What You Can Get Away with on a Farm or Ranch


This column was originally published February 12, 2014

Farm and ranch residents may not have a grocery store or WalMart located only minutes away, but there are some advantages to living out of town including things you can only get away with in the country.

  • It’s universally acceptable in the country if a kid pees outside.
  • Dropping by unexpectedly on farm/ranch families is not received as an unpleasant surprise or annoyance. Country folks enjoy friends, acquaintances, or relatives stopping for a visit.
  • Nobody cares if there’s horse or cow poop in the driveway (unless someone trips or stubs a toe on a frozen cowpie, then there might be some griping).
  • Water from a country well is generally potable and doesn’t cost over $1 to drink 16 oz. of it.
  • In the summertime, the racket that country “neighbors” make is actually pleasant. Birds, crickets, frogs, and coyotes (and at our house, sometimes elk) are soothing to listen to.
  • You can have dogs, several if you want, and most stray cats are welcome, especially if they hunt varmints and vermin.
  • It’s perfectly legal and there’s no risk of getting fined for indecent exposure if he or she is too lazy to get dressed just to go run out to the vehicle for something or get clothes off the clothesline in one’s skivvies or sleepwear (we’re talking warm weather).
  • The company that stays all summer is always welcome back: bluebirds, robins, yellow finches, mud swallows, and blue jays, and all of their other relatives.
  • You  can have a clothesline because there are no ordinances against them on farms and ranches.
  • There are no Jones’ to keep up with.
  • On a farm or ranch, tots can stand on the pickup seat next to their parents to check cows.
  • The only complaints if your dog(s) bark at night will come from you/your spouse.
  • It’s acceptable to have and use the old outhouse in your back yard.
  • Country lawns don’t have to be constantly mowed in order to remain a required height.
  • You can hang the whole works on a clothesline: bras, underwear, pajamas…nobody cares.
  • Dogs don’t have to have a collar, dog tags, or be on a leash in order to run around in the country.
  • You can shoot a gun in your yard and neighbors won’t be alarmed. They may come over to watch you shoot though.
  • In the country there’s enough open space that you don’t have to pick up feces after your animal(s) defecate.
  • If you’re putzing along in the middle of a country road, drivers will not give you the stink eye (disdainful look), honk their horn, or raise their finger at you. Instead they’ll give you a wide berth, wave, smile and nod as they go by.

Country living has lots of advantages until farm and ranch residents get snowed in, experience a major power outage, or suddenly have no water. Getting power restored, well issues resolved, or plows out to the country roads can sometimes take a long time. That’s when country living becomes more of a disadvantage known as “pioneer living.”

© Amy Kirk 2014

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Wrestle Like a Girl–Cowgirl Style


This past weekend we held our branding and after processing the whole day with my husband Art several different times, we determined that this year’s branding was probably  the best we’ve ever had, or at least that we can remember having.

For starters, we had excellent weather.

Myles helping bring in the herd for sorting.


The temperature was not too hot out and for being early May, it wasn’t cold, windy, or threatening to snow or rain for once. We’ve had some real doozies for branding day weather in years past.

Our 14 year-old daughter Reneé really wanted try her hand at wrestling calves this year, which I was really excited about since there aren’t as many of us gals wrestling.

Scott–neighbor and friend running the branding irons. Reneé on the back end of a calf.


In years past she didn’t have the confidence (or enough sand in her butt) and was a bit intimidated by squirrely calves that weighed as much or more than she did. The night before and the morning of our branding, she had lots of questions about technique in hold down a calf.

Reneé and I holding down a calf. France (cutter) and Jim (vaccine guy) both friends and neighbors.


Calves that weigh as much as 150-200, even 300 pounds can really pack a punch when they kick and I’ve seen calf wrestlers get the wind knocked out of them so it’s pretty important that calves are held down tight when getting branded, castrated, vaccinated and eartagged at the same time.  We assign one person for each job necessary, and it usually takes less than 60 seconds to do everything for each calf.

