Home for the Weekend

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Mom’s birthday salad

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Bellamy eating cake, and listening to the adults talk

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Hungry duck

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Quality brother time

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Exploring the library with Indigo

It was my mom’s birthday on Saturday, so I took a solo journey home to spend time with family and friends. I got home Thursday and spent most of the night hanging out with Skye (my brother). I think that time apart during college has made us even closer when we see each other. Friday we hosted a birthday party and had some of our best friends over. We had a delicious dinner, and homemade chocolate cake (my moms favorite). After dinner we played games and told jokes…the usual.

The ducks are all full grown now, and we can’t tell the mom apart from her babies. Of all six, there turned out to be only one male, what are the odds! I was planning on bringing fruits and veggies back to college, but the garden is winding down as we roll into fall.

Chanterelles

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Me and some of the chanterelles we found on a good year (a few years ago)

Chanterelles are by far my favorite mushroom. They only grow in certain random patches in the woods, and come back in the same spot every year, after the first few rains of fall. People in Petrolia love chanterelles, and actually covet their secret chanterelle spots. Last winter I asked one my family friend’s about if they knew any good spots in the woods near our new house to find some (I have yet to find any there), and he sarcastically told me, no he “doesn’t know any spots”…yeah right! Not only are they delicious cooked with butter and garlic or in soup, but they remind me of childhood almost more than anything else.

I spent most of my childhood on Prosper Ridge.  Before I was born, my parents, in wandering their newly bought land and the land around it, found a few treasured chanterelle patches deep in the forest. Since I can remember, one of my favorite memories is walking into the woods, with no path or directions, and knowing exactly where I am going to find some delicious mushrooms. My parents have taught my brother and I not only where the best spots are, but how to take care of the spot (cut the stem, don’t pull the whole mushroom up, and always leave a few so there will be more next year).

Many people who don’t have mushroom hunting (as they call it) experience are scared of poisonous mushrooms, and while it is a valid fear, I have never really considered it while hunting because I have known what a good mushroom looks like for my whole life. My parents were very careful about teaching us what poisonous ones look like. My great great aunt, who I never knew, died of eating poisonous mushrooms that she thought were fine, and when my grandmother found out years ago that my mom hunted mushrooms for our whole family to eat, she was scared. Needless to say, we don’t tell my grandma that we hunt mushrooms anymore.

House Work

Though the first month of my summer was spent abroad, as soon as I was back in the country, there was only one place I wanted to be, HOME! Though I grew up in the valley on Prosper Ridge, my parents are in the midst of building a house closer to downtown Petrolia.

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The new house!

They will both be moving back to Petrolia full time, most likely within the next few years (my dad is already there full time). They decided that since my brother and I were out of the house they didn’t want to move back up the hill, because without children to raise there, they would become an old hermit couple. Now when I go home I live in a construction zone.

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This will one day be the kitchen.

Though living in an unfinished house sounds unappealing, the feeling that it will one day be a beautiful house makes it fun and feel worth it. Everything is just a little jankier because most things in the house are not how they will be one day. The kitchen is temporary (we have been using a camp stove for a year), there is no hot water inside, the only lights we have are clamp lights and the occasional bedside lamp, we eat at a plywood table that my brother and dad have taken pens to, we shower in an outdoor shower that my dad built out of cedar. It has thick stream of water that comes out of a plastic tube as a shower head, and when the warm water hits the cedar, it smells delicious. (I have grown so fond of the shower that I will use even after we have an indoor one).  The floor is dusty, the dog is dirty, and I love it.

My dad is such a hard worker. Sometimes I don’t think I have worked as hard on anything as my dad has worked on the house. By the time I wake up he is hammering nails, cutting or sanding wood, sheetrocking a wall, or something in between. I can tell he is proud of it.