The Need for Hay

I continue learning many things about farming and ranching; sometimes the hard way. One of my latest lessons is don’t sell hay until you know for certain you can meet your own needs. I don’t regret selling hay this past spring to my regular customers. Nor do I regret selling it for the same price I had for the past two years. I wish I had done a better job of estimating how much I needed for my herd.

My dad taught me many years ago that profits are a good thing. They’re what keeps the doors open. My dad used to say “I want to make a lot of money, but I want to get a little from everybody instead of gouging a few.” Those words contained a lot of wisdom. I’ve always tried to apply that lesson in my business dealings. When I sell hay, I get between $35 and $40 for 6’x5’ round bale. It’s good quality, fertilized hay; and while I could get more, I would rather build a repeat business than have to search for customers every year. Another of my dad’s adages; It costs less to keep a customer than to get a new one.

2018 turned out to be a challenging year for the Cross-Dubya. Getting little rain in the spring, and almost none in the summer, meant I got only one cutting of hay this year. With less hay from the first cutting, I should have waited until later in the year to sell, when I had a better idea of my needs. With such a dry summer, I fed hay much earlier than normal. I put out my last bale the first week of February.

I thank God for the foresight to plant mustard greens and forage collards in early fall. I also thank Him the heavy winter rains (way more than normal) have not caused too much damage to my winter rye. With a few spring-like days, the rye grass and clover are coming up. This means I’ve got forage to get my herd through the rest of winter without too much additional feed costs to supplement the lack of hay.

While discussing cattle with one of my writing friends (thanks Ms. PJ Gover), we discussed hay. I think it was in response to something her friend “Moo Cow” said one Monday morning. I responded “Until the rye and clover get up more, it’s slim pickins’ out there Moo Cow. I’m sure mama has lots of good hay for you though.”

As I looked out my window, I saw some cattle milling around the pasture with their heads down, foraging. It made me think. Their foraging for something to chew on is like what we do with God’s word isn’t it. We forage around in scripture to find our daily bread; that specific morsel we need. For cattle, it’s easy to find a tall clump of lush grass or clover. Its sweet smell attracts them to it. Finding what we need in God’s word takes a little more work doesn’t it?

Years ago, I would search my Bible, hoping to find something that would help me understand my question, calm my fears, or give me strength. I’ve become a more mature Christian (note I didn’t say a better Christian, just a more mature one). As such, I’ve learned to use my prayers to ask God’s help in finding what I need. Some call it Divine Reading. Others wait for the Holy Spirit to guide them where they need to be.

What works best for me is God’s word itself. As I’ve hidden more of God’s word in my heart, I am often led to recall specific verses to help me find the answers I need. I don’t always get the answers I want, but it seems God always provides me with what I need to face each trial. Sometimes a scripture verse gives the answer I need. Other times, God uses others to provide what I need. I’m certain he used my writing friend Ms. PJ that morning to do exactly that.

How do you forage for God’s answers in your life? Click To Tweet

I pray God blesses you with amazing friends and a spirit willing to search His word and find His guidance for your life.

God’s blessings…

10 thoughts on “The Need for Hay

  1. Another good one, Jim! I really like JESUS CALLING. So many times the day’s devotion speaks directly to a circumstance I face. I also have a couple of resources that allow me to look up verses according to my need. For example, if one of my family members is sick, I can turn to the section that lists verses about healing. If I’m worried about peer influence on my girls, there are verses about protecting them. I can usually find 2-3 that really speak to the situation and pray the scriptures over and over. Very empowering.

    1. Thanks for your comments, and guidance, Ms. Karen. I too enjoy Ms. Sarah Young’s work. With the advent of the Internet, finding just the right verse when needed-and great commentaries on them-has certainly put God’s word at our fingertips. Still though, for me, when I find a reference, I open my Bible and read it there. Something spiritual in those thin, delicate pages. 🙂

  2. J.D., I love when God divinely gives me just the passage I need, and I also love when I hear a particular passage mentioned repeatedly, by different sources, in close proximity to each other – I know God means for me to dive into that piece more to glean something from Him. But, I also love having Bible Gateway and Bible Hub at my fingertips. Sometimes, I have just a thought or idea on the tip of my brain and googling just sparse details will pull up lots of verses and I ponder over them, knowing that ultimately God orchestrated me finding those verses, and I scroll until I land on a verse that touches me. It’s a great device, admittedly, but I also have to be careful, because it’s made me get a little lazy and not memorize scripture , because I callously think “I can find this any time I want to with one of my devices.” So….it’s something I’m working on, but I do love that opportunity. Thank you for sharing the analogy of your herds foraging….I’ll think about me “foraging” through Bible Gateway the next time I scroll through verses!

    1. I love this illustration Ms. Julie! I too have come to depend on technology (Google(tm) does have some advantages). Have long believed that God delivers His guidance to me via many different methods (I call it “validating the data sources” whenever two or three point me in the same direction). Still, my greatest joy comes when I recall a verse I’ve hidden in my heart (or recesses of my mind as some might say). This card catalog of lessons learned remind me how much I’ve seen and been through in my life. It also makes me smile as God reminds me how He’s always been there for me when I needed Him. God’s blessings ma’am.

  3. I’ve been using two very old devotional books (one actually just “morning prayers” with a scripture passage at the top, that is over 100 years old) in the mornings to direct my thoughts towards Him. It’s amazing how these two books – not connected in any way often have complementing passages – and more often than not speak to what I’m facing or will face in the day. Only God could make His Word so useful (profitable, as Timothy says) in so many ways.
    Sometimes it may feel like I’m gnawing on stubble, other times it’s sweet clover or alfalfa.

    PS: I used to pay $145-$165 for every 2’x4′ rectangular bale of alfalfa to fee my 9 horses. Talk about expensive!!!

    1. I’m with you Ms. Jackie; I always love it when I wander upon a “patch of wisdom” unexpectedly. It’s like finding vetch in the middle of the Bermuda grass ain’t it? You just want to stay there and savor the sweet surprise. Thanks so much for sharing ma’am. Suggestion: Come to TX for your alfalfa, that CA stuff will put y’all in the poor house. 🙂

  4. Like you, I “forage” for wisdom from God when I’m working on our farm. Blue sky and sunshine after a week of rain remind me of God’s faithfulness. The mud I tromp through to feed the animals reminds me that we have those trials, but when we trust our Lord, he gets us through it. We learn from those mistakes and trials just like when we seek and find wisdom in God’s word. Hoping you have an early spring, my friend!

    1. Well said Ms. Katherine. God can speak very clearly through nature if we remember to take the time to listen my friend. What a great mental picture your comments painted. Here’s hoping we both “green up” real soon ma’am.

  5. This post is a beautiful read and reminds us to immerse ourselves in God’s Word regularly to find truths that God wants to teach us. Thank you for using your farm experience as a lesson about the importance of foraging throughly and often through Bible study.

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