may flowers

Anna, Buddy & Clifton

The month of May we were delighted to have many visitors. First Yas from Japan, then a lazy day of picnics and wine in the countryside with Clifton, who’s working for the amazing NGO Wholesome Wave up in Connecticut.  And also a chance to catch up with fellow CDT thru-hiker, Stretch, who we hadn’t seen since hiking in Wyoming back in July.

Nat, Stretch, Buddy & Dan

But we saved the best for last – Dan’s sis, Nat, visited Memorial Day weekend. We had a brilliant time with her… Sticking our noses in wine at posh vineyards, strolling round the cobblestone streets of Waterford, mingling with huge leather-clad Harley riders in DC during Rolling Thunder, enjoying sushi and chili mango ice lollies at Lake Anne. But irregardless of what we were doing, everything was better with Nat. Even just biking round town and running errands was great. And she put up with the heat wave that struck like a champ (we were also saved by the opening of the pools).

Dan, Fala, Buddy & Nat

Nat’s charming and at ease whether she’s at a five star hotel in Cannes (yes, a few weeks back, and no, not on her dime) or being interrogated while dumpster diving at night (yes, no, yes of course, delicious). Buddy loved her immediately and it was so great chat chat chatting about EVERYTHING!  We’re going to have to get strategic with operation bring Pizzos west.

And to step #1 was to go see the brilliant Peeps dioramas at the Artisphere. Nothing says “US of A” quite like neon-colored sugar-coated marshmellows in the shape of bunnies.  Especially when they’re riding broken escalators on the metro!

Community Supported Agriculture

It’s January. The trees are brown and barren. Snow covers the ground. But now is the time to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Community Supported Agriculture works a bit like the stock market. You pay for a share of the farm and get a share of the harvest delivered to your home or to a nearby pick-up location weekly. (Sorry that’s where my knowledge of the stock market, and my simile, end.)  Many farms offer 1/2 shares or mini-shares for those worried they can’t eat a bushel of veggies in a week. Some CSAs also include visits to the farm and free pick-your-own berries.  The fruit and veggies you get are LOCAL, SEASONAL, often ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLY GROWN and from small FAMILY FARMS.

I know these are the buzz words of the moment. So go ahead, sign up for a CSA to be hip. But you could also sign up to:

  • support local farmers
  • get the freshest, tastiest produce
  • make sure you eat more fruit and veggies
  • learn more about cooking seasonally
  • try new healthy foods
  • minimize the carbon footprint of your food

DC Area farms that offer CSA

  1. Potomac Vegetable Farm – various NOVA pick-up points *registration opens 2/15
  2. Great Country Farms – NOVA home delivery *register now
  3. Waterpenny Farm – Arlington & Lorton delivery *registration opening soon
  4. Olin-Fox Farms – South NOVA & Chesapeake delivery *register now
  5. Virginia Green Grocer – NOVA home delivery *register now
  6. Graceland Farm – various NOVA pick-up points *register now
  7. Manahoac – various NOVA pick-up points *register now
  8. A Fresh & Local CSA – DC/Maryland pick up points *register now

There’s plenty more, too. Check out Local Harvest to search for CSA, farmers markets and more by zip code. But don’t delay, CSA usually give first dibs to previous members and then fill up any remaining slots FAST.

november

Yes, I’m aware we’re now in the month of December… but I’m behind on blogging.

STEP ONE – camp out in condo while painting every centimeter of wall, molding and ceiling. Goodbye roaring lion greeting me as I step out of the shower.  Goodbye ghoulish green + vampire burgundy dining room combo. I don’t like Twilight that much. (Ok, actually I’ve never seen it, but still…)

STEP TWO – land a job teaching special ed preschool in less than 2 weeks.  Adorable kids + great colleagues + summers off = horrid pay I can cope with.

STEP THREE – score free stuff on Craig’s List to piece together furniture.

Please keep in mind I'm a neat freak!

 

STEP FOUR – Move in stuff that’s been in storage for 3 years. Live out of boxes, enduring chaos where keys, wallet and sanity are lost (but then found again).  Stinkbugs everywhere. Eww!

 

STEP FIVE – become the owners of this little fellow named Buddy.

