It's never too late for new experiences

"Last week, I experienced two widely different new experiences on the same day: witnessing my first harvest of a new crop and watching Elizabeth at her first state golf meet in a new sport."

A tall teenage girl in a blue shirt and black pants swings a golf club on a green course with changing leaves in the background.
Souris Valley golf course in Minot, North Dakota, hosted the North Dakota State Class B Girls State Golf Tournament Sept. 26-27, 2022. Walking the 18 holes behind the play on the second day, Katie Pinke was reminded of the positives of new experiences.
Katie Pinke / Agweek
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We don’t often experience new.

Remember in the first year of a new baby? We track all the firsts, all the new experiences. Rolling over, sitting up, the first bite of rice cereal and baby food, first haircut, and — a big moment — first steps creating a new walker.

I tracked all of Elizabeth’s first and blogged them almost daily or weekly back in her early years. As I have gotten older and my kids find their paths, we experience fewer new experiences without pushing ourselves a bit.

Last week, I experienced two widely different new experiences on the same day: witnessing my first harvest of a new crop and watching Elizabeth at her first state golf meet in a new sport.

First, I watched a slice of potato harvest at Crystal, North Dakota, with Thomas Shephard . Agweek’s Follow A Farmer series started with Thomas in the first week of June with the seeding of potatoes , a mid-summer check-in on crops in July and now a harvest visit.


Lyle and Thomas Shephard were harvesting Dakota Pearl potatoes on Sept. 26, 2022, at Crystal, North Dakota.
Katie Pinke / Agweek

Though I'm surrounded by farm fields and rooted in agriculture, I rarely experience harvest anymore, and if I do, it's the crops I'm used to on my parents' farm. This was the first time I've been close up to potatoes being hauled in from the field, unloaded and put into a storage facility. I listened to Thomas share about the potato variety — Dakota Pearl — and how it will be used for chipping and be hauled across the country throughout the year.

I drove across a rural two-lane highway through three counties from Crystal, North Dakota, before hitting Highway 2 to head west to Minot, North Dakota, to meet my husband and watch our daughter play a new to us sport, high school girls golf.

Standing wheat near Milton, North Dakota waiting to be harvested gave Katie Pinke a reminder that not all new experiences, like a very late grain harvest, are joyous. Some new experiences are stressful as she saw fields of grains yet to be harvested due to late growing season.
Katie Pinke / Agweek

En route, I had to pull over for a surprising new experience: seeing unharvested wheat standing in the last week of September. I took a picture on the side of the road at the first field, then encountered more and more unharvested small grain fields, combines and trucks along the highway. Not all new experiences are joyous. I didn’t stop to talk to the farmers, knowing stress is high in harvest and Agweek reporters captured stories already on the late harvest.

As I arrived in Minot, I saw Elizabeth on the green right by the parking lot. I knew she couldn’t speak or talk to me during play, but I took a moment standing there to soak in the realization that my daughter's first high school state tournament experience in sports was in a new sport she had started only seven weeks earlier.

As a rural basketball-loving family, we have always dreamed of the state basketball tournament. But the last person in our family to play in the state basketball tournament was my dad, for the Fort Yates Warriors in 1971. And here I was standing at the state golf tournament watching my child compete.

Elizabeth changed fall sports. She went from being a junior high volleyball player to a beginner high school golfer. Thanks to her strong golfing teammates, a determined coach and daily practice, a new sport brought her a new experience this fall.

The second day of the tournament, my husband, Nathan, and I walked behind Elizabeth and two other golfers. It was my first time ever following play for 18 holes. On a gorgeous fall day, in the quietness of golf, I considered what new experiences I could push myself to do. The changing leaves reminded me how change brings a new season and can be equally rewarding, beautiful and fun.

Whether it’s growing a new crop, trying new technology, expanding to a new area for your business, or encouraging your child to give a new activity the best effort they can put forth, start the new thing you want to try. Do not hold back from chasing after a new goal.


Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.

Opinion by Katie Pinke
Katie Pinke serves as Agweek and AgweekTV's publisher and general manager and since 2015 has written a weekly column. Pinke resides in rural North Dakota with her husband and children where she is a 4-H leader, active community volunteer, and a proud fifth-generation farmers' daughter.
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