Sunday Column: From a real cup.

This month marks the fourth year we’ve been back at the ranch and fourth birthday of “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…”

And while I don’t remember the exact day that we officially declared that we were never again leaving this place, I do remember the first day I decided to write about it.

It was a warm June day and the windows were open on the old ranch house. I sat at the kitchen table, my hair in disarray (because I just woke up and I had no intentions of setting foot in civilization), my laptop was open and my coffee was steaming in a real cup from the cupboard.


And when I say real cup, I mean one without a lid. Ceramic with a handle only made for taking trips across the kitchen or out on the deck…not across the country or to town for work or groceries.

Small Spaces

That day I decided to share what it was like coming home to a place that raised me. The day I decided to try and explain how everything seemed so much smaller now that I was grown, that I didn’t have a place for my shoes in this house where my grandmother raised three kids, several foster children and hosted massive family holidays, the day I tried to make chokecherry syrup in a tiny, 105 degree kitchen, the day I slid down the gumbo hill in my pajamas in the pouring rain and warned you not to do the same, were days that were gifts to me only because you were out there reading and sharing your own stories about how you botched plenty of chokecherry recipes and how you might have a solution for my shoe issue….

And the stories and observations, the photos I took, the memories that percolated, might have started out in the cow pasture chasing a bull through a thorn patch or rushing to my husband’s side after he slid off the roof of the garage in the middle of winter, but they finished and found you because I have learned to sit with these stories long enough to bring them to life again somehow.

What a thing to sit.

It seems such a simple concept, but one we don’t indulge in much. But to sit for an hour or so in the morning, sipping coffee in my big chair, clicking away at the keys of the computer, and, if it’s nice out, maybe opening the sliding glass doors to hear the cows moo or the birds chirp, is the reason I have continued to keep writing and showing you things.


Because it connects me to this place in so many ways. It makes me an observer, a storyteller. It brings me back to moments that might otherwise have slipped away.

And I find myself then, not rushing out the door, because I have something that needs to get done, something I’ve got to tell you. And while I’m at it, I’m sipping my coffee from a real cup…

Coming Home: Take time to sip from a real cup and chat
by Jessie Veeder
Forum Communications

Thanks for reading all these years. Thanks for sharing this place with me.

Peace, Love and many more coffee dates,


Moving Cows


13 thoughts on “Sunday Column: From a real cup.

  1. I miss those morning and/or afternoon breaks with a neighbor or relative popping in for ” just a minute” that would turn into an hour with coffee, pie or cake (oh, I shouldn’t but that sure looks good) and conversation! I guess there weren’t so many deadlines and time crunches. The chore of the day would still get done or started and finished tomorrow or was already done because you sure can get a lot done when you get up at 4:30 or 5 and you don’t have to be at a meeting or a job.
    I thought that when I retired, I would be able to take those breaks with a neighbor, but that hasn’t happened. Kinda sad commentary of our times.

  2. Jessie, you are a wonderful story teller, touching something in all of us. It’s been a great pleasure to share these moments with you. Congratulations on four years!

  3. Jessie,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed “back at the ranch” today. 

    My grandparents, Martin and Christine Falkenhagen homesteaded 200 acres 13 miles south of Watford in 1911.  That land is still in our family and 16 years ago my husband and I built a 16×20 cabin on the property. I chose not to have electricity or running water because I wanted to live like my grandparents did.  When we completed our “glorified garden shed” I had to laugh.  They would have thought it was a mansion. 

    I often sit on the porch, or roam around the land and try to imagine my Dad and his siblings being raised there.  I’m 68 now and there is no one to ask the many questions I would like to know the answer to. 

    My husband and I live in Vancouver, WA.  We usually spend two weeks in June in ND and another four weeks in September.  However, I do spend some of most days there in my mind, especially since I have been enjoying your blog.

    I hope you never tire of sharing “back at the ranch” with us.

    Cynthia (Falkenhagen) Allen

    PS I’ve attached a picture of my personal “little house on the prairie”. 

  4. Jessie, I love reading what you write. Thanks for sharing your stories that paint such an amazing picture for every reader.

  5. I grew up in ND until I was 14. Have gone back to visit relatives. Love your blog and your beautiful pics. You understand the beauty of the area. Your grandmother’s niece is my cousin’s wife. Great people. Keep up the blog.

  6. I hit “like” occasionally, read every post but comment rarely. I have enjoyed every one of your stories and have learned so much, seen beauty unnoticed in those early childhood years I lived in your land. Thank you.

  7. With a cup of coffee(ceramic with a bunch of rabbits being naughty) part of my Monday morning ritual is to read “Meanwhile…” and reconnect with North Dakota. I often think of ND as my spiritual home, having lived in Taylor for a couple of years back in the seventies; and spending summer vacations on my uncle’s farm. My family back there have always been so welcoming.

  8. Hey, Jessie, a little,,off the subject but, had to comment …. I saw you this last wk/end at the Dodge centennial…. Loved your music, and just wanted to say a big THANKS for taking the time to share your talent.. It really added to a VERY sucsessfull celebration!!

    Sent from my iPad

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