That, dear readers, is a northern West Virginia sky, and this picture was taken from the backyard of our house. Yep, we moved halfway across the country again, but we think we’ve found a good place to spend some time here in Morgantown. I lived not too many hours east of here, in northern Virginia, during middle school and high school, and in some ways this feels like coming home, especially after two and a half years in the Great Plains–Midwest overlap. The steepness of everything here, the denseness of it, the hardscrabble way of it—everyday life is a little harder here than it was in Lincoln, Nebraska, but the payoffs are huge. We’re within minutes of hiking trails like this one, which winds through a virgin hemlock forest along a rushing stream:


There are apple orchards full of Winesap trees. Ramps and pawpaws, elderberry blossoms and wild blackberries. Good neighbors who grow amazing produce, and smart people doing important work in this small old college town on the Monongahela River, which runs north to our beloved Pittsburgh, only about an hour away. An easy day’s drive gets us to family in New York; this is the closest my daughter has ever lived to a grandparent. It’s not where I’d ever have expected to make a home, but we feel like we belong here.

I have a bit of cookbook-y news: The revised and expanded canning and preserving book is in the final stages of production and should be heading out to the printer shortly—it’ll be released next summer. And I have another book in the works (even though every time I finish a cookbook I swear it’ll be the last one I write); I’m excited to share more details about the new project with you soon. And, oh, my goodness, you guys are very much due for some good blog recipes. Those will be here shortly too. Thanks for sticking with Pie and Beer through the Great Lost WordPress Password Hiatus of 2014–15.

In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing about your own experiences with moving, or staying in one place and putting down roots. I moved a lot as a kid (almost as much as my daughter has), and I think that while I never had a place that I knew would always be home to me, I did a good job of making communities around myself in each new place. I might even be getting better at it now, or at least it feels like it’s getting easier.