Landscaping drew me in for a number of reasons, but I had completely forgotten about one until digging it up recently: on February 3, 2020, I got an estimate back from a landscaper that seemed so astronomically high, I decided I just had to start doing the work myself. I hired a tree service company to do what I couldn’t, and they showed up the very next day. You know how people say “Oh, you must be saving a ton of money doin’ that yourself”? My reaction is usually, “I dunno, I’m at Home Depot like every other day,” because it feels like I’m actually spending a ton, but at least I’m learning a ton, and I think I’m getting a better product in the end.
The dough recipe I return to, over and over again, is from a video by Mark Bittman in the New York Times for Potato Pizza (potato is the topping). In our household, we refer to it affectionately as glug glug glug glug glug—after the sound Mark makes as he “measures” the olive oil. Recently, I’ve also been incorporating some of the techniques from Adam Ragusea’s video, Making New York-style pizza at home, and his followup a year later, New York-style pizza at home, v2.0.
It started with a spreadsheet. For his northbound thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in 2016, Dad cataloged the towns where he planned to resupply, i.e., buy food, mail food to himself, and/or pick up food he’d mailed previously. Sometimes the trail would meander right through the center of town, but most of the time he’d have to roadwalk or hitch, often a great distance from the trail. Generally he’d aim to resupply every 80–120 miles (or every 4–6 days at a 20 mile-per-day pace).
While attempting to thru-hike the CDT in 2016, Dad began to suffer from some respiratory issues. He had reached a remote spring, about 15 miles south of Cuba, New Mexico, where he found two guys doing some maintenance work. They offered him a ride to town, and that was all he needed to throw in the towel. This is how Cuba (really the spring south of Cuba) had become the finish line for the “long-ass section hike” he was attempting this year. Now, an early snowstorm had derailed those plans, 150 miles north of the spring. But since we could stop by Cuba on the way back to Austin, Dad started thinking that he could at least knock off those lingering 15 miles into Cuba if there wasn’t much snow, leaving a funny little 135-mile section of the CDT as a project for another time. On the drive down, we discovered that there was no snow south of Chama. Dad said, as much to himself as to me, that he’d consider continuing northbound beyond Cuba (what thru-hikers call a “flipflop”), provided that he didn’t hit heavy snow on the trail and that he could slackpack every day—a tall order that would require finding Jeepable roads across the trail every 15 miles.