Welcome! We are Ben and Lauren Denny. Our family ranch is, Simply Country Ranch, based in McAlester, Oklahoma. Ben owned a construction company and Lauren was a fourth grade teacher when we felt a desire to learn to start farming and ranching.
In 2018, we started to breed Scottish Highland Coos, Babydoll sheep, mini donkeys, alpacas, chickens, and ducks. We are in the process of building our ranch, because in 2020, we had the opportunity to move all our animals from our Idaho ranch to Oklahoma to live on Lauren’s family land that has been on her side of the family for 7 generations. After her grandfather, Lloyd, passed, the land needed upkeep on fencing, building of barns, planting of hay fields, and tree removal. With this chance to move we transplanted Lauren's parents and grandma along for the journey from Idaho as well.
Our goal is to have a place where local farmers can come sell their goods at our farmers market, families can come experience pumpkin patches, outdoor movie events, concerts, and more at our family’s ranch.
Ben makes most sauces from scratch because a lot of seasonings, rubs, and sauces include dairy and/or gluten. Ben is passionate about cooking. He has said multiple times how IMPORTANT it is that an everyday family can make this meal. He was getting frustrated when watching cooking shows that asked him to serve a family of 6 with each their own hollowed out pineapple on their way to soccer practice! It just wasn't realistic. It felt daunting, something unattainable, something you wouldn't use on an everyday basis.Make it SIMPLE.Make it taste GOOD. That's the goal.
We do not have a background in farming or ranching but as time has gone on, we have learned a tremendous amount of how to start a ranch from scratch from talking to people in the grocery stores, the ranchers we bought cattle from, social media farms, youtube, and most importantly, getting out there to try things for ourselves through trial and error.
We have a passion for teaching and sharing our animals with others. Since Lauren has a background in teaching, her passion has been to allow students the opportunity to learn about animal care and experience the joys animals can bring through virtual field trips, farm park events.
Recently, we wrote a children’s book called, Winston and the Missing Apples based on our border collie dog, Winston, and his adventures on the ranch. We had an encounter with our fluffy cow who would escape the field and sneak into the apple orchards and eat all the apples off the trees. The adorable story even has QR codes that share the animals in real life as happens in the storybook.
We are very fortunate to have a community on social media who loves our animals as much as we do and could not be here without them. They encourage us to keep dreaming big, and are the main push to invite the public to our ranch.