Though the Hens Be Killed and the Apple Trees Mowed Down...

It’s been a kind of hard week on the homestead. Just over a week ago we had ten hens which were starting to be quite productive, giving us from 4-6 lovely brown eggs each day. We’ve had extensive losses this week due to an anonymous vehicle collision, nice dogs gone awry (one chicken each for our own and a neighbor’s), and unknown predators, likely coyotes. The chickens have been wandering father from home, enjoying gleaning our recently harvested soybean fields. This has not been a wise move on their part, as coyotes hang out in the fence rows and woods around our fields. Then again, chickens are not known for wisdom. The roosters seem more canny, having survived here for 18 months. Our temporary solution is to only allow the hens freedom for a few hours each day, forcing them to remain closer to home base.

As I went on a bike ride yesterday, I was reflecting on these fatalities, which also included the healthiest apple tree being mowed down (literally) by a son on the riding mower whose brakes failed, and earlier disappointments of this year’s poorly producing tomato plants and blueberry bushes which were decimated by birds just when they were loaded with fruit. I wanted to pout about it, but found I couldn’t. An old Don Francisco song came to mind, based on Habakkuk 3: 17-19:

Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

How could I complain? My “losses” are meaningless. All I have to do when our garden or chickens don’t produce enough is drive to Kroger, Aldi, or a reasonably nearby apple orchard. Habakkuk had much greater troubles on his mind than my minor losses. His country was about to be invaded by the Babylonians. And yet his response was to exult in the Lord, and rejoice in God.

I’m already making plans for next spring. I hope we’ll get new chicks (maybe some of those very cool araucanas which lay colored “Easter eggs”!), a new hen run, nets for my blueberry bushes, and three new apple trees to replace the one which was cut down. But whether these things come to pass or not, I’ll try to keep my focus on Him who is my strength, who never changes no matter what the current circumstances.


Kara said…
Bummer about the apple tree though. If we lose half our orchard every year that whole "15 years ago" point might be hard to reach.
Bill Starr said…
Thanks for your post. Hope things are going well now several years later. I had just read Habakkuk 1-3 today and remembered the same Don Francisco song, so I Googled it and up came this post.
Anne said…

That's a great Don Francisco's song isn't it?

Happily, our chickens are thriving and the garden is in a much better place this fall than that one six years ago. We're thankful for the Lord's goodness in times of want and plenty.

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