Starting a New Project

There is something exciting and a bit daunting about starting a new writing project. There are new characters to shape and flesh out, a setting to be explored, and a pile of historical research to dig into to help inspire the plot and breathe authenticity into the story.

On New Year’s Day, I turned in the completed manuscript for Book 3 in my Texas Ever After series. It felt so good to finish that one up over the holidays and get it sent to my publisher. But there was no time to rest. I have a contracted novella that I need to start on. One that is bringing out my nerdy side.

This story is to be a fun, quirky holiday read that will be part of a Christmas novella collection. Since Christmas is fresh on my mind, and a bit of holiday spirit still lingers in the air (since I haven’t gotten around to putting up my Christmas decorations yet), it seemed like the right time to start developing this story.

The first sentence of the story is a newspaper headline:


No, this isn’t a Bethleham tale. Our three wise men are mathematics professors from Harvard who are coming to Waco, Texas for an academic symposium sponsored by Baylor University. And one of those “wise men” just happens to be our Christmas hero.

Meet Frank Stentz (middle initial N, if you were wondering 😉 ). Age thirty and one of the most promising young mathematicians Harvard has ever produced. Over the Christmas break, I happened to watch bits and pieces of the Fantastic Beasts series, so Frank bears a striking ressemblance to Newt Scamander.

Our heroine is Stella Barrington, named for the Sirius B star that was discovered in the year of her birth 1862. Her father is a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Baylor. I’d already planned to name her after a star since that fit well with my three wise men, but when I learned about the discovery that just happened to have taken place in the same year she would have been born–well, it was just too good not to use. Research rabbit trails can turn up some great ideas!

Stella is a plain woman with a large nose and oversized feet and has never turned the head of any marriagable mister. She’s content to tend house for her widowed father until a certain scientific gentleman shows up in town.

During my research, I uncovered some fascinating history about Baylor as well. Baylor University is the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas, chartered by the Texas Baptist Education Society in 1844 while Texas was still a Republic. Baylor was also a strong proponent of educating women and boasted the highest female graduation rates west of the Mississippi. They offered literary societies, and my heroine serves as a volunteer sponsor for one of them.

I look forward to weaving the lives of these two intellectual characters together beneath a Texas sky. And who knows? Maybe I’ll run down another research rabbit trail that will inspire more plot ideas.

Frank is a math expert. Stella prefers literature. What was your favorite subject in school?

Christmas Decor Crawl ~ Karen Witemeyer

I love to decorate for Christmas. Almost all of the items that I have collected over the years carry sentimental value. Some I can remember picking out with my husband 30 years ago. Others I remember crafting with love as a new mom. Some were gifts from friends and family. Others were made by the kids when they were in school. Some were crafted by my daughter as she fell in love with hand-making Christmas items. Our decor wouldn’t be found in the pages of a magazine, but it warms my heart every year.

The item I chose to share for our Filly Christmas Decor Crawl is my fireplace mantle. This section is dear to my heart for many reasons.

  1. Sentiment. I cross-stitched each of the stockings. Opening stockings on Christmas morning is a tradition I grew up with and one I intended to keep after I married. When my daughter was born, it was important for me to have personalized stockings for each family member. So, for the first year, I stitched stockings for my husband, myself, and my little girl. Two years later, I added my first son. Then after another two years, I added number three. Each of these stocking took months to stitch, but every thread carried love and joy.
  2. Festivity. I love Christmas garlands, and while this one is simple, the classic green and red shout Christmas and bring a smile to my face.
  3. Faith. It’s always been important to me to remember that Christmas is all about the birth of our Savior. Since the fireplace is the focal point of our room, I wanted there to be a prominent display of the nativity there. I have collected Willow Tree figurines for years, and when I discovered they had a nativity set, I began asking for the pieces for Christmas. Then last year, I found the “O Come All Ye Faithful” sign at Hobby Lobby and it added the perfect finishing touch. Some of the nativity animals are hard to see behind the garland, but I love the reminder of the reason for the season.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and that you are enjoying time with family and friends. May 2024 be a year of abundant blessings and good books.