Larry–good friend and neighbor and our vaccine gun guy


We strive to brand, vaccinate, fly tag and castrate (where applicable) as fast as possible so there’s minimal stress on the calves and they’re paired back up with their mother again quickly.

Pat–good friend, neighbor, and our fly tag man


Laura–neighbor and calf wrestler


Branding day for our calves is a lot like a mother taking her kid in to the doctor’s office for his or her immunization shots. The key is to do everything as quickly as possible before the youngster even knows what happened and get him or her back to momma right after. I always appreciated how two nurses would give my kids their shots simultaneously so the ordeal wasnt drawn out. This is the same system we use for our calves. Restraining calves properly is really important for the calves, the wrestlers, and everyone tending to the calf. Sharp knives, needles, and hot irons can be really dangerous for all involved if a calf gets up or gets a hind leg loose and kicks.



Traditionally, we’ve always branded our cattle, but some outfits don’t. We feel branding our calves is even more important than ever these days since cattle rustling seems to be on the rise as a result of the current high cattle market. We aim to have everything branded before turning them out on summer range.

This year I worked my tail off in the kitchen the day before our branding making salads, side dishes; baking cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, desserts, and cooking my roast beef and  BBQ spare ribs for our branding day dinner.  I promised our daughter Reneé that I would wrestle some calves with her, as she felt more comfortable having me for a calf wrestling partner instead of her brother Myles, who always goes after the biggest calves in the bunch to wrestle.



All I had left to do on branding day was heat everything up and cook my gravy and potatoes for mashed potatoes. I am very fortunate to have such wonderful neighbor ladies who were willing to check on things in the kitchen for me while Reneé and I wrestled calves.

This is Dick, our Rocky Mountain Oyster cook. He takes his job very serious. Art designed and welded the special channel on top of our branding stove so we could cook Rocky Mountain Oysters for the crew to eat during branding. Goes great with an ice cold beer. ;)


It was a really fun family day and even though it’s considered ranch work, everyone present had a great time doing the work, visiting and sharing a meal together afterwards.

Typical BS session while waiting for another bunch of calves to be brought in as well as after the work’s all done.


The Boss (Art) and Jim visiting


All photos taken by Martha Studt–thanks Mom!


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Bringing People Together, Sharing a Meal, & Benefitting Ranchers Affected by Atlas



A Senior Project Success:

When our son Myles said he was thinking about putting on a steak feed to benefit the Rancher Relief Fund for his Senior Project (a fairly new requirement for South Dakota high school graduates), I was very proud that he came up with that particular idea all on his own. There was a part of me that considered suggesting a less labor intensive project, knowing that he had no idea what would be involved in order to do something like this, but instead I kept my mouth shut and decided I would support him any way I could.  At Custer High School, Senior Projects have to be community service related. For Myles to come up with a project that would benefit the community and agriculture was something I was even more proud of.

Sr. Project

Getting the word out about Myles’ Senior Project made the front page of our local paper.

Our cattle herd was not affected by the notorious October snowstorm, Atlas, but we knew of others that had been hit by the devastation and I liked the idea of being able to assist our son in raising the bar a notch to help those who took a hit from Atlas. This past Saturday, it all came together when Myles’ steak feed was held in downtown Custer at the VFW. Our whole family plus relatives and family friends volunteered in bringing a community of people together for fellowship, conversation, and an outstanding Dutch oven and open fire steak dinner as a fundraiser for the Rancher Relief Fund.

Fellow ranchers and family friends of ours, Clayton and Rhonda Sander catered the meal.


Behind the scenes: Clayton gets the fire going right in the driveway behind the VFW.



Rhonda and her stepfather preparing ingredients for the beans.


Clayton stirring bacon for the beans 


Sanders run a side business of chuckwagon cooking in the spring and summer months, and Myles arranged to have them prepare the meal for the benefit and with Clayton’s suggestion, Myles set the meal at $15 a plate for RSVP’s and $18 at the door for walk ins. Clayton and Rhonda’s menu is simple and does not change, therefore their meals are cooked exceptionally well. Their menu consists of steak, Dutch oven potatoes with onions and bacon, Dutch oven cowboy beans and bacon, Dutch oven peach cobbler, and a drink (campfire coffee, iced tea, lemonade, or water).


