My Daddy said to me from the time I was young, "Boy, a loose gate is the sign of a farmer who is either lazy or thinks he's busy." Notice I did not say, my daddy taught me when I was young. See, I didn't learn what he meant until I was older and had my own place. He simply put the knowledge in front of me.
This morning, I went out to work Freezer in the round pen. I put him up last night along with Ezra so I wouldn't have to call them up this morning. I had done what was I needed last night in preparation for this morning's work.... so I thought.
This morning at daylight I get my coffee and head to the porch. I look out to see Freezer & Ezra both looking through the fence at me, not from the round pen. Hmm. Talking to myself, "I know I put both those horses in the round pen last night. I know I did," because that is what we farmers do. Curious, but knowing I will be frustrated, I go ahead and get frustrated. Ever done that? That is another blog, not today's rabbit trail. Sure enough, the horse took the gate off the round pen and laid it over. It was most likely Ezra. She is mischievous, rotten, and into just about everything she can find her way into, or in this case out of. Freezer is older and much more content with whatever his surroundings.
I guess I've been busy. We all know there is no such thing as a lazy farmer or rancher. It isn't possible.
I go to the barn for the tools I know I'll need; ratchet, and wrench.I fixed the gate and tightened the L bolts. I went around to check all the other gates, tightening each as I went. Every gate had loose bolts and hinges.
So now back to the beginning and what my Daddy said originally, about busy. You only think you are busy until all of your livestock is out and on the road. Remember, I said "all your livestock", so the horse you need to get them all back quick, efficiently, and as one heard or flock is out there too. No way you are getting him, that horse you need first, not in this moment. He's got cool weather, the wind at his back, and he's free. No, you aren't catching him first to do all this work for you. Then you know what busy truly is; when your priority is dominantly clear.
Fortunately for me, this morning's busy didn't mean everything was out and in the road. It only meant two were out of the round pen and in the open pasture.
A gate is the first thing everyone sees at a farm or ranch. It is the entrance. Gates are throughout a place over time as a farmer or rancher builds out his place according to his need. So many lessons simply within a gate. Everyone can see how you live by your gate. Is it loose and ignored, like say, the Gospel? Or is it tight, level, and reflects the attention it receives. Are you living loose so your outward gate reflects it? God can see behind the gate. Your neighbors have insight from your outward gate. In Luke 8:17 it states, "For nothing is hidden that will not be manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be made known and come to light". Another question, is your whole life about to be out there, in the road, out of your reach because of loose gates?
Fences are the same way. Loose, broken down fences mean the same thing. It doesn't take long to maintain a fence here and there, a little at a time as you see what needs attention. The time consuming work is when "I need to remember to fix that later" or "It's ok for now" takes over our thoughts. Colossians 3:23 says What so ever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, not unto men.
Keep your outward fence tight as well. It all ties together. Handle the details ahead so you are always prepared. This keeps the jobs in life small. In life, your outward fence needs maintained daily as well. Take and make time for your daily devotional to keep your fence and gates tight. It is a big job to have to confess, apologize, ask for forgiveness, then pray forgiveness is granted because we didn't take the time maintain our own fences and gates; because we let our gate fall down and the devil was able to walk right through.
** Freezer is my roping, cow, parade ride, whatever I need Quarter Horse. Thank you McCoy Ranch in Tupelo, Oklahoma. #McCoyRanch #CordMcCoy Ezra is my youngest daughter's and mustang from the Mustang Foundation.
I wrote this originally October 24, 2014 under a previous blog platform. Simple, and called me back to address some internal areas of personal growth I need to get back on top of. Thank you for reading - Willie