And the Pioneer Woman is so dazzling in person that my eyes were closed as a result!

In case you are not familiar with her, The Pioneer Woman, or Ree Drummond, is the subject of any blog-doration I may feel.  There are many bloggers who are better writers or photographers than she, who are wittier, funnier, and pithier than she, but none that strike me as authentic and adorable as she.  And so hers is the only blog I check as religiously as I check the weather.

Having now met the PW in person, and discussed the benefits of epidurals versus the detriments of epidurals with her, I can vouch for the fact that she is even bubblier and more adorable in person than she comes across on her website.  And remarkably, still not annoying.  And I am easily annoyed.

For the record, the PW has four (beautiful) children, and has had two epidurals.  She gives me confidence, either way.

The PW complimented me on my burgeoning “waistline,” and told me that she could discuss childbirth all day.  And I wished for a moment that I was not person #123 in line for a hundreds-of-persons book signing, and that I could sit down and share a beverage with her.  Because while the PW is adorable, and her cooking blog frequently makes me salivate, and her home school blog gives me confidence that I, too, could homeschool, if Honeydew and I decide that such a path is appropriate for It’ll, and her home and garden blog makes me want to whip out the ole DeWalt and build myself some raised flower beds, and her photography blog caused me to actually read the owner’s manual to my Fancy Weddin’ Gift Camera, it is the personal part of her blog, and now her best selling book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, that draws me to her website, day after day.

The PW inspires me daily with her appreciation for the odd life she finds herself living, on one of the country’s largest working cattle ranches in the middle-of-nowhere-Oklahoma.  Her love for her husband, for her children, for sunsets and rises and wild mustangs and Diet Dr. Pepper, all resonate with me.  Though I grew up with a little more dirt under my fingernails than did the PW, who grew up on the golf course, I too, traded my black heels for tractor wheels when I fell in love with my husband and left the big city lawyer life in Missoula and moved to the middle-of-nowhere-Northern-Montana.

The PW’s near-daily-drivel reminds me of why I fell for Honeydew: like the PW’s husband, Marlboro Man, when Honeydew fell in love with me, he just up and told me, refusing to play the 21st century game of playing it cool, and thereby surprising me like no other man had ever come close to doing – sometimes I think I was “surprised” into love with Honeydew.

The PW’s posts about the quiet beauty of life on a cattle ranch, despite the resulting unavailability of fresh artichoke hearts and Americanos, bolster me on the occasional day when the remoteness of life under the Big Sky closes in on me and I feel a bit alone.  And malnourished.

And the PW’s posts about her affection for Anthropologie shopping sprees and shellac manicures underline for me that while I may have left the city behind, that doesn’t mean I have to live in Carhartts 365 days per year.  364 will do well enough for the honeybees.

Thank you, PW, for coming out to Great Falls, Montana, and for continuing to remind me of the odd beauty of my own life, not as a ranch wife, but as the Beekeeper’s Wife.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.