Moved.

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We’ve lived on the acreage for one week now!

We moved last Saturday.  We packed like maniacs on Friday evening because the movers were coming at 10 a.m. the next morning.  At about 9:30 a.m., I headed out with a car load and Liam so that I could put him down for his morning nap at the new house, and Will would follow shortly behind once the movers had loaded the truck.  At 10:30 a.m., they still hadn’t shown up.  At 11 a.m., they still hadn’t shown up.  I entered panic mode.  Everything, EVERYTHING, we owned was packed up in boxes.  We had to move, or else.  Like even my clothes were packed.  We left numerous voice mails but no one was answering the phone.  At 12:30 p.m., they finally called.  Apparently, they had a move in the morning before us that was supposed to take 45 minutes, and ended up taking a few hours (but for whatever reason, they couldn’t stop for a second to phone and let us know that they might be over four hours late).  They didn’t get to our house until 2:30 p.m.  Great customer service.

Now, one week later, we’re actually mostly settled in.

I had ordered a water delivery before we moved in, which was a blessing and a giant mistake.  I made it clear to the dispatcher that the cistern wasn’t completely empty, it was still about 1/4 to 1/3 full, and was told “no problem” – the driver will phone you before he heads to the house, so you can meet him there and supervise the fill.  So the dispatcher phoned me in the morning, saying this was delivery day, and the driver would contact me an hour before he got to the property.  By 2 p.m., I still hadn’t heard from the driver so I headed out to the acreage anyway, thinking he would phone really soon.  When I got to the house, I noticed that at one corner of the house the snow had melted away, and it was wet.  It was pretty warm and sunny that day, so I didn’t think much of it.  The I opened the screen door, and an invoice fluttered to my feet.

I think I actually said out loud, “Oh god, no.”

Sure enough, the water had been delivered.  All 2500 gallons of it.  Even though there was still about 500 – 800 gallons of water in the cistern.  Which meant about 500 – 800 gallons of water ended up in our basement.  It drained fairly quickly (I think) but there were still giant puddles on the concrete floor, and the overflow pipe had a steady flow.  I phoned Will in a panic.  He came out, found a hose, drained some more water from the cistern, and we proceeded to make a couple of very angry phone calls to the water company.

That was two weeks ago.  We still haven’t heard back from them.  We haven’t paid for the water either, so I guess we’re even.  Great customer service.

We have internet.  We have propane (got that filled, too. That actually was a good experience – prompt and courteous service).  We have electricity.

On Sunday last week, we moved the girls out.  They get the barn all to themselves for now.  We mucked out a stall, put down fresh straw, set up food and water and a large tree branch for them to roost on, and they’re satisfied little chickens.  We attempted to move the coop from the city, but it was so darn heavy, we decided to leave it be.  I put it on kijiji to see if someone wants to move it, but if not, it’ll get chopped up and moved to the dump by the end of the month.  It looks kind of funny having only three tiny chickens in such a large barn, but they’re happy.

Now all we need is a renter for our city house.  We had one all ready to go, but then things got weird when it came to the security deposit, and he ended up yelling at our property manager’s assistant, so the property manager decided to walk away.  Best not to have a jerk of a tenant.  I sure hope the right tenant comes along soon though.  Fingers crossed.

I’ve got some great pictures to share, but they’re still in the camera, which is packed in a box, somewhere in this house.  As I’m currently working 48 hours a week, it probably won’t be until March sometime that I get a chance to find it.

Stay warm!

Birth Mom

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It hurts when you don’t show up.

Family visits are usually once a week (sometimes twice a week) for two hours at a time.

Let me say that again – Once a week; two hours at a time.

That’s not a lot of time when you think about how many hours are in the week (168, just in case you were wondering).  It’s not a lot of time to see your child.  Not a lot of time to bond, to play, to visit, to care, to parent.

So why don’t you show up?

When you were the one who requested the visit, when you don’t have a job, when you don’t have anything else in the world that needs your attention more than your child, why don’t you show up?

I’m trying so very hard not to judge.

I know there are millions of reasons not to show up.  Sometimes you can’t get a ride, sometimes you forget, sometimes your addiction flares and you’re in no shape to visit.  I know these reasons, and I try not to judge.  After all, sometimes, you’re just a child yourself.

But.

We show up.  We wait for you in the playroom.

