Everyone celebrates the holidays a little bit differently. When you have a couple hundred cows to tend, your Christmas morning routine tracks a bit different than most households.
Member Caci Cook Nance of McConnells, South Carolina, looks forward to waking her children up at 4:30 a.m. to open presents on Christmas morning. “It’s a little bit opposite, from doing chores and then opening presents,” she shared, “but it gives us more time together as a family.”
Once they moved to the farm, Caci and her husband William realized doing things a bit opposite worked best for them. “If we don’t open presents first thing, then William wouldn’t be able to be there because he would be in the barn,” said Caci.
When they’re done opening presents, they head to the barn, all six of them Caci, William, Wyatt (11), Walon (6), Carter Ann (4) and Cora Clark (2). The Nance’s hired help has Christmas day off, which means the family must tackle all the chores.
Everyone helps out so that the family can get back inside for a family lunch with William’s side of the family. And Christmas dinner with Caci’s father and step-mother is later that evening to accommodate the afternoon milking and barn chores.
Each year the Nances cut down a tree from the farm. “I would prefer a shaped tree,” laughs Caci, “but our children adore going out to find their perfect tree on the farm each year.” They set their tree in an old-fashioned milk can to give it that authentic dairy farm touch.
One tradition that Caci has passed on to her children, is making fudge to give as presents. “We make fudge to give to teachers, our pastors and neighbors,” Caci said. “I’ve made about 20 pounds so far this year, and I’m not done making it.” She estimates she has five more pounds to make.
Caci uses an old recipe that came on the back of a marshmallow cream jar, and she uses the same vintage olive green Pyrex bowl she used growing up. “Our kids know as soon as that bowl comes down, we’re making fudge,” she said.
Between finding a tree, making fudge and opening presents, Caci and William milk 125 dairy cows twice a day, every day, regardless of the holiday. They also care for about 125 beef cows, numerous calves and heifers, plus farm around 500 acres. They farm with William’s parents Bill and Jane.
However you celebrate the holidays, we wish you all our dairy best and have a wonderful new year!