How deep do your roots go?

I’m from dry land farmers and people who ran small ranches that never made much money.  I know the movies have the stories about powerful ranchers who own more land than they can ride across in a day, but that’s not the people I’m from.

My grandparents met at a barn raising in Texas, just over the Red River from Oklahoma.  They spent the day together, wrote letters for a year, then he rode back across the Red to pick her up.  She had the wagon packed with her hope chest and all they’d need.  They were married that day.  She was fifteen and he was eighteen. They crossed back over the Red into Oklahoma Territory and started farming.

My dad was their youngest son and he said they looked old when he was born. If he was alive, my father would be a 100 this year.

All this said, sometimes I feel close to the past.  Like it’s just around the corner out of reach.  I might have an iPhone and an Apple computer, but their blood still flows in me.  I’m from farm folks….

Or, so I thought….the blood must be thinning.

My son, who has a master’s in Criminal Justice and works in loss prevention for a national chain, was told he could work from home last month.  Three weeks later he bought a farm in the middle of nowhere.  My GPS told me I was 31 miles out.  Two hours later I’m still circling every County Road looking for him.  Who knew two ruts in the tall grass was a road?

I couldn’t wait to see his land, his farm.  We traveled across Texas, 10 hours, with three ducks riding in a tub in the back of our van.  Once, when Tom stopped fast one of the ducks flew out and landed just behind my sister.  She didn’t seem to like the duck eating her hair.


So all tired we pulled into a beautiful, green farm.

My son, whose time outside city lights can be counted in weeks, greets us with a warning that he shot a coral snake this morning.

Coral snake.  I start trying to remember that ‘black touch red or black touch yellow’ but have no idea which is a friendly fellow.

I jump out.  I have to walk the land!  Get back to my roots! They’ve got chickens and ducks.  A stream.  Not exactly The Red, but too big for me to cross.

The fire ants were not welcoming—enough said.

We let the ducks out and they loved their bath.

Tom thought he’d pet a chicken.  By accident, I’m sure, the chicken put a deep scratch along Tom’s arm.  This chicken was not a cuddler.

But, we were in Heaven.  We were on the land.  I had no idea how noisy it is at night.  Or how early the sun comes up without heavy drapes.

Then about dawn the first day, I picked up my Apple, curled up in the porch swing and found Heaven.

I’m from the land, you know.  I was home.

I hope you’ll feel just that way when you read my new book, INDIGO LAKE.  Come along with me on this journey and when you finish maybe you’ll say “I’m from the land.”

When I began writing the Ransom Canyon series, a very dear friend gave me a Ransom Canyon T-shirt to inspire me. It sat by my desk and was never worn. I would like to give that shirt to one of my special readers who might know—How do you get rid of fire ants without killing the chickens?”

Love you all,  Jodi Thomas

+ posts


  1. Good morning Jodi, loved your article. You come from a great family. I too come from Texas about land you could ride over in a 1/2 a day on horseback easy. It’s not much, but as my dad says, it holds the world together. My grandparents, both were from Texas, my papa from Stephenville, Texas, my granny was from Deport, TX. They met out in Bisbee, AZ where my granny’s brother was working in the copper mines and she went for a visit. My papa worked with her brother in the copper mines and they met and fell in love and were married in NM on there way back to Texas. My brother lives in the house that was my great grandparents before it became my grandparents house where my dad was raised. Yes it’s still located on the small piece of land that ” holds the world together!” I can’t wait to read Indigo Lake, I’m loving this series and I’m excited that Winters Camp is in the back gircevrtyone to finally get to read who does not have an ebook.
    One method currently being evaluated and showing some promise as an effective home remedy is an ant mound drench using a mixture of dishwashing liquid and citrus oil.
    I sure hope your son gets rid of these pesky fire ants I’ve been stung enough to know they are unlike any other ants bite & they leave a terrible whelp that has infection in it.
    Good luck on getting rid of them.
    Love & hugs, Tonya

  2. I really enjoyed your post. I bet the land is really nice up there. I dream of having some land one day. As far as your question about getting rid of ants without harming chickens, I have no idea. Ants are easy to get rid of, but I have no experience with chickens.

  3. I am like you I love the land and was raised in the country on a small farm. Love your post. As far as your fire ant go I am not sure how to get rid of them. I have heard corn meal will kill ants but not sure. You could look it up in the internet I am sure there is a way.

  4. I went down my own memory lane as I read this, Jodi. My father was a city kid who bought a small farm on which to raise his family. He never once regretted it. I hope your son feels the same way.
    I really enjoyed this post.

