I am the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Wyoming cattle ranchers who somehow ended up in a Twin Cities suburb. I have a husband, two kids, a welsh corgi, a mini-van and I can drive across South Dakota with my eyes closed….I could but I promise I don’t, eyes wide open and both hands firmly on the wheel at all times.

My address may be in Minnesota but my heart will always be in Wyoming.  This is where my two worlds collide.  Where I post my thoughts on ranching, life in the country, life in the city, parenting, laundry and other random musings.

Pretty Work

As a kid there were two words I loved to hear, Pretty Work.  My Dad has never been the type to lavish praise on a kid.  He expected that you should do what you were supposed to do and that should be that.  There should be no need for participation trophies or atta boys for just doing the job you were instructed to do.

But, if you did something well, if you went above and beyond, if you made the right choice in a tight spot, if you clearly did your best and put forth your best effort, well then he would say “Pretty Work!”

And because you didn’t hear it all the time, it meant that much more.  When you did hear  it you knew you’d earned it and you knew he meant it.  You knew you had accomplished something.  It wasn’t just lip service to try to boost your ego.  It was true and honest.  You did good.  You did pretty work.

And now I spend my time trying my best to piece together a life of Pretty Work.


21 Responses to About

  1. Tim McInnis says:

    Jody, good to hear from you !! Hope summer is going well for everyone in your family. Send my BEST to Max, and Joe as well !! Take GOOD care…I look forward to seeing each of you back at JFK this fall.
    Tim McInnis

  2. Kara says:

    You do pretty work in this blog and in your life…with all the hats you wear… especially the “friend” hat… well done!


  3. KML says:

    I appreciate your most recent post in regards to the SD snow storm. Bless you.

  4. Pretty work on the recent blog. Thank you for taking the time to post the facts. PS: My daughter is Heather with Double H Photography . I will now follow your blog too.

  5. Carol J Fairbanks says:

    The piece you wrote about the why of how so many cattle were lost to the October 2013 blizzard, is wonderfully written and simple enough even the most uneducated-to-our-way-of-life urban dweller can understand it. Thank you.

  6. Cynthia says:

    I love this post but thought that livestock indemnity program would cover the loss of beef cattle lost from the blizzard.

    • As it stands right now, Cynthia, it doesn’t, because there hasn’t been a Farm Bill since 2008. The current one, that was only an “extension” if you will of the ’08 bill, expired Spt 30, 2013. So until there is a new farm bill there is no LIP program in place. The current version in the house, as I understand it, would pay 75% of market value and the senate version 65%.

  7. Sue says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful piece on the recent blizzard. I also live in the Twin Cities and grew up in Wy, just not on a ranch.

  8. bigstick says:

    excellent article on the comments about the storm, it never ceases to amaze me how people always have an opinion on a subject they know absolutely nothing about, are they that stupid they don’t realize that they are sounding like village idiots? Unfortunately with only 5% of the population actively making their livelihood from agriculture, the vast majority will side with the village idiots! Only when their is a food shortage on our countries will agriculture get the proper recognition.

  9. Cynthia says:


    Furthermore, I read that buffalo were lost as well as told by Dan O’Brien from Wild Idea Buffalo company, so even some of the natives built to withstand the weather couldn’t stand up to mother nature.

  10. Candy DenOuden says:

    Hi, my name is Candy with The Daily Republic in Mitchell, SD. We were wondering if you’d be interested in submitting a shortened version of your most recent post — about the cattle deaths in western SD — for publication in our paper. If you would, you can contact me at cdenouden@mitchellrepublic.com. Thank you!

  11. I love the story behind your blog’s name! And I love to find another blogger so close to my home and heart. I am a South Dakotan who is not able to live in SD right now, so being able to read information about the plains area from talented role models such as yourself helps with the homesickness. Thanks for being there!

  12. Pingback: Sorrow for South Dakota | Life in the "ManeStream"

  13. It is really interesting blog !

  14. Katia says:

    Hi Jody,
    Your blog is great and very interesting ! It was a pleasure to be part of the ranch life for the 4th of July, we discover a new world and new friends!! Thanks for this amazing time in Wyoming.
    Katia and Ivan (the Frenchies)

  15. Beth Thomas says:

    I am from North Carolina and found your blog by chance. And, I am so glad I did. I read with interest your post on all the cattle that died in October, 2013. it was heartfelt and I am so sorry for all the ranchers who lost so many heads of cows. Heartbreaking for the animals and for their owners. My husband and I took a cross country trip back in June 2014 and we saw such beautiful country both going and coming back to NC. I also think you do “pretty work.”

  16. Molly says:

    I stumbled across your blog and saw the name Pretty Work. I am so glad you explained the name in the About section because I had only ever heard my Dad say those words occasionally also. I wondered what the words meant to you and I discovered that they mean the exact same thing to me as they do to you! I plan I on following you blog!

  17. Theresa Irwin says:

    Jody, I can’t begin to convey to you just how much your post regarding your Uncle Rog, touched me. My father-in-law passed away a couple of months ago, and he, like your Uncle, was a remarkable man. He spent much of his life cowboying in and around Casper, Wyoming. He was born just 4 years after your Uncle; the stories you related sounded just like him, from using his whole body when swearing to using what he had for what he needed (an invaluable life lesson for my husband, his son, that we are both grateful for even today). Yep – they could have been twins and may even have known each other. Thank you for sharing such fond memories. I am reminded how fortunate I am to have known my father-in-law, a man who also made his mark.

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