Rock Ledge Ranch – Living History

This week, eight of the Fillies are meeting up in Deadwood, SD for a mini retreat and book signing. I’m sure many of us will be posting about our western adventures. My husband Wes and I got an early start and left Texas this past Saturday, planning to stop in Colorado Springs and Cody, WY before meeting up with everyone in Deadwood.

We took a day to visit the Garden of the Gods and a wonderful living history ranch right next door.

My favorite thing about Rock Ledge Ranch was that not only did it have have wonderfully knowledgeable docents and tradesmen throughout the property, but they had young docents-in-training. Seeing these children in costume made it feel like we had truly stepped back in time. And they weren’t just running around in costume. They knew their stuff!

We started with a cabin representing the one the original homesteader had on the property back in 1867. Wes enjoyed meeting Martha the cow before we made it to the cabin where some lovely young girls were playing checkers.

We encountered more children as we made our way through the farm section. Feeding the horses a treat and corralling chickens into the coop.

Next, we headed to Rock Ledge House. This house represents the Victoria era and belonged to a family who ran an orchard. During the lean years, they used the extra space in their house to take in boarders, sometimes 3 or 4 to a room. One upstairs room was for male boarders, the other for female boarders. The children had rooms down the hall.

We came to the smithy next, and the blacksmith working the forge was an excellent craftsman. Not only did he make practical items, but he created the gorgeous rose pictured below.

The final stop on the ranch was a visit to Orchard House. This was representative of the Edwardian era, built in 1907. During the time the family lived in the house, there were only female servants, and we had the chance to interact with all of them, from housekeeper, to cook, to a pair of maids.

I had such a lovely afternoon stepping back in time.

Have you ever visited a living history museum or an historical home where a costumed docent showed you around and filled your mind with fabulous historical tidbits?

Karen’s Favorite Things

The interior of my home will never grace a magazine page or a blog post about design style. My aesthetic is far too eclectic and practical. My home is furnished with hand-me-down family items mixed with a few new purchases made over the last thirty years. However, some of my favorite things are the little cowboy touches sprinkled throughout my home. My home is more traditional American than rustic western overall, but I’ve collected quite a few decor items over the years that add a fun touch of cowboy chic that leaves me smiling. Especially since my husband is the one who has given me the vast majority of these.

Let’s take a tour, so I can show them off.

We start in the entryway, just inside the front door. To your right you’ll find a cowboy and cowgirl kneeling in prayer at the base of a cross. To your left is a wall hanging featuring a gun belt, three Texas stars, a cowboy kerchief, and a pair of girl’s bonnets. The bonnets were made for my daughter’s Little House themed birthday party when she was about 8 or 9. I have a couple in my bedroom as well. Couldn’t let them go to waste!

Next, we move to the kitchen and my prized salt and pepper shakers. I use these almost every day. My husband and I bought them in a gift shop when we were traveling to some western-ish place that I have since forgotten.

Moving to the living room we find my favorite piece of cowboy art. A gift from my husband several years ago.

As we move down the hall, you’ll see a stash of my books on a shelf along with a pair of miniature boots that a reader gave to me. They add the perfect touch!

Coming into my bedroom, you’ll see some western flavor on my dresser, also gifts from my Texas hero. Love the pen holder and little keepsake box. (Apparently I didn’t notice that the lid was backwards when I snapped the photo. Ha!)

And we can’t forget the bathroom. Every western writer need to be able to brush her teeth in the proper frame of mind.

I have a few items in my day-job office as well. I have a small collection of decorative pencil sharpeners that have I picked up at various gift shops over the years, and the pencil holder on the right is one of the first western decor items my husband ever purchased for me. It’s my favorite!


Leave a comment about your favorite decor item (western or otherwise) for a chance to a win this pair of western hooks.


