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Author Archives: From a Montana Front Porch

Instagramish week 7

Spring is being a tease this year. Showing up one day to show us his undershirt of green, and the next covering back up with his fancy jacket of white. One of these days I just know he is going to get tired of his own game and decide to stay for good. I do believe we will all greet him with open arms. Some of my favorite instagramish moments from this last week,

Some random thoughts, Why is it that when kids get sick they have to do it on different days? Why not all at once? It would be so much more convenient. Maybe I should bring that up with them next time.

Calving is about half way done now and we can’t wait for it to be over. However, with so much cute running around all over the place, I really do love this season! Stressful yes, worth it, definitely!

I’m in search of a milk cow. When we weren’t looking for one, they were all over the place for sale. Now, I can’t even find one! Anybody want to mail me one? I’ll share…..

Have you ever made a list of all the things that you would like to learn about, or learn to do? I made one this last week. I was fascinated by the variety of things on that list that I had never stopped to think about until I had them written down. I went ahead and decided to venture into two of them right away, so I dug out my knitting needles determined to really try this time around. Then I ordered a book on embroidery and new needles. They came today! It’s the little things that cause the most excitement for me, and this was a high point for me.

The highest point of my week though, happened yesterday. Little Jolly Rancher said “home”!! I was a bit of an emotional wreck after that, but in the best possible way. I hope your week is full of all of those little moments that mean the most.

Love from here,


*this post contains an affiliate link, which simply means if you click on it, I will earn a few cents for chicken feed at no expense to you.*

Little Jolly Rancher

I was told that to become a good writer, you need to write about not just the things that come easily to you, but the hard stuff too. The things that scare you. The things that make you cry. So, that’s what I’m here to do today.

This post  has been in my heart and mind for many months now, bumping around, forming itself into something that is now telling me it’s time. It’s time to let it out there and hope that in doing so it will encourage someone else.

Little Jolly Rancher ~ From a Montana Front Porch

Everyone, meet Little Jolly Rancher. Aptly nicknamed by an uncle that got it right. He is always happy, and sticky, just like a Jolly Rancher. He is a joy in his laughter and his smile that starts in his eyes and moves out to encompass his whole being. Full of energy and never sitting still like every little boy is supposed to be, he loves to be in the thick of it all, especially when his siblings and other kids are present. He reminds me daily how to embrace every happy moment that comes along and shows me how to not let the little things get me down. He is the embodiment of the word try. He is my joy and constant source of laughter, and he has Cerebral Palsey.

I don’t say that out-loud.   Ever.

Why? Because yes, he has a severe muscle delay which means he can’t walk or talk yet, but that is not who he is. He is not a disability. He is a little boy who has been given a big hurdle to cross, but it is not his future.  I do not want him growing up and being held back, or worse, holding himself back, because of a label.

Little Jolly Rancher ~ From a Montana Front Porch

His CP is a reason why some things are the way they are, but it will never be an excuse. That is why I never say it out-loud. Even when we are approached with the question. It seems innocent enough, but it is always asked after a stranger has been observing Jolly Rancher and noticed some of his quirks. They will come and ask how old he is. Simple enough, but the fact that they never ask about the other kids is what gives it away. I always respond the same way, a smile, his age, and…nothing else.  In response you receive the vague “oh”, followed by an awkward silence where the mental questions and responses swirl around in the air between you but never get spoken.  Even though  the quick explanation of  “he has CP” is right there waiting to be said, I don’t allow myself to go that far.

As parents, we want to explain why things are the way they are, because we don’t want someone to think bad things about our kids when they throw a fit or don’t respond to a question or simply just ignore you. That one little phrase, he has CP, could make things easier I suppose.  In this case though, I like to think I am doing the right thing by keeping his future open to all possibilities. I never want him to think for one second that he himself can use it as an excuse to not give his all. He has big things in his future and we are doing everything we can to make sure a silly little label can’t stand in his way.

Little Jolly Rancher ~ From a Montana Front Porch

There are so many things that I could go into on this subject but I am going to stop for now. I need to sit back, have a cup of tea, and say another prayer that putting this out there is going to help someone, because like I said, it is not something I just casually talk about. Thank you for letting me ramble.

