This Soils and Streams column first appeared in the Dec. 10, 2016, issue of the Kearney Hub.
Seasonal traditions may not look typical
Routine and tradition are part and parcel of human life. Many of these conventions pace hand in hand with a change in season.
As we transition from fall to winter, Christians mark the season of Advent. We wait in hope and anticipation of the coming of Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s advent, the beginning of his life on Earth.
During the extended holiday season, parents are expected to perform backflips, pirouettes and sleight of hand to make the holiday season as magical as possible.
My kids have Advent calendars, and we open one candy cubby and sing along with one YouTube carol (or two or three) every night.
Every year, we have a real tree — even if we don’t have it up until Christmas Eve, and even if it’s just a fenceline cedar harvested at the last minute or maybe just the living room ficus with some lights and glass balls.
And — that’s about it. Tradition and seasonal magic aren’t my strong point.
I’ve never pirouetted in my life.
Farm seasons change too, though. This is a routine that we engage whether we want to or not.
The weaned calves come home and live in the pens just 50 yards from the back door. For the umpteenth time, we talk with the children about safety and the unpredictability of young animals, and the need to close gates.
With harvest complete and the pasture grasses dormant, the cows graze cornstalks. Checking them is a daily task, whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 9 degrees and snowing.
For my husband and me, the end-of-year tax-planning appointment with the CPA brings with it a rare predictable chance to go out to eat without kids. It’s funny how refreshing a Runza meal with no spills can be.
Thinking about the year ahead means dozens of necessary conversations — with landlords about rental agreements; with dealers and agronomists about seed choices and probable chemical and fertilizer needs; with the people that raise breeding animals; with the guy down the road who had a good idea.
We stretch our brains to find ways to stretch our pennies, and then there are more meetings to figure out how to make that happen.
Equipment needs tender loving care. Grain needs hauled to the elevator or feedlot.
The garden is asleep, but my propensity for grand plans in the next one isn’t. I’ve got a boy who thinks he wants to raise a million pumpkins, so we’ll see what fantastic kinds of seeds we can come up with.
We have roots here; we build traditions in our home, even if they look a lot like work and not a lot like the lights and sparkles that are typical of the season.
The faith and the work are for always — at Christmas, during winter, and throughout the year.