Gone Fishin’ At The Ranch Pen

Gone Fishing by Norman Rockwell

Gone Fishing by Norman Rockwell

The Ranch Pen blog posts will be a little spotty or maybe even altogether absent over the next few weeks as Gramps and I tend to business and take a break to visit family and friends. So until next time, God bless all y’all and I’ll leave you to enjoy this great Norman Rockwell painting, Gone Fishing, and David Wesley singing Here By the Water.

*This artist doesn’t necessarily endorse the blog, I just love his music.



A Trip To A Rural Burger Joint On Almost Wordless Wednesday

IMG_0011Cheese-like food product–a crime against real cheese everywhere


Walls full of pithy sayings


And, finally, the picture that caused Gramps to hurt himself laughing, but which is also a serious crime against tired women everywhere who inadvertently sit down beneath that sign

(And, yes…bad as I hate to admit it, that is ol’ Danni resting her eyes at the end of a long day)

 Until next time, God bless all y’all and…grouches of the world let us unite! If we try hard enough we can wake up and find a way to make canned cheese taste even worse than it already does. While we are contacting our local yellowish plastics company for help, enjoy The Johnson Mountain Boys with Alison Kraus doing a song about an old cowperson called Let Me Rest.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse the blog, but I love ‘em anyway.

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down At The Ranch Pen

IMG_6326Gramps on Sunday morning doing his part with the littlest grandson, Tater: staying out of the way

In the day we live in, the chaos of readying a household to attend church on Sunday morning isn’t as common as it used to be, so I’m truly blessed to share this picture of Sunday mornin’ coming down at our house.

When I was growing up in ancient Egypt there was a song called Sunday Morning Coming Down written by Kris Kristofferson (imagine how incredibly old that makes Mr Kristofferson…if he is even still alive). Anyway. The song is about an aging addict who still finds himself longing for the simplicity and goodness found in a quiet Sunday morning. Which leads me to talk about one of the characters in my Love Is Not Enough book series, Roy Howard.

First, however, let me just say that a few years back I read a book by a guy named Peter Hedges called, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I knew when I read the dedication page I’d probably like the book, because the page read:

To my mother who is not fat
and my father who is not dead

Like Peter Hedges, I’ll take the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings that my dad is an alcoholic or an addict. He is not…although he does occasionally overindulge on apple pie.

I don’t really know from whence Roy Howard sprang–an aging alcoholic with troubled relationships on every hand–except I have known a number of men like him in my lifetime. At first, his name was Ted and he was a cardboard character with the sole purpose of rubbing Gil Howard, his son, the wrong way. Twenty years passed while I was writing The Cedar Tree, however, and Ted began to protest his cardboard status. First off, he told me he hated his name and had it legally changed to Roy–which actually put a whole new spin on him in my writer’s brain. Then he began to show glimpses of a longing for something better beneath his hateful exterior. Now, he is a fully fleshed-out character with more to do than bedevil Gil’s life–although he’s still plenty good at that.

I’m always happy to answer questions about characters in the books, or about growing up in ancient Egypt next to an apple pie bakery, so just leave a comment or shoot me an email on the contact page.

Also, The Cedar Tree is free to download on Amazon.com today, and book two of the series, Wailing Woman Creek, is free today and tomorrow. *(Free promotion ended 7/12/2014)

Until next time, God bless all y’all and here is a vintage clip of Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash doing Sunday Morning Coming Down.

Huffing Emoji And A Fizzled Bull At The Ranch Pen

The blog suffers at times from blog stinkerosis, also known as, the-old-gal’s-got-too-much-goin’-on-and-her-head’s-about-to-explode-look-out!. It’s a real condition. Look it up. You’ll find it under C for crazy ladies. Anyway, to get us off the fourth of July post I’ll rake through some bits of this and chunks of that to see what turns–Oh, hey! I found out something interesting. Anybody with an iPhone emoji keyboard ever wondered what this emoji thing is? 😤 My eyes are going the way of the rest of me and for the longest time (at least a week or two,) I wondered why that emoji thing was chewing on a sock. However, daughter-in-law #2 asked SIRI–our professional nag–and she said the emoji is: Huffing with anger face. 

