A Bluegrass Groupie Gives The News From Southwest Oklahoma

border collie caught in a coon trap

Hallelujah! We’ve finally caught the ‘coon that has been living under–No, wait…Oh, brother. Never mind.

Where’s The Partially Riveting Content Been?

A couple of posts back I wrote about our new iMac in this post, What Was I Thinkin’? An iMac Review which might partially explain the lack of riveting content from the ranch pen lately. However, we’re cookin’, now–typing with my seven page guide to Mac keyboard shortcuts open on my lap. I’ve finally figured out how to skip to the end of sentences, too. (Hello? ctrl-e? Who wouldn’t know that?)

Excitement At The Ranch Pen

So, anyway. Things have been pretty exciting down here in southwest Oklahoma.

  • A raccoon has been making a pest of itself around the home place, but never fear, Nellie has been on the job. (see above)
  • The tomato plants have set a crop at last! After six, ugly, worm-eaten tomatoes all summer long, we now have approximately one-million the size of golf-balls. They won’t ripen before frost, but…hey. We can’t have everything in this ol’ world. Except fried green tomatoes.


  • The Brahma pullets have decided to save themselves from the stew pot and have started laying pretty, deep brown eggs.
  • Gramps and the grandson, Roper, went to the livestock auction. One of their purchases was a crazed black cow of large frame. She blows snot in Gramps’ pocket but otherwise she’s a real money-maker.
  • And other news…hmm…we need some rain real bad. The forty or fifty drops we had earlier today didn’t fill the ponds.

And let’s see…

  • Oh! I almost forgot! My favorite bluegrass guy of all time, Doyle Lawson, came to western Oklahoma.

Wheat stubble field in western OK

That red thing in the picture is Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver‘s tour bus parked between a bean field and a wheat stubble field on a farm at the end of several miles of Oklahoma dirt road.

The Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver concert was at an isolated, laid-back venue on a farm called The Canyon and was only attended by three or four hundred people, but it was awesome. The determining factor of awesomeness in our part of Oklahoma? All of our family and friends escaped without chigger bites!

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver at The Canyon

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver at The Canyon

Our Good Friend Doyle

Gramps and I visited with Doyle–I call him that, now, whether he wants me to or not–after the concert, and he was very pleasant to us even though he’d already gotten our money. I can’t remember if he shook my hand, but I can never wash it again, anyway…just in case he did. Daughter-in-law #2 called me a bluegrass groupie.

All joking aside, the singin’ and playin’ was just as good to us Okies as the finest symphony, and we had a wonderful experience out there at The Canyon on Ken Smith’s farm. (I’m pretty sure his first name is Ken. I can’t remember his surname–the farm is deep in Mennonite country, so I doubt it was really Smith. To solve my memory problem I just made up a name and pinned it on him like Gramps often does. We have conversations like this:

Gramps, talking to some old farmer dude chewing a toothpick outside the cafe: Okie, dokie, then, Bill. Catch y’all later.

Danni, on the way to the pickup with Gramps: His name ain’t Bill, y’know.

Gramps, looking startled: What is it, then?

Danni: It’s Ted.

Gramps: Well, I call him Bill.

Danni: Could you stop just calling people names you pull out of thin air?


Okay, so where were we, now…? Oh, yes.

Last But Not Least

My blogger friend Anna, over at The Silent Isle recently became a published author with a novella in a collection of Christian Christmas stories set in the 1800s. (Woo Hoo! Way to go, Anna 🙂 ) Visit her blog to read interviews with the nine contributing authors–all very interesting, especially after reading each of the ladies’ stories.

Anna’s contribution–A Silent Night–is about a young mother who desperately needs a Christmas miracle as she and her young daughter face the wintertime Michigan wilderness alone.

If anybody is looking for a Christmas gift for a reader in the family, this collection, A Pioneer Christmas, is a good one. Just click on the link and it’ll take you over to amazon.com.

Stay tuned for more riveting content when The Ranch Pen interviews Blondie–Chicken Keeper Extraordinaire–and Nellie comes out of the ‘coon trap to review her Pet Safe Wireless Fence.

Thanks very much for reading. God bless all y’all and enjoy a live presentation of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver doin’ The Greatest Creator. (If the quality leaves something to be desired, just blame iPhone operator error. The operator’s name was Bill. I think.)


*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ‘em.

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That Tornado’s Gonna Miss Us, Or…Maybe Not

cordell tornado

Tornado that wiped out the eastern third of a small town near us in 2001

Why would anyone live in Southwestern Oklahoma?

