Patches are so Un-holey

by Amy on July 7, 2014


This spring–when it was still snowing–I dug out the jeans I’d stored away for patching; dug out my denim scraps to make patches and sewed different sized denim squares and rectangles on my work jeans. Now I have three new pairs of jeans to wear for ranch work! That may sound kind of weird, but there’s nothing like reviving a pair of jeans that were formerly annoying to wear because the knees had big holes in them. I decided this pair was not worth patching again.


I actually wrote a column about patching jeans and added photos:

This column was originally published May 7, 2014

Nobody gets excited about wearing a new pair of jeans more than a ranch woman. Every time I pick out a pair of jeans to wear from a stack of freshly patched blue jeans, it feels like I have a whole new wardrobe of favorite work jeans to pick from—without the buyer’s remorse.

Once my preferred jeans for dressy occasions get worn and faded looking, they become new favorite work jeans, and when they get so shoddy that threads fray at the knees and develop holes, I put patches on them to wear some more. The first thing to go to pot on my jeans is the denim in the knee area. Eventually squatting down on my knees will put enough pressure on the weakened fabric that they’ll rip, creating a hole across the knee. Barbwire fence is another source of holes, rips, and tears in my jeans. I end up bypassing all pants with holes when I go to pick out work jeans in my dresser drawer to wear for doing ranch work, so they end up getting stockpiled for patching later.

I’ll wear jeans with holes in a pinch, but it bugs me having my knee poking out of a gaping hole in my jeans so I usually end up wearing the same few pairs of intact work jeans until they develop holes also or I get all my holey jeans patched.


My knees are not fond of winter cold and wind so I don’t wear jeans with any holes when it’s cold out. I don’t like wearing holey jeans in the summer either because I don’t want to end up with the kind of tan marks like my husband got one summer. When he snagged his Wranglers on barbwire a good-sized chunk of his pants ripped above the knee so he cut the flap of denim off with a pocket knife and went about haying in the field. As a result, he got a four inch odd-shaped sunburn on his thigh that was evident all winter, therefore I avoid raking or windrowing hay in blue jeans that expose my legs in odd places. It’s also annoying when I put on a pair of pants and my foot exits through the knee instead of out the bottom of my pants, which sometimes causes the hole in the knee to rip even more.

Patching up holes located in the middle of my pant legs is not a quick task. The side seam has to be opened up in order for my sewing machine to sew a patch over any rips, so any pants needing patched get stockpiled until I have time to open up the side seams—an ideal project to work on when my husband wants to put on some man-flick movie I find unappealing.




Newly patched jeans renew my enthusiasm for getting dressed to do any outside work. With freshly patched jeans I no longer have to agonize over which is the best or most comfortable of the remaining work jeans I have to wear.

A stack of patched jeans is like adding new clothes to my wardrobe, and as every woman would agree, there’s nothing better than putting on a new pair of pants that feels like they’re already broken in.

© Amy Kirk 2014



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

by Amy on May 8, 2014


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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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. From start to finish, it takes the chuckwagon cooks an hour to do all this!

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 into the food 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 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.


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!


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.


Calf Daycare

by Amy on April 5, 2014

Calf Daycare1

This is a pretty common scene in the morning at feeding time—one cow with a passel of calves. Even though it may look to some people that this cow had all those calves, she’s actually just the babysitter. All the mothers of these calves went to feed. Art and I joke about this scene when we see a babysitter cow: “Hey! She had (# of calves with her) calves!”

Calf Daycare2

Mother cows oftentimes take turns staying back with a bunch of calves while the other mother cows go to feed. Eventually she’ll go to feed but as soon as we start rolling out the first bale the herd will migrate to the bale bed pickup and we’ll see one cow on standby keeping track and close watch over a handful of calves.

Calf Daycare3

I happened to bring my camera along to get some pictures while feeding cows when we saw this daycare operation–a cow to the east of where we fed standing guard over a handful of baby calves.

Calf Daycare6

Art and I were in between feed the cows seen in the background just over the hump along a dry creek bed. Several calves were curious about the old hand pump along the creek bed in the picture.

Calf Daycare4


Calf Daycare5

This is a lot like daycare. Eventually the cows come back to gather up their calves and the babysitter gets a break to go to feed herself. I’m sure some people would think I’m a little weird but watching the behavior of livestock is something I enjoy. As a mother, I always notice similarities regarding motherhood among other species and find it interesting.


The Tack Room “Museum”

by Amy on March 17, 2014

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.)?