Cowgirls in the Kitchen – Karen Witemeyer

My husband celebrated a birthday a couple weeks ago, and he dropped a not-so-subtle hint about what dessert he would like to celebrate with – a blueberry banana cream pie. It’s his favorite, and I’m ashamed to admit that it’s been several years since I last made it for him.

I think this recipe must be a southern thing because, before I came to Texas, I had never heard of a blueberry banana cream pie. It’s a variation on a no-bake cheesecake, super easy to make, and always delicious.

Blueberry Banana Cream Pie


  • Pie shell, baked and cooled
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped, whipping cream


  1. Bake and cool pie shell.
  2. Make filling.
    • Whip cream cheese and powdered sugar until all is combined and no lumps remain.
    • Whip whipping cream until stiff peaks form, measure out 1 cup, and gently stir into the cream cheese mixture. (Hint: whipping cream will come together faster and easier if you chill the mixing bowl first.)
  3. Slice banana and arrange the slices to cover the bottom of the pie crust.
  4. Add cream cheese filling and smooth to fill pie shell
  5. Pour half a can of blueberry pie filling on top and spread to cover evenly.
  6. Chill until ready to serve.


Hi everyone! Serendipity came my way today, since it is my official PRE-ORDER DAY for my latest book AND my blog day for this month!


I’m so excited to have the chance to talk about my contribution to our new PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD series. My book is LOVE UNDER FIRE and is the third of the series. There are eleven of the Petticoats and Pistols fillies participating in this venture (I should say ADVENTURE!) and we are all looking forward to traveling together to the end of this trail of wonderful stories— along with the pink pistol, of course!


You know what I love about these books? They span over a hundred years with historical stories from the 1800’s, 1900’s and even into the present day. That’s a lot of great storytelling to be had!






Karen Witemeyer kicked off our series with her story, IN HER SIGHTS. Shanna Hatfield’s LOVE ON TARGET comes next. Both of these stories are available to pre-order, and my story, LOVE UNDER FIRE is now up for pre-order as well! Soon, we’ll be looking for Kit Morgan’s story, BULLET PROOF BRIDE, the 4th in the series.

For those of you who love paperbacks, many of these books will be available in that format, too, including my LOVE UNDER FIRE, as of my release date, April 20th!

Here’s a little bit about LOVE UNDER FIRE—the story of a cavalry captain, also part Choctaw, who finds a very unexpected love with an Eastern society debutante sharpshooter! At first glance it would seem they have nothing in common, but as he tries to protect her from a would-be killer, love surprises them both.


Beautiful Krissy Donovan, a student of Annie Oakley, is asked to put on a sharpshooting benefit for an orphanage. The trouble is, it’s half a continent away. Her father has promised her services, and she finds herself virtually alone in perilous Indian Territory. Krissy’s father realizes he has made a terrible mistake, but a cavalry scout, familiar with the savage land, is the only one who can protect Krissy now.

Rough-and-tumble cavalry captain Johnny Houston resents being asked to take on this last assignment of playing nursemaid to an eastern debutante before he musters out of the army. Johnny understands his duty as a soldier, so turning the order down is out of the question. With a killer stalking them, Johnny has to keep his mind on Krissy’s safety, but an attraction to his stubborn charge could end up compromising his heart.

Memories of his own harsh childhood at the same orphanage haunt him. He has no choice but to make a stand for the children, or some of them won’t survive. Krissy dares to hope she can help in some way, even though it means giving up the lavish future that has been planned for her since birth.

How far will Johnny go with his dangerous rescue plan? Where does Krissy fit into his life? The strange arrival of a beautiful pink pistol with the legacy of its creation may help them survive the deadly odds against them in LOVE UNDER FIRE.


Before I treat you to an excerpt, I would love to tell you about a wonderful FREE magazine that goes along with our books. There will be four of them, and the first two are available NOW! They cost nothing and are full of recipes and stories, as well as a few short interviews of some of the P&P ladies you might be interested in along with all the latest news and excerpts from the PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD stories. The links are below for both magazines, so jump on over and snap them up, and be on the lookout for upcoming editions!



