The cycle of life is never more apparent than on a farm. Old leaves, poop and other trash become compost which enriches the soil and grows better vegetables. The pigs enjoy the benefits of extra milk, help till the garden and then grace our plates with healthy, delicious pork. Even a seed must die in order for the plant to grow. Death actually brings life.
Not too long ago we saw this principle in action as a new life began and an old one ended. Midweek, we greeted new life with the birth of Primrose
aka Miss Prim (our Jersey calf) but at week’s end we said good-bye to our old friend TigerLily.
TigerLily gave it her best but her season was over. My heart considered this a premature ending because I felt responsible for her deteriorating condition. In my ignorance as a new farmer, I failed her. But as God so gently reminded me: her life of service as one of His created was completed. She helped me become a better farmer by showing me where I went wrong and what I did right.
When we bought her at the auction she was likely destined for dog food, one of those borderline cows often purchased for the accompanying calf but to us she was special. Most range cows are not personable, they’re rather wild and contrary but TigerLily was gentle and patient.
It was only a few days before she was taking alfalfa cubes right out of our hands and extending her huge tongue in a humorous slobbery grasp for more
Cows in a herd are given an ear tag with a number but at GlenHaven our animals are named. Our chickens have old lady names while the roosters are always peerage like Sir Henry or Sir William. Our cows are named after flowers so, what else could we call a tiger stripe cow besides TigerLily? She and Violet (our lonely Jersey) quickly became BFFs. Often they were seen in the pasture, tails swishing and chewing their cud like two ladies over a cup of tea. Many times we would watch and create silly dialogue for their conversations.
While here, TigerLily learned her name, received lots of pets and snacks while her calf, Camelia remained by her side.
She died in a good place – a beautiful spring pasture reclining under a canopy receiving lots of good food and gentle care.
Can we really ask for anything more? Knowing our name, being who we are created to be – providing comfort, companionship and smiles for those around us while raising the next generation? There are those who might say I am being a little silly but a life lived with purpose is a life well lived.
TigerLily taught me some tough lessons, but even in all of that, I learned again about the faithfulness of God. I hope I never forget what TigerLily taught me – through that she lives on – as a cow who served her purpose and helped me become a better steward of the bovine lives I’ve been entrusted with!
I was partial to that cow.
Rest in peace TigerLily – well done!