Cooking peaches for peach cobbler. Cowboy coffee, dessert, and bacon gets cooked first, then beans and potatoes, and steaks are done last.

Clayton and Rhonda’s beans are famous around here, and one patron wanted to RSVP just because she loved their beans so much!


A close-up of Sanders’ famous cowboy beans.

The dinner was set for 6-8 pm, which I questioned would be enough time, but I was proven wrong. By 6 pm the VFW’s entire basement was full and other people had to take the upstairs seating. Thanks to the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, we had plenty of brochures and reading material for people to read and/or discuss while waiting, and there was lots of fellowship time for people to get into and enjoy good conversations, which Myles also wanted to promote the steak dinner for. Mealtime and conversations at the table are highly valued aspects of our household as well as many farm and ranch families.


Serving didn’t start until 6:30. Myles stayed up front to be in charge of meeting the people and taking care of the tickets, since he had a specific system for keeping track of everything.


 Myles had assistance from his girlfriend Dani, who also kept him calm when he’d get stressed or worried. LOL. Our family teased Myles a little bit about his extremely organized system, but in reality, it served him well when it got busy.


Proudly, Pringle neighbors and friends were the first of patrons to show for the dinner.

Around 6:15 hot Dutch ovens of beans, potatoes and peach cobbler were brought to the serving line while the steaks were grilled over the open pit outside, fifty steaks at a time. My husband and Bill, a family friend, had to pack all of the Dutch ovens to the food line together, since some weighed as much as 75 pounds, especially the ones containing the beans. While we waited on the steaks, diners were tantalized with the aromas of campfire-cooked food until the first round of steaks finally arrived.


A full dining area of patrons anxiously await the rest of the food to show up for dinner.



Serving began at 6:30. Rhonda served beans and potatoes, Lisa Miller (family friend and Dani’s mom) served steaks, I served peach cobbler in separate bowls that my mom had ready for me with a spoon. My daughter Renee and her friend Leah were in charge of drinks and Art and Bill (family friend and Dani’s dad) brought the Dutch ovens and steaks down to the serving line.


photo by Renee Kirk

By 8 pm we were done serving and it all went fast, but it was an intense hour and a half.  (The adults were ready for a beer by then!) Sander’s streamlined system was slick in getting everyone through the line once so there was less congestion and people backtracking. There was never a lull in waiting for steaks and in total, 186 steak dinners were served.

Below, Rhonda and I visit after the dinner crowd rush and wait for any latecomers, which we had a few, but there was not food much left!


photo by Renee Kirk

The Aftermath:



This pan and another partially filled pan of steaks were all that was left. Myles and Clayton’s estimates were pretty close.


In addition to raising funds with the meal, extra donations were offered and a raffle for a hand-carved walking stick raised additional funds as well. In the end, $3581.00 was raised to donate to the Rancher Relief Fund. Myles and everyone present considered it a huge success, and our whole family is so grateful for the outpouring of support and volunteers who helped serve for  Myles’ Senior Project event.

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The Tack Room “Museum”

The last week in February we started calving and had a bad cold snap. Calving was just starting for us, and it was while Art and I were regrouping in the tack room recording some eartag numbers of new pairs in the barn, digging out last year’s record book to make some calving season comparisons, and assessing what our morning’s priorities were that I noticed all the strange things that are collected and saved in our tack room.

Some of our odd collections are on display in the window sill. Many are absurd but do make interesting conversation pieces. The items I re-discovered compelled me to write a column about some of the findings in our tack room and later took pictures to blog about.  I likened the things that have been saved there, to a “museum” of anomalies.

The exhibit that triggered a column idea was staring at the collection of toenails belonging to one of our kids’ cows.


I also talked about some of the eartags that get saved and found these old eartags still hanging on a nail in the old milking shed from before Art and I were married.


