Nurse Vicki to Farmer Vicki

So why a build kitchen? And, why am I a farmer, for that matter?

My little girl dreams were to live on a farm just like my aunt and uncle, and to have a half dozen kids, a dairy cow, chickens, and a garden. My mother gently led me to also dream of college and a career – never dissuading me from living on a farm with all those potential grandkids – and for three decades I was a nurse in many forms: on a hospital ward, teaching nursing at UofM, practicing as a nurse practitioner, and working in IT once computers joined the world of healthcare. Along the way, two of the six kids arrived, and then, when I married Tom, I joyfully inherited two more to complete my set at four (Tom and I considered adding #5 and #6, but decided against it.) I never got a dairy cow, but we certainly had 4H pigs, lots of chickens, and a garden to feed half the city and all of my friends at work.

Then Tom slipped on the stairs one morning while hauling the laundry basket down. His xray showed not only four broken ribs, but suspicious spots in his lungs. It looked like cancer.

We entered the slow-moving world of testing, and waiting for test results. Test after test was done to look for an alternate cause for those spots, and it took almost six weeks until a lung biopsy showed they were caused not by lung cancer, but by a remote and self-limiting disease. Oh, how we celebrated the day his doctor confirmed he did NOT have lung cancer!

But the lessons we learned in that slow-moving time, and the promises we made, and the dreams we dreamed – they all stayed with us. It had been so easy to live now, and busy, and distracted, and just on the surface of what’s really real. But then it all changed, and we paid attention, and dove down into what mattered, and asked ourselves and each other really big questions about life. Actually, Life. With a capital L.

We had already been through major life changes in the recent past. Our kids were mostly out of the house, and mostly finishing college. Tom had closed his landscape business and was doing design and installation work for another company. I was restless being away from patient care and unimpressed with corporate work culture. We had already started a side business to sell excess vegetables from our garden, and we both found immense joy in the rhythms of planting, growing, harvesting, and planning for more.

I left my job in June of 2011. The following week, we were offered the chance to lease the former Jorgensen Farm Stand on Carpenter Road, and to build our little side business into something bigger. The FOLLOWING week. Not the month prior, not on a hunch or promise. AFTER.