‘Misc.’ Category

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2013.

Posted on January 1st, 2013 by Tonia 1 Comment

Image courtesy of Bayfield, Wisconsin’s Hannah Stonehouse Hudson: Sunrise over Lake Superior, first day of 2013.

Hi friends! How were your holidays? We are still finding bits of Christmas wrapping paper in weird places around the house, recovering from all the over-eating, and trying to settle back into a work schedule after a gloriously long break from computers and phone-calls and to-do lists. It’s not an easy transition to make, hence here I am typing a blog post instead of facing that ugly mountain of work! Thanks for the distraction! I can always count on you guys to have my back, that’s why I love ya.

If you follow me here and here, you saw that we ended up staying home for Christmas instead of going to our families’ houses because of a badly-timed broken propane boiler. My family swooped in and saved the day by bringing their Christmas meal and all the merriment to us! We ate well, played games and exchanged gifts and it was so nice to not have to drive anywhere. I could get used to this broken-boiler-business, actually. It might just mysteriously break every year from now on..

But, sadly the broken boiler meant we missed out on spending very much time with Mike’s side of the family, so we’re headed down to them in MN this weekend to make up for lost time and to bite our nails through the first NFL Playoff game between the Packers (yaaaaay!) and the Vikings (boooo!) all together. Mike and I will be the only Packer fans in the room, so please pray for us. 😉

Last night, we celebrated the last evening of 2012 and the dawn of 2013 at a friend’s house down the road. It was about zero degrees (F) once the sun went down, but that didn’t stop a group of about eight of us from x-country skiing around their property. We wound through tall pine woods and over farm fields and in-between 100-year-old apple trees. The stars and moon were out in full force, lighting our way and giving us an excuse to occasionally stop and catch our breath. The sky was so massive and blanketing. We looked like little black ants under its cover.

Back at the house there was a sauna heating up, chili on the stove and gallons of clementine-rosemary cocktails waiting for us. Nothing feels better than a warm cabin and amazing food and some booze after a good ski. Conversations and laughter swelled right up until 11:59 when someone shouted “Oh Shit! It’s almost midnight!” and we all quickly refilled our glasses and scooted next to the person we would kiss.

There’s a lot on the brink for our group of friends in 2013. One couple is moving away for a job opportunity (the kind you move away for, because it’s that good.) One couple is having a baby. One couple is getting married. And a whole slew of us are soldering on with various irons in the fire. We are all so blessed to have each other for support, encouragement and, when needed, distraction. The same person I can debate politics with or confide struggles to is the same person I can crack open a PBR with and say “that’s what she said” to. Looking around the room last night I thought about how friends like this are so incredibly priceless and necessary and rare and beautiful, and how I feel like the luckiest person alive to have them.

So far so good, 2013. So far so good.

I’ve gotta get to work here, so I’ll leave you with a list of things you may have missed recently if you don’t keep up with me on Instagram or Twitter. Happy New Year!!

1. We butchered our turkeys. “Thanksgiving” the tom was 37 lbs, dressed! Photo from his last day right here, and photo of the end result right here.

2. We went to Lambeau for a Packer game with Jenn and Trevor and froze our butts off like any good fans would do. It was a blast!

3. We made our first sausages with shoulder meat from the pig. It’s delicious.

4. We made a little wooden barn for Christmas for our niece Amelia, so she can play with her wooden animals in it. She loved it.

5. Mike welded a tree stand for our funny-shaped Christmas tree. It even holds water! We might be on to something. Should we start an Etsy shop? LOL! P.S. Benefit of trees/tree-stands like this is that they take up very little floor-space.

Welcome, winter

Posted on November 28th, 2012 by Tonia 3 Comments

We’re back from Chicago, and a certain someone-who-has-had-the-bed-all-to-herself-while-we-were-gone is not overly excited about it. Nice to see you too, Cleo.

“Oh, hi. This spot is taken.”

“No, seriously. There’s no room for you.”

Good to know she was just fine here all alone, I guess.

How was your Thanksgiving? We quite enjoyed romping around the city with our family.

As predicted, we arrived home to a significant amount of snow on the ground and coating the trees. It’s a full-blown winter wonderland! I have to say I am excited to usher in the next season. Winter means things like soup, hot chocolate, saunaing, skiing, knitting, and baking get to happen on a regular basis, and I’m a fan of all of those things.

Cleo can keep the bed– I’ll be out playing in the snow.

Date Night Done Right {and The Greenhorns}

Posted on November 14th, 2012 by Tonia No Comments

Mike and I went on a date last night to our local theater {StageNorth} where the Bay Area Film Society was showing a film called The Greenhorns about the recent wave of young people across the country who are turning to farming as a career and lifestyle. There was good turnout for the event- mostly farmers and people interested in farming/local food- and the film society got a local BBQ master to cater. We loaded our plates with pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad and chatted about hoop houses and winter composting with our friends.

When the film started, we were handed bags of organic heirloom popcorn, covered in organic butter provided by one of the local dairies, and a bar of dark organic chocolate. As much as we enjoyed the film {although, it was preaching to the choir a little bit…}, the movie-snacks were a highlight for me! I’m a sucker for dark chocolate, what can I say! It was so fun to snuggle up next to Mike with our delicious snacks, surrounded by most of our closest friends.

After the film, there was a panel discussion with five organic farmers from the area {all of which are in their late 20’s and early 30’s}. The film was a great conversation starter, and some great questions were raised and discussed. It was unanimously decided that we are all so lucky to live in an area that is supportive to the local food movement, and that we have so many young people who are willing to devote their lives to the hard, hard work of growing food for the community.

The party eventually moved to a pub in town, and we didn’t end up getting home until after midnight. Not bad for a Tuesday!

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!