Knowing is like opening a Christmas present early
Winter's set in. Christmas is just around the corner and farm life remains attractive here in Marshall County where a young couple has decided it's a good place to raise children.
Two more months will pass before Daniel and Kaitlyn Brindle will have their first child. He moved to the Andrews Spring Farm on the north side of town when he was 12. Years later, Daniel met Kaitlyn at a college in Ohio and he decided she'd be a good farm woman.
What he didn't know immediately was that it would deliver on her childhood dream.
"We're waiting for the baby to be born," Daniel said this week.
Asked if they know whether the child will be a boy or a girl, he replies that they don't, largely because "Kaitlyn says knowing which sex the child will be is like opening a Christmas present before Christmas."
So as they wait, they make a home and find ways to make the farm profitable. Agri-tourism is a big part of their plans. They've sold Christmas trees. Horse trail rides have been sold. They're building a petting zoo.
A corn maze is planned. They learned how in Virginia.
"We share-crop with a friend who uses the land for growing corn. He'll be growing feed corn. You plant the field and when it's six inches tall you mow paths in the field for the maze."
Hayrides and a pumpkin patch are planned.
Bees and beef cattle are on his parents' part of the family farm.
They married last spring. He sold his house at Steubenville on the Ohio River and they moved here.
He realized on their first date that she'd be a good farm wife.
Steubenville used to be a big steel city in the 1940s.
"I was working there full-time and she was going to college where my cousin was attending. I met her at Franciscan University," he said. "I was involved in a dance competition with some friends and after the competition we were supposed to go out and dance with the audience.
"She was in the audience and she was one person I asked to dance. The next week they had a swing dance at the university. She was there as well... We didn't dance because I didn't recognize her."
At another dance he liked her ponytail.
"It's what I noticed about her before."
While dancing, he recognized her as someone who he danced with after the competition, and he said, "Hey, I know you."
They had mutual friends and did things they both enjoyed.
Their first date was kayaking on the Ohio River.
"This was in November in Ohio, so it was pretty cold. There was ice flowing down the river. We about froze, but we had a good time."
They paddled across the river to a tributary where he told her about carrying the boats upstream and riding the rapids back down. To do it they would have to go waist deep in a creek.
"I told her we could do that another time and 'You don't really want to do that. You don't know how cold it is,' but she insisted. When we went into the creek we were pulling our kayaks through super cold water so we could ride the kayaks back down."
He remembers thinking "She must be a pretty cool girl if she's going to do that."
That's when he figured she'd be a good farm woman - "That's the type I was looking for."
They rode back down the creek "and had a little campfire and hot dogs. I brought a Thermos of hot chocolate."
It was November 2006. They started dating after the holidays in February of '07. They married on May 23. The baby is due Feb. 25.
As for moving to Marshall County, he says, "We talked about it before we got married. She wanted to live on a farm ever since she'd been a little girl."
Her sister dreamed of a fancy house. She thought life on a farm was appealing. The sisters had talked about it with their grandmother.
Daniel grew up on the farm here. His parents, David Brindle and Susan Andrews Brindle moved here from Elkton, Md. at the head of the Chesapeake Bay.
They came to her father's farm with five sons and three daughters: Ann, Andrew, Michael, Peggy, Joey, Maria Christopher and, of course, Daniel.
All 10 moved here in 1996. "I was home-schooled here and worked at Shoney's in Lewisburg part time and raised beef cattle on my parents' farm. My grandparents were living on the farm as well. There are two houses on the farm."
Since 1996, the brothers and sisters "pretty much moved away, but Ann and her husband, Paul Coakely, moved here about a year and a half ago...
"It's definitely a bonus that they're here," Daniel continued. "That wasn't the only reason, but I would like it if my other siblings did move here."
It took Kaitlyn "a little bit of getting used to" to live here, he said, explaining that's "because it is so far from her family, but it is something she wants to do."
Moving to Andrews Spring Farm "is the quickest way to get back on the farm," he said.
Because of it, they own their own business and plan to "fix it up as a good place to come back to for a family reunion."
Daniel's great grandfather, William Lafayette Andrews Sr. "bought it for us in 1924," Daniel said. "He saw it as a good place to live and raise a family."