Love from here,






Brand New

I was given the opportunity a couple of days ago to watch this little miracle through my lens. Thought you might enjoy watching as well.

Sorry for the slight blur, I was zoomed in as far as I could go. Obviously didn’t want to get too close to mama cow!

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Cue music..*and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.*

Victory! ~ From a Montana Front Porch

Love from here,


Instagramish Week 6

No comments about the several weeks of silence K? Life has this very interesting way of sneaking up on me if I live our life in the day-to-day routine and don’t live life deliberately. That is something that I am making a conscious effort to change. To live life on purpose. To fill each day with the wonderful that I am surrounded with and to choose carefully those things that fill us up in a good, not mindless way. I love new adventures! Want to join me? Good company is always a treat!

Now for some highlights from the last couple of weeks.

And at this moment in time I may officially be tired of snow. However as I write that, I look out the window and yes indeed, it is snowing again. Oh well, happy spring anyway!

Love from here,




Instagramish Week 5

Some of my favorite, if random, moments from last week…


After spending two hours getting the small fries to go to sleep I have just a few random thoughts to finish with,

How can a child who is completely, 100% exhausted,u fight sleep for hours? How do they do it?

And why, why, why, do they do it? What possesses them to fight such a marvelous thing like sleep?

How then, after finally giving in, does the same child hear the tiniest noise from the parent downstairs and wake back up? How when said parent, who in an effort to preserve her sanity, is using full-out stealth-ninja mode? How??

The guard dog acts like a parent at times. Example, if you are one of the dogs or cats and you are not in the mudroom by bedtime, he sees that you learn your lesson by guarding the dog door and not letting you in. For as long as he sees fit. Usually all night. Especially if it’s cold out.

The cats have started jumping up at the doors he’s not guarding, trying to open the door knobs. Scares me every. single. time.

I have found much to my delight that Scholastic is still as fun to order from today as it was when I was in elementary school! What about you, were you a scholastic book club fan like me? I remember being allowed to pick one book, and oh the fun! Looking through the paper, deciding and then changing my mind and deciding again. The day the teacher handed out the books…..sigh….. still makes me happy to remember it! Now the orders are obviously for the ranch kids, but still, a box of books! What’s not to love?

Last thought, I started writing this in a moment of triumph after finally getting all of the kids asleep. About half a sentence in, Ranch Pixie woke up and came down to test the itty bitty bit of patience I had left at the end of the day. Curled up and passed out on my lap now, she makes it hard to type, but in this moment, I wouldn’t move her for the world.

Goodnight with love from here,



An Hour of Silence

I found myself alone for a whole hour last Sunday. Read: all kids gone at the same time. Cowman had taken all of them to Sunday school for me and as the door closed behind six sets of noisy feet, the silence could be felt. It quite literally felt like a hug.

Now, there is something about a hug that is quite natural while at the same time having the potential to be awkward and uncomfortable. A hug from a friend or family is a thing of comfort. However, if it comes from a source you don’t know very well it can cause some very conflicting feelings.

  • Do you stand there stiffly, not sure of the proper response so erring on the side of caution you do nothing?
  • Do you tentatively hug/pat the hugger back, still not sure of what to do but not wanting to not respond.
  • Or, do you respond enthusiastically, knowing that in this life all the hugs you can get are needed?

As I stood there looking at the closed door, I was hit with the first response. I quite honestly didn’t know what to do so I just stood there, staring at a door. Seconds passed as I tried to decide on the best response.

Should I simply sit and do nothing? Or should I frantically clean? After all, with no one there to ask questions or “help” I could probably get a LOT done! Oh, what to do, what to do…..

Finally in the end I decided on all of the above. I knew that I couldn’t sit there and do nothing the whole time or afterwards I would regret it. I would spend the rest of the day with a mind full of should-haves and why-didn’t-I’s. So I did a little of this and that. Laundry folded in quiet, devotional time without knocking on the door to see what I could possibly be doing in there without them.

The most exciting part though, was sweeping the floor. I felt the most victory during this chore. Seems silly right? The secret of this happiness lies in one simple fact: there were no little hands digging through my pile of dirt to pull out all of the treasures I shouldn’t be throwing away! They were able to be laid to rest peacefully in the land of broken and stray toys. Never. To. Return. That is victory if you ask me.

