By LOUISE RAFKIN
When Devin Peralta and Lindsay Howard met more than a dozen years ago, neither could have predicted a future that involved waking up in the morning around the time they used to tumble into bed — and on a farm, of all places.
Both students at the University of Nevada, Reno, they lived large, in the moment and mostly after midnight.
At college, Ms. Howard earned the nickname Danger. She had grown up salmon fishing and figure skating in a small town in Alaska, and took advantage of her newfound freedom in the lower 48 states.
She once adopted a dog from a guy she met in a parking lot. Another time, she gave in to an overwhelming urge to get a tattoo of a key on her forearm. “Not to my heart, but to the world,” she clarified. And when a man in a Miami hotel lobby half-playfully proposed to her with a Rolex watch, she wore it on her ankle for a few days before giving it back. (She jokes that this “former fiancé” is now in prison; among other complications, she said, the watch was stolen.)
“Danger is playful, spontaneous and magnetic,” said Lizzie Armata, one of Ms. Howard’s many close friends. And Ms. Howard, now 32, doesn’t disagree, adding, “I’m not afraid to take risks.”
At the party where they met in 2005, the handsome, lanky Mr. Peralta, now 35, sported a blond pompadour and a battered leather jacket, because in addition to being a student, he was the lead singer and songwriter in a pop-punk band.
That night, each was drawn to the other, but nothing more than a handshake passed between them.
They fled Reno and fell off each other’s radar. Mr. Peralta, after graduating with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish, moved to San Francisco with his band, the Cobra Skulls. Ms. Howard left for San Diego to pursue a modeling career and work as a host in a nightclub.
Two years later, Ms. Howard was in Reno on vacation and saw a performance of the Cobra Skulls, who were touring. After the show, she joined the band for cocktails. It was nearly dawn when she and Mr. Peralta stole a kiss, affirming their mutually felt connection.
But post-smooch, Ms. Howard abruptly blurted a warning: “Don’t fall in love with me,” she said.
Don’t flatter yourself, Mr. Peralta remembers thinking. But also: I can fall in love with you if I want to. Ms. Howard’s willowy good looks were appealing, but it was her warm, infectious energy and quirky pinup style that snagged him. (Of her clumsy caveat, Ms. Howard said, “I had Alaska-girl dreams; there was a lot to explore.”)
They parted but kept in contact over the years. Mr. Peralta, who grew up studying music in San Luis Obispo on California’s Central coast, toured the United States, Europe and Australia with the Cobra Skulls, on bills with groups like Against Me and NOFX.
Occasionally they pinged each other, but the timing never aligned. Mr. Peralta once suggested Ms. Howard join a Cobra Skulls tour as a “merch girl” — to hawk the band’s CDs and T-shirts. “That would have been a disaster,” she said.
Through modeling, she decided on a career in fashion, and moved to San Francisco in 2011 to attend the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. While bartending at night, she earned an associate degree in merchandising and marketing in 2013.
Meanwhile, Mr. Peralta began to tire of the rocker grind despite the successes of the Cobra Skulls. Six years of screaming lyrics into drunken crowds was a lot, and touring strained most of his romantic relationships.
Mr. Peralta also harbored a secret dream to be a farmer. His great-great-grandfather was William Mulholland, credited with engineering the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which brought water to California’s arid southern region. Subsequent generations of Mulhollands went into farming; Mr. Peralta had grown up visiting the family citrus farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
In 2012, he moved to the ranch and found the physical labor the perfect antidote to years of rock ’n’ roll debauchery. Under the tutelage of his uncle, Tom Mulholland, and alongside the migrant field crew, he learned about irrigation, wind machines, frost control and other essentials of citrus growing.
Several months later, he told his uncle, “I have to see about a girl” and returned to the Bay Area. Time had not dissipated his yearning for Danger.
Mr. Peralta contacted Ms. Howard and asked her to act the part of his girlfriend in a Cobra Skulls video. (He was not yet done with the band but had stopped touring.) She agreed but cautioned Mr. Peralta about reading anything into her role. She was in a serious relationship, she said, so they kept a respectful distance during the shoot.
Months later, they ran into each other at a bar in San Francisco. The Cobra Skulls had disbanded, and a directionless Mr. Peralta was working at a grocery store. Ms. Howard’s relationship had ended terribly. She, too, was deflated and lost.
They dated but because of their heartaches tried to keep things light. However, on Valentine’s Day, Mr. Peralta played Ms. Howard a song written just for her. “You know I’ll be your sure thing, darling, I’ll keep coming back if you keep calling,” he sang, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.
Ms. Howard did not fall into a swoon — instead, she broke things off. “Neither of us were standing on solid ground,” she said. Crushed, Mr. Peralta retreated to the farm where, working 50-hour weeks, his grief faded under the summer sun.
In the fall of 2013, Mr. Peralta was in San Francisco to practice with his new band, Boys on the Wall, when he saw Ms. Howard at a bar. He was happy to see her, and relieved to find he harbored no hope for reconciliation.
Mr. Peralta spoke of his new life with joy; he was grounded, confident and, Ms. Howard saw, genuinely happy. (She also noticed and admired Mr. Peralta’s muscles, newly hewed by farm work.) The two were midconversation when Ms. Howard initiated a kiss that lasted through the night. In the morning, Ms. Howard surprised Mr. Peralta once more, suggesting she visit the ranch — that day.
There they slept outside under a Milky Way as bright as Ms. Howard remembered from her Alaskan childhood. At dawn, with fruit trees fanning in all directions, for the first time the live-for-the moment pair spoke of the future.
Ms. Howard was developing Dear Danger, a mobile boutique (imagine a food truck, but with clothes) that she drives to music festivals and community gatherings. Connecting with customers through social media, she sells clothes and jewelry from the truck’s air-conditioned cargo box.
Mr. Peralta shared his progress in becoming an agricultural Pest Control Adviser, the course work for which he recently completed. (Don’t think of roach control; P.C.A.s make legally binding recommendations on pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers for organic and conventional growers.) His ultimate goal is to grow organic citrus.
Over the next weeks, Ms. Howard saw that they were a great team. “Devin balances my crazy with thoughtfulness and wrangles my wild side with kindness,” she said.
She soon ditched the city and made a full return to her rural roots. The couple homesteaded in a pool house next door to Mr. Peralta’s beloved grandmother, with whom Ms. Howard immediately bonded. Together they attended the 2013 centennial of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
“Before we knew it, we were best friends and in love and there was nothing else or anyone else we wanted besides each other,” Mr. Peralta said.
On May 27, more than three years after their move to the ranch and more than 12 years after first meeting, the couple married poolside at the Phoenix Hotel, a revamped ’50s motor lodge in San Francisco long known as the go-to for touring musicians like the Sex Pistols, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and David Bowie.
The 100 guests, many in flamboyant and vintage-inspired fashions, laughed knowingly when Lauren Ehney, a friend and Universal Life minister, lauded the union as a result of timing and persistence. As the pair kissed, patrons of the hotel — essentially uninvited guests — cheered from the pool.
At dusk, the party moved inside to a midcentury-accented lounge. Doughnuts were served on platters made of records, and guests were enticed onto the dance floor by an eclectic mix of music that included Johnny Cash, Suzanne Vega, Roy Orbison, Prince and Michael Jackson.
A simple phrase displayed above the bar in marquee lights seemed redundant: “Be Amazing.”