So, Nick has gone and winter has come. The two, I admit, are somewhat unrelated - but I thought it made for a nice literary/pathetic flourish :-) And actually, winter hasn't really come properly either, to be honest - we've been alternating days of proper cold and frost on the grass with days like today, which were around 15C and sunny and lovely, so...
Lack of posting has been mainly through lack of time and energy than lack of things to talk about. There's been lots of little things going on, keeping us busy both during the week and at weekends, and somehow blogging got pushed back.
Still on a weather-related note for a moment, I seem to have missed the wonderful autumnal foliage colours that I got to see last year. Not sure if it's because the rain got in the way, or the being in LA, or just being generally distracted and driving rather than walking/cycling around - but it's a little sad. Hopefully there will be some to make up for it next autumn!
But we have been getting outside, honest! For example, one morning we went for a nice walk in the woods behind the Princeton Battlefield. It was very pretty - cf. photo:
and involved an optional crossing of a very shaky rope bridge (look familiar, Chris?) which I REALLY did NOT enjoy doing but sort of felt I had to, to prove a point or overcome my fears or some such motivational crap. Might opt to remain unmotivated and unproven next time though.
And, just to show you how in touch with nature we are, we also spent a few minutes observing and photographing a rather hair caterpillar-type creature, appropriately decked out in Princeton colours:
Our being-in-touch-with-nature-ness actually goes even further - have I ever waxed lyrical about my farm scheme thingy? No? Shame on me!! So, here, instead of (or as well as) having deliveries of veggie boxes, you can also buy a 'share' in the farm (sadly to be paid upfront, covering 6 months) and each week you go to the farm and pick up whatever has been collected that week, of which you get, unsurprisingly, a share; and there are also other crops that you can and pick yourself in the fields, also within measure; and it's all very nice and wholesome and local and ethical (probably) and organic and means that clutching obscure root vegetables while pondering their fate has remained a viable activity for me rather than being simply an Oxonian memory. ANYway. The point of this was, that in mid-November the scheme ends and before they close down the farm for the season, they have the 'annual pig-out', whereby we members could go and roam the fields and collect any leftover produce for our own benefit.
This sounds very nice, and very fun, and the weather happened to be absolutely lovely that Sunday morning, so we naively set out to get a few veggie things for the winter ahead. Oh reader, we were naive indeed! We had no trowel, nor garden shears, nor towers of bags and containers as all the other infinitely more prepared people had. Nor did we have any knowlege of many vegetables, and roamed the fields wondering what was chard and what was weeds. We did manage a few successes, such as snapping broccoli heads off, and unearthing small celeriacs, and our personal favourite, digging out carrots with our bare hands. While watching our neighbour doing it with a trowel and being about 10 times faster than us. We concluded that farming is helluva hard work, and it's no surprise that people get the urge to give it up. Yes, it feels very satisfying to stand up clutching a punnet of carrots that you yourself have extracted, but it also feels very painful on your back - and that was just after a few minutes, done for fun, not for a living....
What else...mainly we just lived like a normal couple, which was the whole point of it really. Occasionally went out with friends, or went to see them for dinner/coffee (yes! I have that kind of friends now! Amazing what a difference a year makes). Cooked lots - we tackled my collection of random snipped-out recipes and gave them a go, which was fun, if not always successful. You should have by now seen (on FB) the glorious picture of the glorious roast chicken, among other things...And of course, we had our first American Thanksgiving (I'd gone to see Nick in Europe last year) with my family in NYC, which was nice in both a culinary and a sociable sense.
And in the last few days, we've just been dealing with a seemingly endless stream of conference deadlines, forms to fill in and send off, applications for jobs, conversations about The Future, and the like. Obviously I am incredibly sad to be here on my own again, but there is so much to do - more deadlines coming up, more work stuff, more applications to be made, more thinking to be thought - to say nothing of the Christmas shopping - that I hope to get through the next few weeks relatively unemotionally. As for the new year...can't make any promises I'm afraid!