A Christmas Anecdote From the Tipi Wind Ranch

“Burn some of those for me,” I said to Robin as she pushed another sheet of Neiman Marcus cookies into the oven.

“I know how you like them, so this next batch is for you.”

Three minutes after the cooking timer sounded she brought forth a batch of, slightly burnt around the edge, cookies. I promptly burnt my tongue on a smoldering chocolate chip, then proceeded to eat sixteen more before they had a chance to cool.

Today she made peanut butter bon bons and sugar cookies (you know the ones with the green and red Christmas sprinkles on them). Contrary to what you may believe; I refrained from eating any. One has to show great restraint at this time of year because death by gluttony is always two bites away.

Winter arrived yesterday with an arctic air blast that froze my frost free hydrant out at the horse barn. I hadn’t anticipated this, since I had installed one of those high-tech-multi-special-no-freeze jobs several years ago. This is troublesome; the next outdoor faucet is 200 feet from the barn, or in labor terms: two one hundred foot hoses, which just happen to be frozen solid. So I struggle to coil them, (joy joy joy) it’s like trying to coil a pile of green oak branches. When finished, I haul the imperfect bundles along with two large dogs and two cats into the sunroom to thaw overnight, hopefully, those animals will generate enough body heat to keep the temp above freezing, or come morning I will be (six letter expletive here).

By mid-morning the temp had risen to a sweltering -1 Fahrenheit. Determined to deliver water for horses, I bundled up and make my move. Dashing outside I swiftly assemble the hoses while the north wind lashes my face. Running swiftly from the faucet to the water tank I stretch out the hose and promptly discover . . . I’m thirty feet short.

After recoiling the two hundred feet of hose, I drag it back into the sunroom, then precede to the shed to retrieve another fifty feet of gnarled frozen hose, which I heaped beside the rest.

The sunroom is like a sauna come afternoon, so I bolt from the house to join the three sections of hose and finally deliver the precious water. I stand by the tank and pet the horses as they drink with greedy enthusiasm. While the tank fills I watch the winter sun blaze out in the western sky and wonder what else hadn’t I anticipated . . . ?

It’s Christmas!  If only I had anticipated; my shopping (along with this letter) would have been done weeks ago. I would be cavorting in Christmas spirit by now, ready for mirth, merriment, and death by gluttony.

From our ranch to yours: Merry Christmas


Tipi Wind Christmas

The sun sets deep in the winter solstice and the Christmas cactus is in full bloom. The north wind scours a wilderness landscape that resembles perpetual fall, for snow is a commodity that may or may not arrive in time for the holiday.

Robin decorated the house before the first of December, she would have done it sooner but they don’t sell Christmas trees before Thanksgiving. At this moment she is downstairs baking a constellation of Christmas cookies, time honored favorites that I often times mistake for breakfast.

 We find ourselves empty nesters these days, our boys having fled to pursue careers and relationships in other parts of the country. I thought for a moment that I would have to join a support group for empty nesters, but the dogs, cats, and horses have filled the void admirably. El Gato, the timid one, has taken to decorating the house with his presence, lying amongst the packages under the Christmas tree or careening off the legs of an unsuspecting host. His brother, who needs no invitation, takes liberties perfecting his lap dance whenever Robin and I should happen to sit; of course this makes the dogs insanely jealous, for they are exiled to the sunroom by night, never to set foot in the inner sanctum.

After this morning session of crafting pros, after yet another cup of tea and honey, I will take my leave to work out in the basement, pumping iron before Robin and I take our daily walk. Bundled up with dogs in tow, we will skirt the canyon rim, or maybe . . . we’ll load the children in the pickup bed and drive them to the river for a hike, or maybe . . . I’ll just stretch out on the leather sofa for a nap instead, for my immediate future now depends on how many Christmas cookies I eat in the next hour.

 From our Camp to yours: Merry Christmas.

 Gene & Robin