The runaway popularity of Ree Drummond’s blog, The Pioneer Woman, has spawned a veritable lifestyle empire. In addition to her constant chronicle of happenings courtesy of her corner of the web, Drummond keeps fans happy with a Food Network show, bestselling books, and daytime TV guest appearances. Columbia Pictures has reportedly even acquired the film rights to her autobiographical book, From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels — and word on the street is that Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon would play Drummond.

Basically, this city-gal-turned-ranch-wife is kind of a big deal. So, it’s only natural for fans to want as much insight into Drummond’s daily life as they can get. While her cooking show, The Pioneer Woman, offers a heaping helping of life on the Drummond ranch, some things never make it onscreen. From sentimental family milestones to candid admissions about life from the Pioneer Woman herself, here are some of the best moments you didn’t see.

The super emotional moment she sent another kid to college

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond Daughter Paige

As a mama of four, Drummond isn’t naïve about the fact she’ll endure more than a few hard goodbyes in her lifetime. And while some of those are far in the future — none of her children are on the brink of getting married yet — she has already had to contend with the ol’ college exodus. Not once, but twice.

In August 2015, Drummond dropped her oldest daughter, Alex, off at college, blogging about the emotional process of leaving her “precious baby girl” 500 miles away from home. But while she was admittedly sad to see Alex go, she also opened up about how close she and daughter Paige had become being the only girls around the house.

And although Drummond joked about denying reality and pretending Paige would never leave, that dreaded moment came to pass in August 2018. “Red nose, trembling chin, tight throat, aching heart,” Drummond wrote on Instagram. “Leaving your child at college is no picnic. I’ve done it once before and thought maybe this time would be a little easier. I think it’s a little harder.”

Ree confessing to her love affair with butter

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond

Listen, it’s not like we all don’t know Ree Drummond is a woman unashamed of her propensity for butter — she has never shied away from using a stick (or three) in recipes. But aside from referencing it while walking fans through the making of her signature dishes, Drummond doesn’t often get the chance to just wax poetic about the dairy product.

However, she made her feelings abundantly clear in 2013 during an on-camera interview with The List (no relation). Citing butter as one of her four secrets to success in the kitchen, Drummond said with a laugh, “Butter is my best friend, my constant companion, my boyfriend, my girlfriend….”

In addition to having recipes for various types of butter on her blog (regular butter and cowboy butter seem to be her go-tos), Drummond is a big enough fan of the accoutrement to give it a shout-out in the bio section of both her website and Twitter profile. In her own words, this woman is a “lover of butter.”

How she defines contentment now

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond

Prior to life as a cattle rancher’s wife in rural Oklahoma, Drummond grew up in the affluent city of Bartlesville. With a population of 35,000 residents, it wasn’t exactly the quiet country seclusion she now enjoys on the ranch. Rather, she grew up immersed in the bustle of suburban life (think ballet lessons and country club afternoons).

Upon graduating, she stepped fully into city life by moving to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. Although she eventually moved back to Bartlesville while studying for the LSAT, Drummond often references her fondness for big city living prior to the pioneer life. Meeting her now-husband Ladd and moving to the middle of nowhere Oklahoma changed her, though.

In a 2011 interview with BookPage, Drummond said she defines life on the ranch as a “path to contentment.” In fact, she can’t imagine what life would have looked like if she’d never made the transition. “Yeah, I shudder. I am thoroughly convinced that I am where I was meant to wind up,” she told BookPage, adding, “It’s not that everyone needs that [isolation] to maintain some level of peace and contentment, but I needed it. It centered me.”

The reason Ree has a kinship with cows

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond

Make no mistake about it — the cows that live on the Drummond ranch don’t exactly wind up with some fairytale reprieve from market just because Drummond likes them. But she does like them, and that shines through often in Drummond’s details about daily life.

Speaking to Parade Magazine in 2013, Drummond explained that she feels a certain kinship with the cattle who share her family’s property. “After you have babies and then you live on a cattle ranch with cows and calves, I mean, you empathize with the mama cows and… you really feel their maternal instincts,” Drummond said.

Not surprisingly, cows make frequent cameos on Drummond’s Instagram. In one example on July 24, 2018, she shared a video of Ladd, their son Todd, and other ranch hands performing a “morning drive” with the cattle. In the sunrise video, Ladd uses a gentle chuffing call to corral the cows, prompting Drummond to caption the post, “‘Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch…’ I’ve always loved that sound.”

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