2019 was a heck of year! We went on many adventures, saw old friends (and made new ones), played in the woods, visited Arizona and New Mexico, and generally lived life to its fullest.

Nyana is 7 1/2, and an amazing big sister (except when hungry). She has grown into a pretty good cook and was a huge help in the garden this year. She’s an engaged homeschooler, Social Studies is her favorite subject. She also adores art, and takes weekly art classes, in addition to her weekly outdoor adventures at White Pine’s “Ways of the Wild” program. In 2019, she lost a lot of teeth, climbed a lot of trees, and biked a lot of miles!

Chandwen is 4 and really good at keeping up! She was so excited to start Forest Kindergarten at White Pine this year, and to also (sort of) start homeschooling. She adores her big sister, and does an impressive job following her around – into the woods, up trees, down the beach, anywhere! She mastered high speeds on her peddle-less bike this year, and started practicing with peddles. Also did a lot of drawing and puzzles.

Henry the Dog is at least 12, this December marks 7 years with our family. He’s slowed down a lot, but once he stretches out the kinks, he’s good for a two-mile hike, and has a snore louder than most chainsaws.

Amy started working as Coordinator for Welcoming the Stranger, a program in Portland that matches volunteer mentors with asylum seeking families. Our family has been mentoring with the program since 2017, and we’ve made some wonderful friends through this network. Amy’s so happy to be even more involved in making Maine a welcoming community.

Fred’s audio adventures continue! This year he launched (to top 10 NYT Bestselling audiobook list) EXPEDITIONARY FORCE: HOMEFRONT for Podium Publishing, re-released THE DARK TOME: SEASON 2, and wrote and recorded the forthcoming dark faerie tale, OF FAE & FIENDS. In March 2020 he’ll be headed off to New Mexico to record a new work with Maine-based creator Asata Radcliffe.

-Amy, Fred, Chandwen, Nyana and Henry



2017 update

New house is moved in! Labor Day weekend 2016 – while Fred was about to embark on ‘secret’ radio drama project, we moved in!

The new house – now dubbed the ‘pine house’ (originally YAWFT = ‘hemlock house’) has been working well. Even better once a wood stove got in place 🙂

Bring on winter!

YAWFT Expansion!

YAWFT Annex Phase IIWith a growing family (10/3/15 – we welcome our daughter Chandwen to the YAWFT!) we decided that it’s time to expand the YAWFT’s footprint. The original 550 sq. ft building will remain our kitchen, living area, bathroom, and office, but we are building an addition with bedrooms, an additional living room, and loft space that could ultimately be finished into another bedroom or small home studio (as Fred does more and more audio work).

In true YAWFT style (i.e. we don’t do anything quite like the way the rest of the world does) the new structure is actually a completely detached structure. People are asking us all the time, “How are you going to get to the other structure?” to which the obvious answer is… we will walk to it. Yes, we will do this in winter, spring, summer, fall. The outdoors, while at times inhospitable, is overall a really wonderful place and worth experiencing a few times per day.

Unlike the YAWFT, the new structure is stick-built (Not SIPs), constructed of double 2×4 walls allowing for an 11″ space to be filled with blown in cellulose. We will have an unvented cathedral ceiling consisting of 14″ I-Joists. The resulting wall system is ~R45 and the ceiling R50, beating the R25 (walls) and R37 (ceiling) of YAWFT, v1. Moreover, we are using little, or no, spray foam in the construction process, which is a more environmentally friendly choice. We are not philosophically opposed to spray foam (it has performed magnificently for us) but, everyone makes choices, and using recycled newspapers to stuff the walls, is a better choice than a high-embedded-energy material like spray foam.

It was also fun to learn about framing. Oh yes, we did most of the construction ourselves again, this time with Noah Wentworth (intrepid farmer by day, and high-efficiency builder – er- also by day! When does this guy sleep?!) as our mentor. Noah led the design effort and materials selection, and would get us started on each new phase of construction (sill plate, rim joist, framing, more framing, yet more framing…) and then check in with us throughout the process. When we finally got to the rafter system, Noah and his crew took over, and the rafters up as well as the sheathing. However, Fred wanted to get at least SOME roof-time in, and scrambled around sticking on the ZIP tape.

As of 10/12/15, we are waiting on windows and doors to arrive, as well as metal roofing, and plan to get the structure dried in and maybe even electrified and insulated, before the snow flies. Oh, and course, we’ll be installing some solar panels (say 5) – perhaps by winter. Few people prioritize solar PV installation over finishing the interior, but then again, no one is exactly like us…

Yawft-A-Palooza 2014

yawft-fest-2014YAWFT fest 2014 is coming! Sat, June 21st, from 4:30pm until people go home… Here at 26 Deer Run Dr Alfred, ME (Directions attached).

