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No one else on earth

July 26, 2008

Anyone could see the road that they walk on, is paved in gold.
It’s always summer, they’ll never get cold.
They’ll never get hungry, they’ll never get old and gray…” 
from The Way, by Fastball

Or so we thought.

Today is our 30th anniversary of sorts.  We’ve been together for 30 years, but only married 17.  Why such a long “courtship?”  Because I have been married to my farm forever (at least my forever).  Finding the right guy took some doing.  Here is the story, in all its boring detail.  I’m writing this post to say thanks to my DH – he’s terrific.  I always use the term “I” in this blog loosely, but it really means “WE”  because without DH and all his hardwork and skills, “I” would be SOL.  So, when reading my informative posts, always remember who made this possible for me.

DH and I worked at the same place at the time we met.   He was a 4 x 4 mechanic, and I was the full charge bookkeeper, for a small family owned business.  (I smell a redneck, blue collar romance here!)  Anyway, we had noticed each other and I asked a co-worker to get him to ask me out.  So, DH mustered up the courage to ask me out, and in true silly girl fashion, I told him I was busy!   Why, I don’t know – we argue about that embarrassing week still, 30 years later.  I had a date with an uninteresting fellow for Saturday, that I could have broke the date with, but didn’t.   I blithely asked DH to ask me out again.  Stupid, Stupid girl!  Me being the naive farmgirl, I assumed he would do as I asked, and in my mind, I pictured him coming back to work on Monday and asking me out.  I went on my boring date Saturday night, and came home early, wishing I had said yes to DH.

Monday came and went, and I didn’t see hide nor hair of DH, he didn’t come near the office.  By Tuesday, I couldn’t stand it – I had to take matters into my own hands, it had FINALLY occurred to me that DH would not ask me out again, because I had embarrassed him so badly.  So how do you get a guy to notice you?  Get in his truck and hike up your skirt of course!

That’s really me, but it’s not his truck!  He didn’t own a truck, yet.  Hmmm, could this town guy become a country guy?  I figured he looked trainable.  (this picture was taken a longggg time ago, that truck is probably scrap now, and well, I’m not too far off.)

Really, what happened is, that it was his turn to embarrass me.  I walked out to the shop, but I couldn’t find him, then I spied his legs sticking out from underneath a pickup.  Good, I thought, I won’t have to look him in the face, if he turns ME down this time.  So I mustered up my courage and asked him to meet me at the park on the river after work.  I was not prepared for his reply.  He casually replied, “Sure, at the East end of the park?”  Now I was stuck, this park has about a 3 mile long beach on the Columbia River, but the East end of the park is for nude sunbathing only.  Now what?  (If I knew then, what I know now – I would have said SURE, because he would have died!!)  But, I didn’t want to risk it.  So we decided to meet at the west end. Pheww…

It was a great first date, we talked and talked, and drank too much beer.  The park patrol had to ask us to leave.  I lost my flip-flops, and when I got home, my Mom could tell I was barefoot, when I came in the house.  (How do mothers hear so well anyway?)  She was worried!!  “Where are your shoes??”
She knew this was serious, since I NEVER went barefoot.  And, she was right!

So, began the long training courtship… .  He bought property in our town, and began to make plans for his dream home.  I went to work for the Forest Service, and he moved on to a manufacturing plant.  Marriage was not in the plans.  Building his house was.  Out of wood, the hard way, by hand.

I grew up basically around the logging woods, and wood has/does play a major part in our everyday lives.  Our house is built out of wood, we heat with wood, and our farm is 2/3 forestland.  So wood and everything about it, from seed to finished product would play a big part in the training courtship. 

Here’s how to court a farmgirl, before you realize her Indian name is PROWESS DOUBTER:

So how do you build a house by hand?  First you meet a loggers sister ;), and then you can make connections with other loggers and you can buy logs by the truck load, that then you have to peel and cure, and then you build a house.  Simple.  While you’re doing all that in your spare time, you learn all the ins and outs of hay making, how to work on antiquated water systems, in addition to being teased constantly by your future BIL.  None of this was easy, people from the sticks talk funny and loud (from the days before earplugs) and you have no idea what and who they are talking about.  When they talk about mauls, you hear malls and wonder (?) crazy coots! There aren’t any shopping malls around here.  What are “cork boots?”  These people can’t talk, or spell, because they are caulk boots, not cork boots, and why on earth would you need spikes in your shoes unless you were playing baseball or golfing?  Then there are the cows, what in the heck do you do with a cow, when the only exposure to cows has been in your parent’s meat market, in rib eye form.  The cows all look alike and they have silly names, and the people who own them, act like cattle are people sometimes, and then they shoot one and butcher it and eat it!  And speaking of guns, they are everywhere you look, with bullet holes in the ceilings to match.  Very strange indeed.  The lyrics from Hotel California mixed in with Ring of Fire starting popping into your head.  Plus, who ever heard of real meat being in mincemeat, everyone knows it comes out of a box from the store.