At our house, we love our cereal, especially on nights when nobody feels like eating leftovers another night, I don’t feel like cooking, or I can’t think of something quick to fix and everybody’s hungry and nobody wants to wait to eat. Being distanced from town and out of store-bought cereal, sometimes this recipe comes in handy.

I try to limit how much processed cereal I eat and  encourage my family to do the same, which works some of the time if I have a batch of homemade granola made. It’s one of the ways I get my cereal fix and I know all of the ingredients that are in it. Over the years I’ve used my mom’ s recipe as a base and added and tweaked the ingredients or combined her recipe with other recipes. The recipe I use makes a good size batch but that doesn’t necessarily mean it lasts a long time. It will outlast a few boxes of store-bought cereal though. Here is my recipe with lots of options included.

Start with the basics:

8 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

1 c. cut, slivered, or chopped almonds. I’ve used blanched or salted (whatever you have available will work but I generally chop whole almonds)

1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes (I prefer the wide flakes but use whatever you can find available

1/4 c. raw sesame seeds

1/3 c. salted sunflower kernels

1 c. soy flour (health food stores carry it but I’ve also seen it in grocery stores or order online. Bob’s Red Mill brand is good) *Note* I seldom have soy flour on hand, so I either substitute 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, ground flax (also a Bob’s Red Mill product), a mixture of both, or I omit completely.

1 c. powdered milk

1 c. wheat germ

Alternative ingredients I have included that I love to add:

1 c. salted green pumpkin seeds

1 c. each dried fruits: dried cherries, blueberries, raisins, golden raisins, currants, or dried chopped mango or apricots

1-3 c. organic variety of bran cereal or 7 whole grain flakes cereal (I used Kashi brand)–the only way I could get it used up LOL)

1 c. other raw nuts like pecans or walnuts

1 T. cinnamon

In a separate bowl, combine until smooth:

1 c. safflower oil (again, this is not a product I ever have on hand, so I use Canola oil)

1 c. honey (I use locally harvested whenever possible. South Dakota is the second largest producer of honey, so I am very fortunate that local honey is fairly easy to obtain).

Mix in with dry ingredients to coat. Spread into 2 of the largest pans you have. I use an extra large lasagna pan and a 9×13 pan or jelly roll pan (but I prefer pans with deeper sides so I don’t spill any during stirring phase). Bake at 300°, stirring every 15 minutes for a total of 45 minutes or until golden brown. Watch closely–burns easily. Cool, then store in an airtight container.

I like the crunchy texture on fruit or yogurt, ice cream, or as a snack like eating dry store-bought cereal.

Give it a shot and see what you think!




A Mudroom Made of Old and New

by Amy on February 22, 2014

(Note: I tidied up our mudroom just for you. Normally it does not look nearly this neat, or have 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.


“Amy’s Hereford”

by Amy on January 19, 2014

RWSAmys Hereford

A while back I wrote a column about “Amy’s Hereford.” During calving season last year we got a cute little Hereford heifer calf in our calf crop.

Since she arrived I’ve kind of fussed over the little gal and my fascination with her got to be a joke whenever we’d see her. If we spotted her while feeding cows or later in the summer while out checking cows, Art would say, “There’s Amy’s Hereford!”

Since we don’t have the kids’ first cow Annabelle anymore, this little heifer kind of replaced Annabelle–the only Hereford cow we’d had for a long time. Once my husband started calling the calf “Amy’s Hereford,” the name eventually stuck.

We kept some replacement heifers this fall and my Hereford was one of them. Throughout the spring, summer, fall, and now winter, I’ve occasionally taken pictures of her.

RWSAmys Hereford2

She’s shaping up to be one of the biggest heifer calves we kept. I’m really looking forward watching her grow and to see what kind of mother she’ll be once she’s old enough to get bred and has her first calf.

When we worked our cows this fall, we also worked the heifer calves we’d kept and when my Hereford calf came through the chute my husband joked with the vet and said, “After all these years Amy finally gets a cow.”

While sorting through photos I’d taken over the past year, I kept coming across pictures of my little Hereford I’d taken pictures of and had forgotten about so I gathered all of them and thought I’d share her “baby pictures” with you.

RWSAmys Hereford3


RWSAmys Hereford4

Here she is dozing under the shade of a tree out on summer range.

RWSAmys Hereford5

RWSAmys Hereford6 Since my kids aren’t babies anymore, instead of taking hundreds of baby pictures, I’ve moved on to calves. Hope you enjoyed my “brag book” pictures!

RWSAmy Hereford7


It’s A New Year!

by Amy on January 3, 2014

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