  5. My paternal grandmothers side the men were all fishermen in norway. 8 generations we were able to go back.

  6. I love your post! Our business and ranch are located not far from the Red River in Clarksville. I am very familiar with all of the close little towns including Deport. My mother always took delight in pouring scalding water on the fire ant mound. I have heard sprinkling corn meal or grits on the mound. The ants eat it, it swells in their stomachs and kills them. Sure wish we had no fire ants!!!

  7. My grandfather was born in Indian Territory and came from a long line of farmers. I was able to track my family back to 1680 in the colonies to my first farmer ancestor who was also a carpenter. His son moved on to Virginia and North Carolina where the family was during the Revolutionary War. The family farm was in the direct path of war activity and was ruined. My next ancestor thus moved to Georgia and then Alabama. I always have tried to walk on their land when I found an ancestor but the Alabama land was inaccessible–worse than grass ruts. My next ancestor moved to Arkansas and then his sons into Indian Territory after the Civil War where my grandfather was born and where he had his children. He later worked for the natural gas industry and moved the family to Fort Worth and then East Texas where my mom went to high school. The family later moved to the Northeast with my grandfather’s job where my mom met my dad.

    So I like to say that my ancestors came all the way from England to the colonies and all the way across the country in seven generations and in one fell swoop we ended up back where that first ancestor started–not all that far from where he had his farm, strangely enough. I passed within a couple miles of it all my life without knowing it until I got involved in genealogy.

    As for me, I’m not a farmer and there are major cities all around but I’ve always lived in the countryside and still do. Recently someone trying to help me locate health care told me I lived in the sticks–which I’m sure folks in Texas would find hilarious if they saw my three acres compared to the farms there.

  8. Jodi, I love, love this blog. Thanks for sharing. Your kids are so lucky to share such a passion. And, to all of you readers out there, get “Indigo Lake” as soon as possible…you won’t be sorry. It’s another Jodi Thomas winner. And, this book has a little surprise, which I’m about to ruin for you all, so if you don’t want the spoiler stop reading and then be surprised. It has a short story “Winter Camp” in the back, which tells of some of the Ransom Canyon history! So, see it wasn’t a spoiler after all, just an extra reason to get this great story right away. We all love 2for’s! Big hugs, Phyliss

  9. Hi Jodi. Thank you for the calming post. It made my world a little more peaceful thinking about your son’s farm until I read about the coral snake.

    I’m not sure this would work for coral snakes, but a friend was just attacked by ground hornets in her work shed. She was told to lay some screening or fine mesh down, pour some dawn liquid in the hole where they came out of and then run water into the hole. This was all to be down at night or early morning before the hornets became active. She did it and it worked.

    Your book Indigo Lake sounds wonderful!

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • The screen or fine mesh wouldn’t be needed with ants I guess since it was to keep the hornets from flying out.

      Another suggestion is Avon’s Skin So Soft Bath Oil. We get the little pesky ants coming into our house during the summers when they come in to try to avoid the heat. We put the oil in a spray bottle, douse them and they die and don’t return to that area.

  10. What a hysterical question: How do you get rid of fire ants and not kill the chickens? A friend inadvertently discovered that mare’s urine kills fire ants — but we won’t go into that 😉

    Oh my gosh, I thought I had Indigo Lake on pre-order, but I didn’t. For shame! Just ordered it. I am so ready to return to the Ransom Canyon area. I a bit ashamed of how quickly I read them after all the time you’ve put into writing them.

    It’s been super seeing you here. Already looking forward to your next book.


  11. We’ve been fighting ants in our garden all summer but no fire ants in this area thank goodness.
    We live on a gravel road within sight of the interstate but have discovered that our road does not always show on GPS. We sell live hogs to people who want to butcher there own meat and not being on GPS makes us realize how much people depend on it. I’ve had customers call 4 or 5 times in an hour because following their GPS has got them lost. Keeps life interesting.

  12. Country living is the best! But yeah, not sure how you can get rid of them. As far as I know, they can survive the apocalypse. Haha! We fight ants in our house. So annoying!

  13. Your writing, travels and interesting anecdotes make my day and give me great pleasure and enjoyment even with the ant problem.

  14. I just want to thank all my readers and everyone at P&P for making the Ransom Canyon Roundup such a fun adventure! I loved all the comments and hope you all are enjoying INDIGO LAKE.

    Remember that Dakota’s sister Maria will have her own story called A CHRISTMAS AFFAIR. It will be released October 1, so be watching for it.

    A big thank you…

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