Lessons in Patience
Right now, we are waiting for our first ever litter of silver fox kits to be born. I am so nervous and excited! This is our doe's first breeding, so I have a lot of questions that I'm waiting for answers to, like, will she be a good mama? How big will her average litter size be? Did we wait too late to start breeding her? Is she fertile? Was the breeding even successful? If it wasn't, did I do something wrong that can be corrected next time?
Today (3/18/22) marks day 31 since her breeding. I was beginning to lose hope that we would actually see a litter this time, until I started reading up on some silver fox forums. It seems that silver fox rabbits generally have a longer than average gestation than say, your Californians, or Rex rabbits, typically kindling between 32-35 days. Whew!! That means I don't need to start asking the concerned questions for at least 4 more days.
I've noticed a trend among our livestock that longer than average gestational periods is common. Our laying hens don't start laying their first eggs at the same age as other hens, our dairy goat, Luna, had a longer than average pregnancy last year. And now our bunny, Heather has surpassed the 31 day mark.
I think in part it could be that we choose heritage breeds, we rest them between breedings, and we aim for the most natural approach possible- we've used AI for our goats 2 years in a row now, but it isn't our ideal.
But it got me thinking, what are my ultimate goals on the homestead, and why is it so painful to wait for my animals to do things on their schedule?
And I decided that my goals are having hearty, healthy animals, of quality stock, and keeping our practices as natural and holistic as possible for them. And the painful waiting periods are caused largely by my own impatience, and desire to control my circumstances. Scripture says, "For who scorns the day of small things? These seven eyes of the LORD, which scan throughout the whole earth, will rejoice when they see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (Zechariah 4:10, HCSB). In context, it's referencing the building of the city gates of Jerusalem, and the mockery faced by those doing the "small work" of laying the foundation. But as a commentary aptly put it,
"They did very little, but they were building the city of God, which has outlasted all the mockers. Men might look with contempt on the humble beginning, but other eyes than theirs looked at it with other emotions. The eyes which in the last vision were spoken of as directed on the foundation stone, gaze on the work with joy." [¹]
In the end, all the small seemingly insignificant work was being done to the glory of God, and so God looked on it with favor, and blessed it. That's what I want for our homestead! Above anything else- above profit, production, success,- my hope is for people to look at our efforts and see not ME, but my Savior, who has enabled and equipped my family and I to do the little work of building these systems, laying the foundation for our children on which they may continue to build a lasting legacy, spanning generations.
So I won't complain; I'll wait patiently for all our next things, knowing that doing so glorifies the One who enabled the work in the first place. To God be the glory!
[¹] MacLaren's Expositions, Zechariah 4:1-10, "The Source of Power."