A quick internet search revealed the emoji actually has steam coming out its non-existent nose, which I totally get, now, but I am going to call my emoji, Oh, put a sock in it, why don’t ya?.

Then we have the barn cat, Tip’s, little fuzz balls. They are fat as butter. If they’re half as good’a cats as their mother, we’ll never have a rodent problem again.


And Nellie, the three-legged dog on the eve of cast removal. Let us hope she has grown a brain in the past weeks and won’t try to bite tires again.

Gramps gathered a bunch of our cows last week for “preg” checking, only to find they were what is called “open”, meaning not bred. Gramps hauled the herd bull up to the clinic to get tested, only to find the bull had fizzled. A lot of things can cause the fizzle such as injuries or ill health, but the bull was hale and hearty, in the prime of his life, and a Don Juan among bulls, yet…nothing. To save Bully’s feelings, I won’t include a picture of his microscope slide. Since the bull weighs almost two-thousand-pounds and we don’t keep herd bulls for pets, he will be off to the livestock auction where a slaughter buyer will purchase him and he will be converted into many pounds of juicy, hormone-free and grass-fed hamburger.

And finally, a picture of the grandson, Roper, who triumphed over his terror of water a few days ago and now swims like a fish. We are really proud of him.0474

Until next time, thank you so much for reading. God bless all y’all and enjoy Third Day doin’ God of Wonders.

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


Happy Fourth Of July From The Ranch Pen


happy 4th of july from the ranch pen

We’re off celebrating our American Independence Day in the US this weekend, so God bless us everyone, and if you don’t live in America, God bless all y’all, too.

Okie Wisdom For Men From The Ranch Pen

okie wisdom

That helpful gem is from my late father-in-law, Earnest. No need to thank me, fellers, just passin’ it along.

An Arty Twist At The Ranch Pen

I ran across a quote the other day:

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape…

Pablo Picasso

A quick internet study bore out something I already suspected–the range of human emotions is limited to a few basics: happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust and some variations. (I would probably add awe. And thankfulness.) Art–whether sculpture, painting, literature, music, photography, or a host of others–should tell a story that inspires some kind of emotion. So today, as an exercise in culture for us country folk who don’t make it to town very often, and for those of us who have trouble expressing emotion without art, we’ve got an arty post today.

Canyon Princess by Gerald Balciar

Canyon Princess by Gerald Balciar on display at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City

That sculpture makes me feel awe

by Pablo Picasso

Untitled, by Pablo Picasso

Um…pity? That had to hurt…and what’s with that one finger?

Ben Hur

Once again awe.

spider over a doorbell over a finger

spider over a doorbell over a finger

Oh, boogers, wait…that’s from my personal photography collection

Okay, well, the rest of the art will be from a master of emotional storytelling, Norman Rockwell. How do these paintings make you feel?

Breaking Home Ties by Norman Rockwell

Breaking Home Ties by Norman Rockwell


I identify with the kid’s old man. And the dog

Freedom To Worship by Norman Rockwell

Freedom To Worship by Norman Rockwell


I’m thankful to live in a country where we can still pray in public–as long as we’re not at school, or whatnot–but I digress. We’ve still got it good compared to others in this old world

Going and Coming by Norman Rockwell

Going and Coming by Norman Rockwell


Will I be the grandma back there in the backseat one day? (And in answer to the question posed by the Saturday Evening Post above “Should Husbands Be Babysitters?”–it definitely depends on the husband. If he sends the babies down to play in the pond, no.)

The gossips by Norman Rockwell

The gossips by Norman Rockwell


We can’t change human nature (it’s very funny though. My favorite guy is the one with the pencil behind his ear.)


Girl With Black Eye by Norman Rockwell

Girl With Black Eye by Norman Rockwell


(I used to…er…know some girls like that)

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell

Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell


May that praying grandma always be me

I’m interested to know what emotions this art has stirred in you, so let me know in the comments if you are so inclined.

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy the Gaither Vocal Band tearin’ up Alpha and Omega, a song that stirs the emotion of homesick longing in me.

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