed and/or rot the roots in the soil. Too little water creates a barren landscape as the grasses are unable to grow. So whether it is temperature or rainfall, farming anything successfully requires a balance.

Since farmers cannot control the temperature, rainfall, or any weather phenomena, they put their whole faith in the One, who made the heaven and earth. We don’t sit back feeling hopeless or helpless. We act, we plan, and most importantly, we pray asking God to bless our efforts.

As we woke up on the 20th ready to spread out the seed, the sky was weeping. It was not a full-out rain nor was it a drizzle. It was somewhere in between. My husband jumped on the tractor and began sowing the rye grass seed. Throughout the day, he sowed three large pastures with seed as the weather progressively worsened or got better depending on your perspective. In other words, it began to really rain, a drenching rain without thunder and lightning.

We could not believe it! It took us back to two years in the midst of one of the worst droughts in Texas. It had not rained at all for almost a year. The ground was cracked. The grass was dead and trees were dying. Ranchers were selling their cattle left and right. We were feeding hay, shipped from many states away, throughout the summer.

I was bouncing up and down through our sad pastures spreading out rye grass seed behind my husband who was lightly scraping the soil with a disc in front of me. It was a gamble in time, money, and resources. Without any rain, the ground would dry out more than it already was by exposing more soil to the sun. As I drove, I prayed fervently; my lips never ceasing with words of praise and a request for rain to make our pastures full of green grass. The sun scorched my head, chapped my lips, and no clouds filled the sky. And yet, I hoped and did everything in my control.

Laying in bed that night with a sore neck and sunburned skin, I strained my ears to hear the pitter-patter of rain on our metal roof. I waited and continued praying until I drifted off to sleep. In the wee hours of the morning before even our rooster began to announce the arrival of the sun, I awoke to the sweet music of rain and the foreign rumble of thunder. It continued to rain the entire day until we had received just over 2 inches.

That day was the turning point of the drought. It began a pattern of showers throughout the winter that allowed us to offer some winter grass to our cattle. Even now we are still working our way out of the drought, but conditions are so much better than two years ago.

This year we received just under five inches total on the day and day after we spread the seeds for winter grass. Some parts of Texas near us got as much as seven, but we think we got the perfect amount for our needs. Just enough to settle the seeds, provide moisture for growth, and not too much that the seeds washed away. Yesterday, we received almost 2.5 inches more. We are so thankful and God is so faithful! To Him be the glory!

Excitement on the Ranch

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

We have had some excitement on the ranch in the past week. First we have gotten some much needed rain. Storm systems came through dropping good rain for a few days in a row. We have not had flooding like Houston or the tornadoes which occurred in northern Texas yesterday, for which we are very thankful. We still pray that God will continue to bless our land with rain throughout the summer.

Last Sunday a week ago, my youngest son, Andrew, grew ill. We thought he had contracted a stomach virus, but something about it seemed odd. In order to make a long story short as well as spare you the details, early Monday morning it became apparent that he needed medical attention. My husband and I drove to the nearest good medical hospital, which for us is in College Station.

Andrew received excellent care and had to endure an emergency appendectomy. After a total of three days in the hospital, we were released to come home. He is still recovering from the surgery, but is doing much better.

The challenging part will be to keep him from getting hurt for six whole weeks. Boys will be boys and we discussed no wooden sword fights, no trampoline, no wrestling, etc. Instead, we have been entertaining Andrew with playdough, Uno, Legos, go fish, puzzles, etc.

After dinner on one of our first nights home, we went on a slow walk through the pasture after a light rain. We ate our weight in dewberries for dessert. It was such a blissful evening. We delighted in the normal scenery. There were the horses grazing in green pastures. There were the cows in belly high grass. There are fish jumping in the lake. We were home!

We are so thankful for the rain and the health of Andrew. We caught the appendix in time before it ruptured. He is getting better each day. As I researched all there is to know about the appendix, I am also thankful that cows do not have them. That would really put a different spin on herd health management. It was hard enough to get a five-year old to articulate what he was feeling. I cannot even imagine having to monitor appendicitis in cattle.

Please pray for Andrew’s continued recovery and for rain to continue to replenish the soil in all the drought stricken areas of the United States. God does listen.

