I hated eating as a kid.  Ask anyone from my childhood and they probably hated trying to feed me even more than I hated eating it.  I hated textures.  I hated temperatures.  I hated smells.  I even hated words to describe food – like meatLOAF (still working on that one).  Simply put, I had so many other things I’d rather be doing than sitting still and eating.

Then, it all started to change.  Slowly, but change was eminent.  My mama’s words “You EAT if someone takes the time or spends the money to FEED you. It’s not an option. It’s polite.” echoed in my head when I’d go to friends’ houses.  A particular BFF in middle school had a father who worked for one of the best seafood restaurants in Minneapolis (I know, SEAfood, in Minnesota?  Four words: Flown In Fresh Daily) and I had a crab cake.  Then I tried crab legs, cracking shells and making a mess.  OK eating could be FUN too!  So, the seafood love was cracked (pun pun).  The same family also introduced me to Chicken Chow Fun, featuring a sweet, yet spicy, sauce, wide noodles, deliciously cooked chicken and egg scrambled in.  So now I had two major food groups to work with: sea food and Chinese. I should note that Italian and pastas were always a favorite – spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, mac and cheese.

Ask me any of my favorite foods and I can tell you exactly when I first tried it.

Sushi?  California in 9th grade visiting one of my mom’s best friends from her Up With People days.

Scallops?  Our annual family trip to Florida for Spring Break at a place called Tin City in Naples.

Whole Roasted Garlic?  A trip where a friend’s dad thought it’d be funny to pressure me in to eating a whole garlic head.  Oh my gawd, like buttah.

I could go on, but really huge props have to go out to my roommate in college for forcing me to try new things. I also owe my slow-cooker abilities to her.  Hi Erin!

Denver was the first to open my world to farmers markets and the world of locally-grown produce.  Moving back to Minnesota, there were 3 farmers markets close to my downtown condo; a balcony to grow my own herbs; and a plethora of restaurants to explore and try new things (head cheese comes to mind as the most adventurous…)

Moving into the Heartland meant a huge adjustment to so many things – but one of the biggest was my grocery shopping.  I went from walking down the street on Saturdays with my reusable bag to driving to the town’s grocery store.  For the staples and packaged goods, it now means an hour drive… to shop at Wal-Mart (don’t get me started).

I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party.  After all, 46.2 Million people live in “rural America” according to the USDA ERS (if you like graphs and charts of this data, click here!).  Whatever that means.

Simply put, if I want it I gotta grow it, or find someone who does – and boy do I like a challenge!

As you’ve seen from my posts, I now have 2 years under my belt of SoDak gardening.  This year will be the first year I’ll have my garden in my own back yard – Hubby even tilled* an additional garden plot for me this fall (see post photo).  The pup has no problem getting comfortable, no matter where my garden is!


Vinny in my Minneapolis balcony garden


Vinny in our new home’s garden!

I’m currently in the planning stages and trying to maximize production and preservation this year.  Goals?  Well thanks for asking! Here’s what I hope to accomplish this year:

  • Seedlings.  Hoping to start my own seedlings of a majority of my vegetables, although I’m intimidated to start my own tomatoes.  I’ve had success with herbs, zucchini, squashes, beans and peas in the past.  Any extras I don’t use in my garden I’d like to donate to kids for their own gardening.
  • Efficiency.  I want to utilize every square inch of my garden – for example,  planting early-harvest veggies in the space that bigger plants (squash, watermelon, tomatoes) will take over when they are full-grown.
  • Canning. I mastered the “easy canning” technique with tomatoes last year, but I hope to get more proficient and have a lot more stored up for winter.  My 5 huge jars of tomatoes only lasted me until January. Whoops.

Have I rambled on enough?  Nothing gets me more excited than the prospect of sunshine and long, warm summer days!

My garden first had the Year of the Zucchini.  Last year was the Year of the Tomato. What will this year bring?!


*Note: As a woman married to a No Till Farmer, I must make a side note that in this case tilling was acceptable – breaking ground and adding in nutrients from fallen leaves and other yard waste to decompose over the winter months 😉


flash forward

Flash forward a year from the last post. Yes, a  year. Actually a year and 10 days if you want to be exact.  A lot can happen in that amount of time, and I think we covered all our bases, like:

graduating my Farm Beginnings classes…

celebrating bachelor(ette) parties & bridal showers…

becoming a golfer…

finding and losing out on 3 potential houses…

then becoming the proud owners of a 1960s house in town…

boasting a plentiful tomato harvest (tomato game STRONG this year)

oh, and getting married. 

And that is just to name a few!  So now you see why I didn’t have a single minute to update with posts, pictures and stories.  Obviously, the  highlight was our Saint Paul wedding in August.  A years’ worth of planning, big decisions, little decisions, taste testing, vendor meetings, follow up vendor meetings, last-minute panic meetings, emails, letters, invitations, thank-yous…

I really was worn out from typing.

But this is it! We are now living the American Dream in the American Heartland. We have bills and budgets, jobs and schedules, and each other. It’s perfect.