This excerpt is near the beginning of the book, after our hero, Captain Johnny Houston finds the wreckage of the stagecoach Krissy Donovan and some other passengers were on only a couple of miles from the stage station they were headed for. There’s a storm “a-brewin’” as they make it back to the station, but Krissy goes out to the barn to help care for the horses and calm her jangling nerves. The station master’s son gives Krissy a curry brush and she’s just met Josie, one of the horses. Of course, she confides everything to her new friend.


Krissy turned back to Josie with brush in hand. “Now, my darling, let’s get you taken care of. You are such a glorious girl, aren’t you?”

She leaned up conspiratorially toward Josie’s ear. “I met a man today, Josie. Captain Johnny Houston.” She plied the brush against Josie’s side, trying to ignore the shiver that rushed through her at just saying his name aloud. “You saw him.” She slowed, then stopped the brush strokes. “I’m engaged, Josie…back home in Raleigh. That’s far away from here—in North Carolina.  Everyone knows I’m to marry Eversby Witherspoon the Third in the spring.”

Krissy brushed slowly across Josie’s withers. “You know what I think is so odd, Josie? I never met him before today—Captain Houston, I mean. Yet, I feel as if I know him, somehow.” She stood back and looked Josie in the eye.

“You know exactly what I mean, don’t you, sweet girl? I feel like I know him…somehow better than—than I should.” She stopped and took a deep breath, then plunged on. “Well, I mean I only just made his acquaintance today, but…” Her shoulders slumped. “And why does it even matter? I have Eversby…”

After a moment, she said, “Who knows? I don’t even understand it. And I refuse…I refuse to put any kind of name to what I felt—” She sighed heavily. “I must have gotten hit on the head harder than I thought.” She gave another gentle brush, then said, “I don’t even know his middle name…”

Squaring her shoulders, Krissy fell silent and finished up grooming Josie. “Not that it even matters…about his middle name, I mean. Because I’ll soon be going back to North Carolina and…and Eversby…Eversby Wayne Witherspoon the Third.” Somehow, the name had lost much of its luster. With a soft pat, she added, “I know you understand, Josie-girl. I wish you could talk.”

Just then, Jason entered the back door of the barn. “Pa and the cap’n are here.”

Heat flooded through Krissy as she gave Jason a nod of acknowledgement. She was suddenly aware of her wind-blown hair and disheveled appearance. She’d never cared so much about her looks as she did at this very moment—and there wasn’t one thing she could do about it except wonder why it should matter so much.

In any case, she’d been scared silly in that runaway stage, then knocked out before she could ever take note of what was truly going on, then been without a comb…so of course she wasn’t looking her best!

But…when she’d come to from her unconscious state and found herself staring up into the darkest eyes she’d ever seen…those eyes had changed the very moment they’d connected with hers. Captain Johnny Houston had melted her heart with one smile… And just maybe her feelings had shown right through her own “windows of her soul” too, at that same moment.

But that didn’t make any kind of sense, and she knew she couldn’t believe what she’d thought she might have seen because…because she would soon be going home to Eversby Wayne Witherspoon the Third…and marriage.

Krissy quickly tried to finger-comb her hair into some kind of order from the riotous brunette disarray she knew it was. The first thing she should have done was gone through what was left of her bag and hope someone had found her comb, brush, and mirror set. Was the mirror still in one piece? Seven years of bad luck if it was broken. She gave a heavy sigh. Perhaps that was why her thoughts were so chaotic. Maybe it wasn’t at all because of the stagecoach crash, or…a certain cavalry captain.

And…speak of the devil.

One more thing you may be interested in is our PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD READER GROUP ON FACEBOOK! Please join us there for lots of brain teasers (from PAM!) and the latest news about this fun series. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!






Today is the BIG DAY we are announcing a new series from some of our Petticoats & Pistols authors! HOW EXCITING!


