baby-girksMy small family (husband, daughter, and myself), arrived in southwest Wisconsin in the summer of 2016. We left the San Francisco Bay Area, where we had been for many years. While the decision was confounding to many, it made sense to us. We wanted zero time spent commuting – before the move my husband routinely spent three hours of every day getting in and out of San Francisco. We wanted a normal mortgage – not the monsters that come with the Bay Area lifestyle. I wanted to quit my job as an archaeological consultant and grow food – much more than would fit in the four raised beds I had in our backyard in Martinez, California.

We had people in Wisconsin, so it wasn’t as if we made the journey by covered wagon and had to clear a patch of forest before we could unpack our trunks. That said, a fairly intimidating tornado that had us holed up in a convenience mart outside Des Moines, Iowa, on the drive east made it clear that the Midwest did not intend on rolling over and becoming a temperate little lamb to accommodate our delicate sensibilities.

So, my work is becoming seasonal – I have 680 grape vines being shipped from New York in May of this year. I’m inspired here – the winter light is thin and the wind literally howls. This blog is a place to appreciate a region and landscape that is new to me (the cheeses, the glaciers, oh my) and record our time here (these grapes aren’t going to plant themselves). I make a solemn vow to limit the number of photos I post of our five chickens, whom I adore. I just lied – chickens are super photogenic. The name of the blog, Begynne, honors our new beginning in Norwegian, the language of some of the first Europeans to settle the area we now call home.