Friday, November 2, 2012


Hey y'all! We're back- on the blog, and back to Oregon. During our 3-week visit to the East Coast, we caught hell for not following through with the blog this summer. Of course it was not our initial intention to keep a running blog after the roadtrip, but I did write that we would post at least once a month and obviously that didn't happen. Woops. Maybe this can be a special events blog...

Anyway, life on the farm this summer was great, definitely what we wanted and needed. We worked hard to be sure, but had weekends to rejuvenate our bodies and have fun! Southwestern Oregon is such an amazing location. We love it here, nestled in a valley surrounded by old wrinkly mountains (that previously were the bottom of the ocean), and nourished by tall trees (Fir, Pine, Madrone, Oak, etc.) and day after day of the glorious sun. Here are a few glimpses of the sights, though frankly we dropped the ball with photos. Too much fun exploring, swimming and making new friends!

The view from Mt. Ashland looking south into California at Mt. Shasta. Love me some wrinkly mountains!

Our farm stand at the local market. Sweet abundance!

The wild and scenic Rogue River. (Take note of red tahiti that tossed Andrew and I
 unprepared into some fearful rapids nearly sealing our fate!)

The beautiful, crystal clear Smith River, bordered by the magical Redwoods in very upstate California.

My mom standing beside a massive Redwood tree during her visit to Oregon this summer
(though technically this is just over the border into northern California).

Smoky view of the sun setting from Mt. Ashland during the heaviest day of forest fire smoke in August.

After 6 months, we're convinced that this is the region that feels like home. It's amazing to experience the manifestation of our dreams and intentions that were conceived in such a cold, dark place that in many ways feels like the polar opposite of this abundant oasis. The physical landscape here is only the beginning. We've been so blessed to be included in such a nourishing and joyful community- at the farm and among other local farm interns and community members. So naturally, when we decided very recently to get married, we knew we had to make you all come here to Oregon.

Yep, no typpo there kids. It's true. And shocking to those of you who know me best! We're going to get married, and have a wedding even!! After 4 years together (and many more years swearing marriage was not for me), I changed my mind. I realized that marriage can be whatever we want it to be. It feels really good to choose to walk forward together in love, with our eyes and hearts fully open, creating our future from the purest intentions and doing our best to stay true to ourselves. I'm so grateful for the amazing journey it's been for me to simply arrive at this decision. Here I am; here we are. Yeah! Thank you to so many of you for witnessing and supporting me- and us- at so many different stages and places in the journey. We're so excited to celebrate with you!

Choosing a 'path with heart,' decked out with Ruby's magical gifts of engagement bling!

It felt really wonderful to announce the news to both of our families gathered together for the first time- from Pennsylvania, all over upstate New York and even Alaska! Here are some shots of our families together, a definite highlight of our East Coast trip.

This is the next day at the roller rink.
Newell vs. Simmons family spoon game.

My brother, Superman Greg, with little Spiderman Moxy. So cute we could hardly stand it!

And some photos of the rest of our visit and travels throughout upstate New York (where both of my siblings recently relocated) and good ol' crazy PA:

Uncle with the Bethel-born-and-raised Eddy, Ruby & Moxy. Note that Ruby is wearing
an old La Salle field hockey jersey of mine- sweet! 

Simmons farmily in front of the historic Simmons abode in upstate New York.

Woah rollerskating!! Michele, our derby Queen, inspires us all!

Me and my sister-lu, Ashley, in way way way upstate New York
purchasing some hot cider and local apples which we used to bake the best pie EVER!
Another highlight of our travels was attending the wedding of my dear friends Lindsey and Louis in Cape May, New Jersey. It was super fun and I was so honored to be a bridesmaid to my old college field hockey bud. Sorry no pictures of the bridal party, this was all I got:

The woodsman cleans up pretty nicely, huh?  I even shaved my legs!

We're happy to be home on the farm now for what is a slower, simpler way of life that feels really good to us. You can find us here this winter and definitely in the area at least if we do happen to move around next spring. We're looking forward to creating a beautiful space of our own in the near future hopefully. In the mean time, we'll occupy ourselves with work, training, and delicious food, while we seek creative ways to acquire land and move in the direction of our dreams. It's all about the journey though, right? What a blessing to be alive on this beautiful earth during this time of change and expansion!