I can’t say TOO much yet, but this series is about—a matchmaking pistol! How does that work? (I know you are wondering!)  Well, hopefully you will be intrigued enough by that little tidbit to follow THE PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD as the pistol is handed off through time to some couples who really need a little extra help in all kinds of different ways. The Legend of the Pink Pistol is a thread that ties all these stories together and lets our couples discover why love and marriage is so important to each of them—and why their special romance is something they can’t live without.


Karen Witemeyer kicks off our new series with her book, IN HER SIGHTS, starting the journey of the pink pistol in 1893. You can preorder Karen’s book on March 2 (mark your calendars, it’s comin’ up!)


There will be a new release every 10 days, so y’all get ready for some fabulous stories.

Shanna Hatfield is second with her addition, LOVE ON TARGET, another historical tale that you will not want to miss!

My story, LOVE UNDER FIRE, is book #3, taking place in wild Indian Territory of 1899. My heroine, Krissy Donovan, has been asked to travel from North Carolina to Indian Territory perform a sharpshooting exhibition as a favor to none other than Miz Annie Oakley, the woman who trained her. Krissy is in some danger, and a handsome cavalry captain, Johnny Houston, must escort her through Indian Territory safely. Will they find love along the way?

Here’s the blurb:

Drawn to Indian Territory because of her father’s reckless promise, eastern sharpshooter Krissy Donovan is forced to accept the protection of a cynical cavalry captain. With a killer stalking them, Johnny Houston can’t afford any distractions, especially an attraction to his stubborn charge that could end up compromising his heart.


Kit Morgan’s story, BULLET PROOF BRIDE, takes place in 1900–another historical! 

Shanna’s story, mine, and Kit’s will all be available for pre-order on MARCH 10, but don’t forget that Karen’s story will be available to preorder on MARCH 2!

But that’s not all–Kari Trumbo, Winnie Griggs, Linda Broday, Pam Crooks, Jeannie Watt, Julie Benson, and Jessie Gussman have their own stories of THE PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD that will capture your heart and lead us through time to present day with the little pistol that makes it all possible! 

We have a special place at Facebook where you can keep up with all the wonderful stories in this series—THE PINK PISTOL SISTERHOOD group! Here’s the link—and we sure hope you’ll pop on over there and take a look. We’ll have lots of things going on there, and here on the blog—prizes, fun, and some great conversations about these exciting tales of ours! COME ON OVER AND JOIN US!


LOVE UNDER FIRE is available for pre-order on MARCH 10! RELEASE DATE, APRIL 20!


Sneak Peek

Starting a new project is always fun. Yet, there is something special about honoring characters from the past and evolving them into something new that excites me even more than starting completely from scratch. My next project has that exact element of excitement, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

When an opportunity arose for me to participate in a “secret” project with a group of western romance writers I’ve long counted as friends, I was eager to join in the fun. I can’t give away too many details yet because the project is still in the preliminary stages, but I can reveal, that I will be writing a novella to kick off this new series.

At first, all I really knew about my story was that it would take place in 1893 and that my heroine would have an encounter with the amazing Annie Oakley following her run with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show that took place in conjunction with the World’s Fair in Chicago. Annie Oakley had a passion for teaching women how to defend themselves, so I knew my heroine would seek out a lesson from the legendary markswoman, but I didn’t yet know who my heroine would be.

Then one of the authors in our group mentioned how much reader’s love reading stories about secondary characters, and she got my mind swirling with possibilities. Most of my adult secondary characters had already had their own stories written, but what if I went back and pulled out children from my previous stories?

I started calculating dates to see which, if any, of my juvenile secondary characters might work for a romance taking place in 1893. I came up with two likely candidates:

  • Tessa James – She was the young girl of a widowed mother who became a dressmaking assistant to Hannah Richards in my debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride. Tessa was 8 years old in that book (set in 1881), so she would be 20 in 1893.
  • Jackson Spivey – He was 12 years old and the son of a negligent father in Stealing the Preacher (1885). Joanna Robbins took him under her wing despite the fact that Jackson had a massive crush on her. When Crockett Archer came into the picture, he won Jackson over with respect, straight talk, and his skill with a rifle. Jackson would also be 20 in 1893.

