Jeff and I met in late 2012 and connected over a love of family, food and farming. After communicating back and forth for a few months, he asked my son, Slate, and I to come over to Brownstown and ride his combine during harvest. One round through a corn field, Slate was Jeff’s biggest fan. We visited Jeff frequently and our relationship naturally progressed to the three of us being together all the time.
Since then, Jeff, Slate and I have been a team. We love working hard together and playing hard too. For the first few years of our relationship, Slate and I were in Brownstown, Jeff’s hometown, at his family’s farm almost every weekend helping him with one thing or another. That eventually evolved to spending more time in Bloomington and thinking that maybe we should find a farm in Bloomington so we were close to my family, Slate’s school, our house, etc. In our mind’s eye, we thought 15 acres or so would be perfect – just enough.
In August of 2015, Jeff and I went on a date, most likely some place exceptionally romantic like Rural King; oh that popcorn! On our way home, we were driving down Fairfax Road and both noted that we had past a very retro looking and welcoming “FARM for SALE” sign (that may or may not now hang in our living room). It was dusk, so with limited visibility, we hopped two fences, and walked out into the most breathtaking view ever; an untouched, secluded, breathtaking blast from the past.
It was more land than we planned for, but it was a perfect fit for us. We closed on the farm in October of 2015 and were lucky enough to meet the nephews of the gentleman who lived in the farm house, Bill Tatum. For much more amazing information on this family and century they owned the farm, see “About the Farm”. That night, Jeff, Slate and I went to the farm and had a pizza, best tasting pizza of my life.
Jeff, knowing my family’s tendencies toward military structure, proposed to me (and Slate) on the Marine Corps birthday, November 10th 2015. He then took us out to hibachi to seal the deal. You will see a trend of food in our relationship. Like all brides, my mind immediately turned to one of the first steps of planning a wedding, the venue. The farm was overgrown and rough around the edges at the time, but there was never a doubt in my mind where I wanted to start our official family, our farm. There was just a lot of work to do to get it wedding ready in a year.
At some point, the vision for our wedding and our concern for the long-term protection of the historical structure on the farm turned into a business plan. An event center seemed to be a reasonable way to share and maintain the nearly 160 year old farmhouse and double crib barn on site, something that we likely could not have done with farming and our respective incomes alone.
A major issue to hosting our wedding or other large-scale events was that we didn’t have an open covered space for gatherings. We did not want to put up a shiny new barn, as we thought a new barn would take away from the nostalgia. We decided upon a tent for our wedding, and wrote off the idea of a wedding venue when the Russell barn, from Manilla Indiana, fell into our laps. The barn needed to be removed from it’s site, and it did not have a new home. We knew it was meant to be, so we moved that barn to our farm. To read more about the barn move, please read “About the Russell Barn”.
We had Pinterest sized expectations for our wedding. We thought the barn would be done and would be perfectly decorated, but when it came down to it, we got married on our farm on October 8th 2016 in a very unconventional manner. The Russell barn was about half done, only a timber frame shell with some festoon lighting. The magic of the farm, the year of hard work, and the epic barn frame surpassed all expectations.
After a much-needed honeymoon, Jeff and I returned to Bloomington and started our life together in a house not far from the farm. We are so looking forward to this next adventure.