Magdalene (Maggie) Andres is a small town girl from Rosthern, Saskatchewan – just north of Saskatoon. I, David (Neufeld), am a farm boy from this area. We’re both from Mennonite church families and so it’s natural enough that we would meet attending the University of Waterloo in Ontario where we were both associated with the Mennonite supported Conrad Grebel College. We had a bit of an unconventional courting and wedding and then took off to work for Mennonite Central Committee for 10 years in South Africa, Lesotho and Saskatoon before settling onto our homestead in the Turtle Mountains. All four children were born while we were with MCC.
Kholiswa (Kholi) was born under a lightning filled sky in ’84 at the Umtata, South Africa hospital with mauve flowered Jacaranda trees up and down the street. Ezra (Ez) was born three weeks overdue during house renovations in ‘87 in my parent’s home a few kilometers from here. Teyana (T) came to us in ‘89 in our tiny cement brick home in Maseru, Lesotho while her grandmother (Anne) was visiting and making fresh bread and borsht. Jonah (Joey) completed the family in ’90 at our home/MCC guesthouse in Maseru with an excited group of family, friends and neighbours waiting on the sidelines.
Magdalene and I rented, then bought and rebuilt the Greenhouse in Boissevain a couple years after moving to this community in the early ‘90s. While Maggie took on jobs in the school system to keep food on the table, I managed the Room To Grow business, built up our capacity to make more of our living from our home and managed much of the home-front activity. Maggie grew frustrated with her teacher’s support position and decided to go back to University in ’98 to complete a teaching degree. Since then she’s had a series of short term contracts all over the school division and is presently the resource teacher for small schools. I had the opportunity to sell the greenhouse in town (twice actually) and very happily moved our business home – where I began specializing in medicinal herb and open pollinated vegetable bedding plants for markets around southern Manitoba – including Winnipeg. Together with curious friends from near and far we built the Straw bale Guesthouse from ’96 to ’01 – as we had time and finances to do so.