Letter to Dave

Dear Dave,

Well, we’ve celebrated Halloween since Labor Day, observed Thanksgiving all November long and now-finally, it is Christmas! I know some people complain that Christmas lasts all year long however if I could find the place where this is a year-long celebration, I would move there. Anyway, I am ready for a birthday and since most little kids have pretty big celebrations-it seems like Christmas is the least we can do for a baby sent to save the world.

I was talking with friends last week about the significance of the Christmas spider which was a mystery to me. Lisa was unpacking Christmas decorations and came across a Christmas spider along with a written explanation of the spider’s story. It seems on a Christmas Eve long ago, a family had prepared their home for the Christ child’s visit then gone to bed. The spiders, who had been evicted during holiday cleaning, came out that night and excitedly crawled all over the tree to see its’ beauty up close. They forgot to quit spinning cobwebs, however, and covered the tree. When the Christ child saw the webs, he was touched by the spiders interest. He touched the webs and turned them silver and gold, this was the origin of Christmas tinsel. (thanks for the spider, Aunt Rosemary)

We’ve got to talk a little farming, even during Christmas, Dave. I read in the Farm Journal that there is a farmer in Indiana living out one of my daydreams. He is retrofitting his own robotic tractors. Kyler Laird started with a garden tractor and has now progressed up to a large Challenger MT765. The idea behind robotic tractors is efficiency. Hired help is hard to find and expensive when found plus a human cannot work 24 hours a day. The robotic operation of a tractor means you can have fewer tractors and they don’t have to be so large as they can operate much longer. Laird has created his own, fairly cheap, autonomous system for tractors although he has also logged a lot of hours in development. I am torn on this issue as I don’t want to see good people lose jobs. Truthfully, I suspect the consistent success of autonomous tractors is probably a ways off and acceptance of the concept is probably even further. I just like the idea of one person developing a system on a budget.

Okay, I know the reason we give gifts during Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s fun to give and receive but this has always been a time of the year when I want to be especially generous to the animals who live in the cold. We always gave the cattle and cats extra on our family farm during Christmas when we were kids. It’s so nice to lay out a decent smorgasbord for whatever animals inhabit our porch at night and then see them empty in the morning. I also made a little straw house inside the barn with an open bag of cat food for whatever traveler happens by in the dead of night. I guess I don’t want to turn God’s little creatures away when they need help most.

I suppose I will see you on the radio, Dave. Until then, let me say it loud, Merry Christmas!

Your little bro’

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