Archive for October, 2011

Heating with Wood

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

We heat our house with wood, so this time of year we spend hours outside splitting and stacking. Our woodshed holds about two months worth of split logs, so we fill it up to the brim and then split more and re-stock it as needed throughout the winter.

The great thing about heating with wood is that it heats you twice- when you’re chopping it and when you’re burning it. It’s not quite cold enough yet to start heating the whole house, but when we wake up in the morning the house feels cold and it’s a little tough to get out of bed. After a few hours of splitting wood, we’re so hot and sweaty that we don’t need the house to be very warm. It feels good to get the blood moving on these damp, chill days.

Back in Duluth, we had a cute little woodstove in our living room and we did a tutorial on chimney cleaning. Check it out if you need to get your stove clean and ready for the winter!

New Kid on the Block

Posted on October 29th, 2011 by Tonia 8 Comments

Photo by jzordan.

Big news! Charlie got a brother. He’s 1 1/2 years old, purebred English Springer Spaniel, and hails from the local Humane Society. Just look into those pretty hazel eyes! You can see why we fell in love instantly. We brought him home yesterday evening after a week of prepping the house for his arrival and watching multiple Cesar Millan episodes EVERY NIGHT.

We’re so excited to add on to our family, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that he’s able to settle in and feel at home here soon. Like most rescue dogs, he’s dealing with a case of separation anxiety and low confidence. He’s also hyperactive, which means it’s hard for him to settle down enough for us to work on training him {he knows “sit” but has no idea about “come” or “stay” or any of the other basic commands} or to even introduce him to Charlie without overwhelming Charlie with his energy.

Please send us good thoughts and vibes as we work with him, and extra good vibes for Charlie who is going to have to adjust to sharing his kingdom home with a pack mate {this is NOT going to be easy for our jealous little man.} The new guy {still working on a name} has so much potential and seems really, really smart and eager to please so we have high hopes that he’ll turn a corner as he realizes that his life is stable and he is safe and loved.

Have you ever rescued a dog or trained a {large and already very strong} puppy? Would love your advice!

Cider Again

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by Tonia 4 Comments


We couldn’t help ourselves…we made cider again. The tree in our yard with beautiful yellow translucent apples finally reached prime ripeness, and obviously we needed to taste what kind of cider they made.

My family came to join in the fun.

This batch will probably end up as hard cider, fermenting in our basement this winter. So it wasn’t completely off-base for me to choose the Punch Brothers’ song “Rye Whiskey” as the tune for this little video:

Hiking the Porkies

Posted on October 25th, 2011 by Tonia 7 Comments

Our impromptu backpacking excursion in the Porcupine Mountains was glorious. We covered 20 miles. The first 10 miles closely hugged the shore of Lake Superior and the last 10 wound through in the hills, finishing at a beautiful summit overlooking lakes, rivers and hills.

The wild is best shared with good people {our friends Jen and Trevor} and good dogs {their Shepherd mix named Coal and our Charlie boy}. The six of us easily fell into a comfortable walking rhythm, taking turns as leader, chatting sometimes but enjoying silence and the sound of our own thoughts most of the time.

The dogs were happy as can be, scrambling ahead of us on the trail, occasionally getting distracted by a chipmunk, looking back every so often to make sure we were still behind them. We were so proud of our long and low little doggy. Whoever said Dachshunds can’t hike?

At night, we built fires, cooked food, sipped whiskey and told stories. The stars were stunning and the air was crisp but not too cold. We didn’t see another human the whole time- it was as if we had the entire State Park to ourselves!

In the mornings, we made tea and oatmeal and geared up for more hiking.

We found some treasures along the trail…

Wild rose hips, fun to suck on while walking and packed full of vitamin C. And a sweet little Monarch, the last we’ll see for the season I’m sure.

The last 10 miles went up, up, up the whole way. But the view was worth it.

Too bad most of the leaves had already blown off the trees by the time we reached this spot, but it was still pretty breathtaking regardless.

What a great grand-finale to autumn! I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy this splendid season as well. Tell me what you have been up to in the comments!