Saturday, January 26th, 2013 | kubb | No Comments
Kubb unites people and creates peace on earth.
Sets For Sale!
We are in the infant stages of growing our Kubb Farm. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we grow our dream!
We accept cash, credit cards and checks and offer free home delivery in the Chippewa Valley.
The Kubb Standard $60
This Kubb set is made in the USA by MadWood lumber of a slow growing Southern Pine. The size of the pieces meets standards for tournament play and we’ve found it to be an excellent Kubb set for the beginner and for the Kubb enthusiast.
Kubb is an amazingly addictive and fun outdoor yard game. I was introduced to it a few years ago and haven’t stopped playing since, and I hope to toss some lumber with you some day, too. On this site you will eventually find more information and a video series to help you understand the basics and developing strategy.
My dad, son and I are a grandfather/father/son Kubb team named “the Ringers”. We won the US National Championship in 2010, beating out 64 teams. To prove it wasn’t a fluke (mostly to ourselves) we headed down to Rockford, Illinois in May of 2011 and accidentally came out on top of 48 teams this time. Above all, Kubb brings us together with all sorts of other people, and that’s what it is all about.
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 | travel | No Comments
I suppose it might be helpful for you, our dear readers, to have a little introduction to me. My name is Aaron Ellringer and I have been selling coffee for Farmer to Farmer for over 8 years, primarily through a food co-op, Just Local Food, that started out of my garage with friends. This past year I left my grocery job and signed a contract with Farmer to Farmer to help sell more great coffee and fortify connections between folks in Central America and my friends and neighbors in Western Wisconsin and beyond. I live in Eau Claire Wisconsin with my wife and three kids. I like to ride bikes, take pictures, explore our local habitat with my kids and work with others on interesting projects.
When I first started working for Farmer to Farmer in May of 2012 I thought I knew a lot about coffee. I’ve been drinking it for years, and was personally involved in securing Farmer to Farmer coffee for Just Local Food in the early days of our startup. It wasn’t until I started representing the coffee in several other retail stores that I learned the extent of my ignorance. While I have heard many stories from Farmer to Farmer members who have made trips to the coffee farms, I still lack a crucial personal connection to the growers that can translate into increased sales and education. In fact, I was only a few months into the job when I realized that I was in over my head, and truly needed to visit the farmers in Guatemala and Honduras in order to really perform my job well.
I have a varied background in farming, and over the past 15 years have had the great privilege of working on, visiting and promoting a great variety of farms. I have developed a keen eye for what questions and concerns consumers have, and bring this knowledge with me to Central America where I hope to develop a comprehensive understanding of coffee production and distribution as it pertains specifically to our organization.
More than coffee, though, this organization is really about relationships and cultural understanding. I look forward to sharing with the farmers where their coffee ends up – who is brewing up their beans, and why? And what can I do to further support their work and struggle to achieve decent living conditions and fair compensation?
As my plane descends into San Pedro Sula, the butterflies in my belly are busy. I’m nervous. I don’t speak spanish. I’ll be away from my family for a long time. I barely know those that I’m traveling with. Yes, I’m way out of my comfort zone and I’m ready for adventure, heartache, peace and understanding.
I love Star Wars. It was a huge part of imaginative play for me when I was young. I’ve only seen the “real” Star Wars, what we now know as episodes 4 to 6. I’ve been waiting until my son is 8 to introduce the series to my kids. I wanted to deeply share the films with both of my older children. Allow them to savor each episode, discuss and analyze the themes. Tear it apart.
In an act of pure torture, this whole scheme meant that my daughter had to wait until she was ten and a half to see the films. Many of her schoolmates saw them at 3 or 4 years old. I’m glad we waited, and I think she appreciates it too. There was so much anticipation, adding weight to the films. This wasn’t just a summer flick. This was something important. A passage into an adult world of good and evil.
I waited to expose my kids to Star Wars until 8yo for many reasons. When it comes to movies, shows and screens I’ve been pretty conservative compared to what I’ve seen with other parents, including my own. A recent episode of This American Life featured a story about a six year old watching “the Shining” and what it did to him, and this radio show validated some of my parenting choices. I don’t know when I saw the shining, but I was young. I had nightmares.
As a PR guy for local food, one of my main points in speeches and presentations is “you are what you eat”. I get pretty deep and spiritual with it, explaining how every thing you put in your mouth ends up becoming part of you. I also spread it out into a bigger picture, and it comes into focus as a quasi-religion that I’m preaching for. It’s not just what you eat. You are what you drink, what you breathe. What you WATCH. A friend had a young son that watched Shrek. He was fairly well behaved until then. Immediately after that, and for an excrutiatingly long time, he started to ROAR “like Shrek”. It was obnoxious. And had that kid not watched the dreadful movie at such an impressionable age, he wouldn’t have done that. Or maybe not. It’s easy to judge and analyze other people’s kids…
Well, in our household we have the two older kids, 8 and 10, who got to see Star Wars – Ira, now 3, has to wait. I had a long running joke that they would ALL have to wait until Ira was 8 to watch it, because that would only be fair. Of course the daily talk and interplay since watching Star Wars got to Ira, so that even though he hasn’t seen the movie, he knows all the names and moves. As the third, and proportionally younger child, he is most certainly being raised in a completely different environment than my other kids – much more chaotic and really loud. So while Sy would have never touched a gun or fought with swords at 3, Ira does. They are and will be different kids.
