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Christmas at Damphewmore Acres

I’m writing this column before Christmas and you’ll be reading it after Christmas — so, here’s a belated Merry Christmas to you from me.

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I know that farmers and ranchers claim not to be sentimental about their livestock, horses and pets. But, I don’t think that’s true.



They might not admit it, but I’ll bet that most farmers and ranchers show they have a soft spot in their hearts by sometimes on Christmas morning giving their cows or ewes a big round bale of the very best hay in the barn, or give their horse an extra scoop of sweet feed or oats, or give their companion dog a share of their own breakfast. I speak from experience.

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Since it’s the holiday season, I heard yesterday on the radio the song “Twelve Days of Christmas.” That got me to thinking about an appropriate list of “aggie stuff” to compile my own version of “Damphewmore Acres Twelve Days of Christmas.” Here goes.

On the first day of Christmas: One fresh-cut cedar tree.

On the second day of Christmas: Two pounds of wild bird seed.

On the third day of Christmas: Three frozen buckets.

On the fourth day of Christmas: Four stocking stuffers.

On the fifth day of Christmas: Five roosters crowing.

On the sixth day of Christmas: Six pairs of warm socks.

On the seventh day of Christmas: Seven gifts to buy.

On the eighth day of Christmas: Eight hours of good sleep.

On the ninth day of Christmas: Nine phone calls to good friends.

On the tenth day of Christmas: Ten Christmas cards received.

On the eleventh day of Christmas: Eleven cinnamon rolls (one eaten).

On the twelfth day of Christmas: Twelve fresh brown eggs gathered.

***

Sticking with the Christmas theme, I’ve appreciated almost all my Christmas gifts I’ve received during my 78 Christmases. However, I remember being devastated at a Christmas present I got when I was little boy, probably 7 years old.

Here’s the story about it. At the time we were living on a rented farm in southeast Kansas. We had just gotten rural electricity to our farm home. My pappy, ol’ Czar E. Yield, quickly became a habitual listener to the early morning farm news and weather from WIBW radio in Topeka.

Of course, I listened too because I had no other choice. And, in the weeks before Christmas, I heard an advertisement on WIBW about a “child’s complete farm set.” The announcer lavishly and gushingly described the farm set as including barn, tractor, equipment, pens, and all kinds of livestock.

Just hearing the ad set my young mind at work. I wanted that complete farm set. I could see myself “farming just like dad,” if I only had that farm set.

So, I started telling Mom and Day about the farm set. I talked about it incessantly. I distinctly remember them saying, “You might not like it.” But I ignored them.

When it got to Christmas eve, the “complete farm set” was at the top of my list for Santa.

And, lo, on Christmas morning there was a present under the cedar tree that yielded what I fervently hoped it would — the “complete farm set.”

But, as I opened the cardboard box, my high hopes slowly turned to disappointment. Oh, it contained that “complete farm set,” but all of the “stuff” wuz not plastic, as I had envisioned, but printed paper “punch-out” barns, tractors, equipment, pens and animals. When I punched the figures out and folded out the “feet,” the figures would fall over every time.

My disappointment was clear, and I’m sure looking back, that my folks felt badly because, as they’d suspected, the farm set was inferior. But, they also knew that I’d have been heartbroken and lost my belief in Santa, if the gift had not been under the tree.

As kids are, I wuz resiliant enuf to quickly get over my Christmas disappointment. But it must have lingered, or I wouldn’t be recounting the story seven decades later. It wuz one of my first hard-knock lessons learned in life.

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We had another spate of yo-yo weather during the past week. The high went into the 70s and the low yesterday morning wuz 13 degrees F. I finally had to plug in the heaters for my chicken waterers. Chickens aren’t very good at breaking ice, even thin ice.

***

Sadly, day after tomorrow, we’ll be burying my oldest brother-in-law. He was a great guy, a great family man and neighbor. He was 84 and had been in poor health for quite awhile, but it was Covid that finally brought about the end.

***

No words of wisdom this week, just this aggie pun: What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef.

Be careful on New Year’s Eve, but make sure you have a happy one.


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