Hello and thanks for stopping by today. I’m a freelance writer/photographer/humor columnist living on a remote cattle ranch in eastern Oregon. My column, Desolate Ranch Wife, appears regularly in regional publications. I also write both long and short pieces about the ranching industry, general human interest, and humor.

I have 8 years of experience in the media industry, plus a couple more decades if you count the porcupine cartoons I drew as a kid. I worked as a staff writer for the Nevada Rancher magazine for 5 years and most recently have focused on freelancing. My work has appeared in Country Woman, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, RANGE, and other publications.

My husband, Jim, is a cowboy, so our family lives on a cattle ranch. We spent the first few years of our marriage in Nevada, took a detour into Arizona, and now we live in Oregon. The closest town with a stoplight is Burns, a nearly two-hour drive down partly dirt roads. Mail is delivered three days a week, and our kindergartener will ride the bus 42 miles each way to the nearest school. We’re pretty remote, but so are all our neighbors, so at least we have company.

Here, you can listen to a podcast I did with the hosts of Horses In The Morning. If you have fifteen minutes and care to listen, you’ll hear me tell the hosts all about living far from town. They were very interested in how I obtained ice cream. Short answer: I usually don’t.

Click here to listen to the podcast. My interview starts at minute 30.

Thanks again for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!



29 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. I’m really enjoying reading your articles. I’m an old NM / AZ cowpuncher. My wife & I moved over 30 times the first 7 years of marriage. All the while totin our boy w/ us. I got into another line of work and started building our own outfit. After 32 years we got it. Still owe some on it but ours. She is still by my side, working has hard has ever has an ASM @ Tractor Supply. Remember your gonna hit hard , hard stumbling blocks in whatever it is your gonna do together. Just get pockets full of faith and love and take small deliberate steps. Thanks,
    Noticing lots of workin buckaroos wearing work boots these days. We used to also. Maybe you could give me a reply on that.

    • Hi Mike! So nice of you to leave that lovely note. I’m working on a blog about what modern-day buckaroos wear, and work boots are definitely on the list. Guys who have broken their legs and/or ankles in the past often wear the lace-up kind for added support, and others wear the pull-on kind at brandings or when processing cattle because of all the walking involved. They’re also great for winter because you can wear thick wool socks (or stuff handwarmers into them), which you can’t do with a pair of custom Paul Bonds.

      Can I steal your line “Pockets full of faith” for a blog title? I love that!!

  2. I have enjoyed reading your blog. My Mom has lived just outside of Winnemucca since I was 14, I’m 38 now, but I spent all my summers and winter and spring breaks there with her. I miss Nevada and the great basin so much! Your blog gives me a little window so that I can escape the hell of San Diego for awhile.

  3. Loving your blog! The images that your writing have created in my mind are cracking my husband and I up! Bringing back so many memories! Thanks for sharing!

  4. My husband, Bud, shared your blog with me, and I’m so glad he did! I found myself clicking all over your website to read more. Thanks for sharing your words and humor!

    • Hi Megan, thanks for the feedback! Your husband was so gracious to help me with my photography last year, I can still hear him say “don’t be afraid of the shadows” when I’m editing my photos. I’m glad you enjoyed my website, I have been revamping it this week to try to make it more dynamic and engaging. Thanks again and have a great day!

    • Facebook mysteries are the best! Glad you enjoyed. I post one blog a week, click the “follow” button and enter your email address to receive alerts to new posts! Have a great evening.

  5. The first time someone sent me a link to your blog was 2 years ago. It was the “If you’re going to marry a cowboy” one. At the time I thought, “wow! This is soooo relevant!”

    Relevant was an understatement. We’ve moved 5 times in the last 2 years. At one point, I remember thinking “Hoooolllyyy poo. A year ago we weren’t even a the last place; we were at the place before THAT!” Lol. A friend of mine said growing up, she moved 23 times. True ranch wives are a rare kind, that’s for sure. I’m beginning to think it will take at LEAST 23 times at this rate.

    Thanks for keeping it real 🙂 I love reading about it from someone else and reminding myself that it’s not just me. :’D

    • Glad these stories are helping you, I’ve found we ranch wives have a unique lot in life and need to stick together! Whenever my house is really dirty, I think of the line from the post you mentioned that goes “…you better get used to dirt” and I think “Who in the Sam heck would write such a stupid thing?! Dang bloggers!” LOL the dirt does get a little old sometimes. I just want to be clean for half a day!

