The Lord’s Prayer At The Ranch Pen


Sunrise at the ranch pen

As we wind up National Poetry Month here at the Ranch Pen, I’ll share what is, in my opinion, the loveliest prayer in poetry form ever. Also known as The Lord’s Prayer, these verses are from the Gospel of Matthew in the Holy Bible.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.


I hope you’ve enjoyed poetry at the Ranch Pen this month as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it, and until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy the guys of Veritas singing The Lord’s Prayer.

Hoping For Posthumous Fame During Poetry Month At The Ranch Pen

Red Mountain, Colorado

Red Mountain, Colorado

We’re still observing National Poetry Month here at the Ranch Pen. Last week, I went so far as to compose a fantastical poem about the Schwan man who visits our place every other week, but I realized later that it lacked that certain, well, shall we say…power to touch human emotion and remain in the common psyche forever. Which is a real shame, but…whatever. I doubt Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, had any idea while penning My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here two-hundred-plus years ago, that some middle-aged farm woman transplanted from the mountains of Colorado to the dry, flatlands of Oklahoma would read it with her heart squeezing from homesickness. Considering that, I feel there is posthumous hope for all my poetical works–Trumpet of the Schwan ManOde To a Little Goat (Deceased) and Ode To a Green Cowdog–at some point. However distant.

But seriously, this poem is for you, flatlanders, fellow displaced highlanders, and Robbie Burns lovers. Enjoy.


My Heart’s in the Highlands

by Robert Burns

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.


As always, thanks so much for reading. God bless all y’all and enjoy Ross Harris singing My Heart’s In The Highlands.

Trumpet Of The Schwan Man

by EK Johnson

by EK Johnson

Danni composing poetry

April is National Poetry Month, so in observance of that, I sat down and whacked out this poem for our Schwan’s delivery guy who keeps all us out here in the country from missing out on frozen delights. (And apologies to E.B. White for riffing off his excellent title, The Trumpet of the Schwan, I mean, Swan.)


Trumpet of the Schwan Man


You blow into my driveway my heart drops to my toes.

Is there money in the bank account?

The Good Lord only knows.

Your rural delivery brings us our ice cream,

Still, showing pictures of your six kids?

That’s really kinda mean.

Then you say, how you feelin’ bout those Signature Bars?

On sale just today…Buy ’em, try ’em,

You’ll thank your lucky stars.

I stand consid’ring your six kids, my dog sniffs your knees,

I sure don’t want your poor kids to starve,

Give me this and that, please.

Driving away, you seem sad! My guilt is pretty rough,

I only dropped eighty bucks this time,

Please…was that not enough?


~Danni McGriffith~


As always, thanks so much for reading, now go read some real poetry during April! God bless all y’all and enjoy Matt Redman doing his awesome 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord).


Good Friday At The Ranch Pen


For Gramps and me as Christians, Easter weekend is the best time of the year at the Ranch Pen. On Good Friday, we reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins by suffering on the cross, dying, and descending to the tomb. Then on Sunday we rejoice because Our Lord didn’t stay in that grave, but arose and is living still. That means everything to us. As we celebrate that empty tomb, our prayer is that God will bless all y’all this Easter weekend.


Writing Humor When Life Ain’t Funny At The Ranch Pen


image via somewhere on the internet


Anyone with a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous can usually find something amusing about most any situation, but there comes a point when life just ain’t funny. As a writer, I’ve been warily circling the big, snarled up ball of twine in the middle of my metaphorical writing room, looking for the string to pull that will allow me to write something about some subject. Anything. Forget amusing, I’d settle for coherent. Finally, I began pulling strings.

String A? No.

B? Blah.

C? Meh.

D? Good grief. The worst yet.

  • danger
  • death
  • dementia
  • depression
  • despair
  • diarrhea
  • disappointment
  • disaster
  • doldrums
  • dopes
  • drunk drivers

I was on the verge of giving up again until I reached this one:

  • dumb dogs

At last! The right string after all.

Nellie, the happy extrovert

Gramps and I have a border collie named Nellie. Border Collies are typically livestock herding dogs, not bird dogs. She’s beautiful and we love her, but she is handicapped by hyperactivity.  Nellie is confined to our yard by a Pet Safe electronic collar that sends a wireless shock if she gets too close to the road. The collar has saved her life approximately twenty-three-million times, now, because Nellie loves to chase. She can’t be trusted with livestock, so she spends every waking moment chasing: motorized vehicles which she can’t catch because of her collar, the cat, grandkids, toads in the summertime, and birds. Mostly, birds. If she had the choice of a nice, juicy steak bone, or bird chasing, she would choose the birds.

Nellie’s obsession with birds causes her to go deaf so she still has to be kept on a leash when I take her out of her electronic circle. If I turn her loose, she races after birds and pays no attention to me calling her back even when I have a pocketful of meat as incentive to return. Bear in mind we are surrounded by miles and miles of wheat fields. She could run for a long time following birds as they lured her farther and farther away like the ruthless Pied Pipers they are.

Anyway, the other day while walking, some madness seized me and I let her off the leash. We practiced her commands for a while. Everything was great.

Then the flock of meadowlarks.

With single-minded zeal she dedicated her life to catching those birds. I don’t have a loud voice, and no matter how I shrieked, howled, or whistled, she ignored me. Anyone who has ever had a dog that won’t come on command knows how severely annoying that is.

Finally, she must have sensed it was good I wasn’t packing a gun and she headed back. I told her, “Good girl, good Nellie,” and so forth as reward for her reluctant obedience, but then she saw another bird and took off. I’d had it.

“Stop!” I roared. The force of my command pulled me up on my tiptoes and then rocked me back on my heels. A shower of spit sprayed all around.

