Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Day in My Life

An old friend wrote and said, in part, "What do you DO? I mean, what is life like there?". Maybe he was imagining me throwing on my sheepskin cloak and slinking out into the frozen hinterlands to hunt rabbit and wild boar. Well, not quite. Anyway, here is what a typical day might be for us (excluding going to town and making the futile attempt to finish errands and buys supplies):

We wake up with the sun, or light (as it is now mostly cloudy, or overcast. Greg makes me coffee and stokes the woodstove and has his home-made granola. I have my coffee under my nice fluffy, warm covers, then go downstairs carrying my empty coffee cup and our candle holders. I get my second cup of coffee and set in front of the fire with my "wax bucket" and clean off the candle holders and reset them with fresh ones for night. Then I might write a letter as I have more coffee, and then wash up last nights dinner dishes (wasn't worth the waste of candle light the night before).

Greg and I dress up for the day...adding socks, flannel shirts, boots...and get about the day. He usually goes out to cut or stack wood and clear paths, and pick out wood that might make nice shelves. I fill up the wood box, which is actually a giant basket I made, and he takes out the ashes. I might chop up vegetables to spread on a screen to dry, or toast up some chopped garlic and peppers to save for winter. I might make some beef jerkey, or start on some more granola. I might go out and build a smoke fire for the peppers and jerky, or rake up around the house. Or we might tape off and paint or varnish a bit more. There is always sanding and varnishing to do. Or I might take a pail of pig food up to Nono's house (kitchen scraps) and pick up rocks for around the front porch on my way back.

I start on dinner around noon, or shortly after. Make bread, start some pasta sauce, things like that. Turn my drying vegetables and peppers. Water my indoor garden. Re-organize the tools that sit in the living room and are always in disarray. If it's nice out and not raining, I hang out my feather comforters in the sun, and my pillows balance in the windows upstairs. Paint a little.

As the day grows dim, and it does so now earlier, and earlier...I take the candle holders with fresh velas and set them where they go. Make a salad out of beet greens, or carrots, or whatever I have. Get supper almost ready and feed the fire. I might go out and wheel around a few barrows of split wood and stack out back.

Then it's dinner time and we always have a lovely feast. Two nights ago I made fresh linguini and a basil, toasted garlic tomato sauce which we had with my fresh bread and a beet green tomato salad. After dinner, and sometimes before, we light the downstairs candles. We watch to fire in the woodstove. I tease out some more wool and stuff pillows for the furniture. We let the cat in, play with it a bit, then take our candles upstairs, light a few more and snuggle into our lovely, decedent bed to read until we fall asleep, or the candles burn out.

Some days we go to town, come here and check the internet and news, buy supplies. Today I bought rain gutters for the front and back porch, envelopes, brown wrapping paper and tape. No one had the long, thin screws I need for the shelves Greg and I are making for books. But always...we long to be back out at our house, with the warm wood fire, stunning views of the mountains and glaciers and the rivers raging down below.

Other variations might be making a coat rack, or sewing a quilt, or planting plants outside for next spring. Sometimes I get caught up in a book and just read. Or I might hike with Nono, or hang curtains, or unload the truck of canning jars and supplies. Other days we trek up and down to the hydro house and wonder and wring our hands about why it doesn't work. I might scrub out some clothes and hang them by the wood stove, or collect herbs and dry them there too...oregano, basil, or mint.

And on other days, or afternoons, I write. The spirit of Isolina calls me and I sit down and write a story about her. And when that happens, I break only to make food for Greg. Nothing more. Dishes pile up, the floor gets gritty, and the story flows. And, I write letters to family which I send, and go unanswered.

A day in my life.


Helen said...

I'm exhausted just reading this.

Vicki Lansen said...

Helen, you missed all the "or" parts! As in "or" I might write, "or" I might spend the day hiking with Nono, or putzing around. The joy is that, in the true sense of Futalandia, there is not much I can't put off until tomorrow, if I choose.

Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely idyllic! Especially as I sit here stressed with all the things one "has to do" here in the city...

Vicki Lansen said...

Idyllic as it sounds, the post caught me on a lovely, reflective day. Today, however is a different story. And that would be a different post...but I'm much too stressed to even think of writing it at the moment! Today I am living not in Mayberry, but in the TWILIGHT ZONE!

Thanks for stopping by...I enjoy your blog immensely!

Woodward said...

A fascinating read of your daily life way down in 'Futalandia'. A lot of hardship though many personal rewards.

When I was around 8 years old I lived in a similar situation in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand where I had a pet lamb (that mysteriously disappeared one night) and I remember roaming the hills looking for wood. We did the trip to town every couple of weeks to stock up on essentials but at least we had some 'flickering' power on the farm.

Vicki Lansen said...

Woodward, isn't it odd that so many people I've known lately were weighing Chile vs. NZ for a destination...I've never been to NZ, would like to, but as one who HATES flying, the trip seems daunting. Keeps out the riff-raff, I suppose!

Thanks for commenting.

Eileen said...

Wow. That's a long day, and it sounds delicious and cozy and fulfilling. And different from my day-to-day by quite a bit. I only know Futaleufú from the tourist perspective, all rivers and kuchen and the rodeo. But I loved, loved, loved it, and can't wait to find the time to go back.

Great blog! I navigated over here from cacahandochile, if you were wondering.