I plaster a smile on my face, anxious whether or not you’ll be there this time.  I can tell he’s anxious and a bit nervous, but I try to be happy and calm and reassure him that everything’s going to be fine.  He may be only a toddler, but he knows what this place is.  He knows what is supposed to happen when he comes here.

He whines.  He throws toys.  He tries to run outside.

Finally, the worker tells us we can go, and to be honest, I’m relieved.  At least now we know. You’re not showing up.

He may be only a toddler, but I can tell he’s confused and hurt.

Or maybe I’m projecting my feelings onto him.  Because I’m hurt.  And I’m confused.  I want so badly to protect him from the pain I know one day he will feel because of this.  I want you to show up.  Or I want you to leave for good.

I’m trying not to judge.

Happenings around the Homestead

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No early possession date for the acreage.  January 30th it is.  That’s good.  Extra time to pack and organize the move.

We have a new mortgage with a new bank.  Went for a meet and greet last week, which really turned out to be a 45 minute sales pitch.  Will had warned me that it was going to be a sales pitch, but I thought it would be good to know someone at the bank, like a real live person, just in case we ever needed to talk to a human being.  We currently bank with PC Financial, which is all online.  Maybe knowing a person in a brick and mortar bank would be a good thing.  We also needed to get a bank draft from our other lender for the down payment on the new property, so we split up.  Will got the draft; I attended the sales pitch.

My head was spinning at the end of it – I’ve never been on the receiving end of such a hard sell before.  The meet and greet was all a ruse – she basically wanted my cell number and email address to add to the contact information.  Almost immediately, the selling started.  She started by pitching me a “cash back” chequing account.  This chequing account costs $14.95 a month (approximately $180 per year).  I currently have a no-fee, unlimited chequing account with PC Financial, so why would I switch to pay for something I’m already getting for free?  “Well,” she said, “most people earn up to $300 per year with this cash-back account, so really you’re getting the account for free plus an additional $120.” Sounds good – cash for something I’m doing anyway.  So we punched in my weekly spending on food, gas, and entertainment.  Turns out, we don’t spend enough.  We wouldn’t earn enough “cash back” to cover the cost of the account like most people-we’d have to pay $20 a year for the account.

“Okay, so no chequing account.  Well, how about mortgage protection?” she says.  (Protection?  Is my mortgage going to be having sex with other mortgages?)  “I don’t think we have mortgage protection . . . ” I reply, unsure of what the heck that means.  “Insurance.” she clarifies.  Oh, gotcha.  Yup, got that covered.  Doesn’t seem to matter.  She spends another twenty minutes explaining five different types of insurance I absolutely must have.  I take the pamphlets and promise to consider them all, hoping that’s the end.

“What about financial planning?  Here’s a printout that shows you how to save five thousand dollars in five years.”

At this point, I want to stop and tell her that if we didn’t know how to save five thousand dollars in five years, we wouldn’t currently own two properties.  To her credit, she capitulated on this one, acknowledging that with our limited income, we must certainly be very good at saving.  (It was also getting pretty insulting that she kept expressing her extreme disappointment that William was unable to be there, like I wasn’t capable of understanding the importance of the concept/products she was trying to sell me).

Just when I thought we were nearing the end, the pitch continued and kicked up into high gear.  We looked at five or six different credit cards, travel rewards, more cash back, movie rewards, multiple savings accounts, retirement planning (in case your pension won’t be enough – Ha!  Pension!  Good one).

As she left the room to collect a print out, I put my jacket on to leave, clearly signalling that it was time to wrap it up.  We are not wealthy people.  We do okay with what we have, but we aren’t wealthy.  Why is this very large, national bank pushing so hard to get our business?  She came back, saw me with my coat on, and attempted to close the deal; I told her I’d have to talk to my husband first before making any decisions.

Do people really buy this?  That having all this credit to earn points and spending more money to earn cash back will put you in a healthier financial position?  It seems like a whole lot of nonsense to me.  Or perhaps it’s just my desire to simplify that portion of my life.  I don’t want to be bothered with juggling three different credit cards, and two different chequing accounts, making payments here and transferring money there, just to earn a few measly travel rewards.  Considering the amount of interest a savings or chequing account actually earns, I’m starting to think my great Baba and Gido had the right idea when they stashed their cash in coffee tins, mattresses and under floor boards.  No one charged them $14.95 a month for an account.

Rant over.

In other news, we bought two bags of groceries, and it cost $100.  We don’t even buy meat.

