An open box of glassware, a single flip-flop, a screwdriver, three Sharpie markers of various colors, a random smattering of Post-It notes in hi-vis pink, three unidentifiable screws, an extra phone charger, crumpled currency from three different Asian countries, a box cutter, a set of allen keys, lip balm, a half-drunk bottle of sparkling water and a crumpled bag from a rushed lunch are just a few of the things that I would have had to push out of the way to sit down and write on any given day this week. But slowly, surely, as we unpacked boxes, organized, and spooned out our energy all over this move, the table is now clean, and my mind is clear enough to put down some thoughts on what landing — really landing — after 6 months of travel has been like. We never thought it would be so hard, to choose our next place, that is. To put a stake in the ground and stand beside it. But now that we have, it has amazed us to see just how quickly little sprouts and blooms began to grow beneath our feet where – frankly – we were starting to feel as if the ground had just completely dried up. Quickly indeed; we decided to move to Boulder on a Monday, had found the new space by Thursday, and were driving across Wyoming en route to Colorado the following Saturday. It was just enough time to forget where I had packed my underwear, just enough time regret not having the chance for a few last goodbyes in Portland, and just enough time for us to feel like we needed to repeat to ourselves as we drove through the relative nothingness that is Wyoming “we’re on our way. This is happening. We’re moving to Boulder. We’re going home. At last”
And now we’re here. Our hands, legs, backs and brains are still sore from moving boxes, from rearranging furniture, and from hustling belongings between the three floors that now make up our space. We’re still figuring out our routines; where to buy fresh produce, where to keep the broom, how to manage the pile of running shoes, slippers, snow boots and cycling cleats that nearly block the front door, what time of day the view is best from our favorite trails. These are the *very important questions* that are clogging our brains. We’re so eager just to BE here, to spread out the life we’ve kept in boxes these last seven months.
As we’ve unpacked, (first the coffee maker, then the kitchen, then everything else and in that order) I’ve found things I had long forgotten about, and things that aren’t so long forgotten; just today I pilfered through a pile of letters and pictures from our time living in Japan, a few childhood drawings that my mother delivered the other day, college textbooks, high school yearbooks, crumpled racing numbers and sea shells from all the beaches we’ve walked since we left Boulder 11 years ago. It seems that everything that has unfolded in life during that time is colliding together in one pile, here in this new place.
There are some newer additions too – things I’ve picked up from our travels these past few months. I still have a healthy box of Turkish spices that at last have a proper home in my pantry, a piece of art or two that I can’t wait to hang, a jar of truffle honey from Rome, and this spectacular grapefruit marmalade I toted back from Italy, gifted to me by a friend on the Amalfi Coast. As soon as I pulled the jar from the box I’d packed it in (back in September) I knew it would be play the starring role in our new oven’s first performance. You know when you have just enough ingredients to make something, and so it feels like serendipity that you’re baking this or that? Well, we had just enough almond butter and just enough blackberry jam in our cabinets during those last hours we were in Portland, so I made a batch of these almond butter scones, hoping would be an excellent rendition of this recipe from my favorite Pearl District bakery. They absolutely were and we enjoyed every one of them, splitting the last scone on the first morning that we spent in the new house — perched on a pile of boxes we were about to rip open. Now, I know that the site has been rife with scones these past weeks (forgive me) but the truth is that they’re so easy, and we’ve done a good bit of road tripping AND, when we road trip, we eat scones. Shoot me. Now, I’m partial to anything peanut butter, but really I like this almond butter version even better. They’re just crumbly enough, just chewy enough, just hearty enough, and yet they’re sturdy enough to endure a 1200 mile drive back home (or anywhere you might be headed.) And the flavor is different – reminiscent of exotic toast breakfasts, but still homey…just like a good pastry is. A couple of notes: I used a nice sprouted spelt flour on this last go and really enjoyed it. Also, you’ll notice that I use almond milk + a little lemon juice in this recipe; milk with lemon juice is a nice substitute for buttermilk, so if you have and prefer to use buttermilk it will work beautifully. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good marmalade here; use the best that you can find. It’s worth it. Lastly, this was my first attempt at high altitude baking (eek!) so I added an extra splash of milk, used roughly half of the baking soda and powder called for below, and turned the heat of the oven up from 375F degrees up to 390F degrees so that the scones would set quickly. They still spread a bit more than I would love, but I love these enough that you can bet I’ll be trying again and again and again….If you, too, are baking at altitude, check out my little guide on baking up here. More soon. Until then, enjoy! xo – L