2023 Hanson Christmas Letter

As I write this letter tonight, it’s not even freezing outside. What a difference compared to the 30 below weather we were having last year at this time. In this part of the world, it hardly feels like Christmas is just a few days away with the weather the way it is. We have one early calf running around on the dry ground waiting for some new buddies to come in the next couple weeks.


Jayne is home for Christmas from Kelowna early this year. We brought a couple horses in from the hills for while she’s home since it’s so nice out to ride. I remember that my mom used to do that when I came home from college too and I used to just love the smell of my mare’s hair when I’d wrap my arms around her neck for the first time in a long while. It’s funny how those little memories stick with you hey! She only has a semester left to go until she’s finished her nursing degree, with her final weeks in March and April being in Africa.


Arlis writes exams till late on the 22nd, just in time to spend Christmas with my side of the family at Evan and Shelby Budd’s home where there’s never a shortage of games, great food, and lots of laughs. I wonder who will go home with the coveted Krumkake making trophy this year lol? The younger generation has never played fox and goose, if you can believe it…. So, we were hoping to” show them how it’s done”, but without snow, they’ll miss out! But- thanks to Evan’s genius technological talent, we are once again able to play the old “Pong” game that we resurrected out of Grandma and Grandpa Olson’s basement (well, our basement now) which still holds a few old treasures. That crazy game has been around since I was born! Thanks for fixing it, Evan!


I love Christmas time! I just love it all- taking out the decorations, putting up the tree late at night once the house is all quiet, wrapping gifts for friends and family, baking and making chocolates, listening to Christmas music, watching movies, stringing up the lights outside, all the usual Christmas activities with the youth group and recognizing Jesus’ birth as the reason for the season.


As a kid, I remember the elders would talk about how time goes by way too quick and how us youngsters should enjoy our youth because as we grow older the years fly by faster. I see that they were certainly right. Near the end of the year, I like to go through the past year’s pictures and reminisce about all that’s gone on in the last 12 months and look ahead, hoping for a great new year. With the good and bad, God is good – all the time!


In 2023, I had the privilege of birth coaching for a few new babes as a doula. It simply never gets old to play a role in supporting the arrival of those new beautiful lives!


Duane started flying again last spring as he went away for a few weeks to get his aerial spraying certification. It was great to see him in the air again- it’s been a long time.


Jayne came home after university was out in the spring and worked for the RM of Val Marie again. She always enjoyed her days working on equipment outside with her coworkers.


Arlis came home from Saskatoon after completing his first year of Animal Biosciences and getting his pilot license. He spent the first half of his summer working as a hired hand for locals doing farm work and working cattle.


In mid- July, Arlis headed back up to the Yukon for another season guiding with Midnight Sun Outfitters. Jayne wasn’t too far behind him, catching up with him in the Yukon for a few hunts after a trip to Europe that had been on hold for a couple years. They sure enjoy their time up there with a fantastic team and amazing clients to spend their time with. We never know what messages they’ll send to give us a glimpse of what’s going on in the wilderness. Even though they are thankful once they come back to university to be back in a real bed, have a real shower, and wear clean clothes lol, I often wonder how long it takes before they are missing their lifestyle of the remote north. It sounds like they are both gung-ho to go back again next summer season. They had a successful hunting season in general but the highlights were harvesting a gigantic moose that just fell short of being a record and a fantastic caribou that made the record book. The stories that they share seem unbelievable at times.


We met up with Jayne for thanksgiving near Calgary where we were joined for a few days by our friends Tina and Jay Hein to do some sporting clay shooting and have a great visit. Jayne hauled her motorbike with her back to Kelowna where the weather stayed nice enough to ride until just a few weeks ago. She played rugby this fall, hiked the west coast trail and went winter surfing in Tofino. Her great nursing buddy Mack is always up for a new adventure.


This fall, I was drawn for a mule deer buck and a cow elk. Thanks to Arlis and his girlfriend Logyn and Justin Wilson, my trusty hunting guides, we had some great hunting days and I was able to tag out on both. Without fail, hunting always makes great memories with challenges and a few laughs too. This year’s included a major break down with Arlis’ truck. while mule deer hunting on a goat trail, miles away from anywhere and the crazy challenge of trying to pack elk quarters out on horses that had never done that before. A horse can sure look like Pegasus when there’s a couple of elk quarters in white bags flapping up and down as you watch her buck and disappear over the hills.


Cattle work seemed to stretch out for more than a couple months this fall, but spending time with family and friends while preg checking, moving cattle, processing cattle and shipping calves are awesome hours that we don’t take for granted. It seems like when we aren’t doing that kind of work, we wish we could do more of it and when we are doing those jobs, we try to rush to get the job done lol. Lately, there sure isn’t much daylight to get work done outside but I look forward to a few days from now when we’ll finally have more daylight each day. In the meantime, I work for Grasslands National Park and Duane’s been spending his days working for Sask Crop insurance.


We look forward to spending time with you in the New Year whether you are at our place or we make it your way for a visit. Lord, prepare us for what life brings in 2024 and help us to make a difference in this ol world.

And as the familiar song plays- “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”!!


Love, Carmen and gang