Stuffed Animal Thighs At The Ranch Pen

Most of us ladies worry about stuffed animal thighs at one time or other, particularly in January, but imagine my surprise when one 70* mid-winter day last week I learned our five-year-old grandson is well on the way to a troubled future with the blasted things.

The niece TL’s sow, Petunia, has a new litter of piglets (below), so last week when the grandkids Blondie and Git’R’Done were hanging out with me I decided–as a treat–we would walk the mile down the road to check out the new babies.

Following, is a close approximation of how that all went down.

Danni: Hey, grandkids, let’s walk down to Aunt Sis’s and check out the baby pigs!

Blondie: (smiles) Yay!

Git’R’Done: (infused genetically with his gramps’ abhorrence of walking anywhere he could drive instead, clutches head and reels around like he’s been shot through the heart with bad news) Augh! Why do we have to walk? Can’t we drive?

Danni: No. It’ll be fun. It’s a beautiful day. You’ve been cooped up inside. You look like a mushroom. It’ll be good for you.

Blondie: C’mon, Git’R’Done, don’t be such a baby.

Git’R’Done: (Puts on the horse-riding helmet for unknown reason) Augh! Aww!  Why? Oh, man…

Git’R’Done in the riding helmet, playing with some furry friends

Danni: Your head’s gonna get hot in that helmet then you’re gonna want to take it off and I’m not carrying it for you.

Git’R’Done: (Still reeling) Augh! etc…

We set off in the beautiful sunshine, Blondie and I chatting about many pleasant things.

Git’R’Done: Aww! I’m tired. My legs hurt. My feet are tired. I’m hot. I’m hungry. Are we almost there? (he’s stumbling along with his helmet over his face, now, because his head is sweltering) Nana, can you carry my helmet?

Danni: No.

Blondie: (whirling upon her brother) Git’R’Done, do you wanna have stuffed animal thighs? Do you?

Git’R’Done: I wish I had a motorcycle to ride.

Blondie: (Rolls eyes) Don’t be such a wimp. I’ve got steel thighs. I walk up hills. I ride my bike up hills. Skate up hills. You drive me batty.

Git’R’Done:  (removes helmet from face and takes a swing at sister with it) You’re a sizzling sausage!

Blondie: At least, I don’t have stuffed animal thighs.

Git’R’Done:  Sizzling sausage! Sizzling sausage…

The whole story ends in anti-climax. The nieces, JA and TL, drove up and offered us a ride home. Git’R’Done quickly crammed his helmet back on and hopped in with them before we could remind him he was just making his thigh problem worse. We set off for home,  abandoning the piglet expedition without a blink. We were sizzled sausages. None of us got grit in our gizzards, or steel in our thighs. We did not see the new piglets.

(I did, however, laugh a lot.)

As always, thank you for reading. Until next time, God bless all y’all and while you enjoy Rend Collective tearin’ up  Joy of the Lord, hop and jump around. C’mon! Get rid of those stuffed animal thighs.



Comfort At The Ranch Pen

I was born into a family with a lot of aunts on my mother’s side–eleven, counting my uncles’ wives–and yesterday, the family gathered to lay another one of them in the ground. She was a good’un and while she was in her eighties and ready to go, my sense of the ridiculous that powers most of my blog posts has deserted me today.

Therefore, I’m going to post this piece of scripture the preacher read at the funeral service yesterday. It’s from the first letter to the Thessalonians and I hope it comforts y’all like it does me.

 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Loving’ Me Some Technology At The Ranch Pen

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 2.36.07 PM

We love technology here at the Ranch Pen about as much as Kip of the Napoleon Dynamite movie, so when a few weeks ago on a cold Saturday afternoon my sister called asking if I wanted the link to a live video feed of a friend who was competing in the final round of a colt starting challenge in Nevada, I said, why not? Even though my sister and I are middle-aged, ultra-conservative Christian ladies, we are really with it technologically speaking. Why not put that to work for us on a cold afternoon and cheer on our young friend in his horse training endeavors from the comfort of our homes? It would be almost as good as actually being there in the stands.

I got signed up and settled in to watch on the computer where the live feed’s camera was trained on the exact center of the indoor arena. Nothing was happening, even though it was past time for the start. I didn’t give up, however. I’m familiar with country folks and our concept of time, and figured the camera guy had got held up shooting the bull with somebody. I went and fixed myself a cup of tea and settled in again. Still nothing but a narrow view of the empty arena. I texted my sister.

Danni: Hey, I’m not getting anything. Are you?

(Event starts about then. We think. But it’s hard to say since the camera is fixed in the middle of the arena and the competitors are evidently to one side getting introduced.)

Sis: What a lame-o video

Danni: might be awesome if they actually focused it and etc. Is our friend in it?