Considering the monster F5 tornado that roared through Moore, Oklahoma, last week, some of y’all are probably scratching your heads and wondering, What is wrong with those crazy people? Why do they live where there’s a “God Have Mercy” season in a place called tornado alley?

As I write this, the wind is gusting to 37 mph, the air is hot and muggy, and a squall line has formed in the Texas panhandle, headed this way. We’ll be under a tornado watch until late tonight. I’ll start watching the sky and pacing here in a little bit then I’ll try to contact all the family to make sure they have a place to shelter in case things get ugly. I’ll probably call Gramps and command him to come home at some point. He tends to stay out way too long for my comfort. Then we’ll just say our prayers and see what happens. Hopefully, we’ll merely get some rain…and not 80 mph straight winds, large hail (ping pong ball size to softball size,) lightning strikes, or tornados.

The picture below is what we actually got later this day:


Slowly rotating clouds over the home place and a tornado warning: Take cover. Now.

The severe weather stayed west of us this time and I am thankful–although I always feel bad for the people who didn’t get off so lightly.

The Benefits of Living in Southwestern Oklahoma Far Outweigh the Drawbacks


The benefits to living in rural Southwest Oklahoma during the “God Have Mercy” season often outweigh the drawbacks. For instance, at least once a year major panic attacks unclog our arteries. The blood pulses powerfully through our blood vessels like a type of roto-rooter while we stand on the porch praying for that ugly bugger to miss us, or we race through the hail trying to get underground somewhere. (Our cellar collapsed years ago. Replacing it is just one of those things we need to get done…next year.)

Strong relationships

We enjoy close relationships with our insurance agents as they help us replace our hail pocked roofs, our busted windshields, our metal barns, and the revenue from our wheat crops and even dead livestock sometimes.


Just because we live in a very rural county doesn’t mean we lack entertainment. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, two of my sons have been firemen and storm spotters since they turned eighteen. They and other dummies storm spotters go out in bad weather, driving around looking for danger in hopes of saving lives and strengthening their heart muscles with pure adrenalin shooting through their veins. Afterward, they go out scouting the storm damage. Once, Gramps and the boys found a Cessna airplane beat up by hail and landed on a muddy road in the middle of miles of wheat fields. They helped the pilot and his passenger push the little plane until it–like the phoenix…or, at least a turkey buzzard–rose again.

(Hey.That’s better by far than getting dragged off to the opera, or some other boring high-browed event.)

And finally, Oklahoma breeds just plain ol’, hard-down optimism

The young man in the following video of the Moore tornado reminds me of my boys. If it wasn’t for Okie guys (and a few girls) like them–standing on the rooftops and hills, chasing those rotating clouds through golf-ball-sized hail, driving into the twisty winds with their smart (?) phones set to video–the rest of the world would hardly know the happy optimism that keeps Okies living in Oklahoma.

God bless all y’all and enjoy Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver doin’ Hiding From the Storm Outside.

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ’em.

Related Post: Stunned In Oklahoma
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Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover Speaks On End Of Life Issues Part l


Photo courtesy HDWallpaper.ws

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  ~Winston Churchill

Well, my Sockless Sunday Campaign  to save Chihuahua pelts everywhere didn’t take off as I’d hoped. I couldn’t even shake down a couple of my blog followers for donations. Bummer. Let’s see, now. I need a fresh topic. Oh, I know…I’ll tackle horse slaughter.

Horse slaughter has been hotly debated in Oklahoma lately, and last month Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill legalizing horse processing facilities in the state, but banned processing horses for human consumption. Some people object to horse meat because horses are sometimes medicated with drugs that might adversely affect humans, but others object on principle because horses are beautiful and intelligent creatures.

I don’t personally have a problem with people who eat horse meat. People from other cultures eat stranger things. Such as bugs. Or snakes. Or, in some countries, their dogs. Or guinea pigs, as I found in another of my posts which you can read here.

-Animals-Fresh-New-Hd-Wallpaper--guinea pig

photo courtesy HDWallpaper.ws

While I don’t plan to dine on horse meat or guinea pigs anytime soon, I would if I got hungry enough. Read the excellent book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand about the Olympic runner Louis Zamperini. After a few weeks in a life raft in the middle of the ocean, he and his wreck-mates would literally have tried to eat anything. And, don’t even ask what was on the Donner Party‘s supper menu. Gross.

“What’s with these Okies?” somebody’s saying. “First the governor, now this wretched farm woman making a mockery of truly magnificent animals. What does she even know about anything?”

Hey (as hairy Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty would say). I’ve earned an opinion on the horse slaughter question. I’m not a lawyer, a politician, an animal rights activist, or politically correct, but I am Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover and owner out here on the home place where we deal with real life–and end of life–issues every day.

