Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Snowy Weekend

When Will and Avery joined the family this fall, we purchased an igloo shelter. Over the weekend, it lived up to its name. 

Will and Avery didn't seem to know what to think about this fluffy white phenomenon. And, honestly, it had been awhile since we humans had seen this much snow, too. An informal yardstick measurement revealed about 7 1/2 inches of the white stuff. 

Before anyone gets too worried about Will and Avery, they also had plenty of inside time during the snowstorm.

This looked like the very definition of a "cat nap" to me!

They served as lap warmers for TV viewing for one of our home's occupants. It wasn't me.

Besides the quantity, the lack of wind was another unusual phenomenon for this snow. On the first day, it pretty much stayed where it fell, which should be beneficial for our farm fields.

Notice the Cats Crossing sign on the electric pole.

It was not so conducive to driving to Manhattan for the final regular season football game. So, instead, we gave away our tickets to friends who live in Manhattan and watched "Farmeggedon" - K-State vs. Iowa State - from home. (Unfortunately, K-State lost.)

I did take time to wander and take a few photos during our "staycation."

 I was wishing we'd changed my decorative flag from fall to Christmas to better suit the scene.

We had already put out our Christmas floodlights. But only the green one was working at the time.

The next morning, floodlights were no longer needed.

 Sunlight on snow always transforms the scene.

It was pretty - especially since I wasn't the one shoveling or feeding cattle.

“Snow brings a special quality with it—the power to stop life as you know it dead in its tracks.”
Nancy Hatch Woodward

"When snow falls, nature listens."
Antoinette VanKleef

"A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky—unbidden—and seems like a thing of wonder."
Susan Orlean


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Something Beautiful

My sunrise tree

On this day before Thanksgiving, it's easy to get caught up in the "to-dos." Besides the preparations for the holiday meal, my email feed and television ads offer the latest Black Friday deals. We haven't even celebrated Thanksgiving, yet those of us with the responsibility for making Christmas "merry and bright" for others feel the pressure - kind of like a heavily-laden Thanksgiving buffet where we need to move the turkey platter so we can crowd in another side dish.

I can always use a reminder to take a moment and breathe.

So, it was good to look back at some sunrise photos I took a few days ago. Even though I can't use our own farm machinery for sunrise or sunset silhouettes any more, I took advantage of our neighbor's machines, waiting for another day of harvesting milo in the field down the road from our house.  

On the busiest of days, it's good to remember the beautiful. My Guideposts email devotional made sure I didn't forget.
My sunrise tree - just a little later
A Time to Think
Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.

—Albert Schweitzer, theologian and medical doctor
A Time to Act
Take time today to nourish your soul with beauty and silence.
A Time to Pray
Lord, let me see Your beauty in the beautiful things You have made.

Happy Thanksgiving from The County Line!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Pioneer Woman

At the Pioneer Woman's Lodge where she shoots her TV show.

They say that confession is good for the soul. For long-time readers of Kim's County Line, you know that every so often, I'll make a comment about the Pioneer Woman and her legion of faithful followers. For example, back in a 2011 post, I wrote:

I got an email from Jill, telling me I just had to try a Taco Pizza recipe that was almost as good as Elroy's. (That's our local pizza place, and my kids still think it's the best, even though they've had plenty of pizza in bigger cities - including college towns.) She sent the link, and I discovered it was on Tasty Kitchen, the Pioneer Woman's kitchen website (the mecca for food bloggers everywhere). Jill & I both made some variations to the recipe. (I know: Who do we think we are to change a single syllable from the Queen of Blogging? We're such rebels!)

However, it's not good to make comparisons. It's a sure path to jealousy. I admit I watch Ree on the Food Network sometimes, too, especially Sunday mornings before we take off for me to practice piano at church before our weekly service. And I'm a big fan of the Christmas Cookie Challenge that Ree helps host with Eddie Jackson. So when Randy suggested a short excursion to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, to visit the Pioneer Woman's domain, I was glad to go.

We left home on a Friday and returned home Saturday evening, staying only one night. It's only about 3 hours and 15 minutes from our farm, though road construction in the area tacked on a little more time. 

