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Around the Ranch Table

NOTE: It really didn't hit me until I revived this blog that I did have a funny sense of humor and a pretty normal ranch woman life "before activism". Reading back through it I was sad to see my naivety and blind reliance on my old standby trusted ag organizations. I have even been able to pin point the day I realized I could no longer rely on these groups to be my voice, our voices weren't harmonizing; they were advancing globalism, centralized control and buddying up with radical groups as in the case of the NCBA partnering with the World Wildlife Fund. This path is completely opposite of what drives grassroots producers; individualism and personal choice. "Behind Ag's Green Mask" is devoted to connecting those dots. "Around the Ranch Table" will be my little safe place, a place to recapture some of the funny and enjoyable. I wrote this piece for our local newspaper which hasn't been published yet and it may not be, they've been very generous to allow me to publish my other column, I appreciate having a deadline though it's made me sit down and focus.

Welcome to
"Around the Ranch Table"

Enjoy Your Day Enjoy Your Journey

Several weeks ago I read an 1845 poem by Julia Carney, “Little Drops of Water”; I can’t get it out of my head.

Little drops of water,
little grains of sand,
make the mighty ocean
and the beauteous land.
And the little moments,
humble though they may be,
make the mighty ages
of eternity.

My grandad Lenard Chain always said, “You’ll be old before you know it”. He was right…well, I’m not that old but I know now what he meant. That’s why I’m wanting to write a sister column; to counter the “heavy negative” of Behind Ag’s Green Mask. I don’t want to wake up one day “old” and say, “Why didn’t I do more to share some good stuff like God’s word, some recipes, some funny stories etc.” That’s what I intend to do in this column. Before I was an activist I was a mom who baked tons of cookies, cakes and pies, fed hungry ball players, wiped a lot of noses and rears, gave spankings, slapped some taller than me back-talking teenage faces (that belonged to me), waited up nights for teenagers. Then one day I woke up with gray hair.

My "mom days" were filled with tons of parenting mistakes. But with Brad’s and the Lord’s help we raised four good kids who married four good spouses and today they’ve given us a gaggle of grandkids that we cherish and I spoil. It’s grandkids that put life into perspective, you slow down and prioritize because you know they’ll be gone in a blink.
Parenting mistakes, yummy family recipes, some scriptures-I promise I won’t preach- I want to share it all… hopefully leave you with a good laugh or a tug on your heartstring. Most of all I want to make the most of the time God has given me, I want to share what I’ve encountered and experienced to brighten and lighten someone’s load. Actually it’s therapy for me, I have to counter the negative of being an activist!
Harvest is in full swing and the women cook glorious meals for our men. Dianna, my sister-in-law cannot be outdone, she’s the master chef, the men don’t walk to her chow wagon; they run. But I do have my signature dishes, I can bake a pretty mean pie. This week I taught Mattie,my nine year old granddaughter, to bake a pie and whip up a batch of homemade noodles. I told her if you have flour, milk and eggs your family will never go hungry. This never-fail pie crust recipe comes from a Mennonite cookbook I’ve had for over 20 years, the cover is missing and the pages are stained and torn (always the sign of great recipes).

Simple Pie Crust
Cut 1 stick of butter into 1 cup flour, Add ¼ cup cold milk, dash of salt, knead lightly. Roll out onto floured board. Makes 2 nine inch crust. We doubled the recipe and it worked great. Hint: I use a marble board and rolling pin –they remain cold, an environment pasty appreciates. Also less flour is used on the marble board and this creates a flakier crust. Filling- Large Pie- Mix 1- 1 ½ cups sugar, 3 tbsp. flour with enough water to make a thick smooth paste and a dash of salt. Pour over fruit of your choice. Cover with top crust, Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar. Bake 400 degrees until golden brown. Turn oven off, keep closed, let sit for half an hour. Next week…homemade noodles
24 hours in a day. It’s exciting to think we have all been allotted the same amount of “little drops of water and little grains of sand”, what will you create with yours this week?


  1. Mrs. Chain,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and bits of wisdom. No words can really explain the love of the land cared for by generations of family.


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