Let us consider what it means to "keep up with the Joneses" when you live in the rural countryside. The popular meaning is matching or attempting to match the kind of lifestyle the neighbors have — in other words, the kind where everything's still on credit. The Joneses in farm and ranch country go by a different measuring stick. Urban residents live in close proximity to neighbors whose lifestyle can be studied easily and may be envied: a new pickup, fifth-wheel camper, boat, Harley, snowmobile or some other credit pit.
The country is a beautiful place to live and there are reasons the country is a rural, unpopulated and sometimes merciless place. People new to country living fall in love with the lifestyle, until a big snowstorm hits, making them homebound because they're snowed in.
Any time my husband casually mentions an idea that sounds a little outlandish, it is always best if I pay attention, allow his idea to sink in and then accept it, because it's going to happen. He's the kind of guy who follows through on stuff if I question it. The ideas I'm talking about are projects like erecting a 4-by-8-foot enclosed tree stand 20 feet up in the air or putting a bikini clad mannequin lady in a paddleboat on our dam (he saw the idea on someone else's dam).
It's always been my parenting philosophy to raise my kids to think for themselves and become independent individuals. Now a part of me has changed my mind about that parenting theory. It's not that fun for me anymore. I recently went down to our willow tree to clean up debris gathered around it after some heavy rains. I piled up the big branches then began raking up the smaller twigs. My eyes were drawn overhead to the tree swing (it hit me on the head).
The majority of husbands around the world have affectionate names for their lovely wives like “sweetie,” “honey,” “babe,” or “darlin’.” My husband has never been one to follow the crowd...
A common theme on farms and ranches is if you're going to do something, do it BIG. It could be anything from buying equipment, getting equipment stuck, making mistakes, having machinery breakdown or going into debt. My son, Myles, has taken such logic to a whole new level: helping a community of ranchers. As part of his graduation requirements, all seniors are required to do a senior project, which involves pursuing something challenging, writing a research paper and giving a PowerPoint presentation. At Custer High School, senior projects also have to be community service-oriented.
Since taking our oldest child to college, my husband and I have been experiencing the beginning stages of empty nest syndrome (besides panic). I keep trying to buy milk in bulk, set the table and make meals for four, and am having to get used to taking hot showers again instead of lukewarm-turned-cold ones after everybody else has showered. Thankfully, the hubs and I are not entirely empty nesters yet.
Since the roads on our outfit are not government owned, there's a protocol for our dirt and gravel roads. It pertains mostly to mud, but also includes our driveway and the byways to pastures, fields and highways when our roads aren't muddy. As landowners, we are in charge of maintaining our roads, fixing potholes and smoothing out lumpy ruts. The maintenance that's done on the dirt roads we use is based on one main factor: who drove through the pothole to make it bigger, or who drove down to the junkyard, stackyard, field or pasture when it was muddy and tore up the road in the process.
Our son had to give a speech at his high school graduation of which I had several suggestions, but much to my disappointment he wasn't interested in hearing them. He had his own idea, so I decided I would share one of my graduation speech ideas with readers. Work in agriculture produces qualities that can easily be applied to a graduate. The following are common farm and ranch virtues that could be helpful to a graduate. • Be present. On farms and ranches being dedicated and focused to what you are doing can save a person's life.
Anyone who calls himself or herself a South Dakotan is familiar with artist Harvey Dunn -- a born and raised South Dakotan from Manchester -- but I wonder if anyone else has noticed the theme in his paintings depicting South Dakota pioneer life on the prairie: the wind. His pioneer life scenes are based on his childhood memories of living in a sod house, and it's obvious that South Dakota's constant prairie wind was a big part of those memories.