Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue

ABOUT Mary Lynn Archibald

Mary Lynn Archibald
I am a freelance copywriter, editor and author of two memoirs:  Briarhopper: A History, and Accidental Cowgirl: Six Cows, No Horse and No Clue. I have also been published in the anthologies: Chicken Soup for the Single Parent's Soul, Far From Home: Lessons Learned, and Vintage Voices: Fou More...


"So you want to move to the country? Before closing escrow or mounting your horse, try galloping through the pages of Accidental Cowgirl. You might die laughing, but if you survive with your dreams still intact, at least you will have been warned.”

            —Ray Raphael, Author

We'd planned to relax on 120 acres of pristine beauty in rural Trinity County, but when we took possession, we found we'd inherited six cows, two cats, a flock of wild turkeys, a large vegetable garden and orchard, and a working cattle ranch. Somehow, this came as a surprise to us, but we learned fast (we had to), and discovered that relaxation never entered into the equation until we were too tired to move.

Bill Duncan
Capital Press: The West's Ag Website

—by Bill Duncan

"Real-life ranch tale serves as warning to weary urbanites.

"Everyone has a story to tell just from living. But the key is in the storytelling.

"By that paradigm, Mary Lynn Archibald is one great storyteller, and her memoir is at the same time sad and funny, but it is a story worth reading. It is the story of a couple of crazy urbanites who dream of escaping the dreary existence of the rat race, and become (sic) country squires on 120 acres of lush rural beauty called Twin Creeks Ranch...

"'When my husband, Carl signed the papers he discovered we had inherited six cows, two cats, a flock of wild turkeys and a working cattle ranch. With one stroke of the pen, our relaxation (idea) had gone out the window. It was crazy.'

"But she admits: 'It was one of the most uplifting experiences of our lives....'

"She and her husband lived that life for 12 years and discovered the simple life isn't really that simple, and 'despite my persistent romantic fantasies, I rarely managed to look like I'd just emerged from the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog. Those people never get muddy and they wear bras in town...'

"...Archibald's idyllic rural life...(on the ranch) has ended, in favor of town life, but not the memories of 'early evenings talking by the fire, the hot tea brewing on the Franklin wood-stove, the glass of wine reflecting the candles...and watching the sunset over the King Range, craning our necks skyward to marvel at the stars and the enveloping peace of the place.'"

—Bill Duncan can be reached at or at P.O. Box 812, Roseburg, OR 97470