So which one should I use? Both have potential. Both are interesting characters in their own right. And both provide a level of emotional attachment to me and to readers.

Then it hit me. Why not use both Tessa and Jackson? So that’s what I did!

This will be my first time featuring such a young hero at only 20 years of age, but Jackson’s rough upbringing forced him to grow up fast, so I think it will work. My son and his new wife were both the same age when they married at 22, so the more I thought about pairing Tessa and Jackson, the more the idea grew on me.
I decided not set the story in either Coventry (A Tailor-Made Bride) or Deanville (Stealing the Preacher) but chose to give both characters a fresh start in a different location. They are both starting out as young professionals, struggling to find where they fit in a world wider than their hometowns. Tessa is working as a seamstress in a new shop in Caldwell, Texas, and Jackson works in a gun shop off the courthouse square. Not only did I want to move these characters out from under the shadows of the heroes and heroines who preceded them, but I wanted to make sure new readers could follow the story without being familiar with my previous books.
I’m about 2/3 of the way done writing Tessa and Jackson’s story, and I’m really enjoying the pairing. After Jackson lost his first love (Joanna) to the man who become his mentor and best friend (Crockett), I’m excited to bring him his own special woman to love. Even if she has to chase him down to convince him he’s worth loving.
Do you enjoy reading stories about characters who were children in previous books?

Get Out of Jail Free

Last summer, my husband took me on a marvelous trip to Colorado to celebrate our 30th anniversary. One of the things we did on this trip was to drive up to this historic town of Silverton. I love communities that take preservation seriously, and walking through Silverton was like walking back in time.

One of the most interesting places we visited was the old jailhouse. They turned this building into a wonderful museum, and I learned some fascinating history that I found quite surprising.

From 1874-1902, five jails were constructed in Silverton as the mining town grew and evolved. The first one-room cell was built of logs from native timber, the second was made from mortared stone. During the 1880’s wooden jails were constructed in other small mining communities throughout San Juan County. They were mainly used as holding cells until the prisoners could be transported to the county jail in nearby Silverton. Many of these smaller jails had no on-site supervision. The prisoners were checked on only at meal times and at “lights out,” making it easy for them to plan and implement escapes. Escapes became such a problem, that the county invested over $12,000 in 1902 to build a state-of-the-art escape and fire proof brick and limestone jail. This building is still standing today, and is the one I had the pleasure of touring.

The first room we entered was the Jail office. The office was strategically placed to provide both maximum security and efficient daily monitoring. The metal staircase to the left leads to the second floor where the cell block was located. The photo shows the family of Alvin and Ida Kramer. Alvin was the sheriff from 1905-1912.

One of the most surprising things about this jail to me was the fact that it was basically a home on the bottom floor. The sheriff’s family didn’t actually live here, but they spent the majority of their daytime hours here. The wife would cook meals in the kitchen for the prisoners as well as her family. There was even a parlor for relaxation and for the younger children to play in.

Directly to the left of the jailor’s office was a special cell separated from the mail block upstairs. This cell was for insane inmates . . . or women. Notice the pass-through in the wall where food could be delivered from the kitchen. It is currently decorated more as a typical Victorian era bedroom, so I imagine it was much sparser in its heyday. However, remember Ida Kramer from the photo above? She actually gave birth to her fourth child in the women’s cell.

As we moved through the downstairs room, we came to the family room followed by the parlor.

These family rooms are probably dressed up a little more than they would have been back in 1902. Yet the furniture was typical of that time period.

See the beautiful crystal in the display case? There is a scandalous story behind that set. The collection of fine crystal originally belonged to Mrs. Johnson of Silverton. She worked as a prostitute in one of the houses of ill-repute on the infamous Blair Street. Many of her clients knew that she loved cut crystal, so they purchased individual pieces as gifts for her, which explains why this is not a matched set. Then she died in 1930, her collection was packed into three oak barrels containing sawdust for shipping to her relatives in Boston. However, her family could not afford the $25 for shipping. The barrels were purchased sight unseen by William A. Way, the town attorney, so that the collection could remain in Silverton.

