For 25 years John worked for his neighbors Edmund and Fanny Simnocher on this very farm depicted. Edmund was the kindest, humblest man John has ever known. Their farm has been in their family since the 1850s. John has always been impressed by how Edmund cared for the farm, the trees, and the animals.
The painting shows a nourishing and affirming aspect of life in nature, of caring for God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-30). It is more than stewardship—we are members of creation, and dependent on other animals who will be killed that we may live. Thus, the realization that this young calf will be slaughtered—with allusions to Christ’s birth in the manger and his willingness to sacrifice his own life.