I will never, ever tell Will ever again that he’s planting too many carrots.  Thank goodness for the carrots and beets.  We still have a couple of tubs of carrots and beets stored in the garage, and they’re doing fine.  Now that cauliflower is expected to near $8 a head, I’m thankful for the veggies we were able to grow and store for the winter.

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Carrots in January.  After ten years, we finally perfected the storage system.

We also still have five or six pumpkins and three spaghetti squash in the basement.  I used all the butternut squash to make soup this week.  I decided to NOT follow a recipe.  It’s soup – how hard can it be?  Well, it didn’t turn out very well.  I added too much cinnamon.  I’m going to amend it today with some more bone broth and puree.  I’m all out of butternut squash though.  I think I’ll have to add a pumpkin.

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Before roasting.

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After roasting.

I did make bone broth without a recipe, and it did turn out well.  (But really, how hard is it to make bone broth – bones, water, slow cook for 24 hours, done – really shouldn’t be congratulating myself on that accomplishment).

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Gelatinous.

It’s been terribly cold the past few days, with extreme windchills, but things are looking up for this week.  Stay warm!

Patiently Waiting

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We’re still waiting for the title on the new subdivision of the acreage we just bought so that we can set a possession date.  I wasn’t antsy last week, thinking it would come through by the end of the week.  But now here we are in the middle of the following week, and still no word from Land Titles!  Patience.  Patience.

Some photogs:

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The Barn – needs a few fixes and some paint.

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The corral – not sure this will hold the goats as is. Needs some work.

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“Wild” honey bee colony living in the side of the barn. Fingers crossed it makes it til spring, and we can capture it.

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Will, farmer.

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Inside the barn.

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Abandoned farm house behind the new house.

Creepy doll

Creepy doll found in the abandoned house. Cleanse this house with fire.

dining room

View from the dining room.

Kitchen

Kitchen. Dated but “good bones” as they say.

Living room

Bright, sunny living room.

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Sunset.

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Another shot of the beautiful barn.

There’s also a very large quonset, another old “house” (very tiny – an original tiny home?), another old barn, another old corral, a carport, three old grain bins, three old sheds, an old outhouse, and two old wells.  We’ll be cleaning up the yard for years to come.  (Thank goodness old barn wood is totally hot right now.  I’ll dismantle and sell those old buildings piece by piece).

I really want to fix up the old farmhouse as a guest house, but that’s on the five-year plan (and by five, I mean ten).  The first three things we need to do are (1) build a workshop in the quonset for Will (all work and no woodworking make Will go crazy), (2) fix the soffit and backdoor on the barn and paint it (not looking forward to that), and (3) dig out and plant a garden.  Can you believe this place doesn’t have a garden?!  Totally crazy, I know.  Our first year crop will include lots of potatoes.  Lots and lots of potatoes.

Then there’s the fruit trees I want to plant, not to mention the berry bushes.  We’ll have to start from scratch with our grapes and asparagus (boo!)  Will wants to create a food plot for deer and learn how to bow hunt.  Not to mention adding numerous animals, such as goats, more chickens, and perhaps pigs.  As well as foster parenting. We’re also becoming landlords and renting out our city house.

I think all my hair just turned grey.  Hard work lies ahead.

But there’s good stuff ahead, too – prairie sunsets and sunrises, a huge garden, fresh eggs, big skies, open spaces, stewardship, family gatherings, bonfires, cozy country winters, new friendships, new challenges, and lots and lots of love.

 

 

Year in Review – Part II

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July

July started off quite lovely.  The weather was beautiful, the gardens were thriving, and fruit had started to arrive at the Farmers’ Market.  I canned sweet cherries (cherry pie filling) and apricots.  We opened Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan.  We had told our social worker to put our home “on hold” until mid-July, but after the shows opened, we were still feeling pretty frazzled from June, and decided to take a couple of more weeks off from fostering.  The very next day, placement called looking for a foster home for a seven-month old baby boy named Liam.  He had been in care since birth, and had spent the past two months in a group home, and really, a group home isn’t ideal for a baby – would we be willing to take him?  I called Will.  All I had to say was “So, placement phoned today . . . ”  We took him.  Best decision ever.

On a much sadder note, we said goodbye to Kingsley.  After initially responding to chiro and pain meds, he starts to rapidly decline.  One morning, he can’t stand up he’s in so much pain.  The next day, I took him to the vet to be euthanized and say goodbye.  It was a rainy, cold day.  When we got home, Liam and I napped on the couch all afternoon.  I miss that dog something fierce.

