Cliff and Nancy Hill

Nothing fishy about this traditional boil

September 10, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dating back to the late 1800s, fish boils were a tradition of Scandinavian immigrants to Door County, Wis. Nowadays there is not a respectable Wisconsin “Supper Club” in Door County worth its salt that does not feature a fish boil on Friday or Saturday evenings, summer through fall. In 2000, Barbara Bull, owner of Cherry Point Farm, traveled to Door County, Wis. for a cherry growers meeting and while there experienced, for the first time, one of the area’s famous fish boils. “Eureka,” she said, “I had found the perfect ingredient to compliment the 600 acres of orchards, gardens, vineyards and woodlands where more than 200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs are produced and harvested on Cherry Point Farm.” Thus began a new tradition at Cherry Point Farm, the Friday and Saturday evening fish boils during the months of June, July, August and September. “Fish boils are gatherings.” says Bull. “Area locals, out-of-state tourists, and resorters gather and make new friends while partaking in, many for the first time, a unique culinary experience.” It has been said by some that the worst winter they had ever spent “was a summer in Michigan.” This past summer in Michigan was one such summer, being one of the coolest on record. This particular Friday was no exception. It had rained off and on all day and it was 60 degrees when we arrived at Cherry Point Farm, but we were cheered by the sight of 5,000 blooming red petunias planted at the entrance of the farm market building. Previously, along with 77 others, we had made the required reservations for the evening’s fish boil. Our concerns about no-shows were laid to rest as the parking lot soon filled with the evening’s entire roster. The weather cooperated, the rain stopped, and outside over a stone lined fire pit Ven Martinez, the “boil master,” had already stoked a fire under and around a water- filled specially crafted 30-gallon pot. Martinez’s vital responsibility was to establish and maintain a rolling boil in the pot. Tonight it proved to be a difficult task because of the damp wood, but he succeeded admirably. Promptly at 6 p.m., Barb Bull announced that the fish boil was about to commence. Holding cups of […]

Wish you were there on trip of lifetime

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

 Our mixed tour group of 40 travelers hailed mostly from West Michigan along with two smaller groups from Virginia and Montana. We traveled by plane, by luxurious motorcoach, on cruise ferries, and on the incredible Rocky Mountaineer Train. From start to finish, every detail of our 10-day adventure was all-inclusive and arranged by Holiday Vacations. We were led by Lamb, who prides herself on delivering unsurpassed personal service so we all could sit back, relax and leave the details to her. Meals and accommodations throughout were top shelf. James guaranteed the weather and came through with 10 bluebird days without a drop of rain. He even managed to have all our plane connections on time with no lost luggage to boot! On day one, accompanied by Lamb, the West Michigan group departed from Gerald Ford Airport on Delta Airlines to make a connecting flight and hook up with the two smaller groups in Minneapolis. In Seattle, Wash., we spent the late afternoon and enjoyed overnight accommodations with an incredible unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier from our hotel room windows. On the following days, we visited the Canadian cities of Victoria on the island of Vancouver, Vancouver City on the mainland of British Columbia, Kamloops B.C., plus Banff and Calgary in the Canadian Province of Alberta. At each stop along the way, a local guide joined us aboard comfortable well-appointed motorcoaches to expertly narrate information of the areas’ history and local attractions. At points during each motorcoach tour, we disembarked to get a first-hand feel and taste of what we were seeing. We could write a book about what we experienced on this tour. But unless you had experienced it yourself, words would not suffice. This is really a story of natural wonders, of breathtaking vistas, endless snowcapped majestic mountains, rushing streams, waterfalls, azure blue lakes, and abundant wildlife. We even witnessed a lightning-caused forest fire on the train segment. All along the way, we were struck by the hospitality and friendliness of our Canadian neighbors to the north. Too numerous to individually mention, some of our favorite trip highlights include Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Capilano Suspension Bridge (including a walk in the rainforest treetops), the amazing Rocky Mountaineer Railroad, glacier-fed Moraine Lake, and the Columbia […]

Squire goes to Canadian Rockies

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

Recently, Squire reporters Cliff and Nancy Hill traveled to the Canadian Rockies with a bundle of The Rockford Squire newspapers and a 40-member tour group hosted by retired Wood TV8 Chief Meteorologist Craig James. Pictured (from left) are our globe-hopping staffers Nancy and Cliff, along with horse trainer and equestrian Marjas Becker of Gainesville, Fla., and Craig James, who came through on a guarantee of perfect weather for the entire 10 days. The unbelievably turquoise blue lake in the background is Peyto Lake, a glacial lake at the base of 7,000-foot Bow Mountain. Here, 100 miles north of Banff, Alberta Canada, the group displays recent Squire editions. James is holding the Dec. 3, 2008, edition where he received front-page coverage in debunking the current theory of placing total blame on mankind for being the entire cause of the latest cycle of global warming.   Watch next weeks Squire for the whole story.

