Change of lifestyle brings new opportunities

We have been camped out at our shack in the woods for exactly two months. We’ve sublet about half of our apartment in town. The hubbub of moving has settled down a little, we’re figuring things out. We don’t have to drive to town every day.

Our revenues are up a little, some of our expenses are down. Money is still tighter than a new pair of shoes, but we are feeling better about the move every day.

One challenge is meal planning. My family lived in the sticks of Glenn County when I was a kid, we had to drive for everything.  My grandma had to “make do” oftentimes,  despite the best planning.

Things just came up. Like the time I fell off my trike and split open the back of my head. It was about 4:30 and Gram had a bunch of drumsticks in the electric fryer. Gramps was out hauling prunes. When I appeared in the kitchen door with blood streaming down my neck she got a positively annoyed expression on her face – “Oh! TEETA!” she said, shaking her head.

But she put down her fork and led me into the back bathroom to wash my head. She wrapped my head in a towel, called the other kids and hauled us all the way to Willows to Doc Fleming’s  office. I was sitting on the exam table when I realized Gram was wearing her apron and a dress and shoes that normally never left the property. And no lipstick!

Then there was the time we really needed groceries, but she couldn’t find the car keys. She used to call that, “dab dinner” – clean out the fridge and have a little of everything.

I try to remember those lessons about living away from town. We try to plan meals at least two days ahead, but food storage is tough up here. We make do with a counter top fridge, plugged in at the pump house, and a really big ice chest. We don’t have a conventional stove/oven, we use our camp stove, an electric frying pan, bbq and Dutch ovens.

We thought we would have to give up bulk shopping, but we found out – food doesn’t spoil as fast as we’d believed.  Produce stays nice in the ice chest. We found cheap block ice at Food Maxx, that actually lasts three or four days.

The mini fridge can actually hold frozen meat. The freezer door had broken off years ago so we replaced it with foil-covered cardboard.

Now we make a game of how long we can avoid going to town. My son needs a big lunch every day for his job, so we grill a giant boneless chicken breast and there’s almost a week of lunchmeat for all three of us.

When we grill meat, we bake something in the Dutch ovens – usually sourdough bread, but sometimes biscuits or cookies. My son is getting pretty proficient at making brownies in the little pot. Last night we made oatmeal bars.

It’s tough moving out of your familiar routine, sometimes I feel disoriented.  I can’t just hop on my bike and go Downtown to Mau Mau the flak catchers like I used to.

So I will have to get back to writing letters to the paper. Tee hee hee.

And we have a new supervisor over in O’ville – Tami Ritter. I’m sure this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tee hee hee.

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