Shaun McKenna's life lessons from dealing with animals

This last Sunday I was given the opportunity to give a talk in our church in Beverley. When asked, I was given the opportunity to come up with my own topic and it should last for around 20 minutes.

For some time I considered just what I could talk about and how I could engage with the congregation, in the end deciding that I could talk about... my animals!

So many times in the past I have heard people comment as to how farm animals are not the smartest creatures on God’s earth, but over the last four years, personally I have learned so many lessons from those I’ve had the pleasure of caring for.

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These many lessons include their regularly teaching me about patience. They have taught me that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence and sometimes we need to stay put to appreciate what we have, rather than always seeking something more.

Through their examples they have taught me to look beyond outward appearance to see what’s more importantly in another’s heart. I have also witnessed many times, whether pigs or sheep, cattle or goats, how they can care for each other without making judgements, which in our own lives can often negatively hinder our actions to reach out to help others.

Opportunities… they have reminded me that we should grab hold of opportunities with both hands, as often these chances don’t come our way a second time.

My animals have also shown me on numerous occasions, through their actions, that we should consider our choices wisely, in order that mistakes aren’t made and we find ourselves in situations or places we’d really rather not be. I for one am grateful for these opportunities I get each day to learn from the animals I care for, but I suppose the most important thing for me is to ensure that the learning I’m doing is not wasted, but is reflected in my own actions moving forward.

It appears to have been a busy week for move-ins on the farm this last week. Our swallows have started to return in numbers from their latest South African adventure.

For a week or so, we had just one swallow on his own and each night he would be tucked up tight in the stable patiently awaiting the arrival of his other half.

We have also had some newbies moving into the farm, the coot family, two pairs of mallards and what’s really exciting is a family of roe deer are now frequenting the woods up at the top too. It’s just another reason why spring is such a wonderful time of year, don’t you think?

Of our three border terriers, when it comes to trouble there’s one who stands head and shoulders above the others... Boo!

She loves to run and play with Scout and Elsa, but she also loves to hunt and so has always got an eye and an ear on other things, which means that she disappears a lot.

She never goes far and always comes back, but it did take a bit of hollering to get her back on Thursday, as I had in a case of mistaken identity spent five minutes shouting at a hare up the field, who paid no attention to me at all!

Next time, I’ll be sure to wear my glasses.