Then I remembered my husband’s unusual key chain that he had saved and the story that went along with it. Its story had to be a part of my column also.  It was one of a pocketful of bull calf scrotums that were discarded after castrating at a branding. This particular one dried into hard leather so he drilled a hole to put on a keychain. He attempted to save all the others (NOTE: this was back in his young bachelor days…before I knew him and his eccentric past), explaining that they could be sold as fur-lined pasties but forgot about them in his shirt pocket until he pulled the shirt out of the washing machine smelling rather stinky.



This is not just an ordinary stick sitting in another of our tack room window sills. This is the stick that had been found stuck inside one of our gelding’s buttocks one late spring morning a few years back. Our best guess was that somehow during the night he’d run through a pile of tree branches beneath our willow tree and one got rammed into one of his butt cheeks. It’s had a lot of show-and-tells, so much that the blood that coated it has all worn off.


As I mentioned in my column the most gasp-worthy part of this stick story/show-and-tell is that the bluntest end was the end that was stuck in the horse’s butt.


This is one of our cow horses Bean, whom we found a stick protruding from the inside of his butt cheek. We managed to load him into a trailer and have a vet remove the stick. His wound healed but eventually we had to take him back because the spot would fester again every few weeks. It turned out there was another chunk of the stick still trying to surface which had to be removed. The trauma did not change him. We still call him Bean Dip once in a while but he also remains to be the the saddle horse of choice when getting a cow in.


Just to prove that there is such a thing, this is the collar found on a prairie dog that had been eradicated on one of our pastures–one of our rarest “museum pieces.”

pd collar

pd collar-2

pd collar-3

The only thing I couldn’t dig up but Art said does exist and is in a box somewhere in one of the outbuildings is saved teeth from old cows.

Sometimes I pick up rocks or old glass bottles I like for one reason or another and Art wants to know why I keep bringing them in the house. I ended my column talking about how I shouldn’t get any more flak from my husband the next time I bring home a rock or antique bottle I found to display in the window sill of my kitchen or mudroom.



So, now that you’ve seen what’s in our tack room “museum” what kinds of oddities are in yours (or your shop, garage, etc.)?

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A Mudroom Made of Old and New

(Note: I tidied up our mudroom just for you. Normally it does not look nearly this neat, or is the floor swept up and clean. Knowing that I cleaned the place up a bit don’t you feel special?)

mudroomMud, dirt, manure, and bits of grain, hay, and gravel are all part of living on a farm or ranch and are bound to find their way into the entrance of every farm and ranch home, especially for places that don’t have garages for vehicles and dirty gear.


(I now have a handy place right by the door for aluminum cans, a shelf for the newspapers box, storing notepads, pens, envelopes, and stamps to pay bills, and phone books.)

Most farm and ranch houses are entered through a mudroom—the place where the nitty-gritty of the outdoors that clings to our outerwear is corralled. Since Art and I have been married we’ve never had a mudroom entrance to our home. Finally, after 19 years, last spring we began the process of replacing our old porch with a mudroom.

Being the thrifty people we are, we reused anything we could, including the existing roof and we constructed the mudroom using the old porch’s dimensions for the footings to build our mudroom and made use of any resources we could. For the interior, I wanted to incorporate some of the old Kirk buildings with our new “addition” (technically it wasn’t really an addition since all we did was enclose the area where the porch was). I spent a couple of spring days pulling out barn wood from the burn pile and driving to our different pastures and plucking barn wood from fallen-in buildings.




For Mother’s Day, I made my family drive to each location and help me load my barn wood “piles” and we stacked them by the house so the contractor could create shelving,




_DSC0984(notice how my baskets don’t match–I repurposed old ones I had. It add to the already odd-character of our place. You just don’t find this kind of originality at IKEA or Target.)

floor molding, window trim,




and the entryway step from the barn wood pile and enough barn wood to cover one wall as an eye-catching background.




