After more than ten wonderful years as a university professor, I agreed to relocate to the Pacific Northwest with my husband. Leaving behind my amazing colleagues and friends was difficult. A part of me wishes I could go back. But I’m learning. A lot. And there are some advantages to starting over, among them the opportunity to volunteer* and the opportunity to write and teach in ways that (really, really) challenge me.

One change I didn’t mind: moving to nearly 4 acres near the Puget Sound. We inherited a lovely garden and some of my favorite native plants and trees (Vaccinium parvifolium, Asarum caudatum, Gaultheria shallon). My husband built my ideal coop, and I identified the perfect girls for our brood (Ameraucanas and a Buckeye). The eggs? They’re Boudica blue and Buckeye brown.

*I’m a Master Gardener and Native Plant Steward. I also volunteered as a docent for the Bellevue Botanical Garden and as a member of the planning team for the wonderful Gig Harbor Garden Tour, which donates all proceeds to literacy.