Answered Prayers

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

It is a tough time to be in the ranching business, especially when you are dependent on it for income.  Cross Creek Cattle Company is a working family-owned and operated ranch; we do not do this as a hobby.  This year has been especially tough because of the drought.  It is the worst drought in recorded history in Texas.

Because of the lack of pasture grass, we have been forced to find other sources of grass to continue our grass fed beef operation.  Hay, alfalfa cubes, and alfalfa pellets are all different forms of grass that we are using to keep up the condition of our herd.  Usually during the summer we do not have to purchase grass, we simply rotate our herds from green pasture to green pasture.  This year our costs have skyrocketed by having to buy forms of grass.

Now that winter is approaching, we are struggling to find enough hay to fill our needs.  The price for a roll of hay is going through the roof to unimaginable prices.  My dad used to buy round hay bales for $35.00 delivered.  This year they are asking over $100.00 a bale.  It is not a good time to be a rancher.

As we try to fill our hay needs for the winter, we also decided to plant winter grass in several pastures.  My husband spoke with an expert at Producer’s Co-op in Bryan, Texas, who suggested planting a week early because of the slight possibility of rain last weekend.  My husband decided to follow this man’s advice and with my father’s blessing purchased enough seed to sow between 20-30 acres on different pastures.

We brought the seed home late Thursday evening and began sowing the seed mid-morning on Friday.  Lane and I devised a system that we thought would be the most efficient.  He drove the big tractor pulling a disk with which he barely scratched the surface.  We were trying to decide if we should risk disking up the soil since it has been so dry and windy, but again we followed the advice of the seed salesman.  He suggested that we try to give the seed a head start by lightly disking the soil. I drove the small tractor over the lightly disked land while spreading the winter grass seeds.

If you have ever driven a tractor, then you know that the hum of the engine drowns out all other sound.  It leaves your brain isolated from your surroundings.  You are left with only your thoughts.  I get some of my best thinking done either mowing on a riding lawnmower or when driving a tractor.  For two days as I spread the winter grass seed, I was left to my own thoughts.

These are the facts.  We are 20 inches behind in our rain fall here.  We have been praying for rain everyday several times a day for months now.  Several times the wind has picked up and the sky grows dark, but no rain falls for us.  It has stormed literally a few miles away without even so much as sprinkle here.  I was growing discouraged.

As I watched the tiny seeds spray out of the implement and land on the incredibly dry soil, I prayed.  It was not your typical prayer; it was more a conversation between me and my Heavenly Father.  For two days I asked for rain.  I first began asking for one inch.  Then I thought if I am going to ask for anything I might as well ask for what I think we need.  I increased the amount to three inches.

I reminded myself, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).  Another verse from the book of James ran through my head.  It reads, “But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord…” (1:6-7).

When I finished sowing the last of the seed, I expectantly looked up to the sky waiting for any signs of rain.  There was not any.  I showered and enjoyed my evening confident that rain would come.  Sunday morning I turned on the weather and rejoiced when I saw the line of showers headed our way.  I encouraged my son to go milk earlier than usual on Sunday morning so as to not get caught in the rain before church.  His reply was, “What rain?”

The church we attend has huge walls of windows on the sides of the sanctuary.  It gives you a great view of the parking lot on one side and a green lawn on the other.  As we sat there listening to the sermon, the rain began to fall.  I immediately offered up a prayer of thanksgiving and one that the rain would continue.  Too many times it has started to rain that it has just as quickly stopped.  The rain did not stop.  Instead, it grew harder.

It was not a thunderstorm.  Lightning did not threaten to start a fire.  Thunder did not roll.  It simply poured.  It was such a beautiful scene that I could not help but just gaze out the windows.  A smile spread over my face and I delighted in my Father’s blessing.  The best thing was that the rain did not stop.  It continued to pour for hours.  Even late that afternoon it was still raining!

When the rain stopped right before darkness settled over the land, I walked out to check the rain gauge.  God had not given us the one inch I first asked for.  He had not given us the three I eventually asked for.  Instead he gave the perfect amount of 2 1/4 inches of beautiful, soaking rain.  I have no doubt that our winter grass will grow and nourish our cattle throughout the winter.  What a blessing!

If you know of any reasonably priced, good quality hay for sale, please let me know.  We could use any and all tips.  You could be a part of another answered prayer.

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