Next came the kitchen. Prisoners of the county jail were served three meals a day, prepared by the jailor’s in a kitchen built with all the modern amenities including running water, icebox, and large wood cookstove with bread warmer.

Finally, we moved upstairs to the main cell block. This was created as a free-standing steel unit and was centered in the room to provide a corridor on all sides. There are four six-foot square cells facing a common area that contained a toilet an sink. The jailor controlled the doors with mechanical levers, allowing prisoners to use the toilet facilities one at a time while keeping other doors locked. All the cells could hold as many as 6 canvas hammocks, making for close quarters when the jail was filled to capacity.

My husband gave me the sad puppy eyes, so I decided to help him escape.

How would you feel about being married to the sheriff and being responsible for feeding the prisoners and raising your children in a criminal environment?

Bar D Chuckwagon

Back in June, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, my hubby planned a great trip for us to visit Durango, CO. Knowing how much I love the history of the west, we visited several museums, rode a steam train to Silverton, and even stayed one night in an 1800’s hotel.

One of the highlights of the trip for me happened at the very beginning of our trip. We spent an evening at the Bar D Ranch for their Chuckwagon Supper and Old West Cowboy Music Show. It was FANTASTIC!

The Bar D is more than just a ranch. It’s a western village complete with chapel, blacksmith shop, mercantile, chocolate shop, art gallery, and even a train depot. We made sure to get there early to have lots of time to explore.

This adorable little chapel is rented out for weddings. It contains lovely stained glass, and on the night we visited, a couple of cowboys were using for a cowboy poetry reading. The well was right outside the chapel, and since I’m currently working on a westernized Snow White tale, I couldn’t resist a photo by the wishing well.

They also had a large smithy where a local blacksmith was busy plying his trade.

We took advantage of photo ops by the covered wagon and cowboy cut out as well.

I bought a few souvenirs, perused the art gallery, and we even dared spoil our dinner with a sweet appetizer from the chocolate shop. So good!

Then it was time for dinner and a show.

This gorgeous mural was on display as we lined up for our grub. In true cowboy fashion, they served us on tin plates and filled our water/tea/lemonade cups with giant galvanized coffee pots. All the shops close down winner starts, and the staff become our servers. Even the cowboy performers we’d soon see on stage. Everyone wore period western costumes to add to the experience. The costumes were more 1950’s TV western than actual 1800’s western, but I didn’t care. It was too much fun!

The food was delicious! You could choose chicken, roast beef, combo plate, or pay extra for a rib eye steak. Several of the people at our table ordered the rib eye, and it looked amazing. I had chicken and loved it. Wes went for the combo plate. We both ate every bite. Meat, baked potato, biscuits, homemade applesauce, and a slice of spice cake.

As we finished eating, the Bar D Wranglers made their way onto the stage. This was the true highlight of the evening. Fiddle, string bass, and two guitars with four-part cowboy harmony. Everything from Tumbling Tumbleweeds to The Devil Went Down to Georgia. We even had an instrumental version of the 1812 Overture highlighting Gary Cook, one of the Wranglers who is a 2-time National Flat Pick Champion on the guitar. So impressive!

There was comedy too. One of the songs they did was Old MacDonald’s Dysfunctional Farm. It included a lisping snake, an asthmatic cow, and a foul-mouthed chicken just to name a few. We were all in stitches.

A fifth wrangler joined the show for about four or five songs. He was a yodeling cowboy who held us all spellbound. Wow! He flipped between registers with the agility of a a concert pianist. So fast and so clear. I loved it!

What a great way to kick off our vacation! We were grinning the entire night.

If you were going to eat a chuckwagon dinner, what is the one cowboy dish that would be a must to include?

Don’t forget about the P&P Birthday Party on Thursday. It’s going to be so much fun with some great prizes!