I think of all the barn wood we gathered my favorite repurposed piece is the bench made out of our old branding corral board branded with three of our four brands and a wooden drawer I found in the old Kirk homestead blacksmith shop.


Instead of buying new paint, I used up leftover paint from painting our bathroom and applied the colors to our mudroom differently. I also used a brand new light fixture that I’d had in storage for several years. Art welded up a bunch of horseshoe coat, coveralls, and cap hooks since we’ve always had an overflow of outerwear that’s been a challenge to find an appropriate place to hang out of the way.



Our mudroom may not be huge, but our freezer is no longer setting outside like it used to on the porch and I have plenty of shelving to keep things organized, handy, and near the door. Repurposing paint, light fixtures and most especially, old barn wood not only saved us some money, but it makes our new space more meaningful and a great conversation piece. All the boards came from places we still frequent, that cows or bulls broke trying to get out, or where we branded every spring back when we still had the old barn.

Mostly, I just love that our dirty life can now be put in its place.

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The Modern Day Ranch

America’s ranches may have gone through some changes over the last 150 years but ranching is still going strong and continues to be a great part of western Americana.

 From the start of most of America’s ranches, hardy women have been a crucial part of the operation and women have contributed in numerous ways. I have seen old photographs of ranch women riding horses and branding cattle in long dresses. Ranch women have also gone through some changes in their appearance but like the ranches themselves, the women of the west have adapted to change, making room for improvements in the way they do things. (Most noticeably is probably the ranch woman’s work attire.)

In order to depict today’s ranch image, it just wouldn’t be accurate without a woman walking to a gate, opening a gate, or struggling to shut a gate. In fact, it’s almost safe to say that should be the first image that comes to mind when talking about the modern day ranch wife. Some gates are easy openers, some are a real bugger but regardless, 99.6% of the time a ranch couple pulls up to a gate in a pickup or on a four-wheeler, the wife gets the gate. Coming to a gate on horseback has mixed results depending on the couple and the ranch…and maybe the number of gates. If kids are involved that can also change the percentage of time a ranch woman has to get the gate.

Ranch women “getting the gate” has become a standard joke in the ranch world. Stories have been written about it (myself included for my column) and cartoons have been drawn about it. If you’ve ever followed the Stampede cartoons by Jerry Palen, a common theme with the ranch wife character Flo is her perpetual battle with gates. Every ranch woman can relate to Flo and her gate struggles.

Even though ranch women see and open and shut a lot of gates in their lifetime, we all have one favorite gate: the one our husbands get.

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It’s A New Year!

I was going through all my past columns on New Year’s Eve and came across this column I wrote about the New Year in 2013. Just had to share and thought it could easily apply to every new year.

Wishing You a Happy List of Little Stuff in the New Year


The New Year is upon us and I want to wish you more than the standard clichéd “Happy New Year” line. What I hope for you are things that are possible and realistic and the kinds of wishes that you’d appreciate if they happened to you. There’s a little New Year’s wish for everyone.


  • For starters,  may your pants still fit after the holidays.
  • May you always have a hankie handy when you need to blow your nose—especially when it begins to drip in public.
  • May relatives and friends visit when you have time on your hands and could use some company, and stay away when you’re most busy (calving, haying).
  • May equipment breakdowns occur at convenient times this year.
  • May you make it through the year without leaving your purse some place in public, at a friend’s, or a relative’s who lives far away (for ranch people that could be the next town).
  • May your bathroom time not be disturbed.
  • May your clothes be free of food stains before you get to your destination.
  • May the majority of arguments and decisions between you and your mate be miraculously agreed upon.
  • When unexpected company arrives shortly before supper, may you think of something that’s quick and easy to fix for supper. Or at least have meat      thawed out.
  • May you frequently find more rain in your rain gauge than you expected.
  • May your branding go smoothly and streamlined and may you have good weather for it.
  • May your keys, glasses, cell phone, or shop tools always be right where you go to find them.
  • May your bank or ag loans be small, paid off, or not necessary this year.
  • May three-fourths of the mud, dirt, or dust stay outside instead of camping on
    your kitchen floor.
  • May you open your wallet and find that you still have cash in there.
  • In dealing with loved ones may you be blessed with a lot more patience than last year.
  • May you get your good 9 X 13” cake pan back.
  • May you find an item (or toy if you’re a child) you lost a long time ago and dearly missed AND find what you originally went to look for.
  • May you get credit for your ideas and may you see them implemented.
  • May your spouse correctly read your mind at least once or twice this year.
  • May those questionable laundry stains come out unexpectedly clean.
  • May your big projects get done sooner than anticipated.
  • When he or she says, “I need your help for a sec,” may it really only be for a sec.
  • May you be able to get to your destination without being harped on to stop and ask for directions.
  • May you reveal some money when you could really use it.
  • May you be able to get an undisturbed nap more often than last year.
  • May the number of times you irritate your spouse be a great percentage less than normal in 2013.
  • May the gates you meet open and shut with ease.
  • May you know what you’re getting yourself into.