August

August was full of shows, veggies, and cloth diapers.

Finally took the plunge and switched to cloth diapers.  Wish I had done it with the first baby.  I have a theory – I think there’s been a deliberate campaign created by disposable diaper manufacturers against cloth diapers to convince us that it’s messy and time consuming and disposables are so much easier and convenient.  Now maybe if I didn’t have a washing machine, I wouldn’t think they’re so easy.  But seriously – easy.  Just as easy as disposables.  I don’t know what I was so afraid of!

We had a really, really good summer for gardening.  Everything thrived.  Even bell peppers, which usually don’t fair so well in my garden.  Carrots, beets, zucchini, and pumpkins are the superstars though.

One of my chickens starts laying the weirdest eggs I’ve ever seen.  I haven’t a clue what’s wrong with her.

The sour cherries and raspberries are out of control this summer.  I think having four beehives in the backyard really helped.  I can barely keep up with harvest and canning.  I abandon the raspberries at a certain point to move on to sour cherries and let the birds eat their fill.

We finally give in and pay someone to have our backyard landscaped and sodded at the end of the month.  What a relief!  We went all summer with a giant tree stump and dirt, and it was bloody depressing.

September

After Shakespeare closes, I start working as an Assistant Director on a show at Persephone.  But we have daycare woes, and I have to cut my hours way back from what I originally planned.  Which is actually fine with me.  I’d kinda rather be home with Liam anyway.

I can peaches and pears, and make huge batches of spaghetti sauce from the tomato harvest.  And to mark the end of summer, I make pesto.

October

October brings unseasonable warm weather.  Will was very lucky in the hunting draw this year and pulled a moose tag and a mule deer tag.  Liam and I tag along on the hunt, and Will does us proud.  (I admit, I cried when he shot the moose.  But I’m also thankful to the moose for providing us meat all winter long).

Starting mid-October, I pack up and go to Regina to do the Christmas show at the Globe Theatre.  It’s the first time I’ve worked out of town in four years, and the first time I’ve worked out of town since becoming a parent.  It was hard.  Very hard.  I don’t think I’ll do it anymore (except for the gig I’ve got in May/June that’s also out of town.  Damn it.)

November

Show after show after show after show. That’s what November is to me.  Ziggy had come to Regina with me, and we fall into a routine of sleeping in, going to the dog park, show, Netflix, bed.  Ugh.  I just want to be at home.  The show is fun, the cast and crew are lovely, but I want to be with my family.  Will does a stellar job of single parenting.  Yay Will!

The Snow Queen

I play Gerda, an elf.  I love having pointy ears 🙂

After the show opens in mid-November, I have two days off.  I come home to Saskatoon, we go look at an acreage, and by the time I head back to Regina, our offer is accepted.  WE OWN AN ACREAGE!  Ten acres, twenty minutes east of the city.  We’re still waiting on the subdivision to be completed but possession date is expected to be mid-January 2016.

Being the sentimental fools that we are, we cannot bear to part with our little homestead in the city, so we decide to keep it as a rental property.  Still trying to decide whether or not to hire a property manager . . .

December

Shows, shows, and more shows.  The show closes after Christmas.  I get Christmas Day off, and Will and Liam join me in Regina.  We have a late Christmas celebration with the Brooks family on the 27th, and an even later Christmas celebration with the Shebelski family on the 30th.  For the first time EVER in my life, I miss having Christmas Eve dinner with the Shebelski side.  It makes me sad.  I don’t think I’ll do another show at Christmas time.  It’s too difficult to be away.

And now here we are on New Year’s Eve.  We went to Beaver Creek today and walked one of the trails (it was a beautiful day despite being -20C).  Clear skies, beautiful views.  I love this land so much, it makes my little heart swell.  I even love the ridiculously harsh winters.

Beaver Creek

2016 will bring us our own little plot of land under that vast, comforting prairie sky.  We’ve been in our city house for ten years, and it feels like it’s time to move on.  I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring!  (Personally, I’m hoping for more foster babies, goats, chickens, pigs, and a bloody huge garden).

Happy New Year, and all the best in 2016!