  6. I saw your article in Horse and Agriculture Mag which I picked up at Savoini’s Feed in Prescott. Please do not describe yourself as ‘desolate’, I think you are one of the most fortunate of women. I lived at the ORO in 1989-1990 with my then-husband Pat Cain who was foreman. In my opinion the entire ORO Ranch is God’s country, and Triangle N was one of my favorite places–I wished we could have lived there instead of at Headquarters. I have many photos i took at Triangle N because I loved it so much.

  7. Correction of above entry–I found your article in AZ Horse Connection (not Horse and Agriculture–I go them both the same time).

    • Hi Nancy, thanks for the feedback. I love the Triangle N country as well, I think it is so pretty! We wintered at Mahon, so it is nice to be a little closer to town, especially with my kids being so young. I know we are blessed to live on such a beautiful ranch – the “Desolate” in my column title refers to the remoteness of our home.

  8. Loved your article in Cowbow Magazine. You paint a wonderful picture with your words. I’d love to meet and shoot (pictures) with you sometime. My wife, Nancy, of 46 years just keeps walking when I’m shooting and I catch up later. Consequently I’m on my own mist of the time.
    I’m truly enamored with the cowboy lifestyle ever since reading a first hand account from the late 1800’s.

  9. Howdy, I’m guessing your man doesn’t know how lucky he is. It takes a special woman to live the life. And that is what it is it’s the life .Ranch life is like no other I experienced as a young man but now no so much. I’m a weekend cowboy now and we go mug cows for fun. I’m happy I ran across your article. I will be following. Thanks

    • Hi Darrel, thanks for the feedback! Don’t worry, my husband knows how lucky he is – I make sure to tell him at least once a day 😉 Glad you’re following the blog, happy to have you here.

  10. I also lived on the ORO’s in the 50 and the 60. My Uncle was foreman until he retired. We lived at Bear Creek and then France creek. If you want to talk give me a call. 602 5685024 or email jandfent@aol.com

  11. I stumbled onto your site surfing the interweb, and have been thoroughly entertained. My wife and I have what you’d consider regular jobs, but have a small cow / calf operation with friends in sunny (and hot) south central Florida. Yup, there’s cows in Florida! How we look or get the job done may differ, but we all do what we do for the same reason. Keep writing. I’m betting it makes a lot of people smile.

    • Hi James and thanks for the feedback. Do you have lots of alligators in Florida? I have heard they will bite your horse’s leg off when you are out working cattle. Yikes!

      • There are a lot of gators. A cow dog or a calf are more likely victims, but horses having run ins with gators have happened.

  12. I found you article about the RO Interesting, we have a winter home in Florence , Az. and a cattle operation in Nebraska, our grandsons will be the 5 th generation if they continue.
    I look at the difference in our separate operations, yet they remain the same. Our spring branding is a big social event and gathers as many lookers as cowboys
    I marvel at this country down here, there is so much history, I hope we don’t lose it all
    God bless you and yours
    Lindy Whipps
    Whipps Land & Cattle Co, Inc

  13. Saw your column first in the Wickenburg Sun, and then the Real Country paper. Didn’t grow up on a ranch but worked my way through college doing farm and ranch work in Kansas. Love the stories, and especially the humor. Retired musician/teacher living in Congress. BTW, I helped move the Out of Africa park to Camp Verde several years ago. Wide open spaces. Keep writing.

    • Hi Tim. Thanks for reaching out! Glad you are enjoying the stories. I have heard of Out of Africa, it sounds like a really neat place. I hope you are enjoying retirement! Thanks for reading and have a great day.

  14. Jolyn,

    I want to thank you for devoting your time to this blog. I find so much joy in your writing. As a buckaroo’s wife, It makes my day reading your entries. On the bad days here on the range, I find peace of mind in your work. On the good days, your pieces only bring even more joy to the day. Being a buckaroo’s wife is SO not easy, and as I am learning toughest in the first few years, but I always stay positive being that is the way to go out here! Thank you for your writing and thank you for spreading the word of the Buckaroos.

    • Hi Darby,

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment, I read it twice just because I liked it so much! I will keep writing stories, just took a short break here lately because I had my third baby. I will be back at it soon, though! Thanks again and take care.

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