"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

July 12, 2011


When working with cows, it is all about consistency!

Cows are a lot like people, they get into routines and don't like to change up their habits when something new comes along.

That is one of the reasons that we got the robots to milk the cows.  It milks them in the same way, has the same movements every time they come into the milking station.

The cows also need a consistent diet.  If the ration at the bunk changes, their stomachs can get upset and they don't feel like moving very well.  It is a challenge to get the same quality ingredients in their feed on a daily basis.  Each spring we are harvesting rye and each fall we are harvesting corn.  Each year the crop can be different, each season has its challenges.

Weather is another thing that affects the cows' "mood."  When the weather is hot and they are not in an environment that can be controlled, they become "lazy" and don't feel like moving, I feel that way when it is hot also.  When the weather is cloudy, sticky, and "close" (the pressure in the atmosphere is higher), the cows can also feel that change and be more jumpy.  This is very difficult to keep consistent because we don't control the weather, but we try to keep the barn as comfortable as possible in all seasons of the year.

Cows are very social creatures, they like to interact with each other.  But when they interact with humans, we need to be predictable with our actions and voice. 

They get accustomed to the people that take care of them because they are consistently around.  For example, we have someone living with us for 3 weeks and helping on the farm.  The first day I took her out to the barn, the cows were all really curious and all tried to sniff and lick her.  I send her to go get a cow for me who needs to go into the robot, and the cow will not get up for her.  And I come along, and the cow pops right up and backs out of her stall with just a voice command.  The cows know and respect me because I have been caring for them for over a year now.

When everything is consistent, the cows are calmer, know what to expect, and happier.  Change causes stress, and stress in cows can cause problems, like sickness or injury.

We can be like cows sometimes.  We get comfortable in our routines and forget to step out of our comfort zone to pursue meaningful conversations and relationships with others.  I am guilty of this a lot.  When I feel tired, I would rather stay at home and work on a crossword puzzle with my feet propped up than go to a friend's house to talk and hang out.  But I have to conciously make that decision to make other people more important than my own desires.  You never know when something that you do could have a big impact on someone's day or even their life.

At the same time, our lives are not very consistent.  Circumstances change all the time.  One minute our mood can be really great and we're being positive and nice to the people around us, and the next something happens that just makes us turn around and snap at someone.  Humans are not very consistent.  We let our feelings and emotions control how we live.  We let other people down, intentionally and unintentionally, and we disappoint ourselves and others. 

But God is consistent.  He does not change and never has.  And that is a good thing.  No matter what we do, or say he still loves us.  No matter how much we change he still loves us, he will never stop loving us, no matter how far we run.

"God is not human, that he should lie,
   not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
   Does he promise and not fulfill?"

       ~Numbers 23:19
"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
     coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
 who does not change like shifting shadows."
        ~James 1:17

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