business, cattle, combine, corn, cows, fall, Family, family time, Farm Wife, Farming, harvest, Holidays, North Dakota, October, prairie, Ranch, soy beans, The Fit Farmer's Wife, The LIfe of the Dakota Farmer's WIfe, tractor

Why I Love Octobers

Octobers are filled with pumpkin spice everything, Halloween candy, and for my fellow farmers, harvest. If you read my blog at all, you’ll probably notice, I love my fall posts. I never used to love fall so much. Let me tell you a story…

Fall to me was like death. I hated fall growing up. All the leaves dying, the brightest green grass turning brown, flowers freezing up and dying, and when the whole planet of North Dakota turns a grayish, brown. I am not quite sure why I didn’t like fall. Maybe because I lost my first grandma in October, when I was 16, then a few months later my paternal grandmother, and another few months, my great grandmother. I’m just not really sure, but now…

I love the autumn season! To me, becoming a farmer’s wife changed me. Autumn is now filled with excitement, primarily because after harvest, my hubby will be in the house more and be home just about when I get home. To me, having someone there when you get home from work, to greet you at the door or help with groceries is the greatest gift. It’s a short lived gift, but still one of the best.

For farmers, harvest means we get our first pay check in close a year. Depending if you have cattle or not, harvest is about the only time farmers are brining in some sort of income, even if it does all go back into their farm operation. About 99% of the time, farmer hardly sees the money they just sweated, worked, and prayed for because it goes directly back into the farm operation. Have you ever filled diesel in a tractor before? Or bought a “new” (used but new to you) piece of equipment before? Do you know how much those guys at John Deere charge for servicing a truck or tractor? You know what I am talking about!

Honestly, fall gets so crazy and busy at times. It’s almost like holding your breath. In the middle of harvest, right before rain is coming, and you have a day and a half left, the combine breaks down. Then, the cows decide that now would be a good time to get out. Sometimes that grass really does look greener on the other side of the fence…

Fall is also just the start of the holiday seasons. The holidays that are spent with family and friends, laughter, and so much love. Here on the prairie, we look so forward to family time because family is SO important. In most cases, we run our businesses with our families and work side by side our parents and grandparents. Family time spent relaxing on the farm are days that are few and far between, but well deserved! Just talking about it, gets me excited to spend time with both sides of our families. By the way, I am hosting Thanksgiving this year… Pray for me!

Now that I am a married farm wife, autumn to me took on a whole new meaning. I am so thankful that I live on the North Dakota prairie where there are 4 seasons in a year. Especially, when the air turns crisp, the leaves are a beautiful golden, orange-red color, the sky is the deepest blue  you’ve ever seen, the harvest is close to done, and our prairie hearts are full. In every way possible.

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When the Amazing Life Together Team Came to Visit

Last week, my blogger and fellow farm wife friend, Jenny Rorich told  me she suggested Taylor and I to the Amazing Life Together project, I had no idea what it was or what was going to happen. Jenny and her husband, Mark were going to be gone the dates that the Amazing Life Together Team was going to visit their farm, so she passed them on to us! I had to do some research…

I had never heard of Our Amazing Life Together or the journey their team was on across American to promote “life after the wedding”. The more I looked into it, the more excited I got! Ryan and Liz are professional wedding photographers from Baltimore, Maryland and they made it their mission to travel across the US to challenge, promote, and document marriage after the wedding, because that is the most important part, right?! They are then, publishing their travels, adventures, interviews, and photographs into a book! How AMAZING is that?!

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Throughout the week, Liz and Ryan and I were emailing back and forth. Taylor and I had to fill out an online survey of “our love story”. We really didn’t know what to expect when their team got to our farm. I gave them directions to our little farm out in the middle of no-where, literally.

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Saturday morning at 9:30 AM sharp, a brown RV with Maryland plates showed up in our driveway. Liz and Ryan interviewed us for about 45 minutes and we got to ask them a few questions as well about their journey thus far. Then, we showed them around our farm and they captured our love in photographs! (I can’t wait to see them!)

North Dakota is the 32nd state that they have been to. Hawaii is going to be their last. Liz and Ryan started in January on their amazing journey across America documenting love stories. They pick one or two couples per state to meet, interview, and photograph for their project. It was such an honor to be “suggested” and picked for their project! Of all the wonderful farm couples out there on the North Dakota prairie, they chose us!

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They asked us about how we met, fell in love, our wedding day, and married life now. It was fun to open up and tell our love story and know that it will be soon in paper form for us to always treasure and keep! I can not wait to see our pictures, and snuggle up with my hubby and read our love story with a good cup of coffee!