Year in Review – Part I

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I’ve always thought it a lovely tradition to send a Christmas “newsletter” to your friends and family.  Sending cards and letters this time of the year is so quaint and old-fashioned.  It appeals to my inner Victorian/Pioneer.  However, the actual practicality of making such a thing happen (writing a letter, editing a letter, adding photos, printing up copies, addressing envelopes, buying stamps, getting to the post office) is just one more bloody thing to add to my already crammed full Christmas “to-do” list, so it inevitably gets pushed to the end and never done. But.  My iPad and my blog are both things that appeal to my inner 21st century, I-love-modern-conveniences self, and thus I present to you – MY YEAR IN REVIEW (Part I)

January

We ring in the New Year with a celebration at the home of our friends, Josh and Angela.  At around 9 p.m., we attempt to get our eighteen month old foster daughter, Angel, and their eighteen-month old son, Beau, to bed, so that the Mommys and Daddys can raise a cup of cheer. Sleep proves elusive for the two tots, as Angel loudly protests being put to sleep in her playpen, and Beau has not yet finished cramming every single popcorn twist into his mouth.  Eventually, they give into their exhaustion and fall asleep, while we welcome the New Year with a toast, only to have Beau wake up a few minutes after midnight, having vomited his popcorn twists up in his crib.  At this point, I realize just  how much my life has changed over the past year.  Last New Year’s, it may have been me that was puking shortly after midnight.  Now, it’s our babies.

Other January highlights include performing in The Clockmaker.   

The first show I’ve done since becoming a foster mama.  Not easy.  In fact, fucking difficult.  How?  How do other actor-mamas do this?  I start to get very worried about how the summer is going to go . . .

I also start a new part-time job as Volunteer Coordinator for Saskatoon Summer Players, a community theatre not-for-profit.  Previous to that, I was offered a full-time job with the police, entry level, in the typing pool, that I turned down.  It would have led to a very well-paying, secure job with benefits and a pension.  Thank god I narrowly escaped that nightmare.  (Seriously, what is wrong with me?)

February

For the life of me, I have no memory of February, and looking back on the blog isn’t helping either since in February I decided to do a blog-every-day type of challenge that lasted about a month or so (I was supposed to commit to a blog post every day for the rest of the year.  Ha!  Hahahahaha.)

I think I was in “Go to work, come home, take care of toddler, go to bed, repeat the next day” mode.  For a typical day spent with Angel, please refer to this post from the end of February.

March

In March we celebrated one year of being foster parents.  We are no longer “intern” foster parents, but full-fledged, experienced foster parents.  After a very painful one-year assessment, we say goodbye to the social worker who was the bane of my existence for the past nine months, and look ahead to sunnier days.  We plan the garden, create pysanka, and continue to trudge through snow and ice all month long.  I have a couple of kick-ass auditions that totally pay off later in the year – hurrah!  But March is also that month that brings me the worst news of the year – Kingsley is diagnosed with a terminal auto-immune disease.  My heart breaks.

April

We plant the first two beds in the garden on April 10th!  A new record.  And despite THIS happening at the end of the month –

– the seedlings grow and thrive.  There will be an early harvest!  Hurrah!

Angel is supposed to move to her new home at the end of the month, but it is delayed two weeks, and we are happy we get a little more time with her.

The chickens are doing well, but mid-month, egg production suddenly drops drastically.  Just when I thought I finally knew all there was to know about keeping chickens, the girls get VENT GLEET.  It’s disgusting, but easily cured with some Germe-Zone and yogurt (thank gawd).

May

The beginning of May sees a lot of hot and heavy gardening action.  Many exciting things are planted and eaten in the first couple weeks of May (ASPARAGUS!)

Will tries his hand at dry cure salami (guess what?  We haven’t died from botulism yet, so I think it worked).

The bees gets lots of attention and a prediction of a fantastic honey flow this summer.

On May 13th, Angel is moved to her new home.  That night (and few more to follow), I have whiskey for supper. But I throw myself into renovations (that end in angry tantrums) and work.  We decide not to take another foster baby until after we open Shakespeare this summer (and that was a wise decision because we were crazy busy/stressed for the entire month of June).

June

The first week of June is calm, and I’m starting to enjoy myself again, gardening and working on the house, and then rehearsals start, and I have no idea what else I did for the rest of the month since I didn’t blog a word for the entire month after June 1.

