Now that the chaos of Christmas is behind us I am able to take a bit of time to reflect on our Christmas. Our Christmas tree is coming down, the nativity is being packed away and we are preparing for a new year with all the unknowns that are to come!
This year I felt like Christmas came up a little too quick. There was no snow or cold weather, there was an entire month that flew by me right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and well life got a bit more chaotic with a child, a farm, a new blog, baking lots of cookies, and everything else I juggle in-between!
But for us Christmas is more than just being a “normal” family whatever “normal” means. For us we are also farmers and animal caretakers who work through the holidays. Our animals require us 365 days a year to care for them cows do not take a day off! The cows still need fed and milked, and the calves and heifers all need cared for. The barns need scraped and the parlor needs cleaned after milking. The milk needs picked up by our milker hauler and our cows still need bred. We often forget it’s not just us working through the holidays but also those who work so closely with us.
Christmas morning was a bit different for me this year as I didn’t have to go down to the barn to feed calves as one of our evening milkers who is off school came to the farm to help, so I was able to stay home with our daughter and prepare Christmas brunch. We don’t rush to our tree each morning to see the gifts. There were actually no gifts under our tree Christmas morning as Santa knew a little girl would rip them open. After chores were done and brunch was consumed, we went ahead and opened a few of our gifts around 2. Our daughter, Nora, loved the wrapping paper and took great joy in ripping it off piece by piece. The toys she could care less about the wrapping paper was great entertainment! My husband, Clayton, and I are not about the gifts as much as what the day means. We like to enjoy the day with family, however, I don’t think he’ll be giving back the buddy seat I got for him. The buddy seat will be installed in one of our tractors so that Nora can ride with him this spring. It might be as much of a gift for me as it is for him!
Christmas evening we welcomed Clayton’s grandparents, aunt and uncle into our home to enjoy Christmas dinner and we had a great dinner with family. The next three days were a whirlwind as we visited family for the holidays starting with locally and then traveling to my parents. We loved our time with family but it sure is hard to leave your farm over the holidays. We are blessed and lucky to have employees who can cover for us and run the farm while we are gone. We are also blessed with awesome family who we love seeing and spending time with!
While some would consider getting away for a few days a vacation it certainly isn’t much of that, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! My husband didn’t exactly have time off on our trip as he was answering texts or calls with questions from farm help and well on our trip we were headed to another dairy farm so he can’t stay away from chores for long. My parents and uncle and aunt also own a farm, the dairy farm I grew up on. And a few weeks ago my uncle who is partners with my dad was injured pretty severely. He is doing well and so is the farm but Clayton felt it was important to try to help my Dad as much as he could. He helped with milking, mixing feed and cutting firewood. I also like to trek to the barn but haven’t as much since Nora is in tow but did this time to help my mom out with calves and of course to take some pictures. My brother also pulls out his barn clothes to help and my brother-in-law came down as well, and of course the nephews always have to head to the farm to see Poppa, the cows and cats! All the men went to cut wood before we headed home and were able to help my parents by filling the basement with wood. For us this farm life is truly a family affair and we would not have it any other way.
The cows at Normandell Farms were delighted to see me! The calves however just wanted their milk, they could have cared less!
This Christmas season was a bit more special with our sparkling blue eyed girl, a hard smack of reality knowing that we need to enjoy the time with the family we have with us on heavenly earth, and remembering that life isn’t always perfect but we have to make do with what we have. This is a Christmas I will never forget and as we pack up our ornaments and our nativity I am reminded of the joy this season brings even with the added work of caring for our cattle. And much like the manager scene Christmas would not be the same without the cattle. The cattle and the chores make our Christmas complete. “The cattle are lowing. The Baby awakes. But little Lord Jesus. No crying He makes.”
God bless you as 2015 closes and 2016 begins!