Couple bet their farm on ‘green’ community

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF and NANCY HILL Last summer The Rockford Squire published a series of articles highlighting a cross-section of vendors at the Rockford Farm Market. There were no plans to continue the series this year, but a young couple has recently been awarded a coveted weekly slot at the farm market and theirs is a compelling story. Rachelle and Andrew Bostwick, owners of Earthkeeper Farm, no longer have to rise at 3:00 a.m. Saturday mornings to secure one of four to five stalls set aside for those not holding season-long reservations. Regular status makes life much easier as regulars need only to arrive no later than 7:30 a.m. to set up their stalls. The Bostwicks had the good fortune of replacing a vendor of dog treats who opted not to return this year. (Fear not, dog bones are still available at the Great Harvest Bread Co. stall.) Prior to purchasing their 20-acre farm, the Bostwicks had spent many a growing season working as apprentice farmers in places such as New York and as far away as Mexico and Spain. They did so working under an umbrella organization known as the Cooperative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT). In 2007, it was time to put their training and education into practice on their own newly purchased farm. Most young couples, when purchasing property, look for such things as the square footage of the home, number of bedrooms and baths, and a litany of amenities. Not so, this couple. Rachelle said, “Our number one criteria was the quality and fertility of the soil. So after looking at somewhere between 20 and 30 properties, we found what we were looking for on Fruit Ridge Avenue in Kent City, and embarked on a dream of becoming sustainable organic farmers.” Four of the 12 tillable acres of Earthkeeper Farm are currently in production. The remaining acreage consists of pastures and woodlots. During the growing season, they employ students and, as Rachelle laughingly says, “conscripted in-laws.” The Bostwicks strictly adhere to the principles of sustainable agriculture with a goal of, hopefully, starting the process of being certified as an organic farm in 2010. “Sustainable agriculture refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, without causing severe or irreversible […]

RHS Centennial Class of ’84 opens time capsule

July 2, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Once in a while a newsworthy event happens in Rockford that isn’t a carbon copy of the exact same thing the year before. The following is our coverage of just such a story. The seeds (no pun intended) for this story were planted in May 1984 when the senior graduating class of Rockford High School (RHS) decided to bury a time capsule containing mementos of the times and of their high school years. This was a special class, because they were the 100th graduating class of the Rockford School System. Being special, they wanted to celebrate their centennial graduation in a special way. Unique for the times, it was decided to use a concrete burial vault for the time capsule and to paint the exterior in the Rockford school colors of orange and black. So it came to pass on a school day in early May 1984, just prior to graduation, that the 289 members of the senior class assembled as reported in the May 15 edition of The Rockford Squire newspaper, “to bury a friend of theirs last week. As a matter of fact, they buried lots of friends, ranging from an old beat-up pair of red high-topped tennis shoes (with an interesting past), to a class ring. The class stood around the huge cement box, filling it with newspapers, magazines, clothes, books, sports memorabilia and even an old horn from the band room. The seniors tried to capture a little bit of everything-of what their four years at RHS were all about, and what the year 1984 was like, from popular albums and music, to styles, and favorite hangouts.” Interestingly enough, no record was kept of the contents.   The time capsule vault was buried on a grassy uphill slope behind the historic Little Red Schoolhouse directly in front of the, then, Rockford High School which is now North Rockford Middle School (NRMS). Completing the installation was a marble headstone burial marker that was inscribed as follows: “Centennial Class-1984-Time Capsule-Open 2009.” The initials “LMP” and “KLK” inscribed in the lower left- and right-hand corners, respectively, were those of Lori Pederson, class valedictorian and Kristin Koetje, class president. And there the capsule was to lie at rest for the […]

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