Hello and welcome The Girls’ Guide to Guns and Butter. My name is Sofya and I am a 32-year-old, stay-at-home mom of three, living my American Dream in the rolling hills of the rural Driftless Wisconsin.
A recent immigrant to this country, I was born in Azerbaijan, one of the southernmost republics of the Soviet Union, wedged between Russia and Iran on the Western coast of the Caspian Sea.
My first language is Russian, but when I was 17, I decided to teach myself English. Less than a year later, I won a full scholarship to the American University in Bulgaria, or AUBG – an American-style liberal arts college with English as the sole language of instruction.
While I found it really difficult to be going to school in English and to adapt to a completely foreign educational model, I graduated with an Outstanding Achievement Award in English, although I strongly suspect that this had more to do with the fact that English majors were few and far between than with any real achievement of mine. So that’s how my English got to be so good.
Halfway through college, purely by chance, I found myself spending two weeks at an extremely isolated rural resort in the Bulgarian Rila mountains with a few of my fellow students.
Having grown up in a multimillion, metropolitan Azerbaijani capital, I had never seen countryside or forest or anything of the kind prior to that experience. It was on that trip that I fell in love hard with the peace and the natural beauty of the country and knew that this was where I belonged.
A mere year later, I would meet a 21-year old Wisconsin farm boy who transferred to AUBG after two years at Deep Springs College – an isolated, academically elite, all-male school on a cattle ranch in California’s high desert. We ran into each other at the cafeteria where I would help him buy a ham sandwich in Bulgarian. Within the first five minutes of conversation, I told him I wanted to live in a small, rural town, and he told me he came from one. Within the next five, I imagined us married and living on a farm raising kids and animals.
Ten years later…
Our ten-acre ridgetop farm is located on the edge of Viroqua, Wisconsin, a home to organic agriculture, a bustling food cooperative, and thriving Waldorf schools among other things.
Farming is more of a hobby for us, but it allows us to grow a large proportion of our food, including all meat and eggs, not to mention the fact that the country is a wonderful place for our kids to grow up.
I started this blog almost two years ago to share recipes and adventures in my then newly-found interest, deer hunting. I then expanded to include posts on homesteading, butchering, photography, and parenting.
Need help getting started? Here’s a sample of what I’m all about:
My Life in the Country
Homemade Lotion Recipe
Classic Russian Borscht
How to Make Yogurt at Home
Easiest-Ever No-Knead Bread
Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chicken Butchering 101
The Value of Killing Your Own Meat
How to Make Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles
I Love Photography