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Barb Wire is Much Like Words

This summer we cleared a stand of red pines from our farm. The pines were planted in the 1970’s in a reforesting effort that swept across the state of Vermont, leaving patches of tall trees across the hillsides. Our trees had been neglected through the years. They were spindly, and tall. On several occassions, we had talked with foresters about them, getting the same response each time, “these trees are really not worth anything.” So we cut them down to make room for new pasture and new growth within our flock.

The dogs and I worked during the waning days of autumn to pull old barb wire from the edge of our newly cleared area. The barb wire, a last remembrance of open farm land, tells of past times when the farmers raised cattle in the fields. Now, the wire lays, entangling trees, distorting them and causing a hazard to both man and beast.

It took about 2 weeks for me to get all of the wire cut from the trees and pulled from under the earth where it had been buried for ages. The dogs and I would go out every afternoon with our snipping tool and work for an hour or more. It felt good to be ridding us of the constant worry that a dog or sheep would get trapped within the snare of sharp pointed barbs.

Two weeks is a long time to work on a project. It gave me much time to think and ponder, making connections between the work of my hands and life around me. The past few days, I have concluded…

barb wire is much like words, the words we speak to one another.

Words can connect us, unify us, strengthen us, and uplift us

words connect us
connect, unify, strengthen, uplift


or they can distort us, pierce us, and change us forever.


words distort
distort, pierce, change


Words, once spoken, can never be taken back. Hurtful words bury deep within us, and though we try to heal our wounds, there is always a scar left behind.


words scar
scar forever


Even when the speaker takes back his hurtful phrases, the damage is left behind. Sometimes there are little sharp points that poke out and jab those around us from time to time, and sometimes, the scars are deep and unsightly.


words jab
poke and jab


In the coming year,  I hope to continue to can clean out the rolls of old wire from our farm and my heart and focus on regrowth.


recycle barb wire
Coiled wire waiting to be recycled and re-purposed for a better use.


Proverbs 15:4


9 Responses

  1. Kelly corbett

    Beautifully spoken my friend. So glad to reconnect with you. xo

    • Kim Goodling

      Thank you Kelly! It is wonderful to reconnect with you too! We both started our sheep/wool endeavors at about the same time!

  2. Betsy Alspach

    What a nice post and analogies. Thank you for that. Thinking about barbed wire reminds me of a song that Claire Lynch wrote called Barbed Wire Boys. It was about the men she knew growing up who were hard working farmers. The first time I heard it, it opened my eyes a little about my grandfather. While he never farmed and perhaps never touched barbed wire her description of these strong, hard working and quiet men who never talked about their deepest longings made me teary. It made me think for the first time of some difficult things that I knew had happened in his life which he never spoke of to me that he must have wished could have gone differently. Your barbed wire makes me also think of the people who put it up and what their lives may have been like. So much from a bit of twisted wire!

    • Kim Goodling

      Betsy, thank you for your comment! Our farm was established in the mid 1800’s. There is so much history here. I always think of the many lives whose hands have worked this property. We often have folks stop and tell us things like, “my grandfather used to drive his horse and buggy and pick up the milk from your milk house,” or “years ago, I built that stone retaining wall.” And then there are initials and names carved in the beams in the barn and the basement of family members who were born, lived, and worked here. It is impossible to not think about them.

      • Betsy Alspach

        How wonderful to have people telling you that they have history with your home. You can learn so much! As so many farms fall to development they must be happy you are continuing on with it.

        • Kim Goodling

          Yes, we were the first family in about 50-75 years to bring animals and children back to the farm. All of the neighbors were so happy to see us and our little flock of 2 legged and 4 legged lambs arrive about 13 years ago!

  3. Ute

    Kim (and Chuck),

    Thank you for your wisdom. It is so very true. Harsh words can be so painful. Like you said just like barb wire. Thank you for writing:)

    • Kim Goodling

      Oh thank you. So glad you visit our blog!

  4. L.P.

    I am sorry, have forgotten your name, but I just had to let you know how much I loved your comparison of barbed wire to words. What a great analogy! Thank you for sharing this in your newsletter. It is a lesson we can all benefit from.