Liz and Ryan, it was a pleasure to meet you and have you at the Zenker Angus Ranch! We wish you safe travels for the rest of your journey across America. We love what you are doing and your passion for couples after the wedding. You were great to work with, kind, fun, and sweet! We are so honored and happy  you gave us this opportunity and look forward to hopefully seeing you again someday! If you travel across south central North Dakota again, you are always welcome! xo

*All photos are from Liz and Ryan’s Instagram account*

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Praying For Rain

In case you haven’t heard, North Dakota has been in the news a lot about the drought we are currently having. We received well below normal snowfall this winter, in fact, we hardly had any. Now that it is spring, temperatures are soaring and the winds are roaring. Trust me, every night I can clean the same window sill and check it a few house later and literally dirt will be sitting where I just cleaned. It is bad. But unfortunately, the dirt inside my home is the least of my worries.

Just recently, there have been several fires breaking out in Bismarck, our capital city. The college was evacuated and the streets of Bismarck were chaos. We are not only facing dangerous fires, but also for this farming community. Small sloughs in pastures are starting to dry up and disappear, which is devastating for cattlemen, like us.

Farmers are starting to dig and plant their fields, but all you see is a whirlwind of dust. WIth the extremely low grain prices already and cattle prices are falling rapidly as well, we as farmers can’t afford a drought, not this year. Farmer’s work hard and long hours and take a gamble every year with weather. We don’t protest the low grain prices, we just have to deal with it. There are no raises in farming. What you get is what you get. And drought across our North Dakota prairie, could also mean soaring food prices nation-wide.

In case you didn’t know, North Dakota ranks first in the production of flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, all dry edible beans, all dry edible peas, spring wheat, honey, lentils, sunflowers, barley and oats. Which is a food source for many of you most likely.

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Bismarck Fire by University of Mary. KFYR TV Photo Credit
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KFYR TV

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And as you can see, its windy and hot everyday and little to no chances of rain in the seven day outlook.

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So I ask you, as friends, and fellow blog readers, no matter what religion or your beliefs, please remember our little state of North Dakota in your prayers and thoughts. RIght now, please join me and say a little prayer for us.

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What I Learned Growing Up As The Farmer’s Daughter

If you were privileged enough to have grown up in the country on a farm, you know exactly what this post is about. However, if you didn’t grow up on a farm, you missed out on a lot of good life lessons. Growing up on a farm is something that is probably taken for granted as a child, but when you are older, and look back, there are so many great things that you learned along the way. Whether is was watching grandpa in the combine, harvesting wheat, or the prayers and patience of waiting for a summer rain, that comes too late. There are some things in life that are un-teachable; some things you just have to experience for yourself to know how truly important they are. And one of those things is growing up on a farm.

1. Have Faith Even in the Driest Drought. Every year, farming is like gambling with God. Some years, you are really blessed, and have your head above the sea of debt you are currently swimming in. Other years, you pray, and pray, and pray for that summer rain that never comes. Other years, right before harvest with the best crop you’ve ever had, a large hail storm wipes out everything you have. Seasons in life can be just as devastating. Have faith and don’t be too proud to fall on your knees.

2. Hard Work is Not an Option. Being the farmer’s daughter and now the farmer’s wife, I have seen generations of hard working men (and women) in my life. Now and days, it seems working or getting a job is a persons’ choice. In farming, that is not the case. Now, as a wife, there are nights and weeks, when I don’t see my husband at all. He is merely the man that comes to sleep with me in our bed at 3 am and is up at 5 am. With cattle it is even worse. There is a rain coming tomorrow, and the harvest is almost done, an all nighter is the only option. From this, even though I help support our families needs with a full time job in the city, working is not an option. It is something you must do, and it’s a steady income if there isn’t an income on the farm that year.

3. Nothing in Life is Handed to You. With the exceptions of hand-me-downs, and your neighbor bringing a fresh apple pie over during harvest. Everything in life is not free. It is either worked for or worked very hard for. Even in my city job, my supervisor recognizes that I am not afraid to give the toilets a good scrubbing when things slow down. (I credit this to the hard work that goes down on the farm). Nothing in life is ever handed to you, you are only given chances to prove yourself and with a little (okay, maybe a lot) hard work, you will succeed in anything.

4. Be Thankful. In every season, whether your crop got rained out this spring, or 20 cows died from the horrible winter, be thankful for what you have. Even if you are living on a month to month pay check or less, you have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Always say thank you and don’t be afraid to thank the good Lord for what you have. And don’t take anything for granted.

5. Take the Time. Everyone in these days is running and probably hanging on by a cow’s tail, but take time to spend with your family. My grandpa, one of the hardest working men I know (followed by my dad and husband), always took the time in the warm summer evenings, to swing with me when I was growing up. Sometimes, it was only a couple of minutes on my swingset, others it was an hour. This meant the world to me and still does. Even now, on the weekends, my husband will try to come in early so we can spend time together, even if early means at 10:00 pm. I will still have a nice supper waiting (or Tastee Freeze in the summer) and just spend the evening together. Bottom line, make time for you family.

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This sums up farm life pretty well. Of course there are so many things that I have learned or gained from growing up on a farm, but now appreciate them even more that I am married to a farmer. The lessons you learn while growing up affect you more than you know when you are old.

I will be taking a short hiatius from blogging, but I’ll be back and at ’em in a couple of weeks! XoXo