A Hugelkultur-Inspired New Addition to Our Garden

A Hugel-what you might think, and wonder what sort of mad business where up to this time around. Well, fear not – we’ve just glanced towards our beloved neighbors to the south (a.k.a. the Germans) for some cultivation inspiration, learned a whole lot of new stuff and turned an empty corner of our property into a whole new garden area – Hugel-style. Hugelkultur (pronounced Hoo-gul-culture) has indeed been around in German and Eastern European societies for centuries, and is a horticulture technique based on a mound-principle, where different types of layers placed on top of each other create a raised bed-type of growing space that is said to hold moisture much more efficiently and create long-term nutritious soil, as well as act as a form of carbon sequestration. We stumbled upon the term sometime in the spring this year, and as we sold our boat and freed up a large-ish and sunny-ish space on our property, we ruled it the right time and place to expand our growing area and apply some of these genius Hugel-moves. Because really, how could any farmer turn down a growing method promising an almost self-watering, self-fertilizing set up that also locks carbon into the ground?

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Sustainable Consumption

Trust us when we say this: we have many moments where we wish we were blissfully naive and completely unaware of how human kind is wrecking havoc in nature by behaving the way we are. Sometimes, we long for the days before we realized we can’t just go about business as usual – simply because everything felt less complicated. Less guilt-ridden. You could buy whatever you wanted without thinking one bit about the consequences. You could board a plane with excitement only as your companion. You could, to put it simply, live as if there really was was no tomorrow to consider. And here we are now, with a tomorrow that looks quite dire and in much need of a helping hand. 

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20 ways save money (and reduce consumption)

Kicka här för hela inlägget på svenska: 20 sätt att spara pengar (och minska din konsumtion)

As Mike and I decided we were moving to Sweden, we cleaned up our finances immediately. Living according to a strict budget has been our (chosen) everyday since, and we can’t even imagine not, today. Our general consumption has gone from quite all over the place to minimal and very thought-through, and it is much thanks to our low living expenses we can live the way we do today, with plenty of free time and space to pursue the things we love. We also think of these (very) manageable costs as one giant social insurance in itself. If we would run out of work or get sick, or when the day comes when we choose to retire, we won’t be sitting here with piles and piles of bills, unable to afford a much too expensive lifestyle we’ve gotten used to. We won’t need to dramatically change the way we live due to drastically different circumstances at some point in the future – simply because we already did that (change the way we live, that is). And of course we’re all different, but we’d much rather take that step when in full control, and not when forced to.

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Lång version av Klimatklubbenintervjun

For our Swedish speaking readers: Klimatklubbens grundare Maria Soxbo, Emma Sundh och Johanna Nilsson publicerade en kort intervju med Mike på deras Instagram förra veckan. Svaren där fick bli kortfattade pga. platsbrist, så vi bad om tillåtelse att få dela den fullständiga versionen här istället. Frågorna kretsar kring tema livsstilsförändring, och vi hoppas att ni uppskattar läsningen 🙂

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Our First Kayaking Endeavor

It all started this late winter, when we glanced at the boat outside of our window. A Flipper 575 (think typical medium-sized hard top motor boat), resting on a somewhat rickety boat trailer and covered by a generous amount of snow. Bettan. That had been her name for the 20+ years she’d been in the family, and she had indeed taken us to many glorious, wondrous, breathtakingly beautiful places around the archipelago and helped create many, many happy memories. When Mike and I took over the house 2 years, Bettan came as a part of the deal. Sweet, we thought, back in NYC. A house AND a boat. We’ll be living the life. But then… pieces shifted and the (preferred) look of our specific puzzle changed. Bettan’s past-its-glory-days engine caused us a massive headache, for one. We also realized that moving a giant boat is an incredibly stressful thing to do (we started calling the drives with trailer and boat “death rides”). And boats and all the equipment cost a ridiculous amount of money. So this winter, we started thinking. Is boating really our thing? Well, maybe, we thought. We love exploring uninhabited islands and get access to parts we couldn’t get to otherwise. We think the archipelago (and especially its outer parts) is out of this world gorgeous. But is it worth the stress and the money of keeping a boat? Definitely no. And how do we feel about puttering around this pristine place, using an old 2-stroke engine spewing out emissions and relying on fossil fuels to move forward? Not very good. So as hard as it can be to part ways with an old ”friend”, Bettan got to move to a new home this spring – and we were left with a freed up, big corner of the property that will soon be turned into another vegetable patch, some money in our pocket… and a desire to learn how to kayak.

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Listen to us on the Husky Podcast! (If you’d want to, that is.)

To read more about the episode and listen, click Episode 28 – “Live Slow Run Far” with Michael and Sophia Miracolo.

You can also find the episode directly through Acast or search for Husky through your preferred podcast app.

