Ranch life in southwestern Montana has provided my family and me a wealth of memorable experiences, which are often relived in stories told around the kitchen table or campfire. The "remember whens" prompted suggestions that I should write a book. And so, I did, although I use the term book loosely for want of a better word to describe this little hodgepodge collection of favorite family recipes, old-time remedies, and nostalgic stories of wit, grit, and humor.
The 540 acres that encompass our Sweet Meadows Ranch was purchased by my great-grandfather from the Milwaukee Railroad in the late 1800's, and has been in my family ever since. Small by Montana's standards, the ranch was never able to support enough cattle to make a living, so my dad worked as a mining engineer for the Anaconda Company and my family lived in the town of Butte, about 7 miles away. When my brother and I were kids, we actually ranched out of the back of a station wagon, since we didn't live on the place. A couple of evenings a week during the spring and summer, we would load up the saddles and drive to the ranch to check the cattle on horseback, much to the delight of us youngsters (we were not so delighted as teenagers, however). When winter came, the cows were hauled to a cousin's place to be fed and calved out, and brought back to the ranch when the snow melted.
After I got married, the income from the yearly calf crop we raised was still not enough to support our family of four, so my husband and I taught high school math and biology for 35 years. Thankfully, we no longer had to ranch out of the back of a station wagon once we had built our ranch home! Many thanks to my friend Del Bieroth of Sheridan, Montana, the artist whose drawings helped bring my stories to life. Also a huge debt of gratitude to my daughters, Heather and Holly, for their editing and computer savvy.