So it goes with love, land and family…

Veeder Ranch Centennial Card

Well, it’s finally here!

Wedding week at the ranch. The relatives are starting to roll in, (and helping to mow the yards), the fences are painted, the decorations are in a pile somewhere waiting for their places, we’ve got the burs out of most of our horses so they’re ready for company and we are watching the ever-changing North Dakota weather forecast to be reassured that it isn’t going to rain on our big parade.

Oh, and I vacuumed and scrubbed my floors, so things are getting serious around here.


To say it’s been a busy spring around here would be an understatement. When we’re all working together for the common goal of beautifying this old place, every minute between work and sleep has a plan in place. And while there’s plenty of work left to do out here, it has been amazing to me how a love declared and a date set can get things in motion the way that it has. Weddings, for all of the hub bub and money spent, details agonized over and tiny bows tied, really become something special in the end for the way they bring the people we love from all corners of the country to celebrate a new family being formed.

I mean, how many times in your life do you get your aunt and uncle from Omaha in the same place as your mom’s family from the east coast and your cousins from Texas?

As the first round of relatives arrive, I can’t help but think that this wedding is extra special to our family in a lot of ways. For one, the baby of our little family has found someone weird, kind and patient enough for a forever future together.

But also because that future is set to begin on the dirt that holds our family’s history, where our great grandfather homesteaded before he went off to war, where he brought his new wife home, where they raised cattle and crops and five children. Where she planted yellow roses that still bloom in the bushes below the cabin. Where he lost her when she was only thirty-six and their youngest son, our grandpa, was only eight.

And on the very dirt where my sister will stand in a white dress waiting for her groom, our grampaΒ  grew up to be a hardworking, dedicated cowboy who didn’t ride the rodeo or buy up thousands of acres, but carried on in his father’s footsteps and kept a steady and growing business of crops and cattle through tough times while raising kids, our dad one of them, who fell in love with the landscape and the idea of taking care of it, an important outcome for a man who dreamed of the future of his ranch with his family on it.

IMG_20150524_0006Gramma 2IMG_20150524_0010

IMG_20150524_0012IMG_20150524_0020 Kids

And so on Saturday my little sister will stand in front of that barn as the fourth generation to chose to stick around her home. Before she walks down the isle with our dad on her arm, our ring bearer nephew and our flower girl cousin will proceed her dressed in thier best and representing another generation of kids to know and love this place.

Then my little sister will declare her love for a man who followed her west to this place and they will continue the story 100 years after our great grampa Eddie staked his claim and put up his homestead shack next to that barn.

Summer Barn

My big sister and I will stand next to her and I will hold her flowers as they kiss.

Then I’ll look over at my husband standing across the aisle and we will smile at the thought of the baby in my belly, due to come into this world at the end of November, at the beginning of a long winter and of a new and long-awaited chapter in the story of lives lived, families grown and dreams fought for out here on the Veeder Ranch.

And so it goes with love and land and family…it holds the past, the present and the ever evolving and unpredictable future…


30 thoughts on “So it goes with love, land and family…

  1. Congrats to your sister and her fiancΓ©. SUPER YAY for you and Hubby! SO very, very happy to hear about your new blessing! November is a GREAT month to have a birthday!

  2. Baby I’m your belly?! I am so happy for you! We’ve never met, but I’ve been enjoying your wit and insight and photography for many months. I’ve got two little gremlins of my own to chase around. That baby will be so lucky to have such great parents, and despite all it’s daily (hourly?) challenges, I get the feeling you’re the kind of person who will appreciate parenting for the blessing that it is. A bit like the ND landscape – you have to take the highs with the lows, and clearly you’ve got a knack for spotting the beauty and joy amongst the rough edges.
    I’ve been passively enjoying your blog for some time and just had to pipe up when I saw your news. Heartfelt congratulations Jessie!
    P.S. We’re related πŸ™‚ My great grandmother is Ella Veeder. My dad is her grandson, Carter McNamara, son of Roger. We were at the Veeder Reunion 5 years ago, but so were about 100 others, hard to remember all the names and faces. Anyway, hope to meet you some day. We live in northern WI so it’d be an adventure, but maybe fun one day.

  3. So excited to be there for the beginning of a new life together, and so very blessed to have this amazing legacy in our family history. And thrilled beyond words that this legacy will carry on with the arrival of little Eddie or Edie (or Eugene, Severin, Gudrun, Virginia, Eleanor…no? I’ve got more… always happy to lend a hand with giving babies super awesome old-family names!) πŸ˜‰

    See you soooooon, hoping to take a hike up Pots & Pans, maybe I’ll make Ashley carry ME down the hill this time!!!

  4. Congratulations to your sister, and also to you and your husband on your first baby coming due in November! It won’t be long before they are performing right along with you. Another band member! πŸ™‚

  5. Oh my goodness!!!!! Congratulations on the new arrival!!! I am very excited for you and your husband. You have so much to celebrate with this wedding and family gathering….times like this are what life is all about and your are very blessed!!!! WooHoo!

  6. Totally was NOT expecting that twist!! Left me going WHAT!! Congratulations!!!! So excited for you and your husband…Cannot wait to continue following your journey into the next chapter! You are very blessed. Peace and love, Taylor. (All the way from NY!)

  7. Loved your blog about the wedding coming up !! Congratulations to all of you !
    And especially for YOU & hubby with baby coming . . . So happy for you !!

  8. Very touching story–I enjoy how you bring things to life in your writing. Congratulations to you and your husband and to your sister and soon-to-be husband. I hope the weather cooperates and you have a wonderful day for the wedding.

  9. Thank you for sharing your family with those of us who are former ND born and bred. It’s almost like being there!!
    Congratulations to the happy couple. God’s blessing on the new little one you are carrying. God bless the Veeder family.

  10. I knew you were going to write a heartfelt and insightful commentary on the lead up to your sister’s wedding, but it was so exciting to find out that your wish for a much longed for baby is to be fulfilled. Congratulations to both of you, and lots of warm thoughts sent your way!

  11. Big Congratulations to you ! And good wishes to the newly weds. FAMILY….that is what our lives are about. How wonderful to have families gather from near and far . Joan Thom

    Sent from my iPad


  12. Congratulations to the whole Veeder clan! The wedding will be beautiful and so happy to hear of your upcoming arrival in the fall.

  13. Just got the exciting baby news yesterday as I’ve been too busy lately to stay up on your blog. Had to hop on here and read it for myself πŸ™‚ Couldn’t be happier for both of you!! Look forward to seeing you in August. Would love to finally visit your ranch if it’s in the cards. Congratulations!

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