I have many more but these will get you off to a good start in the new year. They may be just little things but when you add them up they can make a
big difference in a year’s time.

(this column was previously published Dec26-30, 2012)

Amy Kirk © 2012


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A Perfect Afternoon for Book Reading


I caught my husband Art re-reading parts of my book this afternoon after he returned from checking on our cows up at Pringle.

Just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who’s shared posts on Facebook, showed an interest in, and purchased my first book, A Ranchwife’s Slant: Cowboys, Kids, and Ranch Life. The support has been wonderful and I am grateful.

As I post this, it’s been a much colder day. (It was 51 degrees yesterday and it’s 17 degrees right now) Snow has been falling all day and tomorrow the family is planning to move our cows to the home place. They’ve been up at Pringle since right before Storm Atlas.

I have book signings scheduled as follows:

  • (pre Christmas purchases) Friday December 20th 5 pm at The Hitchrail Bar and Restaurant, Pringle, SD.
  • (pre Christmas purchases) Monday, December 22nd, 12- 3 pm Custer County Library, Custer SD.
  • Wednesday, January 8th, 4-7 pm Custer County Library, Custer, SD.

I have been trying to be patient, but am anxiously awaiting the UPS driver to get here with my first shipment of books. I have a stack of bubble mailers already addressed and ready to be filled with PayPal customer orders.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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It’s Officially Released!

It’s been a long haul; spending every free moment when I wasn’t writing, chasing, feeding, or checking cows, to work on this book. It’s been the cause of numerous sleepless nights and mornings up at three or four a.m. to squeeze in extra time, pressure to put forth my absolute best, and the occasional family, hygiene, and suppertime preparation neglect.

This 185 page book has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed choosing the photos to include with certain essays, and most especially picking out the quotes from my collection of our kids’ quotes over the years. It took a lot of time but I think you’ll enjoy the bonus material in the book.

       In deciding whether or not whether this book is right for you, consider the following to help you in your decision:

  • You’re fresh out of good bathroom reading material.
  • You need some humor in your day.
  • You’re desperate for a gift for the company gift exchange.
  • You’re a mom.
  • You’ve always wondered what ranch life is REALLY like.
  • You need something to read while sitting in the waiting room for your appointment.
  • You’ve always wanted to know what my husband looks like (for my column readers).
  • You enjoy hearing about someone else’s problems because it makes your own not seem so bad.
  • You’re curious what A Redneck Mother’s Day entails.
  • You’re a farm or ranch wife who never seems to understand what your husband’s hand signals mean.
  • You’re a parent.
  • You have a farmer or rancher in your family or on your gift list.
  • You’re married.
  • You prefer books with pictures.
  • You like books with interesting characters.
  • You need something to read when you can’t sleep.
  • You’re an animal lover. 

