Archive for September, 2012

Raising Backyard Pigs: Apple-y Treat!

Posted on September 26th, 2012 by Tonia 4 Comments

We’ve discussed how Miss Piggy loves mud. But recently we discovered another love of hers: apple mush! After pressing cider, Mike dumped the leftover chewed-up apple pieces into her pen. Happy munching noises ensued immediately.

Nom nom nom nom…

First Day of Fall

Posted on September 23rd, 2012 by Tonia 4 Comments

It’s full-fledged fall around here. These past couple weeks have been pure heaven for fall-lovers like me: The colors are changing, the days are sunny but there’s a nip in the air, I’ve broken out the wool socks, we’ve made soup with one of the massive squashes in our garden, and apples are ripe and ready for the pickin’! And pick we did:

Saturday morning we headed out with a few friends into the neighborhood to poach apples from peoples’ yards.

That sounds way more bad-ass than it really was. Explanation: The apple trees on our property are in their off year {apple trees naturally produce fruit every-other year unless they’re manipulated via pruning to produce every year}, so we called around town asking neighbors if they’d be okay with us picking some of their apples. The answer was ‘yes’ in every case. We ended up only needing to visit two trees, and we filled the whole bed of the truck!

No husbands were harmed during the climbing of this tree….

We headed back to our place to eat lunch, press cider, and play a little touch football in the field. I made the winning touchdown. I’m not even going to re-structure that sentence to sound less gloat-y. It was a big moment for me. Sadly there is no photographic proof.

This year’s cider is sweeter than last year’s. It’s incredible how different it tastes depending on the mixture and variety of apples you use. We pressed 16 gallons of cider from all these apples, some of which will be fermented into apple cider vinegar and hard cider.

A toast to my favorite time of year: May the nip in the air remind you you’re alive, make you snuggle closer to the one you love, and provoke a feeling of gratitude for the simplest pleasures and privileges in life- the roof over your head, the food in your belly.  Happy Equinox!

Raising Backyard Chickens: Eggs!

Posted on September 23rd, 2012 by Tonia No Comments

Our layers laid their first eggs! They’re so small, they fit side by side in the palm of my hand. We’re going to need about 8 more before we can make an omelet….But we’re so proud of our girls!! Nice work, ladies.

Two {freakin awesome} years

Posted on September 18th, 2012 by Tonia 13 Comments

Happy two year anniversary to my favorite person! Waking up today to clear blue skies, a nip in the air, fall colors and sunshine brought memories flooding back from our wedding day. Thank you to all the friends and family who made that weekend so incredible. We are so blessed!!

Mike, so much has happened since we said our vows under the cedar arbor you made. That arbor now stands rooted out in our back field. We planted grape vines under it this summer, and in a few years they will have climbed all the way up its posts to create a shady canopy. I imagine we’ll sit there in the shade together on summer evenings and talk about where we’ve been and where we’re going.

In two years we’ve made this place a home, learned how to keep a large garden alive, we’ve raised animals for companionship and for food, we’ve made friends, we’ve grown our business and started new businesses, we’ve traveled, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve grown. I have you to thank for all of this, my partner and my best friend. I love my life, and I love you Mike! ♥


P.S. We’re back from CA! It’s so good to be home. It could be because we were working our tails off outside in the 90+ degree heat all day for eight days, but it turns out I’m not a fan of Southern Cali. It’s dirty, the traffic is phenomenally horrid {like, I feared for my life every time I had to get on the freeway}, and {I don’t really know how to put this…} the people who live there seem to value material things and money over basically everything else.

BMWs and Benzes everywhere. 30 million dollar homes. Fancy sunglasses. Even the middle class seems to be trying to come across as wealthier than they are. Everyone aspires to live like a millionaire. It’s….creepy. I don’t know how else to say it. I’m sorry if this observation offends any CA readers. I’m sure that not everyone in CA is this way, but it was certainly my observation that in general, the cultural value system is focused around money and materialism. And it weird-ed us out.

I’m sure that many people out there would look at how we live and think, “Gross! They have to go outside and chop firewood and stoke a stove in order to not freeze to death!! Who would want to live that way.” Or on the other hand there are many people who live even more simply and more low-impact than we do and they would tell us we’re the ones who are materialistic. And that’s fine. We’re all different, and there’s no necessarily right or wrong way to go about living life. But for us, coming home felt like going on vacation compared to how most people in CA live.

We came home to a blast of fall weather and fresh, clean air and the slow pace of life in the Northwoods. And Keith at the bakery in town said, “Hey welcome back! How was Cali? Are you having the usual?” And crappy cars! Or rather, normal cars. The kind of cars that you can drive on slippery roads and pack full of your kids’ hockey gear. I could not be happier/more thankful about where we live. It seems that every time I leave, I’m reminded that I belong here.

This week my mom is coming to help me harvest the garden and preserve massive amounts of tomatoes, kale, peppers and beans. We’re going to my friend Sarah’s yoga class tonight. There’s talk of an apple cider pressing party with friends later in the week. We made our first fire of the season in the woodstove last night and I wore wool socks.