Take the Back Road

I try not to sink down too deep into negativity but, if I’m being honest, 2014 sucked.  It was also amazing.  This year I left the office.  I built a dairy.  I sunk everything into the farm and expanded it in the process.  I took a lot of chances.  This year we made enormous decisions about the future without any faith they would work out.  But that’s how it is, in general.  Choosing anything but inertia is a gamble.


These blogs are tricky little stories, and I decided long ago the genre of mine would be purely non-fiction.  Mostly because I’m not a very private person, and also because I like honest farm stories.  But this year there was a lot we kept private, in fact there was one enormous story line we buried years ago since it wasn’t exactly related to farming, was extremely personal – was extremely painful.  This year, we decided to get proactive about the situation.  We decided this would be the year of the dairy and possibly – finally – the year we’d start a family after so many years of that not working out.  Maybe both would happen, maybe neither would.  I decided to approach each goal the same way: stubborn persistence since – let’s face it – you only get one shot at life.  So I jumped into both with equal fervor.  I went straight from dairy building appointments to fertility doctor appointments.  I got sick a lot from medicine, recovered from a few surgeries, but still dragged myself out to the front pasture and talked about electrical plans, milking systems, and the barn construction.  If one wasn’t going to happen then I was determined the other would.  And after several years, many recent months of tough choices and painful procedures: we’re getting both.

goat hug

It’s a reflective time of year, naturally, this being the last day of one balanced on the cusp of another.  So as I was driving down the winding back road into town today, I thought about everything that’s happened in 2014, one that I will remember as both very dark and very bright.  I thought about the fact that there is a longer, but less treacherous road that leads to the same destination I was going into town.  And then realized it’s not the route I ever choose.  Every time I’m headed to the grocery store, my car turns on autopilot down the little road that twists, is marred with potholes, narrows down to only one lane and sometimes gets blocked by high water or crossing cows.  But every time, every time, it’s the only one I’ll follow.

It’s been a hell of a year – raw, gritty, emotional, joyful.  And now I’m ending it just as I end the third month of pregnancy (with twins).  Two babies that will be born in the Year of the Goat, an animal just as stubborn as us.  The same year we will, somehow, open the doors of this little dairy I built at a time when I also fought to build a family.  There’s no real lesson in all this except for what I believe to be true: fight for what you want, regardless of the odds against it, and accept that it might not work out.  (But it might.)  But mostly, mostly – don’t be afraid of taking the back roads to get there.

two babies


Dairy, Motivation


  • Elizabeth @LocalSavour

    January 29, 20159:56 pm

    Wow – What a roller coaster you have all been on! Thank you for sharing and it’s going to be the best year of the goat ever. Cheers to you and your growing family!

    • jennakl

      March 7, 20158:35 am

      Thank you Elizabeth!

  • Red

    January 19, 20158:58 pm

    This is fabulous news. Congratulations! Many, many blessings!


  • Melody Schrader

    January 13, 201512:22 pm

    I bet you will have the most interesting baby registry with some interesting outdoor weather baby clothes. :)

  • Crystal

    January 12, 201510:38 pm

    Congratulations! You put it perfectly! Sometimes it’s not blind faith, but no faith and pure determination, putting one foot in front of the other, everyday! So happy for you both!

    • jennakl

      March 7, 20158:35 am

      Thank you Crystal!

  • Kendall A

    January 6, 20153:20 pm

    First and foremost, congratulations. Thank you for your raw and real writing and sharing your story. It inspires me in many ways. Yes, following our dreams can be a challenge indeed. And we have to be persistent. Sometimes that pays off. And we know that sometimes it doesn’t. I’m so inspired that you worked for it, and happy that that work is coming to fruition. Both a job that we love and a family we can enjoy are our two main priorities. Let us know whatever we can do to support you in your endeavors.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:29 pm

      Kendall – thank you so much for this note – and the other lovely note in my inbox!! I will be in touch very soon :)

  • Paige Scott and Ginger Hads

    January 5, 20154:23 pm

    We think you are our new inspiration. Thank you for being here.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:32 pm

      Aaah! I love to hear that, thank you – and best of luck!

  • Jessa

    January 3, 20151:18 pm

    Congratulations on both of your huge accomplishments this year! This is going to be an exciting (and exhausting) year for you. I can’t wait to read about it and share some of it with you!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:33 pm

      Definitely exhausting :) Thanks so much!

  • Cheryl @ PDD

    January 2, 20155:22 pm

    Congratulations!!! How very exciting and very scary…on all fronts! We can’t wait to do business with your dairy. And now you’ll have TWO little charges to grow up in this wacky, wonderful lifestyle. What could be better?! Wonder if you’ll each get a mini-me? ha ha ha

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:34 pm

      One of each would be icing on the cake for sure :) I can’t wait to BE in business, maybe a little later than planned but stay tuned – we WILL be opening within the next year. Thanks Cheryl!

