The Farm Bleat: A wanderer's soul seeks winter escape

There's nothing like a harsh Minnesota winter to spark a hardcore case of wanderlust.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer
Tim Middagh / The Globe

WORTHINGTON — Perhaps it’s a combination of a snowy winter and the travel brochures arriving in my mailbox, but I am “suffering” from a serious case of wanderlust.

The USDA has put $3.1 billion into 141 projects expected to reach more than 60,000 farms and sequester as much carbon as removing 12 million gas-powered passenger vehicles from the road.
Minnesota dairy farmer Steve Schlangen and beef producer Don Schiefelbein say farmers need to be involved in environmental policy, even if they don't buy into all the climate change theories.
Small-town sporting triumphs pull a lot of people to big games. But the cows still need to get fed.

I’m not going to complain about the winter — I no longer have to shovel a driveway or find someone to do it for me; and with the ability to work from home, maneuvering the downtown snow piles isn’t a necessity after a storm.

The extra work the snow has created, however, is not lost on me. Growing up on the farm, I’d sometimes have to trudge through knee-deep snow to reach the barn before and after school for chores. It was extra miserable when the temperatures were consistently below freezing and ice had to be chopped out of the 5-gallon plastic buckets and 5-quart ice cream pails used to provide water for the goats and sheep.

Ice chunks littered the area just outside and to the west of the front barn door all through the winter, and from time to time, broken remnants of ice cream pails were left there too. Compared to trimming goat hooves and spending hours and days with a pitchfork during spring cleaning, breaking ice wasn’t a terrible task.

“I love health care because it really comes down to helping others.”
“The whole community of Worthington helped raise me,” said Kyaw, who moved to Nobles County with his mother in 2011 when she began working at JBS.
The Sunset Hospice Cottage marks its 20th anniversary this year; fundraising banquet is Saturday evening in Worthington.

About this time of year, the babies would start to arrive — buck and doe kids, ram and ewe lambs — and I’d rush to see if I had girls or boys. That was the fun part, along with naming them, of course. They, too, brought extra work. More frequently I’d climb the ladder to the haymow, toss straw bales through the doorway to the hallway below and add small squares to the pens to keep the livestock warmer and dryer.


The added work led to more time spent in the barn, particularly after school and on weekends. I didn’t mind. It was my preferred place to be anyway.

But, the times changed, and I changed with them. I still love that big, red barn that stands tall on our farm, though this winter I can’t even get to it. Snow mountains were created by the brothers tasked with pushing snow, and I’m not as young as I used to be.

And that brings me back to my wanderlust. In the last three years, my longest road trip has been to the North Shore. I love it there, but I’d love it anywhere that water extends beyond the horizon.

I am not a beach person, nor do I have any desire to visit tropical islands and spend my days with fruity drinks and toes in the sand. Cruises aren’t of interest to me either. They look a bit claustrophobic.

I want to travel coastal Maine and western Washington, visit more lighthouses, stop at needlework shops and antique boutiques along — or out of — the way. I want to take pictures at giant roadside attractions, of tulip fields and cotton farms, and capture videos of waves rolling toward the shore. I’d do all of this, and more, when the snow melts and time allows. Until then, I’ll longingly watch plane contrails and enjoy little road trips when it isn’t snowing, sleeting or foggy on a Saturday morning in the midst of a Minnesota winter.

Read more from Julie Buntjer:
An event for women to be pampered, shop with regional businesses and vendors and attend seminars, the Expo is celebrating its 13th year.
“We sent out delinquent letters Jan. 1, and we got a lot of those payments in,” Jacobs said. “We get a lot of people that paid because they don’t want their name in the paper.”
28 guns were awarded to lucky attendees at the sell-out banquet.
“I said you need to taste this kind of apple — it’s nothing like you’ve ever tasted in your life,” Berumen said with a smile.
The annual Pinewood Derby is a tradition of Worthington Christian Reformed Church
Worthington Police Department issued statement that Hua was located on Tuesday.
"It was a dark and cold night, hazy under a three-quarter moon, when I went to retrieve Chloe from the farm."
The quartet will race Worthington's turkey, Paycheck, toward the finish line during King Turkey Day this September.
Several students awarded scholarships during the evening.
WORTHINGTON — Every year, Worthington’s King Turkey Day celebration draws thousands of people to the downtown area. They enjoy one of the area’s largest parades, visit the variety of food vendors, perhaps race in the KTD 10K or do the 5K run/walk, enjoy free pancakes and partake in new and returning events.

Opinion by Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads