August 7, 2016

More Tender Mercies

We lease close to 2,000 acres of canyon pastures for the summer and fall months of the year. These are separated into five different pastures owned by four different entities. We have spent more time building and fixing fences this year than any other year. It is long, hard, tiring work. Even after all the time put in we still had problems and ended up putting all our cattle together instead of running them in separate groups.

While we were gone on a much needed family vacation our area got ten inches of rain in four days. Needless to say the nice windy creek that ran through the heart of the canyon pastures turned into a raging, furious river. It tore out all fences that crossed it's path. Creek walls caved in as it ran more than ten feet high in some places. Small gullies or draws in the canyon now became easy outlets for rushing water, taking with it trees and debris from all over. Luckily for us at the time our cows were all in the only canyon pasture that didn't have the creek running through it. It gets it's water from a windmill and a solar well.

We'd planned on moving the cows the day after we got home from our trip. After surveying the situation we had no where to put the cows. All the fences crossing the creeks were gone from the other pastures. The Ranch Hand had to go to work that next day, so he hired someone to help us. Between two adults and two boys we got two fences built so we could turn the cows out to fresh grass. This we did on a Wednesday. I'd been out to check the cows Thursday and then we all went back on our horses on Saturday to get a good look at them. On the way to the pasture we discovered 17 replacement heifers in a large alley way, not in the pasture they were suppose to be in. I wondered if I was losing my mind and simply forgot to shut the gate. For once that was not the problem! The gate was shut and the fence into the alley was secure. After returning the heifers to the correct pasture we decided to ride the fence and find out where the rest of the cows were. Just a few hundred yards down the fence line we came to a huge area where water had washed a bunch of dead trees into the fence. Some posts remained, some wires were still connected, but stretched way beyond the fence line. The fence was FULL of dead cedar trees cut down last winter. It was a huge mess. The wires were way above our heads, stuck in the piled up dead trees. This was easily accessible for cattle to walk under. We hadn't checked the entire fence after the storms, simply assuming it was only the creek crossings that needed attention. We were wrong.

We were astonished, taken back, and had to come up with a plan. The Ranch Hand took two kids back to the horse trailer to head home and get the tractor with a grapple to remove the trees while I took two other kids to look for the cows. We discovered they had indeed gone under the fence into a thousand acre pasture. A pasture that had fences torn out that lead into other pastures with broken fences that lead to who knows where! Luckily we found them relatively close to the broken fence. Except the fact that there were trees, and brush and canyon to cross to get back to the fence. It seemed nearly an impossible task for this mother and two kids, one eleven and the other seven. But we'd never know unless we tried. And try we did. We had them on a side hill, just one last draw to cross before the opening in the broken fence when the Ranch Hand returned. Somehow, through all the trees and with only us three we got them back into the correct pasture. We were able to get a count and they were all there. WOW! We thought they must've only gotten out just before we got there, seeing that they were fairly close to the break in the fence. We knew it was a blessing from the Lord. However the plot thickens...

Today, Sunday, the Ranch Hand and I rode the 4-wheeler down to check the other creek crossings and the cows. As we rode through the thousand acre pasture we noticed something out of sorts. There was  cow manure just a couple days old clear down in the bottom of the canyon. There were tracks going to water and crossing the creek. Our cows had not been in that pasture for a month. The tracks we saw were from out cattle that had gotten out earlier in the week. "So what?" You say. Well let me explain something more to you.

Never have our cattle all stayed together in these canyon pastures. Even today when we checked them they were spread out all over the place. The fact that these cows, calves, and bulls traveled completely across the pasture, crossed the creek and back to the place we found them all in the same group is not mere coincidence. Not luck. It was a blessing from the Lord. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles calls those special blessings trailered specifically to our needs, "Tender Mercies."This in our mind was no doubt a tender mercy. There is just no way this ever could've happened without divine intervention. 

I wanted to share this with you because I know that life is hard. We've been going through a long, tiresome refiners fire for a while now. But I know that if we keep the faith, keep moving forward, and trust in God, those blessings will come. Those tender mercies will be suited just for you, and me. When you recognize them as such, you will feel a closeness to your Heavenly Father that you've never felt before. You will know that somehow, someway, amongst all His children, He is mindful of you, your life, your circumstances. He will bless you in ways that only you need. I know this is true and I stand all amazed at this truly tender mercy that has been extended to our family during our time of need.

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