From Under the Stanchion

For the last few weeks, a mother hen has been sitting on a nest under the goat-milking stanchion. She is a cross-breed, and was hatched and raised by a mother hen in the same barn last year. Her mothering instincts are apparently very good, so I decided we should take advantage of them. When she went broody under the stanchion a few weeks ago, in a place where we’d been gathering the eggs daily, I figured this was the time to act. I selected eight good-looking eggs and slipped them under her. She puffed herself up, clucked contentedly, and I don’t recall even seeing her leave that spot again.

Thursday evening, as I separated the goat kids from their mother for the night, I could hear a faint peeping noise coming from somewhere. Once the kids were secure, I knelt by the stanchion and listened more closely. Sure enough, the chicks were beginning to hatch.

When I came out Friday morning to milk, the peeping had grown louder. I glanced under the stanchion, and saw that a couple of chicks had already fluffed up and come out to explore a bit. They were still staying close to Henney Penney, though; she was sitting tight, and apparently still had more chicks she was working on hatching.

The peeping continued the whole time I was out there, and made a wonderful background music as goat milk squirted into the metal pan.

As a mother hen gathers her brood… kept going through my mind, and I tried to remember the rest of that passage. Eventually, it came to me: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not?

Squirt, squirt, squirt. Peep, peep, peep. Squirt, quirt squirt…

Of late, I’d been rather anxious about a few different things—and I’d been allowing that anxiety to drive me to distraction. Now, as the milk squirted and the chicks peeped, I realized that Matthew 23:37 was about more than just Jerusalem. It was an admonition to me. An admonition to let myself be gathered in. An admonition to let God shelter me. An admonition to let go of the anxiety and trust that things would be taken care of. Yes, I still need to use all the human means available to me. But I must do more to remember the supernatural means, and to trust in them.

Squirt, squirt, squirt. Peep, peep, peep. Squirt, quirt squirt…

One thought on “From Under the Stanchion

  1. Just stumbled by from the 3Massketeers. My family has a long history of farming, but, sadly have pretty much sold the farms as the older generation passes away and the younger ones don’t want to carry on.Had to comment on the goats. My daughter had a hard time nursing. No matter how hard I tried, she wouldn’t get enough to sustain her without being supplemented. After six months of pumping for her, we finally found a local goat farm and gave her goat milk for the remaining six months (since they say babies aren’t supposed to have cow milk.) Thank goodness for the goats!!!


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