Anna on Annie
Hello and welcome to our ranch! I’m Anna, your rancher from Montana. Our ranch, along with the livestock, and most importantly my family, is my absolute paradise! You’ve heard people say that we should build a life that we don’t need a vacation from. Well, ranching is my ultimate life; the life that feels like I’m on vacation every day! Don’t get me wrong, this is a ton of work and there are plenty of “rough days”, but this is all my flavor of fun and there’s nothing I’d rather dedicate my time and effort to!
Ranching and being outside in nature surrounded by my dogs, horses, and cattle is where my heart and soul truly thrives. I left the ranch for about 13 years to get my degree and pursue my career in accounting. I loved every minute of my career path, but it was when I came back to the ranch that I realized how much I was in need of this life change and getting connected back to my roots. I am still in accounting and working a full-time job, which I lovingly call my “real job”, in addition to working on the ranch. My mornings, lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends are all dedicated to the ranch! (So, all of you side-hustling, multi-tasking, dream building, and goal crushing folks out there – I feel you!!!) Luckily, I’ve got a great support system here at the ranch to make this all come together!
Let’s rewind a bit and get back to those roots I mentioned a minute ago. I come from a long line of butchers, in-fact, my Great-Great Grandmother Katherine owned a meat shop back in the day! Can you imagine how strong she must have been to be running a meat shop in the early 1900’s?! She was an immigrant from Germany and as she could speak English, she could only read and write in German. (Maybe she is the one that gave me this undeniable belief that any one of us can accomplish anything we truly set our mind to!) My Great Grandpa Philip, Great Uncle Miles, and Grandpa John were all butchers as well. My great-grandparents (Philip & Wealtha) used to sell milk, butter, and cream from their little set of dairy cows to the folks of Missoula, MT. The next generation, which was my grandparents (John and Marjorie), are who started our ranch in Helmville, MT in the 1970’s. My parents (Wade and Diana) raised me, my older brother (Lorne), and older sister (Megan) on the ranch right next door to our grandparents.
I fell in love with the ranch and the animals at an early age and was always tagging along with my Mom doing anything horse related or cow related. To give you just a quick glimpse of me as a child, when I was 5 years old we had a couple of colts that were born here at the ranch. One day, when the colts were probably about 5 or 6 months old, Mom looked over at the corral to check them, only to find that I had managed to crawl up the fence and onto the back of one of them! Can you imagine seeing your young child on the back of an untrained baby horse? I like to think I’ve been keeping my Mom on her toes ever since.
Anna on Fancy and her Mom, Diana, on Tuff
My grandpa, who was a WWII Veteran, was a horseman and a cattleman at heart, I think I got my love of the animals from him. He was also a very talented butcher. He was strong as an ox and could move halves of beef around with ease. Seriously, that is incredible! He could have a beef skinned and hanging on the rail about as fast as I can walk a couple hundred yards in high heels. My grandma was a lady in every way. She always had cute little outfits and always had her hair and makeup done up. The strong and rugged rancher with the cute little lady was their vibe to a “T”!
Anna's Grandpa John
Anna's Grandpa John in WWII
Anna's Grandma Marjorie
Anna's Grandma Marjorie
I can still hear my mother’s voice saying to me “Anna Lee, class up and be more ladylike”! Her efforts were lost, as I definitely got more of my grandpa’s ruggedness than my grandma’s ladylike-ness. Picture little ol’ me with a bowl cut hairdo (because I wouldn’t let my mom brush my hair), chubby cheeks, and threatening to ruff the boys up if they messed with me. I believe the exact line I told the boys on my first day of kindergarten was “You better watch out or I will pinch you until you bleed”. How could my mother not be so proud of her charming little girl?! Anyways, I digress, back to the real story here. We still ranch on the land that my grandpa and grandma ran and even have cows from the same bloodlines that they started.
Everywhere I look I can feel my grandparent’s presence; and that keeps me connected to this land and grounded to what truly matters in life. My grandpa taught us not only how to lovingly raise our cattle, but also how to meticulously finish them for butcher along with the art of the butchering process itself.
Anna's grandparents Marjorie and John
Today, I live in what used to be my grandparent’s house on the ranch. In the basement of the house my grandparents had a little butcher room that we use to butcher our own meat for our family. Butchering was always a family affair with all hands on deck! My grandparents, parents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and siblings would all be helping to fill our freezers; all under my grandpa’s gentle direction and watchful eye. Having a freezer full of meat has always brought our family such a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing that we are stocked up on healthy meat to feed our whole family for the coming year! We are a family that always has food right in the center of our celebrations and we take great pride in raising the most delicious beef not only for our family but for yours, too.
Even though I grew up on this ranch, have been involved in agriculture my whole life, and would consider myself pretty ag-savvy, I still have so much to learn. I am so thankful to be working alongside my Dad, trying to soak up all of his knowledge. Dad and I are so familiar with working together that we can almost read each other's mind and anticipate what the other needs without hardly having to talk. It can almost be relaxing when working together! I’m so comfortable when working alongside my Dad, but I still have a lot to learn when it comes to doing things on my own. There’s definitely some things that come more natural to me than others! Perhaps you, too, can relate to that same sentiment.
Anna and her Dad, Wade
I could go on and on about our family history and stories of me learning as I take on more and more roles around the ranch. But, let’s save those for another day and get this wrapped up so you can get on with your bulk beef shopping!
We hope to share our ranching experience with you and your family so you can know and trust how your beef is lovingly raised and butchered. I want to share a little piece of my ranching heaven with you through my stories, the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and most importantly through the beef that I can have delivered to your door. My hope is that when you open your box of beef, you open it up and can feel the magic of this Montana ranching community that I come from. Then, when you sit down with your loved ones over a home cooked meal of your Montana beef, you will feel the same sense of joy and gratitude that I do for getting to be a part of this ranching dream. You’ll be forever connected to the ranching lifestyle through your purchase of our beef; and both you and I will always smile whenever we think about ranching. Thank you for being a part of my journey. I can’t wait to get to know you along the way!
Anna from Montana