Another day, long and frantic, splintered in unexpected, unplanned for directions. But at the end all is clean, all are fed, all is calm. The babies in the big pen have their own round bale and it was fun to watch them all in a curving row, picking out mouths full and chewing as fast as they could. A new experience for them and they like it.
Chores done, everyone else is talking in the milk house before heading home, or out to see that special someone, or just over to dinner. Standing all alone, elbows on the rail at the end of the main barn manger, watching them eat. Listening, smelling the hay they are rustling as they grind it with their massive jaws and dinosaur teeth, just sharing a moment of calm with them at the end of the long, crazy day.
This is the essence of farming, when it comes right down to it. The feeding, the caring, the just being with them and watching over them, comes together right now, when the work is done and the peace has come.
The hay smells of dusty summertime, flowers dried among the stems at the peak of their fragrance, sweet grasses, sunshine, clean, warm, breezes, hustling down from Canada, all tied up in bales and stored in the mow, to be fed out in winter and remind us of better times.
The cows smell of cows, and I like the smell of a good, clean, rain-washed, sun-dried cow. On days when we go to the city, which smells of soot and engine and oil, it is always a relief to return to the earthy odors of barn and bovine.
At times like these it is easy to understand our Lord being born in a stable; even as turmoil swirls and contention rages, it is a peaceful part of our world these days. I expect it was during those earlier tumultuous times as well.