Home for the Holidays – Making Memories in the Barn and Around the Hearth

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation but all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Mass chaos while trying to get dressed. Hurrying to get out the door. Trying to beat the clock. This is likely a common occurrence at your house when it comes to making it to school, church or a family function on time. For our family, during the holidays, we are doing the hustle to get our livestock cared for before we join the holiday festivities.

On Christmas Eve, we rush around to care for the herd prior to church service and dinner. In all honesty, I have unknowingly attended candlelight service with hay in my hair, and while I’d like to say it won’t happen again, deep down I know that’s a lie.  

On Christmas Day, my husband and I rise with the sun and hurry to feed cattle and horses, deliver hay, clean stalls and check on our cattle herd’s well-being before our daughters wake up. Not only do the chores go faster when we work together, but this is one of the few chances we have every day to share a few moments to ourselves, to appreciate the stillness of the day and prepare for the busyness that lies ahead.

After all the animals are cared for, our day looks like any other average family’s Christmas Day. We prepare breakfast and wait for our daughters to wake, although our 6-year-old is an early bird and the excitement of the day will probably prevent her from sleeping past 7:30 a.m. We will enjoy a slow morning of opening gifts and then spend the day eating, playing games and watching football with our family.

Ranching is rarely {actually, never} glamorous but the feeling of comfort and peace I have knowing our animals are cared for with warm bedding and full bellies is unmatched.

Imagine the feeling you experience when you are tucked in your house in front of the fireplace, or are curled up under a blanket, with a cup of your favorite hot beverage and your loved ones close by. It’s a cozy, nostalgic and peaceful feeling. It’s giving Norman Rockwell and the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. That is exactly how I feel when I turn the barn lights off after ensuring the animals are fed, bedded down and comfortable during the cold weather of the holidays. It might sound crazy, but this is why we chose this lifestyle, to be stewards and caretakers of our livestock.

Another favorite moment on our ranch, and one that has turned into a family tradition, is our annual cow checking and feeding photo on New Year’s Day. We’ve been doing this for about six years and in that time, we’ve added two daughters to the mix. We pile into the feed truck with mittens and warm mugs to bounce across the pasture and count the cows. Other families might go ice skating or to the movies on their holiday break, but we use the ranch as our backdrop for family fun.

It’s the simple moments with our loved ones that mean the most to us – with some cows sprinkled in – I guess we aren’t all that different from our urban peers after all. Minus the cows.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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