As the last pile of ‘stuff’ made its way into the very black non-see-through garbage bag ( a very important item in a house with kids ), the door opened to let six pairs of noisy feet back in. After throwing something large on top to hide the evidence, I was able to greet them all with a smile. After all, everyone needs a hug every now and then to put the world in proper perspective again.

Love from here,



Instagramish Week 4

Deciding to do one of these posts every week does several things for me.

First, it shows me how truly fast time goes as it seems like just a couple of days ago since I was writing up last weeks post. And then I look and realize that it has been over a week. Sheesh!

Secondly, it shows me how much I truly do love taking pictures as I had a sea of photos to wade through to pick out my favorites.

Thirdly, I am reminded every single time how truly blessed we are. I love having the chance to show a little bit of our life to you and giving you a peek of the beauty we are surrounded by.

So here we go for this past week, a few of my favorite moments.

Some final random thoughts:

I love watching the kids get lost in a good book. We are finally watching super ranch boy find his own reading interests and the fight with him is lessening. I am relieved!

While planning the garden out I was struck with the startling realization of how much food our family eats! You would think for little people they would cut me some slack but no, they are good eaters. That leads me to my next thought…

How much are they going to consume when they reach teenager stage??!! and that leads me to my next thought..

Oldest ranch boy has started throwing some attitude around and I’m not afraid to admit that it caught me off guard. Aren’t they supposed to wait until they are actually teens before they do that? Not start terrorizing me when they are ten?! Right?! right?….. Any advice?

My final thought is this, time is going so fast these days that I am resolved to enjoy every moment with the little dirt devils while they are here. Even when it means cleaning messes up off the floor from the potty training trainee. Even when it means dealing with the drama Ranch Princess is drawn to. The attitude Oldest boy is testing me with, the thrown bowl of oatmeal from Little Jolly Rancher. Even on days when I am flat worn out by the end of breakfast and all I want to do is run and take refuge in the chicken coop, I am resolved to find the things that need to be treasured. That is why I take a hundred+ photos a week. To remind myself of how blessed I am, even amidst the crazy.

Love from here,



The Making of Me

Who am I?

This is a question I have been asking of myself a lot lately. It seemed easy enough to answer, until I started really thinking about it and making myself dig deeper than usual. That’s when it got difficult.

You see, I have a thousand different interests. A head full of dreams. A heart full of hopes and desires. I have a house full of family. A week full of learning while trying to keep up with a house that’s full of seven people. I walk a thin line between crazy and desperately holding onto my sanity. I am a work in progress. However, if I break myself down honestly, this is what I look like.

I am a child of God. A sinner, saved by grace. I am not a denomination, a Baptist, a Methodist, a Protestant, a Lutheran. I am Gods and He has asked me to be His and His alone. Am I scared to be writing this? No. And yes. I’m not ashamed of my faith and my relationship with God. I have simply never brought it up here before. So why now? Because this fact about me, is me. It defines who I am and who I am becoming. Does this mean I am all of a sudden going to be up in your face about it? No, because honestly, that’s not me. However, I am not going to avoid it for fear of offending someone. Politically correct is not something I am.

I’m a daughter and a granddaughter who is learning that I am my own person, even when it means disagreeing with those who loved me first. I’m trying to learn from the mistakes made by others while gleaning the good that I desperately want to hold onto.

I am a wife head over heals  in love with my best friend. In the midst of this crazy world that says to put self first, I am trying my darndest to love him more than me. To be the calm in the evening, the laughter in the stress, the ear when listening is needed. I am a wife trying to show unconditional love even when I am constantly surrounded with feminist rhetoric. A feminist is one thing I am not.

I am a mother to five beautifully dirty, brilliant, sensitive and caring ranch kids. I am their mom and all that entails. This means that I would walk through fire for them but will be the first to correct them when they have done wrong. I would do anything to help them, but I will not do it for them. I am their mother, not their friend. Even when I really want to be, I can’t. I would be doing them the gravest injustice if I chose to go down that road, and I won’t.

