After a rewarding career in college teaching as a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and then at the Camden campus of Rutgers University, my wife at that time, Monika, and I felt ready for a radical change in surroundings and lifestyle.  A visit to Nelson County, Virginia, convinced us that we’d found the right place to take in the beauties of nature, grow as much of our own food as possible, and to rely on and support the efforts of local farmers and farm markets.  We moved from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to Roseland, Virginia, in 2009.  My son Nic was at that time completing his graduate work in American history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and we benefited for the next several years from his and his wife Alison’s proximity and support.

I immediately set off to explore the myriad of mountain trails, starting with the 45 miles of the Appalachian Trail that run through Nelson County.  Monika and I found a wonderfully-supportive community through the local Ruritan Club and the amazingly active and progressive folks at Grace Episcopal Church.  We started raising chickens as well as vegetables.  But in early 2013, Monika was diagnosed with incurable kidney cancer.  From the beginning, she faced her illness and impending death with incredible courage and calm acceptance.  Surrounded by loving family, she died in January 2014.

After months of deep sadness and mourning, I ventured back out into the world to attend a Sierra Club meeting in Charlottesville, and there I happened to meet Holly Neavear, who over time became central in my life.  We gradually found many shared interests and commitments.  We started traveling together: St. Thomas, Germany and Austria (to visit Monika’s family), Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and most recently, a honeymoon trip to the Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Italy).  Holly and I have been happily married since May 21, 2016.

This “blog” is really more like a picture scrapbook of our life together, and constitutes as well a kind of visual memory of these years.