Sis: He’ll be going last since he’s in the lead

Danni: I only saw a few old guts getting introduced  (my phone corrected guys to guts.)

(First gut guy goes. From what we can see, he and his horse are pretty impressive.)

Danni: Wow. The horses only have 2 1/2 hrs work on them?

Sis: Yes. Pretty amazing

Danni: Yeah. I could do that if I didn’t fall off (horses) so much

(time passing. The competitor briefly flashes across the center of the arena)

Danni: Worst video ever

Sis: Gah!!

Danni: Augh…

Sis: Quick!!! Look! Whoops, too late. You missed him

(Time passes. We talk about other stuff.)

Danni: Did any gals get through to the finals?

Sis: No

Danni: I wonder if any gals make it through–hey! this guys in plain view!

Sis: They should hire a lady to run the video department

Danni: No kidding. Even I could’ve done better than this with my iPhone. Surely someone in the crowd has an ol’ iPhone

Sis: You’d think

Danni: Tell me if you detect our friend at any point

Sis: 10-4, good buddy

Danni: That’s a pretty nifty little roan I love blue roans.

Sis: Meh, I’ve seen better. Hahaha

Danni: Is this guy number 2?

Sis: I dunno. can’t understand hardly anything they’re saying.

Danni: They are speaking in ancient Egyptian. Maybe that horse is red. The video quality is as bad as the sound

Sis: Hahaha

(Time passing. twiddling thumbs)

Danni: Where’s the action?

Sis: On either side out of our line of vision is a tarp they have to step on, and over, and planks they have to cross. it’s a good thing we have imagination

Danni: It comes in handy at times like this

Sis: Also a small log they have to pull

Danni: I hope our friend wins or I will feel slightly ridiculous

Sis: This is a ripoff

Danni: Ok here we go! Got a picture of August on a horse

Oh. Never mind

Sis: Who in hooey is August?

Danni: Oh for pity’s sake. A GUY on a horse is what I was trying to say but the phone corrected me and besides that moment has long passed

(The competitor #3, or so, has disappeared beyond the camera view. Again we have an empty arena and garbled talking, but we are still hopeful to glimpse our friend eventually.)

Sis: Does your lame-o video go to commercials at maybe exciting times?

Danni: It’s hard to say, but I believe so. My live stream is junk as well

Sis: 😂😂😂


Danni: Who’s this guy? I had to restart (My stream kept freezing and needing lengthy restarts)

Sis: I think I might have been happier never knowing about this live feed

Danni: I need to check and see if the person in charge is an Okie. This is pure okie

(Lots of time passing, brief glimpses of competitors, garbled sound)

Sis: So far we’ve used up 2 hours that I will not get to live again, and ate almost 2 bags of a few chips.😳 (I crossed out the quantity of chips Sis consumed because I would’ve wanted her to do that for me.) 

Sis: This should be our friend (At last!)

Danni: Ok I’m all ears.…Seriously?!I get a glimpse on occasion but the sound is just garbage Ack! You’ve gotta be Kidding me! A commercial?!

Sis: Bwah What good??😩 We had to restart

Danni: Augh!

During that last, mad scramble, between the restart and the commercial, Sis and I managed to sorta see approximately thirty seconds (not the same thirty seconds) of our friend’s ride. But, hey…if not for technology, we would’ve missed it!

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy The Isaacs tearin’ up Daniel Prayed.

*The text conversation was edited a little to provide clarity, cut out boring stuff, and protect the innocent.

**Our friend placed second out of the top colt starting dudes in the US





Not So Much Brain As Ear Wax At The Ranch Pen

Shakespearean insults and tea, anyone?

Shakespearean insults and tea, anyone?

As a tea drinker, I am all about just-right mugs, so imagine my delight when my nice sister-in-law gave me an amazon card for Christmas to spend in any way I pleased. I, of course, immediately purchased this Shakespearean insults mug, which allows me to chortle as I sip tea and plan ways to insert some of these beauties into casual conversations, arguments, letters to the president and congress, and my books.

At any rate, since my “mountain of mad flesh” is under the weather this week and I am “not so much brain as ear wax” I’ll just share these twenty-eight zingers. They’re all priceless, but my favorites are in bold.


  • Mountain of mad flesh
  • Light of brain
  • Bolting-hutch of beastliness
  • Not so much brain as ear wax
  • long-tongu’d babbling gossip
  • Thou art a boil, a plague sore
  • Veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth
  • I do desire we may be better strangers
  • You Rampallian! You Fustilarian!
  • Lump of foul deformity
  • Highly fed and lowly taught
  • All eyes and no sight
  • All the infections that the sun sucks up
  • Elvish-mark’d abortive, rooting hog
  • Foot-licker
  • Infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker
  • O gull, O dolt, as ignorant as dirt
  • Clod of wayward marl
  • False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand
  • Roast-meat for worms
  • Anointed sovereign of sighs and groans
  • Lewdly inclin’d
  • The soul of this man is his clothes
  • Quintessence of dust
  • Canker-blossom
  • Poisonous bunch-back’d toad
  • A fusty nut with no kernel
  • Beetle-headed, flap-eared knave

Isn’t that last one great?  I shall try it on Gramps someday.  “Why hast thou tracked through the cow pen and onto my clean floor again, thou beetle-headed, flap-eared knave?” I shall screech. Ha. We’ll see what he has to say to that.

