Welcome to the Pinke Post, a prairie perspective from the heart of rural North Dakota. I am Katie Pinke. I have been blogging since 2007 about family, food, farming, faith and the chaos of being a working mom on the rural prairie. Today, I speak. I write. I remained rooted in my passions as a fifth generation North Dakotan, farm girl, mom, wife and small business owner.
Rural for our family means 97 miles from Starbuck’s, in a county without a stop light. I am a working from home mother to three kids and a wife to Nathan. I met my husband on a July day on an airplane to Kansas City. I was single mom, not looking for a relationship, focused on my son and my marketing career. But God had another plan. It was a fairy tale romance that I’ve been told could be a Hallmark movie. We married 15 months later. In a flurry, my husband traded in corporate America for small town life on the North Dakota prairie. We moved, built a house and had two babies in the first two and half years of our marriage.
Today my husband works alongside his father in a family owned business. I no longer go to an office every day but work seamlessly with modern technology from our house on the prairie. It may surprise you but indeed there is broadband internet on the prairie.
I used to travel frequently as I worked for ten years across North America with family farmers and agriculture organizations, a passion I have from my fifth-generation North Dakota farming family. Then I worked in a state government role as the Marketing and Information Division Director for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. After 14 months of a 98 mile one-way commute, I quit to start a new chapter. I am now a keynote speaker, marketing consultant and a more at-home mom and wife. I volunteer locally in my community and state in causes that deeply matter to me from economic and community development, education and agriculture. I still travel from time to time but my favorite time is at home these days. We really do live 97 miles from a Starbucks or any form of pop culture. While I once thought this lack of exposure to pop culture would be a disadvantage in raising a family, I now absolutely love our North Dakota remote living. Not having a stop light in our county or any adjacent county makes our life peaceful.
The advantages of our rural life are everyday things we take for granted now. Our son is in a public school class of 19 students. We know our neighbors who are also our friends, business patrons, local farmers, owners of local businesses and attend church with us. Despite our remote location, our little town and region is economically strong. Other young families have moved to our area. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment in the nation with a billion dollar state surplus of money, thanks to energy and agriculture.
Choosing to raise our family on the prairie makes life simple for our kids where they are immersed in rural life that doesn’t have many of the hassles of the urban life. But our life is hectic our kid’s schedules, business life and community involvement. For that reason, I justify that our house is not always clean. The toys are not picked up daily. My laundry is often clean but not always folded. I don’t iron. But I love to cook for my family and play with my kids. As my dear friend once told me, if the mama is happy, the family is usually happy. This mom is happy and we are flourishing in our life on the prairie.
Our teenager is a son who is ten years older than his little sisters. He is the size of grown man and soon to be a senior in high school. He plays every sport he can while playing trumpet in the school band, taking piano lessons and once earned a “Superior Actor” award at a regional drama competition. But his real passion outside of sports is his work in our local FFA chapter which has given him the passion for agriculture and the confidence to be a well-spoken leader. We are intensely proud of our son. He helps in our family business and gets up to my parent’s farm at any chance he can. He talks of being an engineer that farms someday in his future.
The little sisters at our house are just shy of 19 months a part in age. Miss E, age seven, is vibrant and structured blonde, blue-eyed girl who doesn’t like to sleep too long and is always busy, making organized plans.
Then there is Miss A, soon to be age six. She was a patient baby. She was the sweetest toddler on the earth. Then she developed a strong personality and started to hold her own against her older sister. Our life has never been the same. Miss A is always on the run. Miss E is always trying to get her to follow the rules. Together, they are quite the pair.
The most rewarding part for me in making my career changes this year has been the time at home I have had with all three of our kids. It has for the first time in my life as a mom made me feel complete. I see them 90% more than in my past full-time career life, every morning, afternoon and evening. It is a chapter I dreamed of, plotted and planned for 15 years during my career and now living it out is very fulfilling.
I started this blog in late 2007. We had moved to the prairie, were building a home in a hay-field and I was days away from having a baby. I thought I would post a few pictures to keep in touch with my family. The blog has evolved since that time but remains an outlet, a journal and a place I go to connect with family and friends. Some of you I have known for decades, met via social media and some are my dear blogger friends. I share my passions here, food, farming, family and faith. Not everyone will agree with my thoughts but at least you’ll know where I stand and I hope to hear where you stand on issues when I share about them.