I am also their teacher. As a homeschool parent I have the grave and joyous responsibility of making sure they turn out smart enough to lead good lives. I am the person that lies awake at night worrying that I am going to mess them up, yet gets up the next morning and does it all over again because I believe in the reasons why we homeschool. I am the mom in the library with a book list that is pages long trying to find the perfect books to draw them willingly into this adventure called learning. I am also the mom who reads those books even when the kid’s aren’t present. You know, ‘quality control’. I am the homeschool parent that knew what I was getting into and did it willingly, but I also secretly wish at times for a day free of this responsibility.

Who am I?

I’m the wife of a rancher, yet I know next to nothing about cows. I love horses and can ride without falling off, but have very little actual knowledge. I’m a farm girl at heart who would willingly have a couple of everything in the farm animal department. However, you couldn’t call me a farmer as I have no real knowledge about the actual farming process.

I do many things around the house that some would label ‘green’ , but I am going to be the first to tell you that those things are not done for that reason. They are done because we like to save money by doing as much as we can ourselves. ‘Crunchy’ is not something I am.

I enjoy crafting but am not really good at any one craft.

I am the person with a drawer full of the craziest socks I can find because life is too short to wear white socks. I love color, even if I am the only one to ever see it.

I love to bake.

I am not a chef. I enjoy cooking, but only if I have time to plan it out and have the ingredients to work with. I have fed my family cinnamon rolls for dinner before. We have had cereal for dinner. We have had ice cream for dinner. I do not feel guilty about it.

I swear I’m a hermit by nature. If I couldn’t go to town for months at a time I don’t think it would bother me and yet at the same time I love to have company.

I need quiet every day, but I love to talk.

I’m a writer who hated English class, and a photographer who knows absolutely nothing technical about it. (I can tell you the name of my camera and that’s about it.) I also have trouble calling myself those two things, writer and photographer. I don’t feel qualified and yet at the same time I simply know that that’s what I am.

I’m an easy-going person, but if you make me angry my filter tends to slip and stuff gets said that normally stays under wraps. Like I mentioned, I’m a work in progress.

I am the person, who at the end of the day believes that a generous dose of sparkles, glitter and fairy dust solves all problems.

Sparkles and Fairy Dust ~ From a Montana Front Porch

Where are I going with all of this? Really, nowhere.

Did I write this for attention? No. I simply felt the need to figure some things out about myself and the easiest way for me to do that is to write it down.

So why share it with you? I have come to the conclusion that most of us go through life without ever really showing people who we are under all the layers that we put on every day. There are some things we feel the need to hide to make our lives easier, or to make people more comfortable with us. Some layers we put on to make ourselves more comfortable. Some layers we don’t even know we wear because they have been there for so long.

In the process of trying to figure myself out a little better, I have come to realize that first, it’s no wonder Cowman can’t ever figure me out. And second, I’m tired of the layers. I’m tired of not embracing the things about me that make me different from others, or the things that make me in many ways, the same.

So I’m coming to you with the real me. And in the process I want to encourage you to do the same. Be you without fear. Embrace all the things about you that set you apart. All those little things are the things we love, they are the quirks that draw us to you. We don’t have to be identical to be friends or to have many things in common. I like you and even though it may not look like we have as much in common as you originally thought, I hope that you will still choose to stop by and visit.

Some of the posts that are going to be popping up on this blog are going to look different from past posts, while some will look the same. I have many different trains of thought running through my brain and I have been filled with a strong urging to share them. And since I love to talk and write, that is what I am going to do. I hope you stick around for the journey!

Love from here,


Instagramish week 3

If you were to be around me in real life for even the shortest period of time you would quickly realize that my mind has the ability to jump from one thing to the next in the blink of an eye. It also has the ability to pick up right where it left off, even if months have gone by. What’s really strange about this, is that the same brain has trouble remembering what was for dinner last night or how long it has been since the kids last had a bath. (The bottoms of their feet are looking pretty clean so I am thinking it hasn’t been more than a day or two.)

Where I am going with this train of thought is that while it has been months since I last did an Instagramish week, I see no problem with picking them back up now like no time was lost. I’m easy-going like that.

So to jump right back in, here are some of my favorite random photos from this last week.


Some final thoughts from me,

I am baffled that it takes 3 children 2 weeks to go through 1 roll of toilet paper. Actually, I’m kinda scared by this knowledge.

