I am honored to have my friend, Teresa, guest blogging about raising a family in the North Dakota oil boom today. This is the real life, real story of the impact of the oil boom on a family. The first story I shared was about Teresa, her husband, Weston and their four children in Life in the North Dakota Oil Boom: Ranching remains. My favorite quote Weston shared was: “I would rather have an American come to North Dakota for a job in this oil boom than be an American solider in the Middle East fighting for oil in a war and possibly losing their life for oil on foreign ground. That man or woman, instead of having to fight for oil overseas, can have a job here, make money and whether they choose to stay here or not, is up to them. They can make money and return to their home or they can make money and build a new life here.”
Now here are Teresa’s words on how she chose to make her life in North Dakota and is raising a family in the middle of the oil boom.
When I agreed to marry my then boyfriend 8 years ago I was working in the least populated county in North Dakota. It has 2 towns, one of which is the smallest county seat in the nation. The county’s population was somewhere around 760 people with just over 300 households in the county. It is considered vacant by most standards in that it has less than 1 person per square mile.
It isn’t vacant. I know. I worked there after completing my graduate degree and met many of the people living there over the course of two years. The people support each other and come together when it matters. I learned much about the west river North Dakota way of life by working with the people of Slope County.
We don’t live in Slope County, but the west river North Dakota way was prominent in the county where we settled down to take over the ranch where my husband was raised. This way of life was different than what I grew up with in central Wisconsin. I learned to appreciate it. I was committed to this way of life. I was committed to raising a family here.
The people are farmers and ranchers.
They believe in tradition.
They are solid.
People are friendly.
People help each other out.
The normal we knew does not exist anymore. On most days there are more out-of-state license plates at Wal-Mart than North Dakota plates. My husband and I have struggled with the thought that our children’s “normal” will be so much different than what we expected when we got married just 7 years ago.
Although this isn’t the environment I thought my children would be growing up in, there are positives. And some things have not changed.
We know now what to expect from the influx of out-of-state workers and I must say that most have come to respect the ranchers that made their living here before them.
We still are farmers and ranchers.
We still believe in tradition.
We are solid.
We are friendly.
We help each other out.
And I may still even wave at you.
Thank you to Teresa and Weston for allowing me the opportunity to share their stories. I also highly recommend you listen to a radio interview from Consumer Ag Connection with Weston and Teresa.
Our way of life is changing in North Dakota. Our quality of life remains. Our economy is bringing a future to families. Our oil is giving freedom to Americans. I am grateful every day for freedom.