Adventures in North Dakota

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

My job as a dispatcher never allows me to leave the room during my shift. This makes me a captive audience for my co-workers who enjoy nothing more than telling fun little stories over and over again. While it does make me appreciate jobs like pitching manure and greasing machinery more it can cause stress. The next two weeks I am going to trade places with the person who blathers on about a vacation or family event and you are going to be the captive audience. I will try to make it as painless as possible.

Last week Lisa and I left for Carrington, North Dakota. I was looking forward to this trip as Carrington is a great little town and my brother Dave and his family treat visitors like royalty. I think my favorite part of each trip is Dave’s guided tour which always includes the NDSU experiment station’s livestock feed yard. This trip was for my nephews wedding though with little time for cattle or a trip to Hawk’s Nest Ridge. Lisa and I had heard of a

place near Carrington where a lady made craft items from products grown on the farm. The morning of the wedding Lisa and I visited Ann Hoffert at her farm. Her business is Pipestem Creek and features several things I like; old buildings, products grown and manufactured locally and an owner with an appreciation for where she comes from and knowledge of local history. We were fortunate that Ann was available for our tour and I was so impressed that she not only cares about her home area but realizes that it’s character is also highly marketable. Lisa purchased an edible birdhouse and several wreaths-I picked up every free brochure to be had. Visit Ann and her dream come true or at least visit her website at


The night before the wedding we attended practice at the Catholic church in New Rockford, North Dakota. The trip between these two towns is short but there’s a lot to see. My neck was on a swivel as was Lisa’s as we two flatlanders enjoyed the rolling hills and grassy fields dotted with cattle, buffalo and deer. I think we all want to know what’s over the next hill and maybe that’s what draws me to this area. Wedding practice went great and I caught my breath once as a realized my little (younger) nephew would soon be married to his lovely fiancee who would then make him shovel flower beds for the rest of his life. After practice and a delicious grooms supper we went back to Dave’s and Mary’s place to catch up and see their newly-remodeled home. I, as always, sat back quietly (?)while my brother Dave and my sister Debbie (sweet, insane) told stories about growing up on our farm.

The funny thing about this story is that I’d had so much fun and hadn’t even been to the wedding yet. It’s kind of like enjoying yourself on a date only to realize you haven’t even seen the movie or stopped somewhere to eat. It’s also like coming to the end of a column and discovering you haven’t covered the main subject. It’s also kind of like realizing that there you will have to write a "part two" next week.