Christmas on the Farm

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way, ha, ha ha. Bells on bobtail ring making spirits bright, what fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight….”

This is a common Christmas song heard at this time of year. And while most everyone knows the words, how many of us have actually done this? Well, I have.

Before we moved to the Yukon, we got together with my brother’s family to celebrate New Year’s Day with a sleigh ride.

It wasn’t a sleigh like you would see in the Christmas cards, but a wagon on skis.

We had straw bales to sit on and blankets wrapped around our already suited-up legs. We bundled up as much as we could.

Saskatchewan isn’t very warm this time of year and there was always a wind blowing. But it was fun anyway.

One of my favourite memories from this time was when our son was about four or five. He wanted to stand right up at the front. There was a railing there so he was safe from falling under, but he was directly behind the horses.

I don’t know how much he could see but he spent the entire ride yelling “Yee haw” about every five minutes or so. It didn’t seem to bother the driver or the horses, so I left him to enjoy himself.

Christmas tends to be a memorable time. Families gather and friends meet to celebrate over good food… often too much good food.

It isn’t so much what is under the tree but who is gathered around it that seems to make it a special event.

The wonder in a small child’s eyes as the Christmas tree is lit up for the first time. The excitement as they try to sleep on Christmas Eve. The house smelling of baking and ringing with Christmas music.

Most holidays have a connection to farming. Easter has new chicks and animal babies. Thanksgiving involves the harvest of the farm, but Christmas doesn’t have much in common with a farm. Not in today’s world.

Our chickens don’t know one day is different from the next and neither do the pigs. They only know it’s cold outside and there is snow on the ground.

The chickens still scratch around in the barn but there aren’t many bugs to find, if any. Life does slow down for them – there is usually only eating and sleeping to be done.

The only ones that seem to have any spunk are the piglets and they haven’t even seen the outside world yet.

With less daylight, the animals do tend to sleep more. I like the sound of the barn as everything is settling down to sleep. It’s a noisy process in the summer but not in the winter.

Sometimes it even sounds like the chickens are snoring. The quietness has a peaceful feel to it. No wonder it was a barn that was the site of the very first Christmas.

Merry Christmas from Grizzly Valley Farms.

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