Girl and Shetland Pony

Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Horses have been a grand passion to me all my life. It’s impossible for me to make a mockery of, or hate on, horses. I started riding when I was younger than my granddaughter, Blondie (above), when my dad brought home a quarter horse/welsh cross pony my sisters and I shared. Cocoa was her name. Ever since then, except for a handful of years in my life, I’ve had a horse or two, or five, eating their heads off around the place.

Now that I have established my horse lover bona fides, (or, for those whose Latin is rusty: Evidence of good faith…A sincere statement or evidence of good intentions,) and am only writing a blog post, not a book, I will end for today. But throughout the next few Mondays, I’ll tackle some end of life issues for horses, guinea pigs, and maybe even grampa and gramma. Because even though the subject isn’t pleasant, some might want to understand why the horse slaughter debate is such a big deal–even for Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover–and why I deeply appreciate our governor and legislators legalizing horse processing facilities in the state.

God Bless all y’all until next time.

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Happy Birthday To An Old Farm Kid

Son #3 making butter in a jar

Son #3 making butter in a jar. Photo courtesy of Granny McGriffith

For your 27th birthday, Son #3, I’m sharing this good old picture of a familiar scene from your childhood–churning butter in a jar while rocking out to cool tunes.

For those who might have missed that important part of childhood, I’ll fill you in on the butter making process of the family who keeps a milk cow.

1. The kid milks the family cow–preferably a Jersey–by hand.

2.The kid brings in the bucket of milk. Mom strains it into a gallon jar and refrigerates it.

3. Next morning, mom skims off the cream that rose to the top of the milk overnight. Kids drink the milk and eat it on their cereal.

4. Mom lets the cream sour at room temperature for a day or two.

5. Mom hands a jar half full of cream to a kid, who shakes it vigorously until butter forms and separates from the buttermilk.

6. Mom drains the buttermilk away then rinses the ball of butter until no buttermilk remains, salts it, then the family eats it. Yummy!

I credit your present occupation–providing organic food choices to the health nuts, hippies, and Mennonites of north central Oklahoma–with your growing up years on the farm where you helped produce food from the hoof to the plate and everywhere in between.


I’ve sent daughter-in-law #3 home to you with a cash gift. Don’t spend it all in one place. Have an awesome birthday. God bless you and enjoy Doyle Lawson doing one of your old favorites, When the Sun of My Life Goes Down.

(Sorry about the kid fussing in the background, but I guess you’re used to that.)

Love, Mom

Sunset In A Southwest Oklahoma Cowpasture

Sunset in a SW Oklahoma Cow Pasture

Oklahoma sunset from the cow pasture.

Enjoy one of your favorite views on your birthday, Gramps!

And this poem is for you, although I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to saddle your Arctic Cat. Have you?

Enjoy Cold Morning courtesy of High Plains Journal and a great cowboy poet and fellow Oklahoman, Joe Kreger.

Cold Morning

By Joe Kreger

It’s daylight now; snow fell last night. Then, the wind came up and blew it. You’ve already got your coftee drank, so it’s time to go and do it.

Twenty years ago, it was easier to get started in the morning. But age is a lot like snow storms. It hits you without warning.

Gettin’ older is plumb natural. It’s not like some disease. But, you really start to notice when it’s only three degrees.

I remember when my winter gear was a jacket and wool shirt. Now it takes about seven layers to keep out winter’s hurt.

Well, I’ll let the sun get higher. Believe I’ll drink another cup. Sure hope nothin’ happens to make me saddle up.

Hope there ain’t no cattle out. I’m not wantin’ to mount my steed. It won’t be so bad, if all I do is just chop ice and feed.

Sure hope no calves are sick today, and no cows are needin’ treated. I’d like to do my ridin’ in a pickup that is heated.

I could use a little winter help, but I’m glad that there’s no witness to observe this old hand a workin’ in his present physical fitness.

‘Cause when I’m totin’ buckets or choppin’ ice in the snow, I pause in my exertion by raisin’ up to blow.

There’s just somethin’ about workin out in the snow and cold that makes your wind come harder, and you start a feelin’ old.

And cowboyin’ loses its luster when the gates are all froze shut, or when you’re stabbin’ for a stirrup and you slip and fall on your butt.

I know you do what you gotta do, regardless of the weather, but winter dang sure ain’t my choice when it comes to poppin’ leather.

Joe Kreger writes from his home in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. His books and CDs are available from the Journal by calling 1-800-954-5263.

Y’all have a good weekend. God bless, and enjoy Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver doing Beyond the Sunset For Me