If you have a favorite, go ahead and post it in the comments. Until next time, God bless all y’all and lest I get too carried away flinging around my Shakespearean insults, maybe I’d better end with this Phillips, Craig, and Dean song, Let My Words Be Few.

Never Too Late For Black Eyed Peas At The Ranch Pen

Nellie, portrait of a new mom

For the first Ranch Pen post of 2016, I’ve got great news. Just before Christmas, our border collie, Nellie, gave birth to her puppies in the dumbest spot ever, a den she dug under an old trailer top in the garden which sits FOUR INCHES OFF THE GROUND. Previous to the birth, the fit was so tight, she got stuck. After she finally managed to squeeze out, I blocked the entrance of her prospective birthing site with rolls of barbed wire secured by fence posts. Surely, that would force her to use her nice, roomy, warm doghouse for her maternal nest? Wrong. Somehow, she nosed the barbed wire and posts aside and continued her swell plan. Lying on her side, she clawed her way ten feet into the darkness where she had–I make it four, the grandkids make it five–puppies. However, we won’t know for sure until they appear at the mouth of the den on their own. At present, we can hear them grunting fatly and since Nellie scrapes out of her chosen home looking haggard and careworn, I assume she is mothering the little fellows in her addled way.

The den entrance where we will meet Nellie’s puppies in a few weeks, or a month

Granddaughters Ladybug and Blondie, and grandsons Roper and Git’R’Done

Christmastime brought grandkids for cookie making, and Son #3’s family came home for Christmas week. We had a blast. Christmas morning is so much better with kids in the house. Usually, it’s just Gramps and me.

Gramps on typical Christmas: (yawning) Thanks for the socks. I was needing some.

Danni: Yeah. Thanks for the gift card. I told you not to buy me anything.

Gramps: Ha. You didn’t actually think I’d make that mistake again, did you…?

This year was great, though. We woke to the grandson, Einstein, flinging open the bedroom door with a jolly, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” A few minutes later, the youngest grandson, Tater, took down a plastic candy cane full of Skittles and washed it down with Mountain Dew. The soda was the kind made from pure cane sugar instead of corn syrup, so we counted it as a health drink of sorts. It certainly seemed to give Tater an energy boost.



Later, while the daughters-in-law cooked Christmas dinner, three of the the grandson’s and I loaded up the BB guns and went rabbit hunting–the perfect arrangement since I do like to be outside with grandkids and I don’t like to cook.

Einstein, Kevman, and Roper examining a mysterious kill

Later that weekend, we got another storm even though we had barely finished cleaning up from the ice storm on Thanksgiving weekend. First, lots of rain, then an inch or so of freezing rain, then a blizzard with sustained high winds then another inch or so of freezing rain atop all that like frosting on top of our proverbial cupcake.  We lost our power again like we did during the Thanksgiving ice storm, but this time the problem was so widespread across the southern plains that the electric company told us it’d be two-three weeks before we got back online. Gramps hauled out the old generator once more and we were functional. But imagine our happiness when only five days later our juice was back on! Bliss. Our linemen are awesome. All us country ladies love those guys that get out there and work in truly wretched conditions to get us powered up again. Just for kicks, here’s a link to Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman which was one of my favorite songs when I was a girl. (Hm. Could that explain why I want to weep with joy when the lights come back on, and give the linemen cookies, and hug them, too?)

Gramps and Son #2 couldn’t get to some of the farms for several days because of drifts across the roadways, but all our cattle weathered the blizzard all right because they had windbreaks or shelter of some sort. Below, our other dog, Trace, (happily NOT the father of Nellie’s pups,) is waiting in vain for traffic to chase.

Snowdrifts completely filled portions of the horse pen, leaving the fences buried.

Frisco on a five foot drift

The grandkids’ pony, Frisco, on a five foot drift

My mare, Sis, considering escape

My mare, Sis, considers making a break for it

An oddity of ice

By New Years Eve Gramps had gotten us dug out, so as devout, ultra-conservative Christians, we headed for the bright lights of our church gathering and gorged ourselves at the snack table, washing our gluttony down with soft drinks and water. We joined our rowdy friends in raucous laughter amongst the puzzle-putting-together table, the intense Phase Ten (I believe) game, and the kids having a rousing snowball fight outside. After that, exhausted by our surfeiting, Gramps and I left our party and reeled home at 9:30 p.m. where we fell into bed and promptly zonked, seeing in the new year from the insides of our eyelids.