STEP SIX – Enjoy a posh evening away here in the countryside with friends.

Happy B-day P!

re-entry

Well it’s been just over a month since finishing our hike of the CDT.  Strangely, I was able to update the blog more regularly when we were hiking through the wilderness and had internet access only once a week at best.  Now that I have daily access to the web, I can’t find the time.

On the trail I had only three concerns:  1) walk  2) eat  3) sleep.  Yes, we did have to plan where we were going to walk (deciding our route) and do a fair bit of navigation at times, but life was simple. All we had we could carry on our backs.  Life moved at a slower pace. We were walking for goodness sake!  Think about where you’ve gone today (perhaps by car, train or bike) and now imagine doing the same activities but with only your 2 feet to carry you to and fro. I’ll be surprised if someone can report it wouldn’t significantly change their daily routine.

+ As winter approaches, I’m grateful for the roof over our heads and our warm (free on Craigslist) bed. I’m thankful I can eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies everyday, rather than the junk food we ate on the trail. It’s wonderful to be close to friends and family again. And I’m finally getting to live out some of my HGTV daydreams as we decorate our condo.  I’m enjoying being a dog owner too!  But…

– I miss the slower pace and simplicity of life on the trail.  I miss the stellar community and instant connection with other thru-hikers.  I miss being able to pig out with the knowledge that none of it would go straight to my thighs.  I miss the mountains and the unexpected sights that each new mile brought.

Our last re-entry, after the PCT, was difficult but we also knew our time in civilization was temporary. We devoted ourselves completely to work so we could earn money for the CDT. Now, things are different. We definitely want to hike the Appalachian Trail sometime in the next few years, but for now we’re putting down roots after being nomads for over three years.

spring mix

Forgive us, we’ve been slack at blogging… But we have excuses! We’re both working 4+ jobs, trying to train and plan for the CDT, and also making time to celebrate a visit from Dan’s bro Matt, Anna’s b-day and our anniversary!  Yes, we’ve officially joined the ranks of the other 5.3 million in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area who are so insanely busy they have to pencil in bathroom breaks.  Unfortunately we’ve not yet had the schooling and big pay checks that contribute to the fact the DC Metro area the most educated and affluent in the US.  Ahhh…well the serenity and stillness of life on the trail is looking more appealing every day!

Meanwhile….

Matt’s visit was superb. Even though it was waaaay too short we managed to see the sights in DC, poke around antique stores in charming country villages, tour a vineyard, go hiking and enjoy the brilliant sunshine and cacophony of colour among tender lime-green leaves. I love spring!  And, in keeping with the Pizzo family tradition we ate lots of delectable food… a few highlights include delish deli treats at Market Salamander in Middlesburg, authentic Italian pizza at Fire Works, a rich Guinness chocolate cheesecake at Magnolias at the Mill, and to-die-for duck at Cork in DC.  But the best thing was just catching up and ruminating on life. So our “Move Matt to DC” campaign has officially begun! And we’ve already got the English weather on our side!

W ash ing ton baby DC!

Thursday morning we awoke to the gorgeous site of a snow-laden English countryside. But for once were thankful when the snow became rain since our flight wasn’t delayed. And amazingly enough we didn’t have to pay extra for our 6 bags & bike!

My first impression of the DC area was how brown everything was compared to England. But I’m happy to sacrifice green grass in winter for more sunshine! Other than that I just felt I’d shrunk. Everything’s bigger and even though I knew it would be I was still in awe of the size of the roads, houses, cars, fridges, mayo, everything!

usaIt’s been great to see my family, open up boxes of backpacking gear we’d ordered, meet up with friends in DC, eat Mexican food, run Reston’s paths, and go on a double date w/my sis and her boy friend to see Slumdog Millionaire (which is definitely worth seeing, even though it’s more Hollywood than Bollywood).

But the icing on the cake was the most gorgeous sunny warm weather this weekend. It was almost 21° C/70° F and for the first time since China I said goodbye to thermals and wool sweaters and soaked up the sun in a tank top (one of many new hand-me-downs I acquired this weekend).

It’s good to be home.

But I think the Magnetic Fields say it better than I ever could (only it is all those things, plus my baby)… listen up – Washington, DC