The point of this blog was to articulate the stark differences from my life before I moved to South Dakota.  There are plenty, as I’ve mentioned previously.  The long car rides to get almost anywhere have become a time where I can catch up on my reading (audio books rule, in case you had doubts).  Late nights working mean I get to look up and see infinite stars.  Putting distance between me and my Target means… well it means more online shopping 🙂

I’ve dug in. And I like it. I really, really like it.



here we go!

well without further ado, I wish you a…


it’s been an exciting 2014 and 2015 is shaping up to be even better than the last!  the past year has brought an engagement, a big move from Minnesota to South Dakota, two new jobs, and countless new friends and experiences. twitter and facebook tell me this is the part where I hashtag #blessed – and in all seriousness, looking back, could I possibly be any more blessed?!

actually, yes.  because this year I get to actually marry that fiance of mine surrounded by all our friends and family.  it will be a long road to get there with so much to do (I may be a little bit of a budget-conscious-detail-oriented-perfectionist…) but when I do get overwhelmed I remind myself of all the items we already have checked off the list:

  • dress, done! (weddings 826)
  • photographer, done! (bernadette pollard)
  • videographer, done! (dave puente)
  • ceremony location, done! (st thomas more – summit & lexington)
  • reception venue, done! (harriet island pavilion – st paul)
  • room block, done!

now for caterers, florists, decor, cake, DJs, save the dates, invites, transportation… whew! DIY & budget-friendly tips are always welcome!

now for me to get my homework done for my Farm Beginnings class before tomorrow! I’m absolutely loving the people and the class itself, not to mention the fact I get to go to Rapid City and get my Target Fix in…

keep an eye out for posts on my DIY projects I’ve been doing for the wedding! (hint: I got a new Cricut Explore for Christmas!)

wishing you all the best!! xo


p.s. I challenge you to find another blog post out there with the tags “Cancun, New Years, Wedding, and Cows” like this one! hah!


Growth: it’s what all of us strive for; the only thing that sustains our hunger for more.

From the start of my new job finally pursuing my career in construction management, to learning how to adapt to a farmers schedule and call lunch “Dinner” (and dinner “Supper”) – I honestly can’t think of a dull moment.   Every day has been exciting and exhausting; frustrating and rewarding.  After just three weeks, I look back to where I started when I made the move out here and am constantly surprised on how much I have already grown (although I remain at my 5’3″ stature).

Some examples, you ask? I now know:

…the difference between tassels and silks on a corn stalk and what role they both play in creating corn;

…that deer make an awful sound, like choking, gargling and yelling all at the same time (it’s that disgusting);

…that silos are NOT grain bins;

…how one combine can harvest so many different items (wheat, oats, beans, peas, corn…) and how the different attachments work;

…the dirt here gets into everything and covers you in the finest layer that never comes off;

…there’s a dog vaccine for rattle snake bites (!);

…and sometimes, you just don’t get cell service.

 I can’t say this growth has been without its fair share of growing pains. Luckily I have more to focus on that just my own growth – my garden has officially reached jungle status.  Note: when it says plant zucchini 3′ apart, do it.  When it says one pumpkin plant will suffice, absolutely oblige.

Whether it is the fertilizer Hubby slipped in my garden or all my TLC, my zucchini has been producing at an overwhelming rate and an even more alarming size – think small human baby.  This has lead to many zucchini spaghetti noodles, stir fry vegetables, and soon some zucchini bread!  Even with all that, I’ve given out most of what I pick!

I’ve also harvested my first eggplant which I have yet to figure out what I want to do with it.  I’m thinking eggplant parmesan bites. Also to the list are my first tomatoes and hot peppers!


But the BEST part of this week – sunflower fields. Driving past miles of yellow topped fields stretching up to the sun will never get old.  I have a few great shots to capture planned – but am waiting for the right moment.

Until then, here’s a photo of Vinny to wrap up the post! (Like you thought I could get through this without mentioning this little guy…)

Vinny and Frisbee

… Is anybody out there?

(Drumroll please…)

Here it is – the first post!

I’m officially a South Dakotan!

I’ve settled in to the family cabin nestled along the Missouri River – a part known as Lake Oahe.  Although surrounded on either side by other cabins, a resort and campgrounds, the river is in front of me and corn fields (at least this season) are behind me.  Vincent is absolutely loving our morning “runs” which end up as more of glorified hiking/exploration trips.

Panoramic - River Vinny Fields

(Click the photo for full-size)

Additionally, Tuesday marked the first official harvest from my garden!  Unfortunately, I missed the boat with my broccoli and kale, which passed their prime and are being devoured by various garden insects.  Not to be discouraged – it is my first garden after all – I still have promising zucchini, pumpkin, eggplant, sweet corn, popcorn, string beans, snap peas, tomatoes, and pepper plants! Below is a gallery of my Garden so far:

I’m excited with what the future holds for us.  After all, South Dakota is the land of “Great Faces, Great Places,” and so far, it is fulfilling that promise.

And with that, I’ll sign off for now.  What’s for dinner (aka “Lunch”) today? Zucchini Spaghetti with meatballs. Recipe and photos to follow!