Thanks for checking in with us. Love you guys!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back to the Land

As the song goes, "... Blow up your tv, throw away your paper, move to the country, build you a home, plant a little [or big] garden, eat a lot of peaches, try to find Jesus [the divine] on your own..."

You didn't miss anything, these are not our children.
It's been two weeks since we landed at the farm, our final destination for the time being. Our internship is going well. We've been working hard- definitely putting our Arnica to good use. Quite an adjustment from sitting in a truck all day! Our bodies are slowly warming up to standing, bending and lifting all day. Fortunately, we've had super delicious food to support our physical transition. Everyone here in our community is a fabulous cook! We are definitely the weakest links, but we're just getting started so there's room for growth.

The first weekend we arrived, one of the goats gave birth to 3 kids. They are the sweetest! Still no names; it's kind of a difficult job. They're growing so fast and are super playful and awkward.

There are also a few sheep (two little lambs), turkeys and about 30 chickens at the farm. Andrew and I have been doing morning and evening chores feeding and taking care of them. The farm fresh eggs are super bright yellow and delicious. We're looking forward to goat milk in the next few weeks and to making our own yogurt, cheese and sour cream. Yum!

Here are some photos of the farm I took one snowy morning a week and a half ago. We love the mountains, trees and the way fog rolls in.

The common house where we cook our meals and hang out.

And a dewy morning a few days later...

And now the photos you've been waiting for (I mean there's at least 3 of you who still read the blog, right? haha) We put up the tipi last weekend after a week of rain, and as it turned out, before a week of rain too! For the record, southern Oregon has dry summers but ehh, not so much in the spring. 

Our forested tipi site- can you see the erected poles?

18 foot diameter tipi (tepee, teepee)- with smoke flaps, liner and all.
Hanging the liner.

Our awesome tipi interior, complete with futon, fire pit and fancy rugs, and Leah's prayer flags...
We're grateful for our own, private space and the connection to the earth with living outside. However, with all the rain we've had the past week, it's been a bit soggy. Ideally tipis are supposed to be pretty water tight if you set them up right. Maybe we just haven't mastered the art of tipi living yet. After drying out this weekend, we've put away our rugs in favor of the plain, base-layer tarps for a while. Once it dries out in another few weeks, we'll be set up pretty cush.

Mastering the art of silhouette puppets in the tipi- obviously
 this is a Platypus... before the injury.

In other tipi drama, Andrew chopped his hand with a hatchet yesterday cutting up kindling for our tipi fire. Thankfully, the damage was minor and didn't require a doctor's visit or much more than a couple big band-aids. Whew. He did choose to abstain from the sauna last night though which was a pretty big bummer. After getting me to wash all his dishes the past day and a half, I caught him today with the same hatchet- chopping away on a wooden spoon project. The guy loves wood, what can be done?

We're expecting to post to our blog this summer, but perhaps only once a month or so. We're definitely keeping busy. More than anything though, who wants to be inside at a computer when it's so beautiful outside? Today it had to be over 60 degrees in the sun. Even the rain is nice. Naturally, we want all of our friends and loved ones to move here right away. :-) 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Out and about in Oregon

We may have promised a more timely post, but like all things in life, friends, patience is a virtue. Hehaw! Have you yet figured out that it is I, Andrew, who has taken the helm for this post? Join me for a photographic journey of our time spent thus far in the fabled land of Oregon.........

Our tale resumes after our departure from Williams in Southern Oregon. We immediately rented a boat and took off for a rollicking time down the Rogue River. Kidding of course. The above photo is a nod to the Simmons' Brothers and Ms. Newell expedition up the Kisaralik River circa July 2011. Photo courtesy of McMenamins Edgefield; more on this to follow. But I digress. Kristy and I actually drove to Ashland for yet another stop on our continental hot springs tour. A crazy turn of events ensued. To make a long story short, we ran into this guy...

It turns out Dan and I grew up in neighboring towns. It also turns out that over 10 years ago, we went to the same college, at the same time, had girlfriends at the time who were themselves friends, and more likely than not shared beers together. I can distinctly remember Dan from college, although his hair then was much longer and more gnarly. We happened to meet Dan at the hot springs in Ashland only after exchanging phone numbers in order to carpool to yet a different hot springs location the following day. Dan began giving me his phone number, and I immediately recognized the 585 Rochester area code. We spent the next few days with Dan and had a great time together.

