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The Year in Review

by Tara

With the new year upon us, I've been revisiting our journal, trying to remind myself of what we've been up to for the past three hundred and sixty five days. When I began writing this, I felt like most of our year had been filled with mundane routine. But, as I pored over our entries and photos, I found myself humbled and in awe of all the things, both planned and unplanned, that transpired.

Star Trails in Central Minnesota

In 2012, we lost a loved one, and narrowly missed losing another. We cradled a newborn nephew, and spent loads of time with friends and family. We built and slept in an igloo. We learned from the Mud Girls how to build with cob, and cut the timber frame for the cottage we'll someday call home. We also made an earthen pizza oven, built a small raised garden bed to replace this weedy behemoth, and learned how to slaughter chickens.

In Loving Memory of Donald R. Marsh Love Welcome to the Family Molly & Sheera Doing the Cob Dance Nauseated Tara Gutting a Chicken Firing Earthen Oven Us Shaping a Rafter

We took a photo each day, cooked and baked and preserved copious amounts of food, learned to love barefoot running, and participated in a book club with our friends Mary and Jack. Tyler and our friend Alex went on an epic 20-mile hike in Glacier National Park, while I challenged myself to a weekend-long solo bike tour. A quick trip to visit our friend Karina in Chicago capped off the summer with a lakeside pig roast and bonfire.

Peppers Crabapples for Crabapple Liqueur Tyler and Alex at Summit of Mt. Siyeh Jack & Mary w/ Their New Kitty Steve Tara Before Solo Bike Tour (taken with Belca Belfoca) Karina Playing Guitar

Towards the end of the year, we went on the best vacation ever with my family in Vermont. A bit later, we drove to Tennessee to visit our friends Pete, Natasha, Jess, and Nick, and went hiking in the Smokies. Then winter came, a proper snowy wonderland, bringing with it numerous holiday celebrations, including three Christmases, two tree-cutting adventures, and 2,800 lights.

Mark, Grandma Jeanne and Lisa on our Land Jess, Tara, and Natasha Mom & Dad Getting the Tree Us Opening a Present Dad and Paul Pulling the Christmas Tree Mom Putting Lights on the Tree Ezra Playing Drum

But our very favorite celebration of the season was our friend Julia's party, at which we celebrated both her birthday, and her victory in the battle versus Hodgkins Lymphoma. GO JULIA!

Julia Dan @ Julia's Birthday Party Julia Playing Laser Tag Dan Playing Laser Tag Fancy Turquoise Drink

Between all of these adventures was work, of course. No matter where we were, Tyler programmed day in and day out so that we could pay off our land and be debt-free. His determination and singular focus is truly astounding to me, and I am deeply grateful for the countless hours of work he logged to make our dreams a reality. Thank you, honey!

Tyler Working (as per usual)

Meanwhile, I wrote a book! A real, 300-page cookbook, with my own advice, tested recipes, and photographs. It's currently in its final stages of editing (by Tyler) and design tweaking (by my friend, Megan), and should be ready to print and release this spring (along with a new blog, book trailer, etc). I'm simultaneously nervous to let it go, and eager to move on to new projects.

Tara Working on the Cookbook Megan & Tara Working on Cookbook Working on my Cookbook Recipe Testing for Cycle Touring Cookbook

2013 is going to be another exciting year, filled with daunting new adventures. We'll release my book, move to Vermont, raise our timber frame, collect reeds, learn to thatch, start building our solar array, and tackle a host of as-yet-unknown projects on our land. I'm excited and nervous about the year to come, but I know that working at it bit by bit, every day, we'll make our dreams come true. It's going to be awesome.

Tyler in his Element (Setting off Fireworks)

Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.

J.K. Rowling