So this summer we rode our bikes to the Blockbuster store across the highway. It became a regular event, and the guys at the store knew us by name and started harassing us about our Star Wars addiction. “You HAVE to rent Spaceballs!” this one guy kept saying. We stuck to 4, 5and 6. It was awesome, and I enjoyed the films just as much as I did when I was a kid.
Saturday, November 12th, 2011 | food, other | No Comments
For the past few years we’ve had a semi load of Cowsmo Compost delivered to the farm. If you look at this picture, you’ll see why. Most of the corn you see is light, pale and not very productive. Notice the bright green, tall patch? That’s where we had a pile of Cowsmo. Same seed, same soil.
We bag and sell Cowsmo compost at Just Local Food, and load it with the tractor and deliver it by the yard with the pickup truck.
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 | family | No Comments
I like visiting Cumberland. On Mother’s Day we had a nice stop at the City Park in Cumberland. We played soccer and found a geocache. Spent some time on the swings. Then we headed up 63 to have a great dinner at the Bistro.
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | other | No Comments
We’ve built a few blurbird houses and mounted them around the yard here in town. All of them have had a variety of nests built in them. Here’s our favorite so far.
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | kubb | No Comments
The Ringers took a little field trip down to Rockford Illinois in May. My dad hadn’t been there since the 60′s, and I’d never been. We were invited to the Swedish historical Society Kubb Tournament in Downtown Rockford. My friend Eric sent me narrated directions so we had a nice drive into town, seeing different ethnic neighborhoods and a few brownfields. Highlights were the Hells Angels clubhouse (apparently they still use bombing as a murder method) and an Italian restaurant named Capri. We played Kubb in a nice park and met a lot of great people from around the country. I liked Rockford and plan to go back because of all the great people we met.
The Ringers applied our berserker method of Kubb which remains successful. The berserker method means we play to win and take no prisoners. We exploit any and all weaknesses. And our goal is never simply to hold them back, but to make progress every round. Every round another kubb goes down or we aren’t satisfied. And if you give us a line, we’ll use it. There were a few challenging games but overall we cruised to victory, coming out on top of 48 teams to earn the Championship title of the second largest Kubb tournament outside of Europe.
I learn more Viking history every time I play. Now I know that the game of Kubb was spread throughout Northern Europe by the vikings early on . I’m pretty certain the village my ancestors are named after, Ehlerang, was named such for the “ringers” back in Luxembourg that probably destroyed other clans on the Kubb court hundreds of years ago. Those genes have been refined and passed down through generations. The Ringers are here to stay.
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | family | No Comments
I’ve been going to this place since I was a kid. I get scared every time I climb the tower, and my legs shake when I get back down all the way to the bottom. Now my kids are climbing it every year, too. We visit family and ancestors along the way. If there is a homeland, a longing deep inside for a particular geographical location, a deep connection to land – this is it for me. Along HWY 74 in Minnesota you’ll find an amazing treasure trove of nature and immigrant history, including those of my family coming from Luxembourg to this paradise we call home – the upper Mississippi, the driftless area. Now lined by the Dorer pools housing countless birds and reptiles, the Whitewater River carved a beautiful, bountiful valley. Climb the Elba Fire tower and you can see it all.
Monday, May 30th, 2011 | family, food | No Comments
I’ve become more serious about farming this year. I’m still in the question-asking phase. What does it mean to be a farmer? To grow food? How much? What if you fail, are you still a farmer? Do you need to make money at it?
We have a family farm. My parents have 10 acres near town, and I spend at least part of a few days out there every week. Dad and mom do most of the work, but I help with planning and labor. The kids help out too. This year is a big experiment in cultivating and planting two acres. We have a tractor to help with some of the jobs, but most things are done by hand.
I think of my grandpa Sy a lot. I remember him as a hard working farmer, and he died working on a tractor. I think he was pretty successful as a farmer, raising a whole lot of kids and animals and food. I like this picture because it shows him vulnerable, making a mistake. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I’m making – mistakes!
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 | animals, family, food | No Comments
We’re producing about a dozen and a half eggs per day. That’s more than our family can eat. We’ve found selling on the road an easy way to meet neighbors. Bonus for it being legal, too. We put our ungraded mixed colored eggs in a cooler by the road with a sign nearby. Inside the cooler there is a brief description of the eggs and a suggested price. People voluntarily pay on average exactly what we would charge if we wanted to have a set price, which we don’t!
Today was the first day I put out our new sign. I sold a dozen before I could walk away from it. We sold out by afternoon. We have enough money in the farm jar to afford a new batch of chicks for the spring. We hope to have 50 layers as a top end, which would hopefully be enough to break even.