so I can pretend someone is listening

Farmer Meets Rancher: The Pioneer Woman

Two-and-a-half years ago, my sister told me about this blog-thingy called The Pioneer Woman.  I don’t think I even knew what a blog was, but Sis sent me the URL so I went to check it out.  Here was this crazy woman who lived out on the wide prairie (hmm, that sounds familiar) who had these four kids (also, a bit familiar) and she homeschools (getting creeped out now) her husband is a rancher (mine is a farmer, that’s kinda-sorta close) and has a yard full of cows.  Whew!  Well, there finally had to be a difference!  I don’t have cows in my yard, how silly!  I have parts of cows in my yard, thanks to my dogs, but we prefer not to think of them as dead cow parts but Yard Decor.  I can actually deal with that thought, and it makes me feel so cultured. 

One of my yard decorators

I’ve been a regular visitor to since then.  I’ve laughed a lot at her, cried with her when her beloved Nell never came home, and put on 30 lbs thanks to her recipes.  The first day I visited her site she had just posted her recipe for Apple Dumplings (, which I promptly made and then made disappear.  It’s been a lovely ride since then, with many, many culinary adventures undertaken (and added to my hips).    I was so excited last summer when she announced that her cookbook would be coming out in October!!  I went and pre-ordered it immediately and waited forEVER for that book.  Then, in the midst of the longest wait next to the last month of pregnancy, PW goes and announces her upcoming book tour!  Another long wait while the tour page loaded, and the wind went right out of my sails.  She wasn’t coming anywhere close to me.  Sadness enveloped me, then I made a batch of her Yummy, Delightful Mystery Rolls ( and pulled up my (now bigger) big girls pants and got on with my life.  The cookbook finally came, and that very night I made my husband the Twice Baked Potatoes.  He proposed to me again, the second time this year and we’ve already been married for 20 years.  They are just that good.  And the earth kept turning.

photo by Emma

Stay...Good Dog

Last month I was just minding my own business, thinking about how in the world I was going to deal with those 30 lbs and my upcoming 25 year class reunion.  Out of the blue, my old friend Jude sent me a note that The Pioneer Woman was going to be coming to Portland!  Hey!  I know where Portland is!  I even had all my kids there!!  And the book-signing was going to be at Powell’s, which is only the most awesome book store in the UNIVERSE.  Or at least the known universe.  I locked that date in on my calendar, told Stu that no farm emergencies were going to be allowed that day because I was going to go meet REE!  He said, “Who’s Ree?”  Once I explained who Ree was, you know, The Pioneer Woman, the one with the twice baked potato recipe, well he was ready to go.  Then the kids decided they wanted to go too.  We made the dogs stay home, they probably had some redecorating to do anyway.



We got to Powell’s at 4pm.  The Pioneer Woman started at 6pm.  My kids were “positively dying of boredom” in the most awesome bookstore in the known universe.  I still can’t figure it out.  Stu and the girls are all hanging out, and I’m lucky to have a seat while watching the store fill up.  And then it filled up some more.  And then more people came.  And then 6 o’clock came – and went.  Gotta love Portland traffic.  Finally,  in walks Ree.  The crowd squeals like only 500+ women can squeal and I seriously thought about going home right then.  I guess I can’t HANDLE the squealing.  Here’s the only picture I got:

My camera skills have, uh, a lot of room for improvement.  Does this help?

 I was afraid it wouldn’t.  Nowhere to go but up.  Anywho, there was a nice little Q&A and then waiting to have my cookbook signed by THE PIONEER WOMAN HERSELF AND I WAS GOING TO GET TO MEET HER AND now I had to say something and not sound stupid.  Great.  When I got up there I’m not sure I was speaking English anymore and I’m not multi-lingual unless you count pig-Latin.  (Ree, if you read this, I really can converse in complete sentences in clear English most of the time.  Honest!)  I had her sign the Twice Baked Potatoes page for my husband, he thought that was really awesome!   Then the long trip home, kicking myself all the way for representing my area so badly.  Then I ate a piece of Grandma Iny’s Prune Cake ( and all was right with the world, except for the size of my jeans. 

Nice to meet you Ree, from one prairie-living, four-kid-raising, homeschooling, spouse-of-a-rural-occupational-guy to another.  And thanks for all the good food.


April 20, 2010 Posted by | Fun stuff | , , , | 2 Comments

Nothing like consistency


And you won’t find anything like it here.  It’s kind of the theme of my life.  The only consistent thing is inconsistency.  The taps in my brain run hot and cold, and very seldom do they combine and form any sort of just warm. 

It’s been a lovely, quiet morning.  Coffee and Scottish oatmeal scones fresh out of the oven.  I wonder, are they truly Scottish because I used raisins instead of dried currents?  Why do I even think about things like that?  Nobody cares, unless you are a Scottish stickler or something and if you are, please let me know.  I care.

Now I have one kid up and around, asking me to get her schoolwork for today ready.  Quiet time – done.  Peaceful morning – over.  Slog time is here.  I have to face the reality of a trip to town today, which will include ~shudder~ stopping at Hell-mart.  I have a seriously-dislike-slash-hate relationship with Hell-mart, but I must have Cascade Complete and they’re the only ones around here who have it.  I must have Cascade Complete because my kids refuse to rinse the dishes when it’s their turn to wash them.  I have told them OVER and OVER that the dishwasher is not a magic machine, it will not turn filth into shining cleanliness like on the commercials, but since they are smarter and wiser than I, I must buy the most expensive stuff made in the history of dishwashers.  There goes their college fund.  Down the drain.  On the other hand, the dishes get clean and I’ll take immediate gratification over long-term gain any day.  So off to Hell-mart I go, to do business with and enrich Satan’s minions.  It grates my soul.

My menu for this evening:  Stroganoff with home-made noodles, salad, and peas.  Sadly, not peas from my own garden.  Happily, the peas in my garden have actually sprouted! and are about an inch tall! and they didn’t rot like I though they would because of the 2 feet of rain that fell in the weeks after I planted them!  Pretty much all my starts have sprouted (hooray!) and I’m going to Kaija’s today to get some iceberg lettuce seeds.  I read somewhere (you’ll find I say that a lot) that iceberg lettuce doesn’t bolt or turn bitter in the heat of summer like leaf lettuce, but you have to start them indoors early.  I’m gonna give it a try.

Oh, I almost forgot!  My husband, the farmer, no longer thinks blogs are so much nonsense.  He’s actually encouraging me to do this!  I wonder why?  Does he have alterior motives?  Like, would he rather I spill my guts to the nameless, faceless internet than to him?  Nah, he’s just seen me looking at the Pioneer Woman, Cake Wrecks and a couple of others and thinks it’s not a bad idea.  I say, honey, welcome to the 21st century!  You’re only 10 years late.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Nothing much | Leave a comment