Bullermans make century farm in rural Adrian their home for life
ADRIAN -- The comfortable living room where Landel Bullerman, who will celebrate his 86th birthday in July, relaxes on a pleasant June afternoon has certainly changed through the decades, but it's part of the very same house where the retired far...
ADRIAN - The comfortable living room where Landel Bullerman, who will celebrate his 86th birthday in July, relaxes on a pleasant June afternoon has certainly changed through the decades, but it’s part of the very same house where the retired farmer was born in 1931.
“Landel was born on this farm,” confirms Marlene Bullerman, Landel’s wife of 61 years. “He had five siblings - one brother and four sisters.”
Landel’s grandparents, Theodore and Louisa Bullerman, purchased the 160-acre farmstead that lies three miles east and one and a half miles north of Adrian on April 1, 1917, thus qualifying it as a Minnesota Century Farm.
The couple, of German descent, paid $12,000 for the property.
“Plus back taxes,” Marlene pointed out. “They bought it from Joseph Cowin and Henry Brooks, who hadn’t paid their taxes.”
In 1946, Theodore and Louisa sold the home place to Landel’s parents (Frank and his wife Henrietta), and in 1977 Landel and Marlene became the farm’s official owners.
“We were married in 1956,” explained Marlene. “I was born in Ellsworth and grew up west of Adrian, but I knew Landel all my life; we were baptized and married at St. Adrian Catholic Church.
“I’d see him in church when I was a little girl, but he never turned around and looked at me,” she laughed.
That changed when Landel, five years older than Marlene and known almost universally in the Adrian area by his childhood nickname of “Boysie,” returned from a stint in the Navy.
“He was home on leave, and I started going with him then,” she mentioned.
After marrying, the Bullermans lived on a farm north of Rushmore for seven years before moving to the Bullerman century farm in Olney Township, in 1963.
“Landel herded his cow and calf herd four miles down the country road with the help of neighbors,” shared Marlene, who was busy caring for the couple’s six children - including their youngest, a five-month-old - during the cross-country livestock procession.
“I appreciated moving to a modern home with a bathroom and running water,” she added.
Farming and child rearing occupied the bulk of the couple’s time for the early years of their marriage, and Landel and Marlene remember numerous sleepless nights spent farrowing hogs or calving.
“Our growing family helped with milking over 60 cows, and our four boys will tell you there was plenty of hay to bale, too,” reported Marlene.
She jokes that cleaning the chicken coop wasn’t one of the children’s favorite Saturday jobs, but walking beans and picking field rocks were “a family thing” for the Bullermans.
“When Lori, our youngest, was pretty small, she would ride on the flatbed a lot of the time and hide all the ‘pretty rocks,’ later storing them in her dresser drawer,” revealed Marlene. “Her older siblings weren’t too impressed by that.”
Together, the Bullermans recall certain lean times, when interest on bank loans was exceedingly high and soil moisture levels were low.
“Some years were not so great,” agreed Landel.
In 1976, the couple lost a hog barn - and 150 market-ready hogs - to a fire.
“And we also didn’t pick a single ear of corn in 1976 and 1977 due to drought conditions, so we chopped everything up for feed, even though there was little or no value to it,” added Marlene.
With six children, medical emergencies were not uncommon, and the Bullermans weathered their share of broken bones and emergency appendectomies.
Still, the Bullermans take great pride in their family, which has grown to include 13 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. All but one live within 50 miles of the Bullerman century farm.
Son Mike, married to Toni, is a retired herdsman who continues to custom farm the Bullerman land, while son Tom and his wife Trish farm and raise registered Black Angus cattle in the area.
Bob and his wife, Lori, live in Pipestone, where Bob, a mechanic, operates Mr. B’s Repair and works for the city of Pipestone. Daughter Jayne lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., and is a procurement accounting assistant. Son Randy, married to Renee, lives in Adrian and works as a herdsman and independent trucker. Daughter Lori, who loved “pretty rocks” as a child, fittingly became a cosmetologist. She owns Blue Mound Hair Salon and lives in Luverne with husband John.
“We’re so fortunate to have everyone living so close,” said Marlene.
Although family members are the building blocks of the Bullerman century farm, historic structures exist on the place, as well. Original owners Brooks and Cowin constructed the first house on the site in 1912; it still stands and is currently in use as a storage shed.
The Bullerman home, in which Landel was born, was built in 1922 and has been extensively remodeled and expanded over the years.
Landel continues to treasure his first tractor - a 1954 Super MTA that Bob restored for him - but it’s definitely family that matters most to him and Marlene.
Family traditions of Easter egg hunts, and a 30-year “Cookie Day” event just after Thanksgiving, for which Landel and Marlene formerly baked dozens of cookies for the grandkids and great-grandchildren to frost and decorate, are held dear.
The Bullermans also value the numerous horses, dogs, cats and other pets (including a duck named “Hercomer,” a pigeon dubbed “Walter” and a turkey, “Theodora,” that no one would eat when Thanksgiving arrived) that populated their farm.
“We’ve had some tough days and sad days, but mostly happy ones,” summarized Marlene. “We’re so thankful for our farm life.”