 So how do you fit in, when everything is odd and and you don’t speak the language.  First, you start dressing like them, so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
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Then you get in there and put your mechanic’s skills to good use.

If they say jump, you ask “How high?”

You begin to feel like you’re being indoctrinated, you start talking the same way, and actually can carry on a conversation with an oldtimer and hold your own.  Then you are invited to the inner sanctum…
The deep woods, where the old cedar and fir behemoths lay, is a special place.  Loggers have tamed these woods more than once and now it is your turn, but you have to start on the dead ones first.

Windfall Douglas Fir

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Measuring a cord of Western Red Cedar shakebolts.

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Oh yeah, you have to get a pickup, preferably International Harvester.

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Then you slowly come to the realization that you will have to split all those shake bolts into shakes.
It’s a good thing you have worked on your country vocabulary.  

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Now you know what a froe is, and when you find one at a garage sale for a buck, you grab the treasure with glee.

Then in the middle of all this brainwashing training, one day while hauling rock for the future BIL, you roll his dump truck and break your neck.  But you get points, for the load being perfectly spread on your future SIL’s rental house driveway.  You are able to walk away, but the truck was totaled.

Recovery seems to take forever, but you can dream of finishing your house and getting back on your feet.
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You can do small projects like build a dog house.
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Add decorative chinking to your house.
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Chinking detail showing frapping.
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When you get tired of all that he-man log house stuff, you put all the decorative spindles back on the farmgirl’s house.  Not thinking that in 20 years you would have to take them all off again.

When you are fully recuperated, you can build a corral for your future MIL on your vacation.
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 And when the future BIL is diagnosed with cancer, you finish the barn project you started with him, complete with hand split shakes.
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Then one day, while unloading hay, (a couple of Black Tri’s ago) you propose to the farmgirl during an argument.  Neither one of you can believe the M word had been spoken, is it a dream or a nightmare?

 At this point it looks like a dream, (she looks excited, doesn’t she?)  So let me make this clear – propose while hauling hay, then have the wedding ceremony in a clear-cut, with your best truck present.  At this point the judge was drunk, we were the fifth wedding that day.  That’s a lot of champagne!  Oh and here’s a fashion tip:  wear your good black town suspenders, not the red ones.

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This looks reallll serious, there is no turning back now.


Then the hard part starts, you have to keep showering her with gifts and letting her have her way.
Sigh.  She never wants jewels, she wants jewel toned Fiesta, or flat-proof wheelbarrow tires.
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Buy her a new set of harness, and build her a rubber tired wagon.
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Always let her drive and make sure you hold the kid and run the brake.
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 And then the hardest thing, you sell your well insulated, easy to heat and very special dream house to move into her poorly insulated, hard to heat, very special dream house… and try not to look back.

Thanks honey, for our wonderful daughter,and a great 30 years!!!!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2008 9:09 am

    Looks like you two have come a long way together, Congrats. I know that one look at those leggs and he knew there was no turning back. hehe!! I love the story and the pictures, DH kinda had that Grizzly Adams look going there.


  2. July 26, 2008 9:11 am

    Almost forgot to mention, a friend of mine used to say that he wanted a woman with a big bottom, about 40 or 50 acres would do. haha!!

  3. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    July 26, 2008 10:56 am

    Chris, good joke. Do you know why they call it PMS? Because Mad Cow was taken.

    I’m getting some mileage out of that picture today! But, everytime he sees the letters DH, he gives me a look and says “Now tell me what that means again.” He thinks I might be calling him something else… He couldn’t shave after he broke his neck, so that’s the reason for the beard. He just up and decided one day, to shave it off, and when he came home our daughter wouldn’t look at him, and she cried for quite awhile, because she had never seen him without a full beard.

    It was fun driving those brand new pickups from the dealer. He installed all those “necessary” accessories, and then the dealers marked them up big time. It was fun then, but I can see how wasteful it all was, now. Every pickup was a only a half ton with a short box. Couldn’t haul much hay or wood in them or even really take them off-road. Silly.