What can you expect? Highlights include: homegrown chicken BBQ, potluck fest, fresh strawberries, booze, immolating large piles of scrap wood, chasing around our growing goat herd and wandering aimlessly into the woods in search of mushrooms (note: look don’t eat). Plenty of tenting available.

Please come and join our mix and mingle of hippie and homesteading friends, solar nerds, audio geeks, local farmers and stranger types, indeed. Summer is coming!

directions to the YAWFT (aka “Goat Hut”)

Africa Travels 2014

Fred, Amy, and Nyana head to Lesotho (Southern Africa) to install solar panels for a community hall with the Malealea Development Trust (MDT).

Pressing Apples

apple harvest 2013We seek apples and we find them! Mark Young and the boys help Nyana, Fred, and Amy fill up the Tacoma as well as Mark’s truck. We go back to the Huber-Young place and press 29 gallons of cider. We had only planned on pressing 10 gallons, but Mal and Claudia showed up and we were just having too much fun.

Fred tries first hard cider ferment. Liquid yeast from the brew store, fermented in 5 gallon bucket 2 weeks, then in carboy for about a month. Bottled up with some sugar to give it some fizz.

apple pressing 2013

Did an earlier batch with Gile’s (local store) cider and champagne yeast, ending up tasting a bit vinegar-y and not a lot of flavor. But mellowed out some with time, and with carbonation was good.

Hope to do this as a regular tradition, good drinkable cider by roughly Thanksgiving, great gift that people love.

thai noodles

12 ounces linguine
4 tablespoons sesame oil


1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (chili oil?)

roasted chopped peanuts for topping


Cook noodles

* heat the sesame oil, ginger, garlic stir fry chicken.
* Stir the peanut butter into the hot oil until melted and combined.
* Mix the honey and soy sauce into the oil until well combined.
* Drain the noodles when finished cooking and toss with the sauce.
* Top with cilantro, green onions, and plenty of chopped peanuts before serving.

The Latest Adventures

Turkey fight! Louis the brownie vs. the big fat whiteys…

nyana discovers potatoes
Nyana discovers potatoes

Nyana does her civic duty

helpful turkey
A helpful turkey

Welcoming Nyana

It is with excessively happy hearts that we announce the entrance of Nyana Elizabeth Greenhalgh into the world.  She was welcomed into our home at 6:57pm on Monday, May 7.  Weighing 7 lbs, 2oz, little Nyana opened her eyes within minutes of birth and stared with wide-eyed wonder at the world.  We had a smooth home birth and mother, baby, and dad are all sleepy, recovering and adoring each other.

A word on names – Nyana (NEE-ana) is an original name derived from the Lesotho word for ‘bird.’  Nyana, of course, traveled with us in the womb through our adventures this January and February and we feel a special bond with this ‘mountain kingdom in the sky.’  We will have many more details on this later, but please in lieu of gifts stay tuned for news about a solar project we are planning for the village of Malealea, Lesotho.  We have been in touch with a local development trust and are planning to install a small solar + battery system to provide power and internet access to a community center for a community where it is prohibitively expensive to reach the outside world.  The people of Lesotho have taught us some important lessons about simple living and ‘needs’ vs. wants and so our want of honoring this beautiful new soul is to use our resources to build something that will help others (and that she can visit one day!).




For the record, mama was up, active, and using power tools up until a few hours before she went into labor Sunday evening.  Some photos of our spring antics up here (and some cute baby goats, which are now eclipsed of course by our beautiful baby girl): https://yawft.com/photos/house12/

Much love,
Fred, Amy and Nyana

Africa Travels 2012

We made it!

South Africa Travels 20125 weeks traveling South Africa and Lesotho, highlights including:

  • Spitting-distance leopard sighting in Kruger Park plus elephants, giraffe, cheetah and antelope galore
  • Visit to CARE baboon rehabilitation center in Phalaborwa
  • 5 days in Malealea with ‘MemaKomiti and family; hiking to Pitseng gorge and the local waterfall
  • Crossing Lesotho on public transport; being smooshed by Africans on an overcrowded bus; overnight at No 10 Riverside & 10k’s hiking before we get a minibus lift to the top of Sani Pass
  • Getting married at the top of Sani Pass and descending on a flower walk with 90+ botanists
  • Spellbinding hikes throughout the Drakensberg; incredible thunderstorm rolling in from miles off and crowded in with other backpackers as the rain pours down
  • Making new friends from Portland, OR and Amsterdam and hiking to bushmen paintings
  • Jumping in every bit of water that looked safe enough – clear mountain rivers, waterfalls, Indian & Atlantic Ocean
  • Obligatory tourists activities in Cape town: tea and scones at Rhodes Memorial; African penguins at Simonstown and SANCCOB; climbing Table Mountain; Robben Island tour

Some tasty photos below… View the whole collection here.
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