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The joys of Christmas chores on the farm

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Merry Christmas! Around the farm the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seems to me to get a little depressing. The days get shorter so I end up feeding in the dark, it gets colder, so just getting dressed to go outside is a challenge and it always seems like we get a lot of rain that just makes mud. Any other time of year the rain is welcome, but most years by mid-December the ground is saturated and the water can’t do anything other than run off and take topsoil with it, or sit on top of the ground and make mud. Even if it snows this time of year it is sure to melt and cause more mud!
Christmastime always seems to be a turning point for me where optimism starts to take hold. Knowing that the days will start getting longer makes it a little easier to feed in the dark, and most of the time it is cold enough for the ground to be frozen in the morning. By now I have gotten used to the cold and temperatures in the 20s don’t seem that bad.
Checking on the animals and feeding them on Christmas day has always seemed special for me. There always seems to be a more peaceful than usual feel about the farm and I get to thinking how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be there. The animals make me think how Jesus was born in a stable in the presence of the same types of animals we have on our farm. I think how significant was it that the first people chosen to witness the newborn Jesus were shepherds, caretakers of animals like I am. I always end up getting a little sentimental and putting out a little extra grain or hay to thank the animals for reminding me of what a wonderful gift we receive through Jesus’ birth. I also think about how the animals themselves are a gift given to us by God to provide us with sustenance, but with a great responsibility to treat them with care and respect. I hope as you do your chores on Christmas morning you will share these wonderful thoughts!
Christmas day cements my return to optimism and I look forward to the next year on the farm. I think about what things I want to do for the New Year and tasks that need to be done before the weather warms up.
I know that everyone does not share the same Christian beliefs as me, but whatever your beliefs are; I hope there is a time of the year that re-invigorates you and reminds you of the joys of life. This is the time of year that does it for me!
Have a safe and happy holiday. Enjoy your family and your farm! Merry Christmas!
The Marion County Extension Office will be closed for the Holidays from Dec. 25, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014.
The Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be held Jan. 5-7, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lexington. This is an excellent opportunity for commercial growers, Farmers Market participants and others to learn more about the production of produce. The meeting is sponsored by the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
The American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Meeting will be Jan. 12-14, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn. I was at the meeting last January and found it to be very informative. If you would like information on attending please let me know.
The Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association will hold its annual convention Jan. 16-18, 2014 in Lexington. In addition to informative programs and Cattle Tradeshow, Marion County farmer Steve Downs will be installed as president of the association for 2014.

The Marion County Cattlemen’s Association will hold its monthly meeting on Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. at Floral Hall.
We will hold an organizational meeting for a Marion County Beekeepers Association on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the extension office. All active beekeepers as well as anybody interested in getting started are invited to attend. We will discuss the type of organization potential members want, including the educational topics to be pursued. If interested, please call the extension office at 270-692-2421 so we will know if there is sufficient interest to hold a meeting.
There will be a meeting for Dairy producers on Friday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Washington County Extension office in Springfield. We are working on the agenda now to include timely topics. If you have something you would like to see covered please let me know. Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips and Dr. Jeff Bewley from UK will be the presenters.
The South East Kentucky Bee School will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at McCreary Central High School in Stearns. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be multiple sessions attendees can choose from during the day depending on their interest and experience, including a series of sessions for beginning beekeepers. Registration is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Call for more information.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.