  4. Ingrid permalink
    July 26, 2008 5:00 pm

    Cute story, love the photos! Congratulations on the 30 years! I can identify; my DH and I have been together for 30 wonderful years as well, but only married for 21. I was in no hurry, and lucky for me he is a patient man who knows what he wants and is willing to wait for it!

    And as I was just pulling up your site and the photo of you in the truck appeared, he happened to walk in and glance at my computer screen. He stopped dead in his tracks and backed up a few steps so he could see, and said, “Who is that??” with a big grin on his face! You got his attention! LOL

    Oh, and thanks to you, I have been reading Joe Salatin and took a peek at Polyface Farm. I guess I will be reading some of his books when I finish with the Scott and Helen Nearing ones I discovered last month!

    All my friends here in the suburbs are wondering why I am reading up on homesteading, and why in the world I am so excited to learn about things like rotational grazing. I can’t seem to get enough of it – and I can actually apply bits and pieces out here in my garden and yard. I’ve done some canning, I am working on identifying my weeds to see what they mean in terms of the soil, and thinking chickens and bees are next. Who knows – maybe there is a farm in my future….

  5. July 26, 2008 6:56 pm

    Great story!!

    Congrats on your 30 years together!

  6. July 26, 2008 7:28 pm

    He could NOT have done better. I really, really, really enjoyed this post! Congratulations! You deserve the best.

  7. July 26, 2008 9:55 pm

    What a wonderful post! Happy anniversary! I so enjoyed your story and the pictures to illustrate it. I got such a kick out of how you met and your eventual date and courtship! What a wonderful life you have built together! The photos are great! Those are some great legs adorned with strappy heels! And that fiesta ware … ooooh I’m envious (in a happy way!). Your daughter looks so darling on the wagon, and your hubby’s log house would fulfill my hubby’s dreams! I can only imagine what a labor of love that was to build. Love the quilt in that photo, too. You both look so happy standing in front of the judge and signing the official paperwork! I think my favorite picture is the one with your flower bouquet on the hood of your truck! You can tell how much you think about your hubby, too, in the way you always refer to him in such a positive way. You are both lucky to have each other! Congrats again and best wishes for another 30+ wonderful years!

  8. July 26, 2008 10:17 pm

    lovely story and pics. Congratulations!

  9. July 27, 2008 3:46 am

    Sweet! Your beautiful story brought tears to my eyes….congratulations to you and him.
    (and wow, do I love those International trucks!. We have a derelict up in our lane from the days before I came here to the farm. I will NOT let the boss scrap it or give it away just in case someday…..)

  10. July 27, 2008 5:21 am

    What a great story! Congrats and may the next 30 be as wonderful and blessed.

  11. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    July 27, 2008 7:55 am

    Ingrid, congratulations on your 30 years. I didn’t want to get married either, everyone assumes that he was reluctant, but it was me. That picture of me in that truck, was taken after we had dated awhile, but it was close to the same time, we were both too bashful. How I wish I would have said, Yeah OK let’s go to the nude beach – he would have been scared to death. I’d probably fall off those shoes now! And, I don’t think I even own a dress anymore.

    I’m glad your reading Joel’s books and the Nearings too. For me, Salad Bar Beef is the best of Joel’s writings. I could feel how he sees his land in that book. I had the opportunity to attend a Pastured Poultry workshop held in Virginia, the gist being, starting bio-regional hatcheries so, the long shipping times could be avoided. The days working at Polyface with Joel and his cattle, were wonderful. He’s the real deal, he’s an eloquent speaker when he’s wearing a suit, but you put him on his own land, and his body language speaks volumes.
    I get angry when I see newbies, try his methods and then when they don’t put in enough time, and have failures, they blame the Salatin’s. I have been a Laura Ingalls fan for years, and there are people who discount Laura’s writings too. It reminds me of that. Even if you never have any intention of getting beef, you can apply the life and land cycles in Salad Bar Beef to your property. You just gotta keep those neighbors guessing! hehe

    Gina , thanks it has went by way too fast.

    Linda, thanks I agree, ha ha. It sounds to me, like you and him have a lot in common. I never understood until I was older, how hard it is for the person/spouse who comes into the farm. It’s easy for the farmer, but very trying sometimes for the newcomer. Especially with the in-laws etc. I don’t know if my Mom ever felt totally comfortable here, even if she just moved across the road.