Nellie stopped dead and looked at me like I was having a psychotic episode. Then she waggled over so I could snap on her leash. I stared at her, thunderstruck. All these months I had apparently been too nice with my calm, quiet commands.

We walked home with me periodically bellowing, “Stop!” And she did, looking at me like, “Geez. All right, just calm down.” I got the giggles.  How ridiculous we must’ve appeared from a birds’ eye view.

An FYI: I learned that the command has to be clipped, with particular emphasis on the P. The spit pattern has to be just right. (Remember, that particular command–if done correctly–is really a bummer when the wind is strong and in your face, so brush your teeth beforehand and use mouthwash. Or, just sell your dog.)

So, until next time, God bless all y’all and if you write humor and your life ain’t funny, just start trying to find the string that’ll pull out of the snarl and make you laugh. It’s there if you look hard enough. Nellie hopes you enjoy her favorite song, Chasing Cars.  

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse Nellie’s behavior, she just loves this song.

Deep Thoughts And So Forth At The Ranch Pen


We had a blizzard this week–didn’t get much snow but with near forty-mile-per-hour winds, we got a lot of snow sculptures like the one above

The rotten weather has kept things pretty boring around the home place unless you are old and like to talk about the weather. Farmers and ranchers are weather oriented by necessity, and farmers and ranchers over forty are well on their way to glazing over the eyes of all their friends, family, and blog readers with weather observations. To guard against that on a boring week, I’ll talk about…hmm…

(The brain gears are creaking and grinding, thinking deep thoughts and so forth. )

Ah. I’ve got it, now. Okay. So a few days ago before the blizzard, Nellie and I took a long walk. We found a pile of duck feathers about a quarter mile south of our house in the wheat field–the remains of my murdered foul of a few weeks ago, no doubt. Nellie and I worked on her sheep dog commands. Lie down. Sit. Stay. C’mere, dummy! I mean, Nellie! and so on. We followed a bunch of coyote tracks down a draw. No feather piles. I took some bad pictures. The one below was the best of a bad lot.

Nellie covering her #2 job in her most ladylike fashion

And I found this picture taken at the grocery store a few weeks ago. (The little tee shirt kinda put me off soups, Stove Top, and deeply discounted after-Valentines Day yummies for a while.)


 About now, everybody is thinking, thank goodness I don’t pay for this blog.

But, enough nonsense. sends me an email every day offering an audio book at steeply discounted prices. I love Daily Deals and recommend if you like to read while you’re doing other things hop on over there and sign up. Sometimes I get hooked up with a real stinker of a book, but mostly I read stuff not offered at the local library, or newer model books that I normally wouldn’t try. A while back, I listened to a book by Winston Churchill called My Early Life. He wrote it in 1930, I believe, but it was a really good book, giving insight into the formative years of a great man. As a young fella, he was in the army and saw action as a cavalryman in Cuba, India, and Africa. He wrote a lot of war strategy and politics, but his dry sense of humor kept it interesting. (He called his blunders “boobies” and sometimes “ridiculous boobies”, which struck me funny, I don’t know why.)

At any rate, it reminded me of this great poem by Rudyard Kipling who lived in the same era of time. My sons memorized it in school and it still echoes in their characters. Enjoy.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling~


Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Third Day tearing up Soul on Fire.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse the blog, I just love their music.

Personality Of A Sunbeam, Bladder Of A Flea At The Ranch Pen

Gramps with the grandkids, Git’R’Done, Ladybug, Blondie, and Roper

A couple of weeks ago, along with my sister’s family, we gathered up as many grandkids as we could and headed down to the horse fair and ranch rodeo at Duncan, Oklahoma. Normally, I get a lot of really bad pictures, but this year I only managed to take a few really bad pictures. (Excluding the one above.) Why? you might ask. The correct answer would be that Ladybug–who has the personality of a sunbeam and is cute as can be at three-years-old–has the bladder and attention span of a flea.

Ladybug and I spent much of our time in the ladies’ room of the fair barn. The facilities there are pretty awesome apparently. The space is cavernous and echoes, sometimes with the barking from a stock dog on the end of some ranch lady’s leash. Perhaps twenty stalls of a dull, institution tan color are divided by a wide aisle where all us ranch lady types go in and out. Our boots scuff the concrete floor, which is covered in a film of grit from the arena. A really cool sink, like an old semi-circle horse trough, spouts water from only one of four spouts (I assume to conserve water because of western Oklahoma’s severe drought and water shortage). Also, there is an automatic paper towel dispenser. If you are three-years-old and stand directly beneath the towel dispenser jumping around and waving your hands, an astonishing amount of paper toweling will unfurl before your nana can drag you away. If you are not three-years-old, forget it. The blinking red eye will never detect your wrinkled old hands, no matter how vigorously you wave and mutter. Finally,  there was the big mirror above the trash can to make sure our hair looked good before Ladybug and I burst forth at a gallop, heading for the snack bar…to buy a drink, so we could return to the ladies room, etc, etc.

During my many treks to the facilities with Ladybug, I commanded Gramps to take pictures only to find he’s not any better than I am at that. However, he did take a video or two–one of which was upside down and the other in slow-mo. That one was hysterically funny, but we got it all fixed up for the Ranch Pen readers’ shock and awe.

The horse was not harmed in the making of this video, but seemed invigorated by his eight seconds of exercise. The rider, however, hit the fence hard enough to make Gramps lose control of the camera, so I had to cut off the end of the video. I believe the rider lived–at least until he staggered out of sight of the arena.

So, until next time, God help all y’all as you try to ride out your broncs–literal and figurative–and enjoy David Wesley doing his excellent job on Good Good Father.