Farmer Focus: Christmas US rancher style

Christmas and 2018 are now over on the ranch. My sister called us from England on Christmas morning and gleefully told us about a programme she watched on TV about Christmas in Kansas. 

From what she said it’s safe to assume that the programme would give viewers a strange and warped idea of what Christmas in Kansas actually is like.

Christmas for all practically starts about the afternoon of 23 December.                           . 

Rancher chores continue but farmers are usually finished, although this year they were still desperately cutting soya beans.

See also: 5 reasons why US ranching is not for the faint-hearted

We went to dinner with some of our very good friends and had ribeye steaks that a Belgian Blue could only ask Santa for. 

On Christmas Eve I woke up at 5am and went to one of our farm ponds with friends and by daylight we had nearly 100 goose decoys and our blinds set up. 

Until about 10am we had some of the best hunting for Canadian Geese I have ever had.

It would have been great to hunt all day but we had our legal limit in a few hours. Then I used cow feeding as an excuse to bow out of bird plucking.

Christmas Eve night was spent in our local church. My wife sang “O Holy Night”, which with Santa Claus, Amazon and commercialisation, may be one of my favourite things.

That night father made clam chowder and we drank booze we can’t afford. I am a huge fan of Scotch and had a “rare cask” 18-year-old MacAllan that even my wife would drink. My $20 bottle of beer aged in whisky barrels with coffee and vanilla beans was pretty great too. 

Christmas morning is all about the kids. They woke us up way too early and by daylight they had every present opened. 

After doing the cattle chores we drove two hours to the in-laws house and repeated the process. And at dark we hurried home so we could feed the cows on Boxing Day morning.

Not once did we eat Bundt cake or discuss fairies. Seriously, someone needs to set the record straight with this Nigella lady.


Daniel Mushrush is a Farmer Focus writer from Kansas. Read his biography.