PIONEERING PERSPECTIVES: Try something new today – Bemidji Pioneer

Last week, one of our reporters was working on a story about a local beekeeper and was looking online for his contact information, but kept coming up blank. We talked about how to get in touch with him at our weekly staff meeting, and then it dawned on me: I may have saved his number on my phone.

Sure enough, there it was.

Those around the table burst out laughing when this was discovered, because why would I have a random farm number in my phone? One person chirped, “who in this town don’t you know?” because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

I went on to explain how my dad really loved beekeeping when I was a teenager and had worked with this particular farmer years ago, so that’s probably why I let it go.

A few days later, the topic came up again as I was editing the story and explaining some beekeeping terminology to the reporter. A few minutes later, a question was asked about a classical music composer that I knew the answer to and another reporter in the room asked, “how do you know?” I replied with a casual, “Oh, I spent a year studying classical music history in high school.”

Then another reporter laughed heartily at the fact that one moment I could go from talking about extracting honey to studying classical music. “They just don’t go together in my mind,” she laughed.

I shrugged and said something like, “I don’t know. I just did a lot of things, I guess.”

In the days since I’ve thought about this series of events, I’ve come to the conclusion that my father is to blame. I don’t mean to sound negative at all; he’s simply one of the best definitions of a “visionary” I’ve ever come across.

He likes to try new things, and growing up, he always encouraged us kids to experience these things too. Whether it’s knowing how to play an instrument, becoming a pro at winter camping outdoors, or pushing the boundaries of the number of tomato varieties you can grow (pretty sure he got the most out of the 90s), he’s done – and has taught others – a multitude of things in his 55-year life.

In addition to running his own home building and construction business since I was little, he has taught us many life lessons and practical skills in the most practical way.

From raising a whole range of animals, making homemade soap, lots and lots of gardening, saving seeds for seed companies – and we can’t forget beekeeping – we’ve basically covered everything when it comes to life on the farm and in the field. the garden. Not to mention that each of us played different instruments, was heavily involved in 4-H, and dabbled with all sorts of other random ventures over the years.

By the time I entered college and held various jobs, I began to realize that some saw the childhood I had as strange and difficult to deal with. It made me feel weird talking about it, I didn’t want to be seen as a know-it-all who had done everything under the sun.

But the older I get, the more I find myself leaning into it. Why should I downplay my experiences just because others have been too scared to try anything unusual?

When I look around a lot of people around me in their twenties and thirties, most of them have never done things like milk a goat or grow their own tomato, and they wouldn’t even know where to start winning. of honey or making soap.

But here I am, following in my father’s footsteps, growing as much of my own food as my little Bemidji garden allows and running a local farmers’ market. I like camping and being in nature, I can still play a few instruments, know a lot about cars and I’m pretty good at fixing up houses.

Because of my father’s ambitions and mother’s willingness to go along with them, my siblings and I have a wealth of knowledge about some really strange things. And while it may have seemed like I threw my dad under the bus earlier, I’m really grateful to him for helping me end up here.

Thanks to him (and my mom for putting up with it all) I have stories to tell and experiences to share with others who had less ambitious parents than mine.

So let this be your little nudge, courtesy of my father, to try something new today. Then you too can have some wild stories to share.

Annalize Braught is the editor and photographer at the Pioneer. She can be reached at

(218) 358-1990


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