There are A LOT of photos in this post, so I will keep the writing to a minimum...from Ashland we drove towards Crater Lake, but, sadly, it was not to be...

just kidding...
Kristy and I tried to make it up to Crater Lake but we were snowed out. We decided to go snowshoeing along the Rogue River instead.


It reminded
us somewhat
of Alaska (sigh)
But it's even
Because it's
(No offense

This photo is here to entice certain Alaskans to move to Oregon. Look there are cute turtles here too.

It began raining while we were snowshoeing so we decided to rent a cabin to dry out...and make smores. From the Rogue River we drove north and blessed the Bend, Oregon Walmart with our presence. From there we drove east along the beautiful McKenzie River in search of yet another hot spring.

Cougar Hot Springs along the McKenzie
After a quick dip we continued on towards Eugene where we spent two nights, one in a hostel, and one, you guessed it, in a Walmart lot. We also met our good friend Angela's sister, Mary, for lunch. Kristy and Angela worked at the radio station together in Bethel.

Kristy and Mary
From Eugene we continued east towards the coast. The Oregon coast is nothing short of spectacular. It is rugged and ferocious, rather like a wolverine. It felt wild to have driven from coast to coast to coast. We have now gone over 18,000 miles.

 While on the coast we also stopped to gamble and eat cheese.

Kristy loves cheese and did, in fact, agree to posting this pic 
Unfortunately, we did not win any money. We had our sights set on about $100,000 give or take. Honestly, we were overwhelmed by all the noise and flashing lights. It took us nearly an hour (seriously) to finally figure out how to play the slots. They proved too much for us so we resigned ourselves to the roulette table...where we lost. We hung our heads and left for Portland.

Portland is an awesome city. Besides the rain. Just when we were feeling down and out after gambling away our savings, the city and its rollerderby fever were there to pick us up. We can't wait to see Michele (and Angela, and Leah!) compete in Bethel when we visit this summer. Go ROLLERDERBY!
(Notice the man in the suit and bowtie, btw, in the middle of the rink. He was running around the entire time, keeping score or something. He is awesome and definitely added to the entertainment.) So. When in Portland here are a few things you can do to have fun...

Go to the Japanese Gardens - thanks Michele and Greg!

Buy authentic (though damaged) Afghan rugs for a really amazing price in Multnomah Village.

Drive through 10 inches of fresh snow on your way to Britenbush Hot Springs.

Say hello to the resident deer when you arrive at Britenbush.

And soak...

Quick interlude. We made what may be our last official stop at a hot spring destination when we drove to Britenbush. It's about two hours from Portland and well worth the drive. The scenery is amazing and the soaking tubs are about the best around. Kristy had been waiting for this visit since we began our trip.

And one for good measure!
Kristy's friend Tim and his family put us up when we initially arrived in Portland. We had a great time sharing dinner and conversation and hanging with their family for a few days.

And Michele's parents, George and Evelyne, had us by for lunch and a nice visit as well. Many thanks to the Houston's for housing some of our belongings shipped from Alaska six months ago!

Kristy and Molly at the Edgefield
For the past few weeks we have been staying with Kristy's good friend Molly here in Portland. Kristy and Molly (and Tim) met at Britenbush during a workshop over two years ago. We are so grateful to Molly for hosting us for so long. It has been great just to slow down after all our travels. It's also been nice not having to sleep in any Portland Walmart lots in the rain. 

The Japanese Gardens are awesome. Can you say green? Kristy and I are looking forward to visiting the gardens each season to catch all the colors.

Welcome to my world...
We also went to McMennamins Edgefield - thanks again to Greg and Michele! We had a great dinner and walkabout on the grounds. Greg and Michele were married here nearly seven years ago. The Edgefield's entire interior is a mosaic of unique murals. 

Kristy and I leave tomorrow for Southern Oregon and our farming internship. We may or may not attempt another gambling session on the coast. Wish us luck.

Until next time...

Ta Ta!
P.S.  Stay tuned for pictures of the tipi!!!