Answering the Door

Article #14 in the series about lessons learned while volunteering at the 8th and 9th generation Tide Mill Organic Farm owned by the husband-and-wife team, Aaron Bell and Carly DelSignore. The farm is a family operation involving Aaron’s and Carly’s children, together with Aaron’s brother and parents. \Website:

Moo! This is Wish2

At the time of this writing, it is still Winter approaching Spring and I am safely in the barn where Aaron, Bob (his dad), Jane (his mom), and Aaron’s children, deliver nutritious hay to us. The yummy dried grasses were harvested during summer. Our humans clean up after us. Sigh, we are a messy bunch. We have warm water in our drinking fountains and have individual beds. Helen brings her iPad to play music for my bovine friends and me. Our “top two” favorites are Moon River by Andy Williams and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Call us old fashioned “high-brow” cows.

This is the season of rest for us; we are protected from the elements and food is served to us. Helen and I are grateful that Aaron permits me to live with his dairy herd in the barn. We also appreciate that Mr. Cressey allows me to join several cows and heifers on his nearby pasture from May until November. 

While barn life in winter Is easy and safe (for us cows), there is a lot to be said for the freedom of the lush acres of pasture with the cover of woods at night. 

But, my bovine friends and I live in the moment. In winter we are satisfied with barn life; during the warm months we enjoy pasture life. Each has its benefits. There are no flies in winter, but there is freedom in summer. Helen says there are trade-offs in life.

We each have our place in the herd. My tendency is to be the “head cow” of my group, but I know when to allow a more dominant cow to take charge. There are also bovines that have a calming effect on us.

Unice, a beautiful 13-year-old 1100 pound Brown Swiss, was such a cow. Her gentle spirit filled the barn. Sadly we lost Unice this winter and her absence has left a void. Recently Helen remarked that Unice’s 16-month old daughter, Uhey, has a gentle spirit like her mother. Unlike her mother she is tiny for age. She and I often eat at the feed rail together. Helen loves seeing us together and says we are quite the pair since I weigh 1200 pounds and she weighs 400 or so pounds. 

Helen here: 

Each cow exhibits their unique personality. Unice’s calm demeanor and beautiful spirit are greatly missed. However it is heartwarming watching Uhey, her daughter, blossom into the cow she will be as an adult. 

In winter the barn presents the opportunity to study bovine behavior up close, and for this human, there is much to learn. The biggest lesson for me is that God is “always” in control.

I often refer to the barn as a cathedral where our Lord’s presence is very evident. I’m thankful for Wish2 and convinced that those years ago God used this bovine to draw me back into fellowship with Christ. Why a cow? I do not know. Perhaps I had become deaf to His voice. Perhaps I needed to be placed in a totally foreign environment where I could put the hectic noise of the world behind me. Only then would I be still enough to experience both the quite and the rhythms of cow “music”—mooing, munching hay, cud chewing. 

“Be still and know that I am God ...” Psalm 46:10

I stroke Wish2’s smooth silky hair and stare into her innocent brown eyes, I feel the Lord’s presence. When I am close up and personal with bovines that weigh hundreds of pounds I am humbled.

Yet, I know that I need to be humbled in all of life. God and Jesus have control over my life. The manner in which my daily work unfolds is not controlled by me. I can plan, make lists and have goals, but in reality those lists and goals are based on this human’s vision of life. In actuality, our Father is in control.

The cows teach me that gratitude needs to be at the center of my life. When I walk into the barn and Wish2 and the bovines are munching hay, chewing their cuds, napping, just living their lives, I whisper thank you. 

Smiling Daisies

I understand that I need to say thank you to our Lord and listen to His quiet voice. Control of my life belongs in the hands of God and His Son. Is this always easy? No, but Wish2 is a gift that shows me that Jesus and His Father have their hands on “all” of life. 

“The heart of the man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps,”  Proverbs 16:9

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34


Smiling Daisies Basking in Warm Afternoon Sunlight, by Marty Saccone. Nikon D800E, Nikkor 70-210mm lens, f/5.6 at 1/1000 second, matrix metering mode, manual exposure mode, ISO 200, tripod.
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