As Christmas is coming to a close, I thought I would share some memories of Christmas on the dairy and some of our Christmas traditions.
Unfortunately the chores have to be done every day regardless of what else we may want to be doing, even on Christmas morning. Some people may think that Christmas is no day to have to spend in a barn with a bunch of animals, but remember the first Christmas was spent in a stable. I try to do all the extra little things the day before Christmas, like mixing an extra load of feed for the milk cows and making sure there is plenty of hay and grain set out for the calves that can be quickly thrown in the mangers. This morning I woke up extra early (about 3:30) to get an early start on milking. Holly banned the kids from the living room until I got in the house so they couldn’t see what Santa brought until after the morning chores were finished (a tradition carried over from her family.) Most years the kids come out to help speed up the milking and calf feeding so they can get to their presents quicker. However this year Hannah (8) was the only one who came out and she got there just in time to walk back in the house with me. I did have some help this morning though, both my father and my brother-in-law (Brandon Muir) showed up about 4:40 and helped me milk, so I was able to finish up just after 6:00. Once all the animals had been taken care of we opened presents, went to church, and enjoyed time with family.
I am reminded of one Christmas as a boy. I must have been about 13. My dad had been helping milk mornings on his father’s farm, my uncle, who usually helped with the morning milking had cut off part of his finger and was unable to get his hand wet while it healed, so my dad was filling in. My brother and I, and one cousin set our fathers’ alarm clocks back and snuck out early Christmas morning to milk and feed before they awoke. It seemed like the coldest morning I could remember (I think about -20), my coveralls got wet and froze stiff, (somehow I ended up being the one doing the outside work while the other two stayed inside and milked the cows). I made many trips back into the barn to stand by the heater and thaw out, so I could finish the outside feeding. We finished and tried to sneak back into the house just as my dad was waking up, realizing he was late. He met us at the back door to find out all the chores were finished.
A few years ago I was surprised on Christmas morning as my dad, my older brother and two brother-in-laws showed up early to help milk so I could get in the house with the kids. It was quite a sight I ‘m sure, but we milked pretty fast.
More help this morning made for a short morning of chores and more time with family on Christmas morning.
This afternoon as we milked Holly brought Casen out to help; I think it was the highlight of his day to be out helping feed and milk. Holly got some good pictures of him. Christmas is a special day and time of year; everyone tries to do their part to part to see that the animals receive all the care they need without consuming our entire day. I appreciate all the help I received which allowed me to have an enjoyable day celebrating the birth of our Savior and spending time with family.