Randy had called to see if we could stay in the Pioneer Woman's accommodations. But that was booked out through April. So we stayed at the Million Dollar Inn. 

It's located across the street from the Osage Nation Tribal Museum. (They didn't allow photographs inside the museum, but we enjoyed touring it. There was a temporary display called "Seven bends in the river of life" that included a beautiful, complimentary book with photos and poetry.) The Million Dollar Elm was the site of public oil and natural gas lease auctions that began in November 1912. 


The weekend before we went to Oklahoma, we'd seen the movie, "Killers of the Flower Moon," at the Ritz Theater in Stafford. It was based on the book of the same name by David Grann, which tells the stories of the Osage people killed over oil rights and the associated birth of the FBI. 

It was perfect timing for a trip to the area.

The Inn's owner, Cheryl, has the home decorated with Osage-themed paintings and other Osage art work. And, as it turns out, Cheryl is as big a University of Oklahoma football fan as we are K-State Wildcat fans. She graciously allowed us to watch our football game vs. Texas before leaving for home.

We got to the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile about 1:30 and put our name in for the restaurant there, knowing it would require a wait. 

 We browsed in the Mercantile and other nearby stores before getting to eat about 3 PM. If you go there, know that you won't leave hungry!

Of course, I was interested in the bakery on the 2nd floor of the Mercantile. (We did buy a few goodies to bring home with us.)

 It was fun to see the PW's minions working behind the glass to prepare the treats for the bakery.

At the restaurant, I had seen reviews of PW's Parmesan Garlic Fries. I knew I wouldn't "need" them, but I ordered them anyway. We could have fed our entire family and still had leftovers.

 They arrived before our meals. Randy got chicken-fried steak.

I got the Smokie Okie sandwich.

That was on top of the complimentary biscuits and jam. This month's jam was apple cranberry. 

This is a photo of the leftovers.


Obviously, we weren't hungry at suppertime. But we came back downtown later for ice cream at Charlie's Sweet Shop, named for the Drummonds' old basset hound.

They were working on putting up lights for the holiday season, and it was beautiful. 

We got up early the next morning to avoid the wait at the restaurant for breakfast. 


The servings weren't as mammoth, but there were still plenty of leftovers.

I had the Cheesy Grits Breakfast Bowl, and Randy had the biscuits and gravy breakfast - along with the PW biscuits again. I had a bit of "buyer's remorse." I would have liked to have tried the Crunchy French Toast, too. The menu said it was brioche French toast crusted with Corn Flakes and Cap'n Crunch. Both Randy & I commented on our childhood love of the Cap'n.
The photos on the restaurant walls reminded me of home. The chandeliers? Not so much.

But my favorite stop was touring The Lodge, where Ree shoots her television show. It really is out in the middle of nowhere, which I can definitely relate to!

This photo was taken from The Lodge. We could hear cattle bellowing in the crisp fall morning. And while we were there, a pickup and trailer took off from what the tour guide said was Cowboy Josh's house.

A husband and wife from Pawhuska were serving as hosts at The Lodge that day. When we first arrived, we were the only ones there. They encouraged us to open drawers in the kitchen and make ourselves at home.

This was the fancy TV pantry.

This was the prep kitchen in the back of the lodge.

That pantry was more cluttered than the "TV-ready" pantry. I think they every piece of the Pioneer Woman cook and bakeware. 

The Lodge is used for Ree and Ladd's family and friends and is not rented out to visitors. 


The 7,000-square-foot home was owned by another ranch family before the Drummonds purchased it. It had beautifully-appointed suites.

This is the TV-ready baking area.

This was a cowboy hat artfully staged by the front door. I loved the artwork there. The host didn't know the artist.

I could definitely imagine Ree in this kitchen being filmed by her daughters during the shows taped during Covid. 

After we were done at The Lodge, we went back to Pawhuska and toured the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum. Osage County has the most cowboys per capita of any county in the nation - or so the museum worker said.

Then it was time to watch the K-State vs. Texas football game at the Million Dollar Inn. Unfortunately, the wrong team won in overtime. But even that didn't dampen our whirlwind trip to Pawhuska. We would both recommend it. 

(Note: We went to Pawhuska a couple of weeks ago, but I'm just getting this written and posted.)