  • Megan Klein

    January 2, 201510:49 am

    Oh my goodness!! Congratulations. How exciting. I used to go once a week to hold Cynthia’s best friend’s twins while they were very little so she could take a shower and make dinner so just say the word if you need any help!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:34 pm

      Thank you so much Megan! Be careful, I might take you up on the offer :)

  • Sandi

    January 2, 201510:29 am

    Happiest of news. Congratulations on your new adventure.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:34 pm

      Thank you Sandi!

  • Gillian Brody-Wilcox

    January 2, 201510:08 am

    So happy for you Jenna!!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:34 pm

      Thank you Gillian!

  • Tiffany Speake

    January 1, 201511:50 pm

    Wow!! Congratulations!!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:35 pm

      I know, I’m still saying WOW daily Tiffany – thanks!

  • Nancy

    January 1, 201511:05 pm

    Congratulations Jenna and Jer!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:35 pm

      Thank you Nancy!

  • Meredith

    January 1, 20153:23 pm

    Holy shit Jenna!! I’m so excited for you!! TWINS!!! :) :)

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:35 pm

      HAHAHA – man you nailed it Meredith. I’ve been saying ‘holy shit’ for the past few months. When it rains, it pours, in a very good way :)

  • Jenny Depa-Karl

    January 1, 20156:50 am

    Hugs and blessings to you and your dairy! Dreams do become reality!! Best wishes for 2015!!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:36 pm

      Thank you Jenny! Best wishes for you as well.

  • Linda

    January 1, 20151:49 am

    Blessings. Blessings on you and your family and your farm.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:36 pm

      Thank you so much Linda :)

  • Pam Santana

    December 31, 20147:53 pm

    Jenna, I am so, so, SO happy for you guys! What a blessing these precious babies are and how fortunate are they to have you two for their mom and dad. Congratulations!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:36 pm

      Awww – THANK YOU Pam! So grateful to know you :)

  • Joan Mynahan

    December 31, 20147:53 pm

    Congratulations that you are being blessed with twins. I am the proud mother of identical twin girls. Lucky us

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:37 pm

      I love to hear these stories – thank you for sharing. I’ve heard that being a twin mama means becoming part of a special “club.”

  • Michele

    December 31, 20147:43 pm

    My boy/girl twins are now 25. Our other two flank their ranks. I, too, was an infertility patient and know the road you have travelled to get where you are.You are right, “raw” is a great way to describe it. Our farm was put on the back burners until the last five years, but I wish my children would have had the opportunities to learn from nature as yours will. I know my grand children will, though. I send a wish for a wonderful new year filled with much laughter from the predicaments that raising your “twinkies” will bring—for sure. I also send a reminder that no one benefits if mommy is exhausted. Remember to take some time out for yourself. Mine often came at 5 A.M., but it was quiet, and it was mine. I love the clarity of laughter and tears that you reveal about being a farm family. We all laugh with you and sometimes even tear at your losses. You are an excellent writer, and I am sure someday your adventures will be sold in hard back editions. Until then, keep the stories coming and congratulations on your dairy and pregnancy.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:39 pm

      How amazing Michele and THANK YOU for sharing – I truly wish more women talked about these struggles so we might feel a little less lonely going through it. I will heed your advice as much as possible, and am so glad you enjoy the stories :)

  • Reba

    December 31, 20147:23 pm

    Congratulations on the twins. May you have a wonderful new year — and continue writing about it!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:39 pm

      I hope I will have the energy to tell some stories as the year goes on – thank you Reba!

  • Tracy dawson

    December 31, 20147:22 pm

    They say god only gives us problems he knows we can handle. I also had a pretty rough year (my husband who is 55, had to have open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve and gall bladder surgery). It was scary and hard answer came out on the other end stronger for it. Congratulations to you on your family growing and your farm growth. You are very inspiring to me and I wish you all the best!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:40 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear about your tough year but happy it seems all is well now! Thank you so much for this sweet note Tracy :)

  • Rachael Taylor

    December 31, 20147:09 pm

    It’s going to be the best year ever! Just as soon as you stop throwing up ;)

    I just couldn’t be happier for you. Not even a little bit. Not even if I tried.

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:41 pm

      Gah – Rachael. Thank you, for all the things….all. of. the. things. xo

  • Nancy Boatright

    December 31, 20147:01 pm

    I don’t even know you, except thru your blog but I was so excited to read your good news! I am so happy for you. May 2015 be your best year ever~

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:41 pm

      Thank you so much Nancy – and to you as well!!

  • Joan @ The Chicken Mama

    December 31, 20146:35 pm

    Congratulations! Could not be happier for you :-) The rest stops in life wouldn’t be nearly as pleasurable if the road was easy. Here’s to what I hope is your best year ever—2015!

    • jennakl

      January 7, 201510:42 pm

      Cheers to that – I totally agree! Thank you so much for this note and for all of your support, Joan :)