So hello, I’m sick. It’s the first week of school and I am sick as a dog, sore-throated and stuffed all up and achy and exhausted. Jeremy tried to convince me to take a sick day and skip this post, but I am not so easily deterred.
And thusly I present to you: What I Ate Wednesday (it’s been a long time!), the western Maryland addition. Featuring Jeremy, his family, and autumn on the Piedmont Plateau at the very eastern edge of the Appalachian mountains.
In honor of my ailing body, and to appease my sweet boyfriend who thinks I should be resting instead of working (bah!), this will be a post of many pictures and few words. Here we go . . .
Breakfast! Sorry for the crappy cell pic and bad lighting. Jeremy and I split a gluten-free english muffin with melted Daiya cheddar, fresh garden tomato slices and avocado with salt and pepper.
Also coffee. Lots of coffee.
And breakfasting and showering and all that jazz, we set out on an adventure.
Jeremy took me to Dan’s Rock, this amazing spot at the top of the mountain that overlooks the house that he grew up in. I have mad respect for graffiti artists, but I don’t usually like seeing graffiti in nature. This place, however . . . this place was so over the top, so completely bursting with color and so strangely juxtaposed against the gorgeous landscape.
It was eerie and brilliant all at once – like Rainbow Bright meets Mad Max.
After hiking around the rock, we began to make our way back down the mountain.
And set about looking for the perfect place to picnic.
Which we found.
The last of a wheel of homemade vegan brie, a salad with mixed baby greens and steamed beets, two kinds of hummus, and fancy olives (my weakness!). Kombucha to wash it all down.
It was so beautiful there.
And after lunch, I promptly sprang into biology mode, because I literally cannot help myself. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, but the whole reason I went back to college (the first time) was because of an epiphany I had during a 9-month stint of living in a van and traveling around America. I was 20 years old, and found myself in Massachusetts in early fall. And it had just rained, and there were these vernal pools that had sprung up all over the forest, and my epiphany came when I realized that I had been sitting at the edge of one of these little ponds for almost an hour, just . . . peering into the depths, looking for creatures. Frogs mostly. I’ve always had a love connection with amphibians. And it was this lightbulb moment of epiphany that flashed bright ~
And that’s how a high school dropout decided to go back to school and become a scientist. And now it’s over a decade later, and I am in grad school, and nothing has changed. Because if I am in any sort of close proximity with any body of fresh water, I am drawn like a moth to the flame. Compelled to peer into that water, looking for creatures. Always was, always will be. I just can’t help myself.
It was an amazing afternoon, but by early evening we were due back at Jeremy’s mom’s house. We had a soccer game to get to! Jeremy’s niece, star goalie, had a game, and the whole family would be there to cheer her on.
There have been multiple generations that have gone to this same high school, which is why we were able to dig up this vintage cap – “Go Big Blue!” – stuffed in an old box. Jeremy’s mom poked fun of me for wearing it, but I think it was freaking awesome!
The boring life of a soccer goalie.
Bundled up and hollerin’ loud! Alas, our team was defeated that night. Still a good game though!
Afterwards, we all came back to the house for a late night family-style dinner, all around the big kitchen table, and featuring more of my very favorite Maryland food: CORN!
Clockwise from top left: cheezy lentils, skillet potatoes, fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob, boiled green beans (a new love affair I never expected), and steamed brussels sprouts. Now THAT is a country dinner!
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