It’s tradition: Christmas at Teri’s family’s ranch in eastern Wyoming. It’s as central to the holiday as the Christmas tree, the church nativity service, candy in our stockings, eggnog, and the big family dinner. We couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. We celebrate a “First ranch Christmas,” then travel three hours south, through a mountain pass, to my parents place for “Second Christmas,” and do it all over again. Double the joy.
At my folks’ place, we always roast a whole beef tenderloin for the big family dinner. In between presents and games, we take time to run up into the hills for cross country and downhill skiing, and Mom always manages to score tickets to a University of Wyoming basketball game.
Back at the ranch, festivities vary according to the weather. This year, a blustery storm followed us in, making for a frosty white Christmas. It was brutal cold, and windy (of course), drifting snow high up against the fences. It was one of those nasty Wyoming winds that makes the cows, snow on their backs, all turn their rear-ends into the wind and hunker down.
Before the storm hit, we moved cattle to pastures where they had more protection from the wind. And we fed a little extra high-energy forage that night to help stoke their internal furnaces. The next day, Audrey helped Grandad feed hay and chop ice off the water tanks, the chore usually shared by Grandma.
We discovered the best snow for 4-wheeler sledding was in the hay yard, where the tractor ruts made awesome race tracks, and the drifting created a deeper base – fewer frozen cow-pies makes it easier on the butt (and the sled).
We love our Wyoming ranch Christmas traditions.
Farm and ranch photography from AgriLife Studios
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