Tag Archives: christmas

Feeding the cows and Peace on earth.

Red Angus

A few days ago, I rode with my man while he finished feeding the cows. He loads round bales onto the bale-buster, then drives out to the pasture and spreads it out so the cows can eat it. It was a cold day – single digits. And there was a strong wind. I’d guess 30-40 mph with much higher gusts on the high areas. That heated tractor cab is wonderful! :)

tractor feeding hay

The bale-buster is a contraption that holds a round bale, then iron teeth on the bottom rotate, digging into the bale, and the hay spits out an opening in the bottom. When the bale is gone, Cliff raises the arms that are holding the extra bale, and it flips up and drops into the bale-buster. It throws a lot of dust when it is chomping up a hay bale, and the wind blew it over everything.

Cows eating hay

tractoraspens in snow

After we fed the cows, we took a bale to the horses. A soft evening light was settling over the landscape, making me forget my cold fingers. I snapped a few more pictures, between opening gates for my man.

By the way – ranch wives joke about having to open gates for their men, but truly? I don’t mind. Any time spent together is great! :)

paint horse and ponieshorses

Now it is nearly Christmas. The wind is howling outside as I type, there’s a fresh couple inches of snow on the ground. The gifts are wrapped and the cookies are made. Strains of holiday music fill the air.

It is not picture perfect, because we are a real family, we traipse snow in on our boots and the hearth around the wood stove is perpetually ash-sprinkled and messy. There are toys and cups sitting around my living room, because I was too tired to pick them up last night.

But the love of Jesus is here. Our love of each other grows stronger and purer each year. Our love for God is increasing, and we are working on our “peace on earth, goodwill to men”.

Dear ranch mama, don’t be discouraged if your house is not as holiday-ready as your neighbor’s. Don’t allow Satan to steal YOUR peace, this week. Reduce expectations, keep it simple, and love on your family. Take a few minutes here and there to slip away and pray. Of course you can pray ‘mentally’, but there is something about locking the bedroom door for two minutes and taking your attitude and trials to God in prayer. :)

running horses

May your home honor God and bless others this season. Starting with your own family.

 

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Christmas is a time of joy, peace, and goodwill.  Or at least, that’s what the songs and carols say. But is it, truly? I mean, how much goodwill do you feel when your toddler has yanked down the carefully placed ornaments for the 6th time in one morning? How much peace is there in holiday shopping?

I am gonna let out a secret to peaceful holidays.

An ornament made and given to us by some ranch friends.

An ornament made and given to us by some ranch friends.

Don’t do it.

Really. Don’t do the frantic shopping, the endless crafting, the perfect decor. Just stop.

But this is our TRADITION!! I can hear you yell. Yes. Maybe it is. But how about a new tradition? You can always make a new one – if you are excited and upbeat about it, your kids are probably more open to the idea than you think. Just lay down the need for the ‘Joneses’ Christmas. Get back to the ‘Little House’ kind. You know – where everyone had secrets in the weeks leading up th Christmas? And there were popcorn strings and cutout angels on the tree? One gift per person on the breakfast plate? Yeah. That’s the kind of Christmas I’m talking about.

Jenni made this fun ornament!

Jenni made this fun ornament!

Not saying you have to be stingy, or boring, or mean. But simplicity is not Scrooge-like. It’s just a lost art. When I see all the tips on how to balance your Christmas budget, I think, “Wow”! Really? Why buy gifts when you can’t afford them? Since when have we gotten so weak-spined that we can’t graciously turn down a Secret Santa party or the 3rd Christmas party? (if it involves gifts) I mean, if you have the money – go for it!! But it makes me a little sad seeing people wreck their whole budget, their sanity, and their lives all month, just to satisfy the whiny kids. (or the trashman – really??) Trust me, I know it’s easier short term to just cave. Whether it’s family, kids, job, church, you name it. But I don’t think that is  the way to do it. I think lessons on life are more needed  by our children to day, than another plastic toy. Maybe not as appreciated right now – but one day…

Lucia was sitting her stuffed animals in the tree one day. Looks like the squirrel and the Santa are having a good talk...

Lucia was sitting her stuffed animals in the tree one day. Looks like the squirrel and the Santa are having a good talk…

Here’s what we are doing this year:

Budgeting money: Homemade gifts. Yep. Still working on what I can make that will be actually a treat for my son. What do you make for a 10-year-old boy? And just one gift each. The one-gift policy is how we started out, so the kids aren’t expecting anything more. That alone is the best thing we’ve done to keep things sane. They look forward to that one gift at Christmas, just like they look forward to their one gift at their Birthdays.

Frank made the Santa. Strange, since we don't do Santa in this house. :)

Frank made the Santa. Strange, since we don’t do Santa in this house. :)

 

Simplify: I let them decorate the tree (and the house!) just how they like. In fact, they did it 100% alone, I still haven’t touched the tree. If something looks funky, well, it looks good to them, and that’s why we have the tree, right? To have a fun time of decorating? They will grow up and do it more neatly soon enough. I like their childish touches right now!

Besides, we all love a homemade Christmas. We like colorful lights, red, green and gold decor…basically everything traditional and cozy. While I think the blue and white decor is stunning – it seems a little too cold and impersonal for us. My husband likes the lights big and colorful! I have to say – nothing so cozy as early morning when the tree is softly glowing.

Oh, it's random and colorful! But the kids absolutely love it!

Oh, it’s random and colorful! But the kids absolutely love it!

IMG_2496

Shopping: Making our own gifts, reusing ornaments, = no need to shop! :) Yay!

OK, well, we still have to eat, and I will be going in this week for our Christmas ham, and some goodies to make a Christmas feast. But you know what? getting food is less intimidating when you aren’t trying to keep your eyes open for gift ideas at the same time. :)

Someone gave us this ornament after our son died. I like it.

Someone gave us this ornament after our son died. I like it.

 

playing with bokeh!

playing with bokeh!

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What about you? are you having an old-fashioned Christmas? Or do you thrive in the hustle and bustle of modern holiday mode? :) (That’s OK, too.)

Note: We don’t always do homemade gifts, and I’m not against more than one gift. It’s just what we’ve had to do this year. These ideas are not meant to attack anyone – just a new way of looking at things! :)

Sharing over at: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/12/homestead-barn-hop-140.html and http://www.themodestmomblog.com/2013/12/modest-monday-link-10/