When Magnus Ormestad, the downright awesome person behind Husky Podcast, contacted us earlier this spring about a potential interview, we got – in true Mike and Sophia spirit – very nervous. Like super nervous. Who are we to be on a podcast? And what on earth are we going to say? Well, it turns out we had no problem talking for 2 hrs straight, touching upon our respective upbringings, how we first met, life back in New York City, our beloved island Yxlan, running, racing and race struggles, life challenges and philosophies, gardening and vegetable growing – and maybe most of all, the importance of trying to choose a life that (actually) makes you happy. And leading a life sustainable for this planet.

The nervousness wore off pretty quickly after we sat down in the studio, and we ended up having a great time – but we’d lie if we didn’t say those nerves have returned now, when the episode is out. But challenges and fears are meant to be overcome, so here we are – going public with our voices and sharing personal stories and fun anecdotes alike. Some of the stories, we’ve touched upon here or on Instagram already. Some will be brand new. Altogether, they paint a very nice introduction to who we are and what led us to choosing this far-away-from-the-norm kind of life.

Oh, and if the part about competitive racing and race related nerves struck a chord with you, you might also enjoy this piece that I, Sophia, wrote for Trail Sisters: Confronting and Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Other blog posts telling bits of our past include: Thank you Life Part 1 and Part 2, Decompression and About saying no (but really, more about saying yes).

No more stress, please

Women sitting on rocks in Stockholm Archipelago

I’m not really sure what this blog post will turn out like, but I figured I’ll just give it a go anyway. Sometimes, when an idea or main topic doesn’t strike me immediately, I get a little frustrated. It’s like a mini writer’s block settles in, and my mind starts to go in circles in an attempt to come up with the best and most interesting blog post ever. Now that can get a little stressful and take away from the fun, so I’m leaving those thoughts behind me right now. We’re having an unusually slow Sunday morning today, Mike and I (this post has taken me some time to write, so this very part was typed down last weekend). We ran a 50k race yesterday and are feeling a little achy here and there, and are enjoying just taking it easy for a bit. We both had oatmeal when we woke up, and Mike has since then transitioned to doing some school work (he’s taking Swedish and a photo editing class this semester, all online). I’ve been folding laundry and taking care of our plant “babies” (aka seedlings and teenage seedlings), moving some of them outside to get them used to the great outdoors. You know, a morning of this and that.

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Garden Plan 2019

It’s taken us a little too long to get this post in order, but better late than never, right? While some of us started the gardening season in January-February, most are after all just about coming out of winter hibernation and only beginning to think about what to grow this year, so we hope this piece will come in handy and be enjoyable for all of you, novices and professionals (well, maybe not) alike. We’re beyond excited for this second season of vegetable gardening – both because we know the endless joy it’ll bring and the wonderful food it’ll serve up, but also because we’re eager to practice the lessons we learned last year and streamline our little operation as much as we can. Even though we’ve only been at this for one teeny tiny year, it’s fun to notice how much we have in fact picked up and feel comfortable doing (and not doing) this time around.

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Fear of Cancer, Climate Change and Inadequacy – How I’m Learning to Overcome and Let Go

Do you ever experience fear and feel scared? I do. In fact, I think I’ve spent more time with fear than any other emotion throughout my life. But it’s a complex concept, fear. Personally, I’ve been both carefree and adventurous, gone bungy jumping, sky diving and traveling all over the world without so much as a hint of a safety minded approach. But making a phone call to someone unknown – be it a new hair dresser, the tax agency or the local supermarket – and I start sweating. Over the years, it’s become quite clear what categories of life situations freak me out and the ones that don’t. Recently, however, I’ve experienced a sudden and quite overwhelming change in my emotional life. Up until about 6 months ago, I’ve been very whatever as far as any physical issues or problems of mine. I’ve only been to the doctor a handful of times in my life (and those times were all following horse related accidents) and haven’t spent many seconds worrying about my physical health. And then my mom got breast cancer, almost exactly 1.5 years ago.

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Our Food Philosophy

A tale of vegetarianism, plant-based eating, never saying no to dessert and sticking with seasonal produce

A while back, I wrote my inaugural food-themed blog post (A few thoughts on food and nutrition) and I loved putting it together. As an athlete with high energy demands as well as a woman recovered from years and years of disordered eating, the topic of food is close to my heart. But. It’s not close to my heart in an obsessive, over-controlling kind of way, anymore. It’s not close to my heart in a my-life-circles-around-what-I-eat kind of way. Food is my fuel. Food is satisfying. Food can heal you, warm you, create memories with you. Food is great. But boy, have we made it complicated. Diets left, right and center. New “superfoods” every week. It’s exhausting, just keeping up with it all. Those were some of the thoughts and themes I chose to write about in that first post. In this one, however, I’d like to share how we actually eat, Mike and I. What our food philosophy is, in other words, and how we ended up eating the way we do today. Now, does one really need to have a “food philosophy”? Of course not. In a way, one could argue sharing something like this is feeding into that food is complicated circus. But our thoughts aren’t so much about grams of sugar, detoxes and eating clean as they are about appreciating the resources we have on hand, treating this planet with great care and making sure our own bodies get enough fuel to take us wherever we want to be taken. Food is precious, yet human kind is treating it as… well, something not so precious, unfortunately.

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