Cow Fever

Cow1Cow3

Cow4Cow5

Cow tonguebaby cow

No, this is not some new disease. If you have it, you know it, and you never quite get rid of it. Mine started when I was in college at Purdue taking Animal Science 101 and had to spend a few hours at the Purdue Dairy Farm helping with milking. Cows…..they just rock. What else can I say? Big, sweet, friendly, laid back animals in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns, I never tire of hearing them yank some grass and chew chew chew. It’s such a peaceful sound. Then there is the sound of lazy tails swatting flies, huge deep loving eyes and tongues that feel like thick tickley duct tape. I love the smell of cows, the way they move, the way they casually check you out and then go back to their grazing. I love their adorable ears. And baby calves….well don’t even get me started!

These pics are from 2007 on a Sunday afternoon trip to Picket Fence Creamery for one of their tasting days. And speaking of tasting….ICE CREAM…where does it come from? Cows!

Harvest

“Where is the green?” you ask. Well, if you have a true passion for green, for what plants do, this is IT….the reason for it all, what keeps it all going and yes, it’s actually pretty ugly, unless you are into tans and earth tones! The soybean fields are turning yellow now in the midwest, and when they are ready to harvest, they look like this, leaves shriveled and dead, little dry fuzzy seed pods full of hard nuggets of creamy gold. The source of animal feeds, soy milk, tofu and hundreds of other things that I am not even aware of. Our native ancestors probably ate corn and beans and buffalo. We drink most of our corn as colas sweetened with corn syrup and eat cow fed with soy meal. Anyway, I love the harvest. One of these nights I’ll have to go for a drive to see the combine lights at night and hear the whir of the harvest being gathered in.

Welcome Home me

I’ve actually been home from Poland for about a month now. The transition has been slow. It’s been nice to blog about it all…stretching it out as long as possible, but now it’s time to refocus on Ames and home and my responsibilities. I’m still not sure what my next step is, but I have the bills paid, suitcase unpacked and put away and I’ve gotten my computer going to work on my masters research proposal.

I’ve also been trying to work on the little investment things. You know, the little things that if you don’t do them, it’s really no big deal, but if you let them go for 2-3 years, they start to multiply like mice and all of a sudden you feel like you’ve lost your life: filing, planning for the future, deep cleaning, dejunking, making a medical records file, knowing the phone numbers for all your credit cards, making a photo copy of your passport, etc. I have been a Franklin Covey planning person for a long time, and yeah, usually about half my daily pages wind up blank at the end of the year, and I am trying to remedy that too. Just trying to get control in general. Like a good Covey girl, I’ve worked on my mission statement. For a while it has been: I own, manage and enjoy my life in tune with God. Lately though, I have been fiddling with the word “own”. It meant that I act responsible for my life, I don’t hide from my stuff, I own up to who I am, both good and bad, but really God loans us a life, so should I really think about owning it? Maybe a better word would be “steward”, used as a verb. So I am thinking about stewarding these days. I read in John this morning, 15th chapter, where Jesus said he would no longer call his disciples “servants”. He began then to call them friends. I like that term, the friends of Jesus. Maybe I should explore that idea some more too.

Sing your heart out!

Ok, I know Memorial Day is getting long past, but I still have a few things to write about the weekend. Have you ever heard a jenny wren sing? At my sister’s cottage, there are always what we call Jenny wrens, although officially I think they are house wrens. Tiny packages of bird, they are so full of energy and song, it’s like a non-stop one bird concert. I’ve never been sure what makes them want to sing like that, but whatever it is, I want some of it! Maybe being so small is such a blessing, it just makes you want to sing.

Unity

I know this isn’t the greatest of pictures, but I was trying to find something that illustrates my thoughts this morning on unity. I was glad for what I heard at meeting yesterday about unity and how important it is in God’s family. Thinking about unity in decorating helps me think about this concretely. Unity does not mean “everything the same”. That would be boring and non-functional. In ecosystems, we talk about everything having a niche, a place it fits into where it performs a function, and when everything does its part, there is unity in the system. Here are just a couple of my thoughts this morning:

1. Color Several colors blend together to make a nice atmosphere. You don’t want everything exactly the same color, but then you don’t want a color that just screams out and doesn’t fit in either.

2. Spacing Some things need to be close together, but if everything is crammed together really tightly, it just creates a feeling of chaos and clutter. Things and people need room to breathe, to be themselves but they also need to be close enough to feel like a part of the whole.

3. Balance Dark and light, day and night, easy and hard, big and small, left and right.

4. Texture I like to use different materials to achieve some variety of textures. I appreciate a rough piece of pottery when I can see it next to a smooth piece of glass. I can appreciate the whimsy of a child when I can also have access to the stability of a strong adult.

5. Tone To me, tone is like the message. This scene around one of my shelves is meant to say: rest. There are many, many different elements there, but it all leads to the whole of rest.

Does a tree exist alone?

I love this picture I took last year of the new growth popping out of a dead-looking, dry-looking, thin, flimsy, gray branch. Where does this froth of new life come from after the long winter? The potential was there all along, the plan for new growth, the instructions inside the cells of the tiny, infant buds, and then when the conditions are right, the explosion of life begins. I was thinking this morning that there is so much more to a tree than meets the eye. That branch has connections. It abides in the rest of the tree, the tree has unseen roots that stretch deep into the earth. A tree is indeed its own entity, and yet, it is part of a bigger world. It has so many connections. They say that trees talk to each other, under the ground, sending out chemical signals to other trees, telling them when there is a stressor, a disease, an insect invader. Through these released chemicals they tell other trees to beware, to start their own chemical reactions to thwart the current threat. A tree has a history, an embryo nut that came from a mother tree who also had a parent tree. We too, have to stay connected in order to produce new growth, in order to keep life going.