‘Tis the season for chaos – everywhere, except on Douchebaggery Ranch. Well, maybe a little bit, but no more than usual… Being the anti-capitalist hippie that I am, I’m blessed to have friends who are as eccentric (and chronically broke) as me, thus eliminating the pre-holiday madness of rushing around in gas-guzzling vehicles to buy people crap they don’t need. The few presents that are exchanged are mostly homemade (wine, jam, lopsided knit mittens, corny tree ornaments made of salt dough or popsicle sticks, etc) or occasionally second-hand. This suits all parties involved just fine, and believe it or not, the gifts I give and receive are anything but crummy. I love them far more than I could care for anything bought at Impersonal-Mart.
Anyway, end of sermon.
Here at Douchebaggery Ranch, we celebrate Christmas, New Year, Epiphany, solstice, full moon, Cat Herders’ Day (December 15th), Make Up Your Mind Day (December 31st) and just about anything else we can get away with. Because the best thing to do in the dead of winter is to celebrate. Depending on how you look at it, you can justify this in two ways: 1) The winter is a wonderful time of year, and is worth celebrating. (This view appears to be held by myself only.) 2) With all the mud, ice, shovelling and freezing-your-tail-feathers-off that the season brings, the only way to remain sane is to find something to make a joyful fuss about. (This, I suspect, is the reason many faiths and cultures have a holiday this time of year.)
Douchebaggery Ranch is fond of tradition. We like to make our own, and encourage all, homesteaders and otherwise, to do the same. The main Christmas traditions on the premises are twofold:
- The Tree: There’s a small patch of spruce saplings in the backyard, past the pile of old fishing gear left behind by the property’s previous owners. They are terribly overcrowded, so every winter one of them doing the overcrowding gets hacked down and used as the DR Christmas tree. Spruce is horribly prickly, and sheds worse than a Persian cat. To add to its charm, the tree is often missing all branches on one side (where the other trees were growing), is grossly misshapen and otherwise unsightly enough to give Martha Stewart a conniption. Said tree is brought inside, propped into a stand or pot in whatever ways necessary, then decorated. DR decorations are made entirely of wood, fabric or paper (read: not breakable, because cats. Lack of plastic is due to my hippie ideals, though – it just seems wrong.), and most are handmade either by myself or by various friends’ children. The end result is often a quarter of a tree strewn with things that look like they belong in a kindergarten art class. Being one step up from Charlie Brown’s branch-with-a-red-ball, the tree is much loved and much cursed (see: having to sweep needles twice a day).
- The Census Ornament: This tradition started last year, and involves making an ornament that has the names of all the residents of DR written on it, as of Christmas Eve of that year. Last year’s ornament was a locally-made wooden star bought at the farmer’s market, decorated with glitter glue. This year’s is a thrift store find: a make-your-own-photo-frame-ornament kit that was modified to frame the census list rather than a photo. 2017 Christmas Eve census is as follows:
– One human
– Two dogs (Oscar & Bonibon)
– Three cats (Lemon, Lasagna & Insane Jane the barn cat)
– 11 guinea pigs (Mr. T, Pecorino and nine foster cavies)
– Eight chickens (six Plymouth Barred Rocks and a pair of Old English Game Bantams)
– Six ducks (Three Muscovies, three Welsh Harlequins)
– 30 quail
There are no Santa hats or reindeer antlers on the dogs, ugly Christmas sweaters or ham-and-turkey dinners on Douchebaggery Ranch. It’s not that we’re against those things. It’s just Not How It’s Done Here.