We had visions of building a barn, first.

But, in the months since, we’ve learned more about the principle we’ve had preached to us, which we’ve then preached to others (mostly our kids).

First things first.

Because before you build a barn, there are things to do. First. There’s land to clear. There’s seed to sow, in its season. There’s carbon from the plants cleared which decompose and, in God’s grand design, foster life from the things that died. Water needs to get running in the right directions.

And you’ve got to build fences.

Ever since our family had the privilege of being part of the making of the film, The Ultimate Gift, fence-building has been emblematic for us of a good, old-fashioned work ethic.

Unlike the gents in the movie, we’ve had the aid of a tractor. But, each section of fencing requires additional posthole-digging, leveling, hole filling, tamping, nailing, capping, and the like. In other words, the work is still arduous, involving muscles I forgot I had (or in fact no longer have). That makes us glad we have strapping lads to help – who still have said muscles.

We’ve considered all that fences symbolize, both good and bad. That said, at the end of this fence-building season, we certainly empathize more deeply with the words of the inimitable Chesterton:

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

The livestock is due to arrive in the coming weeks, God willing, from the Shelton Family Farm up near Kentucky. We’ll be driving a 4-horse trailer and goose-necked truck to match it from the Clan Shanahan. On the anticipated passenger list are Babydoll Southdown sheep, dwarf Nigerian goats, and two miniature ponies. That’s for starters.

        All Creatures Great and Small, the Lord God has Made Them All.

May our fences hold.


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