Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I Am Not the Pioneer Woman

I just updated my Facebook status with our dinner menu for tonight. I rarely update my status with a menu since I cook most nights, and, unfortunately, it's usually not exciting. However, I was channeling my inner Ree Drummond (aka, the Pioneer Woman), whom I just watched on Throwdown With Bobby Flay.

She inspired me to cook my family a Thanksgiving feast of our own. However, I used my mother-in-law's, mother's, and frozen roll recipes, not the fancy gourmet-ish meals Ree prepared as she competed with Chef Bobby on the Food Network.

As I washed my dishes in my normal sized sink in my beautiful, yet cozy (read, smallish in comparison to the Drummond's) kitchen, I got to thinking about the beginning of my blogging. Right after I started posting, I found out about the Pioneer Woman. I even wrote to her, telling her how alike we were, living in the sticks. I explained to her that I too was new to the farming life, and was about to embark upon writing on it as a person with a new perspective on the American Family Farm. I never heard back from her, which is fine, because now that I have read a little bit more about her, followed her website, and grown with mine, I realized she and I have a different life in a seemingly common livelihood.

First realization that we are different: She has a guest house on their sprawling 1000+ acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Man, is that guest house something to behold. I guess cookbook sales were good, and cattle sold well for them! Seriously, their lifestyle is almost like a celebrity's life in the farm world. Huge ranchers with deep family history in the business, coupled with a best selling cookbook and a syndicated, widely followed and highly advertised website equals a guest house.

We have a shack where we store our lawn furniture in the winter.

The second realization I made is that I am not out for the same audience, or even the same goal as the Pioneer Woman. When I first saw her link to the "Confessions" category in her website, I panicked. I seriously worried that I would come across as someone who was trying to steal her idea. Of course, this dawned on me after I had already come up with my seemingly original and catchy title for my blog. However, I realize now that her niche is not to learn more and share about the agriculture and animals that surround her. She's cooking. She's making things beautiful, taking glorious pictures of it, and wearing Anthropologie to her Today Show interviews.

I'm wearing LOFT and Talbots to the Illinois Commodity Conference, while making a really noteworthy meal (that I will not be taking a picture of) for the first time in a long time.

My fears about starting this blog have subsided, and my worries that I would be stealing thunder or ideas or audience from this nationwide sensation who is featured on the Food Network are gone, and I'm happy with that.

I like my cozy kitchen, will enjoy my pumpkin pie tonight, and will go to bed realizing that my life is as extraordinary (or ordinary) as everyone else's. It's just that my marketing is just not as fancy!


  1. Emily,
    I love this post!! As I too was an avid Pioneer Woman reader up until her cook book came out. It really is truly sad that someone in the same industry can make something solely about them in the end. I love your blog as you are the real deal. ;) I am learning a lot about farming as I am a rancher’s daughter falling for a farmer’s son. Thanks for the reads and your continued support of the Agriculture industry.

  2. Very, very well put. Love your blog, I can relate to so much of what you write!
    Keep it up!

  3. I am glad there are women out there, and hopefully I do it too, that share what agriculture is really about. I commend Ree for creating an extremely successful brand, but your blog sums it up she is very different from us. I think all of us in agriculture have a duty to tell agriculture's story and communicate better with the consumer. If we don't answer their questions HSUS and PETA will, and they will not be receiving the correct portrayl of ag. Keep up the great work!

  4. Agriculture is such a HUGE area that covers so many things, products and people; that I think it only right that the ag blog world do the same! I am a farmer's wife, I pick up parts, drive meals to fields and correct people when they muse how "peaceful" my life must be. But I also enjoy the "recreational" side of the ag world too...the western fashion, home life and so on. I think that Ree D. has found her niche and fills it fabulously, just like you have found yours (LOVE your posts!) and I one can compare us because we are all different women and doing something we love and are having fun doing it. If we aren't...then why are we blogging? I don't think she has sold many hundreds of thousands of people have seen a uterine prolapse now? Or watched kids ACTUALLY WORK?! I love what she does and cheer her on in my own little corner of the world...just like I do and will for all ag bloggers! Our stories are all equally important and the world loves to hear them!
    Love...Cathryn, The Farmer's Trophy Wife

  5. Well said farmerstrophywife! Just because we have different lifestyles, it doesn't mean we don't all work hard in our little corners of the world. The way I look at it, 1000 acres takes work, whether you are doing it directly, or managing the people who do it for you. Not to mention coming up with a strategy that "pays" for all that help to do it for you! As for ag bloggers, I really appreciate you all. For example, we are in the process of converting from city to country in the next couple of years. I love that the hard work is not glossed over as peace and tranquility and that there is an element of honesty mixed with the humor and satisfaction for the life as it is lived.

    Suzie Salmon

  6. Emily - well I like your honesty and uprightness. I have followed Ree and Carolyn's blogs for some time now and you are all different. All good in a different way.
    I'd like to send you a little gift from Texas. It's not Anthropologie or Talbots but I hope you will like it and find a place for it in your wardrobe.
    Blessings to you and your family -
    Cheryl @ Double D Ranch
    (send me your mailing address and size preferences when you have time)

  7. Love this blog? Do we know her point of view in HSUS? I live in Tn and I am a part of the Young Farmer and Rancher group there. We have been lobbying Cracker Barrel to change their hsus induced policy, Please follow my new blog and also help us fight cracker barrel. I lOve your blogs by the way ladies!