September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
"Troy was working full time milking cows for his neighbor," Kelly said. "I worked there for one or two weekends, and quit shortly after because it was a long drive. I was driving 22 miles to get there, and it wasn't paying for my gas since I was driving all the way from Blackduck, Minn. to Kelliher, Minn.."
"Everyone teased me that I was the reason she quit," said Troy with a smile. "My neighbor told me 'Troy you were chasing her too much.'"
After meeting on the dairy farm in Kelliher, Minn., they soon became friends.
"A few weeks later, I was at a horse show riding my horse, and he showed up," Kelly said. "We soon started talking on the phone all of the time because my friend gave him my phone number."
After being friends for about three months, Troy asked Kelly to be his girlfriend on Oct. 10.
Their first Valentines Day was spent doing what they both love.
"I helped Troy milk cows," Kelly said.
Six months later in March, Kelly was working at a nursing home with her co-worker, Ben, when she received a text message on her phone.
"I looked at my phone and read the text from Troy asking me to marry him," Kelly said. "I looked at my friend Ben and said, 'Ben read this'. He told me that is so unoriginal, but I knew I was going to say yes anyway."
"It felt right," said Troy of the engagement to Kelly. "I wasn't really nervous."
"We had talked about this before," Kelly said. "We both wanted the same things in life."
Troy and Kelly spent a year and a half planning their wedding while working opposite schedules.
"We made it work. Troy would get back at about 12:30 a.m., and I was getting ready to leave for my shift at the nursing home starting at 1:00 a.m.," Kelly said. "He would start my car for me, and when I came home, I would meet him on the road as he was leaving again for the farm."
With their busy schedules, Troy ended up texting her about possible dates, and they settled on Sept. 10, 2011.
"I wanted it to be a weekend we wouldn't be chopping yet," Troy said. "I wanted it to be in September."
"We didn't even realize that it was 9/10/11," Kelly said. "We had a friend getting married that day, too."
At their wedding, bridesmaids were dressed in red tea-length dresses with cowboy boots for shoes; bible verses revolved around reaping, and sewing a rich harvest and family; and the wedding cake was black and white with a silver cake topper of the bride and groom on a tractor.
"The cake topper was perfect for us," Kelly said. "I would usually ride with him on the tractor while he was raking hay."
Troy's uncle, a pastor, performed the ceremony. However, he had a surprise for the bride and groom.
"We tied the knot literally," said Kelly with a laugh. "He brought in a cowbell with three different colored cords. One represented me, one represented Troy and the other represented God. We braided it during the ceremony."
Unlike most newlyweds, they didn't spend the day after their wedding going on their honeymoon. They actually spent the day looking for farms by Farmington.
They didn't find a place that worked, so Troy spent more time milking cows with his dad and neighbors.
Later that year, the Hanks welcomed their first child, daughter Miley.
"I milked cows up until my due date," Kelly said.
"I was surprised she went that long," Troy said.
After a year of being married, Troy and Kelly finally found a farm to live, Pat Kava's farm near Fergus Falls, and moved in on Sept. 1. They are currently milking 50 Holsteins and one Brown Swiss in an eight-stall parallel parlor with a 42 freestall barn on their farm, T & K Dairy.
"We sold everything up by my hometown Kelliher, Minn., and started over," Troy said. "The cows are all Pat's and we live on the farm site."
With such a large move, the Hanks were financially strapped, and Troy even had to wait until about three months after their one-year anniversary to give his wife her gift.
"He came up to me and gave me a necklace for our anniversary and a necklace for my birthday," Kelly said.
"Our neighbors told us that we were living on love," Troy said.
Despite starting over, the Hanks wouldn't be doing anything different than dairy farming.
"We wanted to raise our kids in this lifestyle," Kelly said. "We would rather be staying at home on the dairy farm with the family and barely be making it than having lots of money and not being around the family."
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