I never realized how many five kids look like until I saw them all piled on top of my brother in the above picture!

After learning that eagles mate for life I was saddened to see this guy sit by himself on his branch for over an hour. I had mental images of old men on park benches by themselves.

The log house in the one picture is where I grew up the first 13 years of my life. I can still close my eyes and picture almost everything about it.

The kids asked us what the whole groundhog day meant. I happily explained that in some states winter will be coming to a close soon. 6 weeks at the most according to Mr. Groundhog. However, before they could get too excited I, like a good mother, burst their bubble by telling them that it doesn’t apply in Montana as we have a good 12 weeks ahead of us. That, ladies and gentleman, is why they don’t hold their big festival here.

This however, doesn’t stop me from having a major case of spring fever. This was only compounded by the newest issue of From Scratch Magazine which covers so many wonderful spring/planting ideas! I also happen to have several pictures in this issue and a short story! So, so exciting! Make sure you head on over there to check it out, it’s free, so make sure you subscribe!

And now I’m going to stop my ramblings.

Love from here,









Books to Inspire

I was raised with a love of books. From having a mother and grandmother that loved to read, to friends that enjoyed the library day just as much as I did. Books are a very big part of me, a very real influence in how I look at things and the magic that I choose to believe is real. They make life more bright and exciting by opening up thoughts that we would never had had on our own. They can fill you with magic or despair, love or hate, truth or lies. They can help you look at life as a magical place or as just an everyday occurrence that will basically be the same for everyone. They teach, they inspire, they bring humor and wit. That is if you choose the right books.

You can call me immature or childish, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love children’s books more than adult books. No, it’s not because I can’t grasp deeper ideas or thoughts. It is simply because adult books don’t have the ability to move or inspire me the way children’s do. Not all, mind you. I have several that I absolutely love and have read them many times. But even they don’t spark my imagination, they touch my romantic side.

So why am I telling you all about my love for children’s books? I found myself looking through book lists over the last several days, making lists of my own, trying to get ideas for future read alouds and recommendations for the kids to read to themselves. I want books that draw them in and hold them there. Books that make them come back to read every chance they get. Books that fill them with the possibility of “what ifs”, “could I’s”, and “I want to do that’s”. Books that remain with them long after the last page is read.

I wrote pages worth of ideas, literally pages you guys,for ages 0-11.
Books to Inspire ~ From a Montana Front Porch

Those being of course the ages I need right now. And then since I was having so much fun and feeling so inspired, I looked at a list for 12-14 year olds. Mistake. Big mistake.

Sex. Dating. Sexuality. Hating school. Sex. Bad friendships. Divorce. Dating. Sex. Thongs(yes I did read that in the title of a book). Angst. Did I mention sex and dating?

Why, please tell me why, when teenagers are already going through so much personal insanity of their own, why for the love of their sanity do we then only fill them with more of the same insanity in their books?!? They don’t need to read about it, they see it every day. And for those that are lucky enough to not see it every day, why would you want to show it to them so early in their lives?

Why, when they reach this crazy but critical age, do we take away a source of imagination, creativity, beauty, adventure, and heroics? Why do we take away joyful and beautiful and replace it with dark, and depressing? Because it’s “real”? Because we want to prepare them for real life?

I say let them be filled with the beautiful possibilities that lie within an adventure or a fantasy, a book filled with hero’s and heroin’s who are brave enough to do things their own way, regardless of what others think they should do. Let them believe and see where it takes them, and then let real life prepare them for real life. You will find kids who are brave enough to do things their own way. You will find kids who aren’t swayed by the crowd. Who have enough self-worth to not have to go through some of the ‘things’ parents don’t want their kids to go through. They won’t grow up delusional or out of touch. They will grow up with a genuine awe and wonder for the world around them, with the ability to find the beauty in the everyday. They will have the ability to see what’s really important in people and make relationship choices based on that. I’m not saying that they won’t make mistakes, even the greatest hero’s made mistakes. What I am saying is that when they fall, they won’t stay there. They will bounce back ready for the next adventure.

This is what I am going to give my kids. This is why I will keep searching for those books that give these things to them. And this is why I will keep reading from the children’s section.

“As parents it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless” ~ I.R.Knost

Love from here,


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