Here on the farm we live in a constant state of Anticipation. Whether or not it is watching for seeds to sprout so we can bump them up, and then wondering how well our harvest will do or counting the days until Spring when our bee broods will arrive, it seems like we are always waiting on something.
Thursday of last week, we sat in a hospital waiting room for several hours, anticipating the birth of an adopted grandchild. Michael has been a friend of our son James since they were both ‘wee little shavers’, and we have long since considered him one of our own. Late Thursday afternoon, he and his wife Shyanna presented us with a precious baby granddaughter. One of the best forms of anticipation.
For the last week, we have been waiting on Bottle Rocket to have her calf. Every day we step out in the pasture at least twice – once in the morning and once at feeding time, to see just how close she is. We check for springing, we check to see if she is bagging up. We check to see if she is breathing hard. She looks like she swallowed a blimp, but instead of giving signs, she just calmly munches hay with a bored expression on her face. I know when we walk away, she turns her head and sticks her tongue out at us, determined to make us wait as long as possible before we get to love on her new baby. Selfish cow.
One thing my Mama always told me not to do was to pray for patience. Yet, here on the farm you need an abundance of that virtue, as you spend the majority of your time anticipating something. Randy is still anticipating getting a new tractor, but as we haven’t won the lottery yet, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. (Someone told me once you have to buy a ticket, but right now, my animals need to be fed first, and once that’s done, there’s no money left over to spend that $1.00.)
Quite a bit of our anticipation comes in the form of another round of hard work. Randy and I drug our feet yesterday, in light of the ‘anticipation’ of having to cut down a growth of Yaupon bushes that ‘volunteered’ to grow right in the hay pasture. Since they had been neglected by us, they had grown to be around 10 feet tall and thick, which meant it was a lot of work cutting and piling. While in the area, we went ahead and trimmed growth around the back side of where the new apiary will be and moved the bee hives in ‘anticipation’ of the arrival of two broods in the Spring. Now, we are ‘anticipating’ a calm day where we can burn off a huge pile of limbs.
But to me, anticipation is simply another word for hope. In lifting ourselves off the back steps and heading out with a chain saw, we were essentially telling ourselves that we were actively anticipating – or hoping – for a great honey crop in the Spring of 2017, better pollenated vegetable, herb and fruit plants, and for a little more hay to feed the animals. My back hurt with hope as I started early moving a pile of bricks (three cart loads) out of the new garden area to a storage point behind the greenhouse. And today will be no different, as I earnestly ‘hope’ that the compost pile we will be working on today will help nourish that same garden over the years.
To have a good life means it will be filled with anticipation and hope. Whether it be the good kind, like holding precious Natalie, or being able to kneel down in the pasture and stroke the face and neck of a newborn calf, or the hard kind, like seeing the list of work that needs to be done and feeling the aches and pains long before the first pitchfork is lifted, or even the sad, heartbreaking type that says you are about to lose your precious dog that has been your companion for 15 years, any life worth living is a life worth embracing anticipation and hope.
Here on the farm, we live in a constant state of Anticipation. An anticipation of God’s glory. An anticipation of new birth. An anticipation of hard work. And it’s a good life.