I remember a lot of rehearsing, learning choreo, learning lines, riding my bike, gardening, walking the dogs, and taking care of the chickens.  But it’s all very hazy.  June was crazy/busy/stressful and still filled with grief over Angel leaving.  Although, I’m somewhat thankful I don’t have a child because it would be totally neglected during this rehearsal process.

Will and I conclude that we can never work together again AND have a child.  One of us needs to be free from the madness that is a theatre rehearsal schedule.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

Bone Broth

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In an effort to use all of the animals that we hunt,  I made my first attempt at bone broth this week.  I think these were the leg bones of the moose . . . ?  Not entirely sure.  They came back from the butcher in a clear pastic bag labeled  “soup bones.”

I followed a recipe that I found online, but I already had a pretty clear idea of what to do.  It’s very similar to making stock from a chicken carcass, which is second nature to me now.  The only difference I found was a) roasting the bones before simmering, and b) letting it simmer for a much longer time.  I also added a bit of vinegar to the water.  A lot of sites recommend adding vinegar to help leach the minerals from the bones.  I offer no opinion on the scientific validity of this recommendation.  I figured it couldn’t hurt.  

  
I roasted the bones at 400 F for about an hour.  Then I put them in the slow cooker, covered with cold water and a splash of red wine vinegar (most people recommend apple cider vinegar but I had none on hand).  I set the slow cooker to high for four hours to bring it to a simmer, and then left it on low for another eighteen hours.  Then for the last two hours (for a grand total of 24 hours!), I put it back to high and added an onion, a couple of carrots, a couple of stalks of celery, and black peppercorns.  I would’ve added some bay leaves and perhaps some thyme, but once again, I didn’t have any on hand.

 
After the final two hours, I removed all the large chunks of bone and vegetables, and then strained the broth through paper towel and a colander into a large bowl.  Then I added salt to taste.  

  
It turned out very well.  I’ve had a cup of broth with my lunch for the past two days in a row.  It’s not gamey tasting at all.  It’s a very comforting winter food all on its own and will make a great base for all the winter soups that are yet to be made.  

Homestretch/Homesick

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We’re heading into the home stretch – the show is almost open!  Hurrah!  Then only six more weeks until I go home.  

I’m not complaining.  I’m very grateful for the work.  It’s always nice for an actor to have a gig during the holidays (it means you can afford to buy gifts).  I’ve wanted to work at this theatre for years, and it’s been wonderful so far.  The people, the facility – it’s all very excellent.  [Tangent – theatre people are the best.  I don’t know of any other work place where you can have BIG discussions with people and then go out and work together.  Yesterday, as we were getting ready for the student matinee, we discussed cultural appropriation in the dressing room, and fifteen minutes later, I walked on stage with my fellow actors and a whole new persepctive on appropriating cultural hairstyles. I love having those big, open honest discussions!]  Yet despite all these good things, I am VERY homesick.  

I’m also feeling a bit cursed.  In the past three weeks, I’ve injured my right leg (strained my quad, hamstring, adductor and glute), had a severe chest cold (and I’m still coughing), had the stomach flu and didn’t eat for four days, woke up with an allergy attack one morning (my left eye was swollen shut and I couldn’t breathe), and now my right knee is stiff and both my shoulders have bruises from the shoulder roll I do in fight choreo.  Granted, some of this can be contributed to the fact that I am probably a bit too old now to be playing an elfen child.  But I couldn’t say no to the pointy ears! 

  
In other news, the hunting gods have been very good to us this winter.  Will got a moose tag and a mule deer tag this season.  I went with him for the moose hunt, and he got the moose within the first couple hours of opening day (third largest in the butcher shop that weekend – not that he was trophy hunting; it was just a large bull).  

Funny story – I was in the truck with foster baby and my three-year old niece while Will and my brother-in-law got out to shoot the moose.  I cried when the moose was shot.  They are incredibly majestic creatures, and I watched him with awe as he stood there calmly in the fog, drinking from the slough. He was so beautiful, and so oblivious to the fact that he was about to die (but then again, I suppose we all are).  I wept.  My niece just watched me.  When I finished sniveling, my niece said, “Did you cry after the moose was shot?”  And I replied, “Yes, I did.”  She asked me why, and I said,”Well, I was sad that the moose had to die.”  She was quiet for a moment, obviously contemplating my answer.  Then she said,”Animals have to die if we’re going to eat them.”  Out of the mouth of babes.

Will also got his mule deer on the first day as well.  Our freezer is well stocked with meat for the winter.  Thank you moose and deer.  I am grateful.  

