Thursday, January 23, 2014

Made in Michigan

Every Thursday the Lansing State Journal publishes a Michigander section.  This week I'm telling about how we got our start as dairy farmers.  We really do love living here in Michigan! 

This is what I said:

After college, my husband, Kris, and I worked in the corporate world. We liked everything about it: We lived in Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut; we traveled frequently; and outside of work, we had little responsibility. We didn’t see any reason to change anything.

Then, back in Michigan, my dad decided to retire from dairy farming. And Kris suggested we buy my parents’ farm.

Even though Kris was also from a farm, it never occurred to me he might want to someday own one. We dressed up for work! He had a company car! We visited a different city every weekend!

But ... we quit our jobs, left Connecticut, and moved to the same place my great-great-great grandparents started farming in 1879.

Six years later, we now live in the 134-year old house where my great-grandma was born. We’re renovating the barn my great-grandpa built, where he used to milk cows by hand. We pasture our cattle on the same fields as my ancestors. We milk our cows next to the same creek where my family used to get water to wash its clothes.

We added three sons to the mix, and we’re relishing living here.

Michigan gives us an opportunity we couldn’t get anywhere else. It’s difficult to start a farm from scratch. Here, not only were we able to take over the family business, but our eyes were opened to why people keep coming back.

Dressing up for work? Nah. But every day is take-your-son-to-work day. Company car? No, but it is great riding around in tractors. Different city every weekend? Yes. That’s the same. Even though we grew up here, we’d never been on the long, quiet beaches in Ludington. We’d never before taken a horse-drawn sleigh to see elk at Thunder Bay. We’d never visited any winery in Traverse City. We hadn’t seen how blue Lake Huron can be. We hadn’t even hiked The Ledges in Grand Ledge! Old Town Lansing and all the festivals? Completely new to us!

It’s easy to understand why my family keeps living here. The weather and soil are great for dairy farming — but that’s only part of it. The job brings you here, but the excitement keeps you here. We’re forever discovering new surprises in our own state, our own township, our own backyard.

But really, I shouldn’t be surprised by any of it. Loving Michigan is obviously in my blood.
The article is online here.


rschett said...

Great picture besides the great writing.

Carla said...

Thank you, Rachael! You're so nice.

Julie said...

I liked reading it just as much the second time around! :)