Mother Nature. It’s a woman thing…

Good morning from the land of indecision. And by that I am referring to the weather.

And me. But we’ll get to that later.

Ok, so remember when we talked about that spring thing and the melting and the running water and the removal of the wool caps and scarves and my fantasy about wearing cut-off pants and running through the sprinkler.

Well, that’s all shot to shit now and after the last few days, I am firmly convinced that nature is a woman.

A moody one.

Out my kitchen window're supposed to be able to see the red barn...I can't.

Because just as she gets nice and comfortable with a bit of sunshine and blue skies, raising all of our hopes up of sun kissed skin and BBQs, she laughs like an evil queen in a Disney movie and then throws some more snow and wind and fog and freezing ice in our faces…only to come back and apologize with something like a rainbow or 70 degree weather.

Ah well, like a rocky relationship, we’re all used to it by now.

And for those you who think an all out school cancelled, no travel advised, wind whipping snow pellets in your eyeballs, no Schwanns man for the rest of your life and zero visibility day is unheard of after spring has been declared,  I’ll tell you, you haven’t met Mother Nature in North Dakota. In March.

No birds today...

Yes, Mother Nature can be a completely unpredictable, annoyingly indecisive bitch sometimes.

And I can relate, because I have had those kind of days. I am a woman too and lately I have been driving myself crazy with a little project I like to refer to as “Mission: the rest of our lives” and I have displayed all of the above qualities and more during this process. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mother Nature for mirroring the conflicted mood I’ve been in by slamming sleet and snow against our windows and blowing a drift across the door and blocking husband and I inside this little house together in the middle of a bathroom remodeling project, forcing us to make some damn decisions already.

Because it worked.

See, after we sold our house in Dickinson at the end of December, husband and I have been discussing and researching and making decisions and canceling plans and going through books and websites and talking out where exactly on the ranch we are going to live for the rest of our lives.

As you know, I have lived here, in the house my grandfather built, since June. And since I moved my shoes and bed and table and books and music and body between these walls almost a year ago, slowly I have found myself coming back into my own again. I have rediscovered this landscape where I grew up and began to throw myself into the things I loved to do as a kid, because I couldn’t help it, I felt 10 again. I picked wildflowers, rode my horses, explored the old barn, walked the coulees, played in the rain and rescued lost kittens.

And I wrote about it, worked through it and relaxed a bit into myself again.

But during this time I have always had it in my head that my existence in this spot, with the window that looks out to the barn and the other that faces the corrals, would be temporary. Our plan was to build a house over the hill and leave this house the way it is, with some updates and an open door to guests.

That was our plan, so we moved forward–kind of. We talked to builders and picked up pamphlets and searched the internet for custom homes and asked questions and never really did set it up and move on with it already.

What I was most excited about was fixing up this house. Putting in some new floors, siding, deck, appliances–the works. I wanted to see it glisten and shine again. But really, what about our house already? What was wrong with us? What was the hold-up on making our forever home?




Well, on Sunday we brought home some tiles to fix up the shower in the farm house. Tiling. Not my favorite by the way. And as we were taking a trip out to the shop to get the tools, on the way back husband stopped short of the door and put his hands on his hips. He leaned back. He inspected. He moved around the house making noises like “hmmm…” and “wellll…” and “huh.”

I watched him for a bit, my arms full of tools. Then I asked the inevitable “What?” “What are you doing? We have a mission here.”

He turned to look at me through the foggy air and mist that settled in on the barnyard and over the square brown house before the storm hit and out of husband’s mouth came words that, simply said, seemed to clear that fog and mist and hovering clouds that had existed in my mind as indecision…

“We could stay here. We could stay in this spot. We could make it work.”

I sat down on the deck that is in desperate need of repair and put my head in my hands.

“Yes,” I said.

“Yes,” I whimpered.

“Yes,” I wailed.

“Yes,” I sobbed.

“Yes. I want to stay here.”

And so we took the time that was reserved for tiling that Sunday afternoon and talked it over, made some drawings and gave ourselves some options on how it could work.

And I was happy.

And still am.

And think I always will be here.

At home.

Even with the storm wailing outside and painting this house and barn white.

Even while other people were hunkering down against the storm yesterday and watching bad movies we were inside tiling and tiling and making plans for more work like this.

Even when I can’t get my car out of the snowbank.

And since many of you are snowed in today I think this might be a good time to share with you a little extra reading: My winning essay and answer to the question “Who Inspires You” for the “Inspired Woman” magazine out of Bismarck, ND.

Read it and then tell me why I didn’t listen to myself and figure this whole forever-home thing out months ago when I placed the last period at the end of the story.

It must be a woman thing.

You can see the entire article in the magazine, complete with photos, here: Inspired Woman Magazine

P.S. The decision to stay in the this location doesn’t mean we won’t have space for guests. It just means we will have different space available…

And so a girl changes her mind and I am confident it will work out for the best.

24 thoughts on “Mother Nature. It’s a woman thing…

  1. Loved your story in the Inspired Woman. I didn’t know Edith well but do remember her wonderful smile from my high school days. Kerry looks so much like her I think. Congratulations on winning first place.

  2. You just put the biggest smile on my face. And, uh, be careful if you do any ladder work, especially on that ‘tall’ side of the house! Skal!

  3. Oh, Jessie. I never knew there was another sibling, just your father and Wade. And I know what it is to love a place like that. My grandmother’s house in Whitney NE faced the Pine Ridge and I stood for hours, looking at that scene, cattle lowing below and chickens everywhere. It was the gathering place for family on my mother’s side and I dreamed of living there. Well, my uncle inherited that property, my cousins burned down the old house and put a double wide in its place. No indoor plumbing, but, I didn’t care. I wanted to live on that bluff homesteaded by my great grandparents and now, it’s gone. We drove by there last summer–I took a picture and I cried. You are lucky to be doing the right thing and your family appreciates you for the memories you keep alive. I envy you.

  4. I grew up in my grandma’s house and miss it dearly now that it is gone. It was never fancy, but it was the closest connection I had to my grandma. Good luck to you, and I bet you will be very happy.

  5. Jessie…Your decision to remain on the homesite excited me and confirmed a feeling that I had. While we were living there I had drawn plans for additions and changes …even constructed a model. Good luck with your idea and have fun.

  6. Loved your sweet, moving story in Inspired Woman. I have fond memories of spending summer weeks with my grandparents at their Indiana farm. You are so fortunate to be living on the ranch that has been in your family for generations. And, yes, Grandmas are so special.
    I’ve been sneaking into your blog for a couple of months, admiring your writing and your photos. I never miss a post! You have a beautiful spot to create a vacation destination. I want to make my reservation now!

  7. Congratulations on the article, Jessie, it’s a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. Although our farmhouse is a couple hours away from where my grandmother’s farmhouse was (and a lot older, built in the mid-1800’s), I often imagine her sitting in her rocking chair here looking out at the fields. I think she’d call it home, too.

  8. Jessie – you inspire me! Great job on your article. I loved it. You have a beautiful way of writing that is personal and welcoming. I really enjoy reading your blog!!!

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