Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Rhythm of Life on the Farm

I've been here just over three weeks and I'm starting to settle into life here. My sister has always been one for uber house organization, having worked for Tupperware at one point. In fact, a big joke one Christmas was when I gave her a label-making machine. It was a half-joke because Lori was organized, and this would help her compulsion. She totally got the joke and started to label everything. Then she realized how much she loved the thing and it has been a valued household item ever since.

There was a time when everything in Lori's house was ordered to the extreme. It used to be that all the movies had to be arranged in alphabetical order. Even now the clothes hanging in the closet are arranged in a rainbow of colour.

Lori has her routines around the laundry, dishwasher, and other systems of organization. It is really quite impressive. Having kids forced her to relax her compulsions somewhat, but as the kids are getting older and can now clean up their own messes, the old Lori is ekeing her way back.

Lori is now working full time (which is four days a week), and has child care set up for the kids in town. She is up at 5:45 and is out the door by 7:15, to be at work for 8:00. She is home between 5:00-5:30, depending on any errands she has to do in town before coming home. On the weekends, they have gone camping a few times (as her husband has been working away, comes home with the holiday trailer so they can camp in it). In the ebb & flow of their lives, I have been finding a way to fit myself in so as not to be a disruptive house guest, but a helpful one.

While I'm here, I have taken on the task of preparing dinner for Lori & the kids for when she gets home from work. As some of you know, I do enjoy cooking but since I've been with Dan, I have become quite a slacker in the kitchen because Dan is just so darn amazing. I have gone through most of my single-gal cooking reportoire since being here, being mindful that I am also cooking for children who are probably picky eaters. Oldest child doesn't like tomatoes, for example. Youngest child doesn't like anything green. I am trying to make sure they get a healthy, well-balanced meal out of me, but I admit it is not easy.

Noodles were a big hit. I bought some Asian noodles from Chinatown in Edmonton a few weeks ago: mung bean, rice, buckwheat. As long as I don't put any "sauce" on the noodles, we're good to go. I only wish I could have found some cheater chopsticks for kids, to teach them how to use them properly.

The deal with me cooking dinner (or as they say around here, 'supper') is that Lori cleans up the kitchen afterwards. It's a good arrangement.

What else am I doing with my time? Lori had a big list of things for me to do when I got here. She wanted me to prune her trees, which I have done. We started painting the ceiling in the TV room - I do the rolling.

 Lori does the cutting in. Cutting in? I had never heard that term before now, had always heard to it referred to as 'edging'. I have been going out and weeding the garden here and there.

Lori is not a gardener. They have a huge plot of land devoted to being a garden but only a small fraction of it is used. Lori got out and planted some seeds in May, and hasn't touched the garden since. It was quite overrun with weeds when I got here, so on sunny days I have been donning my rubber boots (for the mud) and getting out there with a hand rake. The plants that have been weeded around have certainly benefited from my ministrations. By the time I make my way through all the rows once, I'll need to get back to the first rows again but the task will be way easier. Here is waht Lori has planted:






Alas, no potatoes. The seed potatoes are languishing in the cellar.

I dug up Lori's bread machine and have decided to start filling their mostly empty deep freeze with bread. I will bake a loaf of bread every day while I'm here, until I wear the machine out (as happened to our first bread machine) or it's time for me to go.

I've been waiting for my own stuff too. My former employer got my forwarding address wrong, so my final cheque should have been to me by now (it was mailed on July 14), but due to rerouting I expect it will be here next week. Still don't have my damage deposit cheque from my former landlord either.  Once these cheques come in, I can buy a canopy for the truck.

The plan: I want to buy a canopy for the truck so I can lock it when my mum & I travel to North Carolina. It also needs to be waterproof. I would like to get a canopy that has a sliding window that meets the cab of the truck, so that Sam can come & go from the litter box in the back to the cab in the front. But I can't do any of that until I have some money coming in.

Something else I have been doing: spending a lot of time with the kitties. So many kitties! I step outside and they come running toward me. Some of them in particular approach me first.
I can always count on the smallest grey cat (Runt) and the middle grey cat (my boyfriend) to arrive first at my feet. Their mom, Tiana, is a good hunter. She'll bring home mice and moles, and
the occasional dead chicken from the chicken barn. I've seen her devour a chicken leg in under a minute. It's gross and fascinating at the same time.

I am also spending some time on Lori's treadmill. It's handy that it is in my space (I'd call it my room but I am staying in the basement which is mostly just one big room). I started out with 40 minutes, am increasing my time on it by 5 minutes every time I use it, and am alternating my way through the programs. I do this and listen to a new-to-me podcast called Marathon Training Academy. It's a fantastic podcast and I am inspired to consider training for at least a half marathon once I arrive in North Carolina, see what kinds of races are around Kinston/Greenville. I'd prefer to run outside but there isn't really much running space on the farm (gumboots in cow pasture not with standing) and with the way I've seen the gravel trucks screaming past,  I'd rather not risk my life on the highway. Treadmill it is. It's good, actually, simple, easy to use, and just what I need. See, Lori's brother-in-law came by the other day and said "Holy crap have you  ever lost a lot of weight". And while I have lost 31 pounds, I still have 18 more to go. It's getting harder, so I have to seriously increase my exercise intensity.

I am happy to report that I have also been able to get a fair amount of knitting done. This morning I finished the Darcy Shawlette, a pattern I was test knitting for my Twitter pal @knitpurlgirl, in Indigo
Moon sock yarn. I was given this sock yarn as a gift and while I love the colour, when I went to block it the colour started leaking out of the water in the sink. Out came the vinegar, so I could set the dye.
I'm so glad I know that trick.

I am about 30 rows away from finishing the Victorian Ruby lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today, which I started sometime in June. It was easy travel knitting when I was doing the middle section, but the ends are charted which has meant I had to be anti-social while knitting them. I'm hoping to get that done & blocked today.

The day after I arrived, my sister had her Yorkie-Shihtzu groomed, Roxy had most of her fur shaved off. Then the weather turned cold and poor Roxy Dog was shivering. Roxy had a few sweaters from
her previous owner, but they weren't up to Lori's esthetic. Lori had never really considered dog clothing and then I told her about Ellie and her dog Juliet, and how Juliet has her own wardrobe complete with summer party dress and Santa costume. And then I offered to knit Roxy a sweater. It's kind of crazy, really, having never knit one before and without a pattern. I knew it had to be machine washible (enter acryilic yarn - shudder) and she wanted it to be black. Black! I hate knitting black! Well, it knit up quickly and now I have only to weave in the ends and decorate it with flowers or 'Roxy' or something. That too will probably get done today.

And then what? What will I knit? I have three Cookie A socks to finish and the long-ago begun Brother Amos (a la Brenda Dayne) socks to finish. Maybe after I finish those UFOs I just might treat myself to some Auricania Multy from Liv With Yarn in Camrose.

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