One aspect of supporting Hannah and Corey in the lead up to the arrival of the baby involves tending to the multiple chickens, ducks and quail. This is a recurring responsibility, and Keith has been chipping in here and there as needed, particularly when Corey has other work responsibilities that can keep him away from the house for much of the day.
Some tasks can be easily taken on – topping up feed and water; checking for eggs; cleaning out and refreshing the brooding coops. Going beyond this soon tests the knowledge base, as even something as apparently simple as chickens reveals layers (no pun intended) of complexity. What mix of feed is appropriate? Which birds can be let out to free range together? Are there signs of illness or injury? Are the stored eggs actually fertilised? Addressing these issues highlights the difference between a helpful amateur and someone who has researched the topic eggs-tensively (pun definitely intended).
The birds also seem intuitively aware of the difference. Two of the more difficult roosters – Dave, the old hand, and a newer bird Kosta (Keith named him after Kosta Tsyzu due to his diminutive stature being in complete contrast to his level of aggression) have assumed the responsibility of sorting out the ‘substitue guy’, puffing up their chest and taking an aggressive stance toward Keith at every opportunity. The hens often pick up on the tension, helpfully tearing around the yard while Keith attempts to herd them back into their coops after yard time without running into fruit trees or coathanging himself with the clothesline.
The whole experience is reminiscent of a teaching example Jesus gave on the issue of the Pharisees and their ineffective leadership of God’s people.
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:1-5
Ironically, the passage goes on to say, “Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.” (verse 6)
There are no shortage of people clambering to have their opinions heard on many topics, including spiritual issues. Mainstream and social media usher them into our lives constantly. We need to be as wise as dopey sheep and stroppy chickens…. and pay heed only to the Shepherd’s voice.
- Pray for Hannah and Corey as they await the birth, with the due date sometime this weekend.
- Praise God that we are able to be here, and to be of some help as needed.
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