Cowboy and rancher Christmas gift guide, Part II
I have 16 years of experience in agonizing over what to get a cowboy/rancher for Christmas and consider myself a seasoned gift giver to the cowman. More of my gift suggestions follow.
* A milk replacer kit that includes a sturdy bucket, whisk, funnel, feeding bag and tube, and powdered electrolytes or colostrum packets would be something any ranch wife would appreciate you giving her husband. It would keep him from using her good whisk and mixing bowl, and making a mess for one bottle of milk replacer.
* A good network with the right connections is important in a cowman's world. Heavy duty extension cords (to cover all electrical recommendations) and power strips/surge protectors are always needed since some extension cords become permanent electrical fixtures and a network of good connections is needed to plug in tractors, pickups, tank heaters, tank floats, etc.
* Those who bother to shave during the winter months would benefit from a hot lather machine. It heats up a can of shaving cream and when it's applied to the skin, shaving is still a chore but the shaving cream warms the skin first. I love the shaving cream warmer I gave my husband so much that in the winter my desire to shave has increased by 3.4 percent.
* You can illuminate any cowman's life with a good spotlight to check cows with at night during calving season. Whether you get a rechargeable or plug-in type, either one will get used. The plug-in kind can easily be adapted with a little wire cobbling for use with an ATV. What's important is if it shines a beam of daylight from a long distance.
* Good quality hankies or bandanas are a cowboy/rancher staple. A hanky can be left in every pickup and coat pocket and suffice as a rag or napkin in a pinch. Unlike disposable "tissues," they can take getting the snot blown into them repeatedly.
* The next best thing to cowboys and ranchers talking about their work is watching movies about their work. Movies like the lengthy but classic "Lonesome Dove" or John Wayne classics such as "John Wayne and the Cowboys," "Chisum," and "Red River" are gifts that might inspire the cowman on your Christmas list to relax for a few hours.
* It hasn't been determined if habitual temperature reading is a disorder or just part of every cowboy's and rancher's DNA, but the advancement of digital thermometers that record the low and the high make a worthwhile gift. It allows these men to find out what the low or high was with accuracy so they can compare this vital information at coffee with the neighbors.
* Steel posts may not seem like much of a Christmas present, but with their price having gone up considerably, new or even used ones would be received as a highly prized gift.
It should be noted that the more useless and limited a gift's abilities to produce anything or serve a worthy purpose, the more likely it should be given to a woman, not a cowboy or rancher. Gifts that are durable, multipurpose, and likely to outlive these men, or last long enough for their kids to have to deal with, are perfect. Regardless of what you give, your money will not be wasted. These industrious men find a use for whatever they're given regardless of a gift's intended purpose.
Amy and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle, S.D. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.