After my Farmer and I met in October of 1998, we dated from opposite ends of the state of North Dakota. I was going to college at Concordia in Moorhead, MN ( Fargo’s twin city) working on a degree in elementary education and he at Dickinson State in Dickinson, ND on an Ag Sales and Service and Farm and Ranch Management.  The trip was about four and a half hours straight down Interstate 94. So needless to say we supported the fuel and telephone industry heavily for a year and a half.

In the first six months of dating, I had visited the farm a few times, but being that it was the end of harvest when we met and spring’s work hadn’t ventured into full swing when this part of my journey took place, I hadn’t experienced a lot and didn’t know exactly what farming was all about. Despite my lack of insight, I did pick up on a few things…

  1. Farming was not just a job, but a lifestyle and business.
  2. That yes, there are “slower” times, but there is always something to do.
  3. That times can get tough- family, money, balancing multiple tasks, etc. – but that hard work, faith and looking ahead can make all the difference.
  4. This was something that my Farmer had in his blood and when you looked into his eyes, it was something he was honored to have the opportunity to be a part of.

IMG_3652And so it was this information that I kept tucked deep down inside as we spent months emailing, on the phone, in the car, and of course on our college studies. Little did I know that these four thoughts were really even there or that they would come in handy!

You see, one day, I believe in April of 1999, I headed out to Dickinson from Moorhead. I decided to switch a work shift and leave a few hours early. I am a planner, so something spontaneous like this was not of my nature and out of my comfort zone. Nevertheless, I jumped into my car and off I went.

As I pulled into Dickinson it was about 11:30am. I knew my Farmer would be working at the front desk of his dorm. I figured I would be sweet, stop at Hardee’s, and pick up some lunch. I got lunch and drove up to his dorm. I walked in the front door and noticed his back was to me. I approached the window and realized he was on the phone. He spun around, his eyes bugging out and his finger held to his lips- shh! What? I drove all this way and I get the “What are you doing here?” look and a shhhhh?

So I went and sat in the sitting area. A minute later he was finished. He called my name and I walked back to the window. He told me to come into the office and that we had to talk. Again, I was thinking, “Great. Now we have to talk. He didn’t even say ‘hi’!”

As I entered, I handed him his lunch and sat down on a chair. I instantly got that “you are going to dump me” feeling, but I sat patiently. He started talking about his telephone call. Explaining to me whom he had been talking to, why, and that he wasn’t sure how I would respond. My Farmer had just been offered the chance that he had been hoping for since before he could remember, the chance to farm a piece of land that was all his.  He was nervous as he told me. I was a city girl. One who didn’t know much about wide open spaces, dirt, or machines. He wondered if this news would chase me away.

As he explained his phone call I felt a sense of relief. He wasn’t dumping me and there was no one else. He was excited. He was ready. He was going to be a farmer. Inside I was nervous, but also jealous. His dreams were being set into action and I felt like my plans were still liquid jello being mixed up without a mold to be poured in.

It was at that minute that those four little pieces of information came floating to the surface. Although I cannot recall the words I said, I know I shared my excitement for him. I knew that this was an opportunity not to be passed up. I knew that if things were meant to be, that our relationship would endure, grow and work out. IMG_0147For as I have told many people, land cannot be picked up and moved, but teachers are needed everywhere. And in the back of my mind, I knew that if nothing else, I could wait tables at the cafe’…. a full-time farmer, farmer’s wife…. I had no idea that was even an option, nor did I have a clue what I was getting into. Sometimes what you don’t know is so totally worth it!

And so, my farm journey continued.

Stay tuned for the next “My Farm Journey” post when I share about some of my transition challenges.