By dawn on New Years Day 2016, Gramps and I had pretty much recovered from the toll our New Years Eve festivities had taken on us, and we went back to work, making no particular concessions to the date except we took down a can of black eyed peas with our supper in the time-honored southern tradition of eating the nasty things for good luck. Last year I think we forgot, which might explain a few things. Anyway, we should be set to tackle 2016, now, and remember, it’s never too late to eat black eyed peas. They are seriously nutritious and if you add a nice ham bone and some cornbread, they’re actually fairly tasty.

Until next time, God bless all y’all in 2016 and enjoy Southern Raised doing an awesome job on I’ll Have a New Life.


Top Ranch Pen Posts 2015 #1

Gramps digging us out

Gramps digging us out

Before I get to the #1 most viewed Ranch Pen post, I’ll just say we’re digging out from the rain/ice-storm/blizzard/ice-storm-again that left the southern plains in a huge mess over the weekend, particularly southwest Oklahoma where we have widespread power outages. Sustained winds from Saturday to Monday morning of 40-50+ mph and higher gusts, plus drifted snow and ice brought the power supply to a screeching halt. We own a generator, so we are all right–good thing since the rural electric company said it’ll be two-three weeks before they get us back on real power. We haven’t been able to get to all the farms to check cattle, yet, but the critters on the home place–dogs, horses, cats, and chickens all survived.

The #1 post of the year is the same as last year, How To Get Your iPhone To Read Your Kindle Books And Magazines To You. The fact that this particular post is #1 is as hilarious as last year, considering I recently wasted valuable hours of my life trying to figure out how to update my contact list from iPhone to iCloud so I could have it on iPad. Perhaps I’ll do a techie post about that, too. Who knows? How to Update Your Contact List So You Can Do Your Christmas Cards in Twenty-Five Hours and Thirty Easy Steps might be my #1 view next year.

(An FYI, this method works for Kindle on iPad, too. )


Today is my first ever techie post: How To Get Your iPhone To Read Your Kindle Books And Magazines To You Even Though It Seems Like There Should Be An Easier Way To Do It. (Like straight from the Kindle App. I’m just sayin’.) If you have your Kindle read aloud to you a lot, you might find it handy to have your books read from your iPhone, too.

Screenshot from World Magazine on Kindle App for iPhone

Random screenshot from World Magazine on my Kindle App for iPhone. Your iPhone will read this to you.

Everybody who knows me is laughing their heads off that I would tackle a tech issue, but this is something daughter-in-law #2 and I have been trying to figure out for a while. Finally, Eureka! If I’m the last iPhone/Kindle reader left alive who didn’t know how to do this, please be kind–I’m not as young as I used to be.

(***Update 9-29-2015 since iOS 9 update)

Step#1: Open your Kindle app to the book page or magazine you want to read.

Step#2: Quickly tap the home button three times. A female voice will say, “Voiceover on”.

Step #3: Swipe two fingers down the screen for continuous reading.

Step #4: When you finish, be sure and tap the home button quickly three times. The female voice will say, “Voiceover off”.

Step #5: Go ahead and live your life in real time–smell the flowers, play with your dog, look at the stars with your kids.

Thank you, whoever made this operation so much simpler than it used to be!

(**Update 6-11-2015 from Paula who left this tip on the blog comments)

There is a shortcut: If you go to settings/General/Accessibility Shortcut (at the very bottom) and check off voiceover – then you can control whether it is off or on with three taps on the home button.

If that doesn’t work for you, try the following steps.

Step #1: Open your Kindle App to whatever book or article you want read aloud.

Step #2: Then hold down the home button to activate SIRI.

Step #3: Tell Siri to turn on VoiceOver.

(When Siri turns on VoiceOver, the phone is controlled by voice commands.)

Step #4: Hold home button to activate Siri again. Tell her to open Kindle App. She will open Kindle to the page you previously opened.

Step #5: Tap the screen. Then double tap the screen to get rid of the Kindle menu.

Step #6: Swipe two fingers down the screen and VoiceOver will begin reading aloud in a female voice. (You might have to try a few times. My phone was very uncooperative until I figured it out.)

Step #7: When you have finished reading, be sure to de-activate VoiceOver by holding down your iPhone’s home button and telling Siri to turn off VoiceOver.

No need to thank any of us down here at the Ranch Pen–especially if we’re the last ones to figure out that nifty trick.

Until next time, God bless all y’all and tell your iPhone to read you some good books.



As always, thanks so much for reading and I wish you all the best for the coming new year.