Oh, the holidays! We love them around here. We are currently in the stage of the holiday break where no one has a clue what day it is. 

This year our immediate family drew names for Christmas. Each of us was supposed to play secret Santa to someone else. Our children could not keep something a secret for all the money in the world. It was still fun and started a new tradition for us. I was touched to see how our children chose (and made) things for their siblings. It was my favorite 2020 Christmas memory.

Our family hosted a small gathering at our farm on Christmas Eve. The kids enjoyed seeing their cousins and extended family members that night. Santa Claus stopped in to check his list twice. I am not sure if he thought we were naughty or nice. Everyone enjoyed a meal with beef at the center of their plate. The best way to support our industry is to eat and serve more beef. Nobody left hungry. It was a fun night. 

Christmas Day was spent hanging out together and taking a long nap. The guys went outside and shot skeet with some new guns. The girls watched movies and cleaned up the aftermath of unwrapping and unboxing gifts. All the planning that leads up to this special day leaves me a little bit wiped out by Christmas night.

As much as my husband and children enjoyed Christmas, two of our family members were excited for the week following. Last fall my husband and oldest son got into micro sprint car racing. Our son races in the restrictor class and was thrilled to be part of this giant racing event known as the Tulsa Shoot Out in Oklahoma after the holiday. The two of them packed their trailer carefully for a fun week ahead. It was like watching two bachelors move into an enclosed trailer to rough it for a week.

When they left town, we had a long list of chores we had to take care of during race week. My husband strategically put hay out for each day he would be gone. We have a carefully drawn map to follow to open new gates or pens each day to get our cows into new bales of hay. He knows the easier he makes it for us to do his chores, the less worry it will be for him while he is gone. We always do our best.

So far, everything seems to be going well. I went to work on the first day they were gone, and on my way home as I drove down our lane, I was worried one of the cows was calving. False alarm. She was simply sunning herself while lying in a pile of uneaten hay. 

The farrier will be here tomorrow to trim the horses’ feet. It almost feels like everything here at home is under control. By the end of the week, it may be a different story, neighbor. 

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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