Oct/Nov 2011 Cover Girl

“Pioneer Woman” author Ree Drummond shares her story about becoming a real country woman.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond is loving life in the country. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

Spacious as all outdoors, Ree’s guesthouse kitchen features a large, angled island with cooktop, a smaller island for dish washing and the baking area in the corner. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

The double range allows Ree to cook in quantities to feed guests and hungry cowboys. Wood cabinetry hides a refrigerator to the right. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

Removable counter panels disguise a long (48 inches!) and shallow sink that’s perfect for prepping produce. Filled with ice, it can chill extra beverages. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

With storage galore, the ample pantry works on many levels to organize staples the Drummonds buy in bulk. A rolling ladder helps keep everything fingertip close. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

In a guesthouse filled with natural wood tones, Ree’s extended family can gather comfortably for Thanksgiving and every other celebration. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

From the patio, visitors can enjoy an expansive view dotted with ranch outbuildings and livestock. Photography by Jim Wieland.

Pioneer Woman

Pioneer Woman

Rounding up with Ree at the big fireplace, built with ranch rocks, are (from left) Alex, Todd, Paige and Bryce. Photography by Jim Wieland.

 

By Avery Hunter

Ree Drummond, known to her readers as The Pioneer Woman, grew up a city girl in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, a place she describes as a “cultured, corporate hometown.” Her days were a circuit of school, ballet, country club, mall. Although Oklahoma’s largest industry is farming, in Ree’s world, food came from the supermarket and “countryside” meant the golf course behind her parents’ house.

College at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles did nothing to dispel those notions. Six years later, tired of LA but not of city life, she visited Bartlesville on her way to Chicago and law school—and met a cowboy who stole her heart and changed her life. Ree became a ranch wife on his isolated cattle operation, far from town and even farther from law school.

Adjustment Complete

Adjusting to country life took some time for Ree (a childhood nickname—for Ann-Marie—that she’s worn forever). The hardest part was that she couldn’t “just hop in the car and be somewhere in 10 minutes,” she says. The closest town—Pawhuska, population 3,500—was 20 miles away and offered little of the shopping or culture Ree was accustomed to. Forget Saks, forget the symphony: She now lived an hour from a Wal-Mart. Her husband, Ladd, worked long hours on their acreage. Ree spent her days home alone, washing jeans and knocking manure off boots.

Eventually she adjusted. Soon Ree found she had fallen in love not just with her cowboy, but also with their land and lifestyle. Fifteen years and four children later, she describes herself as “semi-agoraphobic,” preferring to stay put, homeschool her children and help with ranching. The complete about-face still surprises her a bit. “Ironically,” she says, “the best thing about living in the country is what I had the most trouble with at first—the solitude.”

Big Ranch, Small World

In 2006, Ree began a blog about her life on the ranch and found the rest of the world really wasn’t that far away.

She started The Pioneer Woman on a whim, mainly to keep her mother in Tennessee up to date on the Drummonds’ doings. But as it grew to include recipes, homeschooling advice, a serialized account of her romance with her husband (whom she calls simply Marlboro Man) and more, it rapidly picked up fans. Her website now gets more than 20 million hits a month. It’s also spawned the best-selling The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl and several other books. A Food Network series, taped in the kitchen of her guesthouse, debuted in August. Ree’s ranch is still remote, but it’s far from isolated.

To her many readers, Ree has become an icon of country life. In the wry description on her blog, this desperate housewife channels Lucille Ball, Vivien Leigh and Ethel Merman. She sprinkles sentences with exclamations of “Duh!” and “Har!” Telling fellow bloggers not to be afraid to embarrass themselves, she cheerfully follows her own advice, sharing what she calls humiliation chronicles and gross-out stories with a breeziness that’s part of her charm.

But her household projects are often inspiring and her ranch photos breathtaking. Her down-home recipes, with helpful step-by-step photos, have drawn a following all their own. Reading her blog is like chatting with a slightly goofy but talented friend at your kitchen table.

Many who frequent Ree’s site are themselves country women. Others, in cities or suburbs, appreciate the way of life she writes about.

“The world is stressful,” Ree explains. “It’s tempting to think if you just chuck it all and go to the country, everything will be easier. It is a wonderful life, but it’s not romance all the time. Every family has ups and downs, and it is hard to make a living in agriculture. Too much is out of your control—markets, the weather. We’ve seen more than one scary moment on the roller coaster of agriculture.”

Then again, lack of control can be liberating. It allows you to just let go, she says, which in turn lets you live more in the moment.

“Today is what I am most thankful for—just being able to live today with my husband and children,” she says. And while she knows that’s not an approach exclusive to the country, Ree says reflectively, “The country made it possible for me.”

 

Photography by Jim Wieland & Styling by Melissa Haberman

Jean 1 December 23, 2011 at 11:40 am

in your Oct/Nov 2011 issue on page 31 – visit our website for more recipes – it showed Toffee Candy – I cannot fine it on your website – archives for the issue only shows the cover.

How can I find recipes on you7 website when searching for one by name – I enjoy your magazine but I feel your website is totally lacking in being able to fine anything.

Thanks for your response – have a Merry Christmas

Reply

sharon 2 December 26, 2011 at 7:41 am

Hello, Jean,

As our new website is only 2 weeks old, we are in the process of loading many more recipes, crafts, decor and garden items, features on interesting women and much more. The Toffee Candy recipe can be found at this address: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Toffee-Candy

I hope your batch turns out wonderfully.

Sharon Selz
Senior Editor

Reply

Country Woman Magazine 3 December 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Hi Jean– Thanks so much for your question and happy wishes! I will research your question over the next few weeks and try and get a response back soon! Please be patient as it might take a bit over the holidays!

Have a wonderful night and a very merry Christmas!

Jamieson
Digital Editor – Country Woman Magazine

Reply

Kathy A Robeerts 4 December 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

would you send me of a copy of the thankgiving issue with Ree Drummonds I will gladly pay the cost. Thank You K A Roberts

Reply

sharon 5 December 27, 2011 at 6:30 am

Hello, Kathy,

Please email me your mailing address so we know where we can get the magazine out to you. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Sharon_Selz@rd.com

Reply

Theresa Cook 6 December 30, 2011 at 11:28 am

Maybe you can find this recipe for me. It’s in one of the Country Woman Magazines that had contest winning Apple recipes in it. It also had an article about Theresa Brazil in it, she gives us her Golden Apple Pie recipe and she also shares her banana cake recipe that her husband surprised her with.

I am looking for the banana cake recipe that she shared with Country Woman Magazine.Your help will be greatly appreciated. THANKS

Theresa Cook
Hinton, WV

Reply

sharon 7 December 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hi, Theresa,

I believe this is the Banana Coconut Cake you’re looking for. Just click:http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Banana-Coconut-Cake
I hope you enjoy making it and your family enjoys eating it. Regards, Sharon, Senior Editor

Reply

Kelli Learned 8 June 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I was looking on your website for the pattern and directions for the pumpkin/leaf fall appliqued banner that is on page 55. I cannot find it on your site and would really like to make this for fall decorating. I hope you can help me!
Thank you!!
Kelli Learned

Reply

sharon 9 June 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Kelli, You can find the appliqued fall wall hanging here: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/appliqued-fall-wall-hanging/

Reply

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