To wrap things up on an “it would be funny if I wasn’t already so homesick” note – despite explicit instructions from me NOT to change or grow while I was gone, foster baby has gone and spoke his first word – Jack.  After weeks, nay MONTHS, of coaching him to say Mama or Dada, his first word is Jack.  Jack is a little boy at his daycare.  I see now where we rank in importance, and I’m only a little bit heart broken.  I’ll get over it.  

Where Things are at These Days

Well, I can tell you where I’m not these days:  at home.  

I’m doing a show out of town.  I’ve been gone from Will and foster baby for almost two weeks, and I’m still incredibly confused and disoriented.  

I used to love working out of town.  I used to love working.  Period.  But today, as I was walking home from rehearsal, pondering why I feel so strange and useless, I realized it’s because my main identity is no longer “actor.”  It’s now “mother” (with a dash of *gasp* “homemaker”).  That identity was yanked away from me the moment I said goodbye to them.  Like having the rug pulled out from under my feet, I feel caught in a free-fall suspended moment, not really knowing where I’m going to land yet.  

It feels like I can’t return.  Trying on this sole identity of “actor” again feels weird.  It doesn’t fit me anymore. I feel as though my experience of life and of who I am and of what I can be and do has expanded so greatly in the past year and a half of being “mother/homemaker”, that “actor” is way too small for who I am now.  Much too narrow; much too immature; much too unimportant.  But on the other hand, if all I did was raise babies, clean house, and cook meals, I’d go a wee bit crazy . . . 

In other news, the apartment I’m staying in has television.  Cable television.  I’ve been trying to watch, but I honestly cannot stand the commercials.  I make it about ten minutes, and then I have to turn the vile thing off.  We haven’t had a tv for about a year and half now, and I’d forgotten what an awful beast tv advertising can be.  Apparently, the only way to sell a product is to tell you how inadequate you are without it. Seriously.  No wonder so many people struggle with depression and anxiety.  This type of advertising is constantly preying on our deepest fear:  that we’re not good enough.  It’s sick.  And sickening.  

In other, other news, I’m the weirdo in the cast who packed a yogurt maker so that I could still have homemade yogurt.  And a cast iron enameled pot so that I could make bread.  And I’m knitting a sweater for foster baby.  #modernhomesteader?  or just a #weirdo?  Can’t decide.  

Summer is Over

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It’s official.  I made pesto last night; therefore, summer is over.

The last of the zucchini has been harvested and the plants pulled out.

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Crooked neck squash, tomatoes, basil, and grapes came in two days ago.

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Freestone peaches arrived at the Farmers’ Market.  I canned ten pounds.  IMG_2880[1]

Some friends of mine gave me a large bag of pears from the tree in their yard.  It made a beautiful pear sauce.  I canned five pints.

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All the squash, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants went into one big batch of spaghetti sauce that simmered all afternoon in the crockpot.

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I attempted to make a batch of fermented kosher dills after receiving a large bag of pickling cucumbers from another friend of ours, but alas, my fermentation skills suck, and there is mold growing on top of the brine.  Still not sure what I did wrong – I’m new to fermentation.  (I’ll spare you the disgusting “after” picture, and just share the pretty “before” picture of the pickles)

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These lazy, slacking freeloaders are still not laying any eggs.  Total duds.  Although, I may be judging them too harshly.  One night, a couple of weeks ago, I thought I *maybe* saw a rat near the coop.  I’ve actually never seen a rat so I’m not sure what I saw.  Whatever it was had a skinny tail, and was eating a dead mouse out of a trap.  Pretty sure it was a rat.  If so, that might explain why the girls aren’t laying.  If there’s a predator in the area, they’ll stop laying eggs.  How the hell do I solve that problem?IMG_2115[1]And on a sad note, once the pumpkins and squash are harvested from the garden, I will spread my faithful companion’s ashes in the garden.  We said goodbye to Kingsley this summer, and my heart is still full of grief.  I hope he’s chasing mice and gophers in doggy heaven and having a great time.  He deserves it.

IMG_2752[1]To end on a less sentimental note, Ziggy is thoroughly enjoying being the only dog in the house and doesn’t miss Kingsley one bit.  He’s happier and friendlier than he’s every been.  He really is a little jerk.  Oh Zig.  (And yes, he’s napping among the clean cloth diapers.  They’re soft and cosy!)

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