    Paula, thanks, I should have kept those shoes, I guess. LOL

    It was fun going down memory lane, looking at all the pictures. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, and when we think of all the things that have transpired since that time, we can’t believe it.

    I could do a blog on Fiestaware alone! Packrat city around here. And, the quilt, I need to thank him for not letting me sell that one. He talked me out of selling, and then talked me into exhibiting it at the State Fair, and it won the Governor’s Choice award for Best use of color. I was grateful, that it hadn’t went down the road, like so many others I had sold.

    Thanks again, and same to you on your long marriage. Life is difficult these days. I went to school with the same group of kids, all the way through high school. No divorced parents. His parents divorced when he was in grade school, and then like an epidemic, divorce spread through his entire neighborhood. So, we have worked out our differences through the years, and stuck with it.

    Hayden, thanks.

    Threecollie, thank you, you know how he feels, coming into an established farm, complete with all the baggage that entails. Tough row to hoe sometimes…
    You never know, that old truck might get restored someday. We got ours while they were still cheap, they run, and are actually pretty economical on gas, too.

    Kathie, thank you, I hope I live another 30 years. It’ll take me that long to make all the quilts I have in my head!

  12. July 27, 2008 5:50 pm

    Congratulations to both of you……such a wonderful story and as always, the photos tell your story so well. Your husband appears to be a multi talented as you are. It’s no wonder you make such a great team.

    Wishing you another 30 years of health and happiness~

  13. July 27, 2008 7:45 pm

    Enjoyed the tale of your years together. Congrats on 30 years that is impressive and oh yeah..Little blog fun…I’ve been tagged so I have passed it along to you to share 6 random things about yourself, see my blog for more details if you want to participate, don’t feel that you have to. Have a great week ~Kim

  14. July 27, 2008 9:21 pm

    Happy Anniversary (of sorts). What a wonderful post. Sirdar and I met at work also.

    We have a friend who has one of those International Harvesters in Green. His is a 1957. You have a great husband; well trained and devoted. Congratulations on your life together.

  15. July 28, 2008 10:00 am

    Wow….for a second, I thought the leggy shot was a picture of Emmylou Harris from that time. You can ask Val, that’s the highest of praise from me 🙂

    Congrats on 30 years…we’re working on our 19th together come this fall (but only 9 years of marriage…sometimes it’s the guy who is slow to come to his senses).

    19 is an off number, it’s true, except for that fact that when we hit it in October, we’ll have been together for half of our lives (more or less, counting different birthdays). Where does the time go?

  16. July 29, 2008 11:21 pm

    Wow – love the shot of you in the dress! So cute!

    Congratulations on the thirty years. That’s wonderful.

    This was a great post.

  17. July 30, 2008 6:15 am

    Debi, thank you, 30 years is a long time, when you’re younger it seems like a impossible, long way off. Then the next thing you know, here it is,and you still feel 20. He’s pretty talented when it comes to fixing and building things. I appreciate that very much.

    Kim, thank you and I’ll do this meme soon, thanks for tagging me, I guess. ;)…

    Dawn, thanks, he is devoted, my birthday is coming up this week and he has been secretively scurrying around gathering up gifts. (I can’t wait) I’ve forgotten the statistics, but I believe it is high that you will meet your future spouse at the workplace.
    That truck is a 48, and we have a 52 that is red. We affectionately call them Green and Red, to differentiate which truck we are talking about. Sometimes if rain is threatening we load the both and park the hay load inside.

    Rich, thanks, that is a compliment. Even hubby had forgot about that picture, he liked the post, especially that part. Now my legs are still long of course, but my hair is thinner and I’m a little thicker!! 😉 And if he sees that view, it is likely to be Carhartts and heavy work shoes!

    Congrats on the 19 years. Milestones are milestones and you take what you can get. Now that you have your little one, time will fly by.

    Sarah, thanks, that picture is a hoot now, I don’t even think I own a dress anymore.

  18. August 10, 2008 4:26 am

    Wow! That’s so beautiful!:)

  19. August 10, 2008 10:03 pm

    Em, thanks!

  20. January 14, 2011 4:15 pm

    Wow, well done!

    • John Holt, Jr. permalink
      May 16, 2013 6:55 pm

      I’m originally from the Columbia River Gorge, a little town called Corbett. I was curious to the gentleman in the pic with the bull dozer and the red crusher hat. Would that be Cliff Graff by chance? My dad and Woody Davis cut tons of Cedar shake bolts when I was a kid. Thanks. love your site.

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