Get your copy of “A Ranchwife’s Slant”  $19.95 (plus shipping)



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A Simple Alternative Christmas Gift-Giving Idea

Photo credit: Reneé Kirk

The time to do Christmas shopping is upon us. Are you ready? I know I’m not. I’m one of those people who dread Christmas shopping. I dislike how this annual holiday has become “Retail Christmas,” whereas the true meaning of Christmas is hard to find amid all the merchandise beckoning me to buy for the people on my list. I hate how I get caught up in impulse buying out of desperation for a great gift.

I’m sure we all have one on our Christmas list this year: the hard-to-shop-and-buy-a-gift-for person. These types might be the kind of persons that have everything, or if they don’t, they’ll just go get it themselves (my husband is one of these characters).

Maybe he or she is the type of person who lives a simplified life and doesn’t need or have the space for another “thing” or clothing item, tool, or gadget. Perhaps you have a farmer or rancher, farm wife or ranch wife on your list this year and you’re stumped on figuring out what to get him or her.

The people that challenge my gift-giving confidence, trip me up and cause me undo gift-giving anxiety. I go to great efforts to give gifts that people like, will actually use, will enhance their joy, and most importantly, that the recipient won’t re-gift to someone else! Every year I try in vain to figure out something special, something meaningful, or something useful, for the people on my Christmas list whom I have a hard time getting the perfect gift for.

This year, I think I’ve eliminated a lot of unnecessary holiday shopping stress because I’ve found the best gift idea that can be given to anyone and it has the spirit of true giving in it: donating the amount of money that I would’ve spent on a material gift for the recipient to the Rancher Relief Fund in the recipient’s honor.  You can donate a couple of ways; through www.ranchersrelief.org (also where ranchers can apply for assistance) or on the AgChat Foundation Inc.’s Rancher Relief Fund found on Razoo: www.razoo.com/story/Rancher-Relief-Fund.

I have given alternative gifts like this before–donating to a cause in honor of someone on my list, but this one is closer to home for me. Atlas affected people in my state (and neighboring states), county, and neighboring towns, who are in the same industry as my family, who have the same livelihood as my family and I do.

If you’re like me, you too, are already seeing the brilliance in this Christmas gift idea:

  • I don’t have to spend extra money on gas to drive anywhere and get this gift.
  • I don’t have to dodge traffic or fight crowds of people to get this gift.
  • I don’t have to comb my hair, put makeup on, or put on presentable townish-looking clothes to get this gift.
  • I don’t have to worry about sizes, colors, or styles.
  • I don’t have to keep track of the receipt for this gift.
  • I don’t have to hurry through chores, try to keep my clothes and shoes clean and worry about finding hay in my hair or clothes in order to get this gift.
  • I don’t have to be gone all day to get this gift!
  • There’s no wrapping paper, boxes, bags, plastic ties or packaging waste to deal with after this gift is opened.
  • This gift will eliminate the awkwardness that I got him or her something he/she doesn’t like.
  • Nobody has to keep track of and pack this gift when it’s time to go home.
  • Nobody has to dust it, hide it, or figure out where to put it after they receive it.
  • This gift benefits the giver, the recipient, and the people affected by Storm Atlas.
  • Recipients are going think I am so clever and creative.
  • This gift will restore the true meaning of what it means to celebrate Christmas: bringing cheer to others and demonstrating acts of humanity.
  • The effort it takes to get this gift will not leave me with a headache and being a crab afterwards.
  • This is a gift that will keep on giving. After the recipient receives it, others affected by Storm Atlas benefit from it. It’s a “pay-it-forward” kind of gift.
  • This is a thoughtful, meaningful, and useful gift.
  • This gift doesn’t require extra batteries or accessories to be put into use.
  • This gift does not take a long time to find, purchase, and take home.
  • This gift does not come in one more plastic sack to deal with.
  • This gift does not need to be hidden until Christmas.
  • A donation to the RRF is a positive reflection of gift-giving for Christmas.
  • And the best part about donating money to the Rancher’s Relief Fund in someone’s honor is that nobody can re-gift this gift! Yay!

This holiday season, I encourage you to consider giving a donation to the Rancher Relief Fund in honor of the people on your Christmas list  and spread some country help, hope, and cheer this year!


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