The Weird Year, In Pictures

# personal

2020 is over and I'm not even close to "recovered." I admit that the year went easy on my family. I am grateful. We're almost four weeks into 2021 and I'm finally done editing photos from the past 12 months. I took a lot of pictures, and this post is going to show some of my favorite photos/moments from a surprisingly quiet year.

Wacky Upstate New York weather in January

This is the only photo of my son in this set. He was actually eager to get outside and see the weird combination of a snow covered field and thick fog. Even this was considered normal and he was in school. But not for long.

March 14

It was a weird year to be raising an even smaller kid who was learning how to walk/eat/everything. She tagged along with one of us for every adventure and every mundane task, usually without complaint. This was taken the day New York State basically shut everything down.

all thawed out

Spring didn't really happen. April was brutal and it snowed in early May. So when the weather got nice, it just turned straight to summer. This probably happens every other year, to be honest. The warmer weather gave us a little optimism for the pandemic, and socializing. We had friends and family in our yard around this fire at a safe distance on more than one occasion. But that feels like ancient history, now.

the days are just packed

By June/July my wife and I figured out how to stay productive and not become burned out as a parent. Even before the pandemic we both often worked from home, but with a teenager and toddler, that became tricky. We decided to split up the day (this isn't a groundbreaking concept) where I would parent the one year old from breakfast until noon–when a nap usually happened–and Allison would take over from after the nap until dinner. It became a routine that we're still using.

nature will outlast us all

Trips became rare. And with the new schedule I would go downtown almost exclusively in the mornings with a 20 pound kid in my arms. We would quickly grab coffee and a muffin from the only coffee shop in operation (with wide open windows and doors). It was sad. It still is sad.

a new routine is born

Our chickens have been with us for over two years. We lost a few over that time period, but gained two from our farmer friend this year. And those newest hens (the red red ones) became my daughters favorites, probably because she could just pick them up–or try, at least–any time she wanted. The days got hot, so we made sure to feed them early in the day.

the farmers market

Of course we found ourselves here on our anniversary. Allison and I were married at this spot in 2016 and it never fails to be a beautiful day. Usually we don't have the farmers market to ourselves, but it was a nice treat this year.

our productive neighbor

To our south is a field that becomes hay bales. To our north is another field that also becomes hay bales. For the majority of the year the fields are foreground elements in a beautiful landscape that I'm lucky to call home. But every now and then we hear the rumble of the tractors and various accessories that transform the terrain. It's a useful reminder that the land here has value beyond aesthetics and home owning. Our house sits on 1.6 acres and each year we section off a new portion of that to just let go wild. We mow half of the grass that used to be cut short. Aspen trees are coming up on their own in one patch. We've planted a dozen other trees in various spots, maple, pine, and willow.

One of my favorite things about the warm, long days is that I get to go for a walk after dinner with my son. That on its own is enough of a reason to love these times. But because it's in the last hour or so of sunlight we're usually able to witness some beautiful skies. This particular photo was taken just as we got home from our walk and only a few minutes before a storm obliterated our hilltop.

more change

And like that summer bled into fall. I'm always eager for this change. I wilt, not unlike our yard. My parents visited but stayed in a hotel, hanging out with us outside or for short periods inside with all the windows open. Our usual trip to Maine–where they're from and where I grew up–was cancelled. If you're going to be stuck somewhere for fall, though, Ithaca isn't a bad place. In the day there's lots of evidence of deer, bunnies, and migrating birds. Some nights we fall asleep to the sound of coyotes.

October 2020

On Allison's birthday we drove all over town stopping at some favorite places (before this we were at a plant shop). Ithaca closed one block of Aurora Street which happens to be where most of the local restaurants are. It's nickname is restaurant row, so when closed it became the Aurora Streatery. Anyway, my tiny human loved having the wide open road to herself.

I can smell fall by looking at this photo

I want late October and early November to last forever. It's perfect for running, sleeping, basically anything except swimming, which I didn't even do this year. This October I left Instagram, stopped playing video games, biked indoors on rainy days, and starting writing a novel. I knew that the transition to winter would be rough so I tried to prepare a little in advance.

the best girl

Our dog Yoshi puts up with a lot. She gets crawled on, but she also gets a lot of floor scraps (thanks to her best friend, the toddler). We've been experimenting with off camera flash at home for a few different photo sessions. This one just happened to involve putting my dog in a hoodie, which has happened successfully and without fuss on multiple occasions. Yoshi gets delicious treats after, and the whole world gets these photos after. Win/win.

the end

These two kept our house sane and also very messy. Seriously, we would clean daily and it would last for only a few hours. But we ended December optimistic that Biden/Harris and the Democrats will turn things around in 2021. We didn't drink our way through the year although it was a tempting idea. I, however, ate my way through 2020. I'll do it again too, even if the pandemic lets up. When the pandemic lets up.

Most of these photos were taken with a Fujfilm XF10 which should be a consideration for anyone who wants photos better than their phone but doesn't want to dent their bank account. I found mine used on Ebay for under $400. Just sayin.

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