Long, long ago, I promised big upcoming changes in real life. It's just two little tiny inconsequential things.
1. I wrote and defended my dissertation and am now the proud holder of a PhD in biology! Also, I am unemployed.
2. TMCH* and I moved from Chicago to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado. No reason other than we just wanted to!
Regarding the thesis, I still can't talk much about it until I get the chapters published, which is one of my tasks for the upcoming months. Grad school may officially end, but the work just goes on and on!
As for the fabulous new mountain lifestyle, I will have many many things to say about it over the coming years. While I'm still in zone 5B-ish, it's drier, rockier, clay-ier, and more acidic in the mountains. The growing season is probably also shorter. The trees are primarily Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and aspen, and most of the wildflowers are new to me. I have a lot to learn and I can't wait to dive in and share the joys of our new property and our new state with my readers!
The big story that underlies everything we do here is that we're in the High Park Fire burn area. While 88,000 acres of the county burned through much of June, TMCH and I fretted back in Chicago, absorbing every bit of news we could find and wondering if the house we'd put an offer on was still standing. Thanks to the erratic nature of forest fires, some careful fire-mitigation planning by the owner, and the dedication of the RCVFD, the house is fine and so is most of the property. It's too long a story to retell but TMCH did a great job here.
We did, however, lose a lot of trees and shrubs. Signs of the fire remain everywhere and every time it rains the smoky scent fills the air. Many of our canyon neighbors lost their homes and many of the hilltops are covered with charred black toothpicks instead of lush pines. Fortunately, the community spirit is strong, and rebuilding and restoration efforts have already begun. Another task for us over the coming months and years is helping our little bit of the forest recover from the fire and become healthy and beautiful once more.
Because of all these changes, I want to retire The Garden of Live Flowers and start a new blog in which I talk about gardening in the foothills, outdoor activities in Northern Colorado, post-fire restoration, and learning about the natural landscape around us. I will of course also talk about my houseplants, most of which survived the trip out here. I am going to ponder a name for the new blog and hopefully begin writing soon!
*Too Much Coffee Husband :)