Sitting at the breakfast table one morning, I pointed an emaciated finger at the bowl of gruel in front of me (some healthy stuff that’s supposed to make me live longer, as if this is worth living for). I Looked Robyn squarely in the eyes and proclaimed, “I want Lucky Charms.” Sometimes she doesn’t hear me accurately, or chooses to accidently misunderstand, because the next morning she tells me we should really go check out our farm.
“What?” I said, “I told you I wanted ‘Lucky Charms’, not to ‘buy a farm’!”
“Well, you own one now, and we should go see it.”
“When did I buy a farm?” I ask.
“You didn’t,” she said, as I expel a sigh of relief, along with the sweet scent of gruel.
“That’s a relief. I don’t have space to fit crop harvesting into my schedule this morning.”
“Nevertheless, you might have to give up that whole architecting thing you do. You are a farmer now. We inherited one from my family in North Dakota, and we should go see it.”
“I am? What?!!! … and where the hell’s Dakota? Is that in Iowa?”
Just kidding, I know where Dakota is. Vacationing there has always been a dream of mine, particularly West Dakota, with its amber fields of grain and its… well, I’m sure it has other things, too (at this point the architect in me meandered to thoughts of a quaint, little farmhouse with a red barn and silo that I could renovate and maybe while away my later years, rocking on the front porch, chewing on a stalk of amber grain).
“The farmhouse was demolished,” Robyn said. “It’s gone.”
My heart sank.
“What happened?” I cried, already fully invested in my new life as a farmer. “One of those Sharknados blew through town or something? I’ve heard bad things about them.” She gives me a look like that’s not even a thing. Seriously.
“No, of course not,” she said, “It was torn down to make room to plant more crops… but we are getting a windmill!”
My heart rose very, very slightly. That was something, anyway. I pictured one of those creaky, little windmills on a rickety metal stand topped with a cute rooster weathervane (not to be confused with the type you putt into at the mini golf course. Those are Dutch windmills, for the benefit of you city folk). So at least I’d have something to climb up and shoot critters from (or is it varmints? Whatever).
What Robyn meant to say is that we’re getting an enormous, industrial wind turbine to provide power for the entire county! Oh, yeah. That was the other thing Dakota has, wind. Lots of wind. Apparently I’m not just a farmer* anymore; I’m an alternative energy provider. To think, I was merely an architect a few minutes ago. Looks like we’re taking a trip to see my farm.
To make the experience more palatable, Robyn suggested we call it a road trip (because that sounds more fun, apparently) and see all of Dakota. Every… Last… Mile… of it. Picture, if you will, lying on warm sand under a thatched umbrella, sipping margaritas as Pedro asks, “Would you like more nachos, Senor?” Then remove the nachos, umbrella, warm sand, Pedro and God forbid, the margaritas. This was the vacation Robyn was trying to sell me. Except she forgot to include the words ‘cold,’ ‘flat,’ and ‘windswept’.
“You know,” she said, “Everybody else takes family vacations to see Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the nuclear missile silos, and the buffalo roaming through the State parks. Why can’t we?”
“Because,” I said, “I hate road trips, and driving on road trips, and fast food while driving on road trips. Not to mention driving on road trips… Wait a minute. What was it you said between the words Badlands and buffalo?”
“uh… nuclear missile silos?”
She had me. Gotta see those!
*It occurs to me that some of you might be thinking, “He’s not actually a farmer just because he owns a farm. He doesn’t wear overalls or carry a pitchfork. I’ve never even heard him sing a song about that old MacDonald guy.” I’m sorry, you are wrong. When I visited my farm, I picked a stalk of wheat and, throwing caution to the wind, along with the husk, ate it (It wasn’t packaged so I’m not sure it was gluten free). By the way, another word for ‘picked’ is ‘harvested’. I believe that makes me a farmer.
Dakota Photo Album
In case you are concerned, farmer though I may be, somebody else does the actual farming of the land, and I am still practicing architecture in the big city, designing amazing houses across the country with my company Bjella Architects. Please call if you would like me to design one for you (on or off a farm).