I love this time of year. Then again I love all the seasons, so that is really not saying that much. But I love the cold weather, the frosty mornings and the anticipation of snow, the hot coco, and hunkering down under blankets. But the other part of I love is moving my poultry onto the garden now that all the veggies have been harvested. They bring me such joy to see them happily scratching around for bugs and exploring the new land. Something else that I love about my chickens is the little lessons and glimpses into God’s heart that I get. Here are a few things that my girls have taught me.
#1. My hens have learned that when it starts to get late and when I come out with my basket it means “time for bed,” so when they see me coming they run to gather around the fence, eager for their treats that I give them each night. Now the problem with that is I have to herd them all the way back to the coop from where some of them just came! Trying to herd 20+ chickens and 18 ducks is not the simplest task. When I push one forward the others squirt to the sides and then I push them together again and they have back tracked so I end almost in the exact same place that I started! Somehow I accidentally stumbled upon the “trick” a few years ago. If I walk all the way over to the coop, they follow me! then I only have to do a little encouraging by sprinkling some treats or shooing the last ones in.
Every time I do this I see how much better it is to lead rather than shove. When I shove, people naturally resist or cause problems. But when I lead, others want to follow. Isn’t God that way too? He leads us and delights in seeing us following behind and trotting to keep up, just the way I love watching my girls eagerly follow me.
#2. The other night I had one of my hens fly over the fence. They do this periodically and mostly they fly into our back yard area and I can either catch them or direct them out into their area. But the hen that flew over is a very skittish hen, so I knew that picking her up would be out of the question, not only that, but she was one of my “Angel Chickens” from my broody hen this summer, (see an earlier blog post.)
I walked over like always and instantly she went crazy, dashing around the yard, squawking and zig zagging. I attempted to get her to go towards the gate but she would run the exact opposite direction. Suddenly she flew onto the fence, this normally is a good thing because they can then fly back into the chicken yard, but not pausing a moment she charged into the easement driveway and neighbor’s land, leaving me stumped. It was getting dark and it was already really cold, the frost was starting to gather. I had all my chickens in, and the eggs collected, feed and water done, I only needed to get her in safe from wild animals. I walked into the chicken yard, and she was still on the other side, not the best situation. I thought about my options: I couldn’t climb the fence because it was too flimsy, so I would have to go further down and climb the tree to jump the fence. I had done that before, but I didn’t know how she would react with me coming from that side, and if it would spook her more. I could walk all the way around from the other side, but I didn’t know how that would work either and it was a long ways. I didn’t what her to run off some direction and spend the evening searching for her. I hoped one of the neighbors would walk out so I could get them to come from directly behind and get her to fly over again. However, in the meantime I tried to encourage her over, under, or around the fence. I didn’t make much progress, but finally one of the neighbors came out and she finally flew over. Now I could rest; they were all in safely.
I think that God is a lot more like that than we picture Him. He is trying to protect us and works tirelessly to make sure we get in, even though it was our own actions that brought us to the “other side of the fence.” Even if we won’t work with Him and we dash away any time He comes close, He stands with us until we decide to “fly over” and then He is right there to help us get to the coop.
This blog is turning into a longer one that I had anticipated, so expect more lessons from my hens next time.
My you see God’s infinite goodness today.