Day 15 – April 2nd – Alturas + Dog Grooming
Today is the big shopping day. Wiley and I left the kids with my mom and headed over Cedar Pass to Alturas. Our first stop was Grocery Outlet (or Groc-Out as the locals call it). We spent $400 on two full shopping carts of food. Wiley made us both wear masks and gloves in each store even though we were pretty much the only ones doing so and got a few funny looks. After that, we went to another store called Holiday Market (kind of like our equivalent of Sprouts back at home). It’s more expensive but we were able to get $150 worth of random bits that we couldn’t find at Gross Out. Once that was finished, we headed to Rite Aid for things like rope for a washing line, coat hangers (so I can finally unpack my bags properly!), grooming supplies for Birdie, and some pencils/sharpeners/erasers for Henry’s schoolwork.
Once home, I took to the task of grooming poor Bird Dog. She’s usually groomed every three months or so as her poodle hair gets so matted and uncomfortable for her and I was planning on getting it done when we got back to Los Angeles so she was already overgrown when we got here. I started off just trimming only the matted bits but it soon became clear that was almost all her fur so I decided to just cut it all off. She was too scared of the noisy trimmer so I had to do it all with a pair of gardening scissors. An hour and a half later and she was fully trimmed. It’s a bit patchy and looks very rough around the edges but she’s now completely trimmed, free of matted fur, and loving how good it feels. It’s not something I would look forward to again and would much prefer a groomer but in these times I’m glad I was able to find a solution (even though she looks a bit crazy now).
Day 16 – April 3rd – Bread Making + Pizza Party at Julie’s
Wiley left a few minutes ago to learn how to make fresh homemade sourdough bread with our neighbor Julie. We’ve decided to take full advantage of our isolation in the country by learning to live off the land and Julie is an amazing role model for that. She lives up the street in a converted barn and has a huge garden that she mostly lives off of. She bakes the most divine loafs of bread a couple times a week for us and the dinners at her house are like no other. There’s something so magical about eating in a stunning converted barn where almost all of the food served has been grown in the garden out back. Last time she had us over for Black Bean Soup and Corn Bread (yes, she even grew the corn and milled it herself!) and tonight we’re heading over for pizza (the bread dough they are making today will also be used as the pizza dough).
Dinner was, of course, exceptional. The kids had so much fun rolling out the pizza dough and choosing their toppings. We brought over a huge salad and some wine and enjoyed our feast by candlelight. I may have had a smidgen too much red wine and will probably pay for that tomorrow. Whilst biting into his pizza, Henry’s loose tooth came out! His first one! We were all so excited and after the kids went to bed we slipped a pouch of coins under his pillow and hid the tiny little tooth.
Day 17 – April 4th – Lazy Day at Home
Today we had a lazy day at home (which served me just fine after all that wine last night!). Henry woke up early and, to his delight, the Tooth Fairy had been! He was so proud showing off his pouch of coins to all of us it nearly made my heart burst. I just love him so much. I spent most of the day tidying up and handling the chicks. They are getting so big and friendly! I just love sitting with them and taking turns cuddling them all. Since it was Saturday we didn’t do any schoolwork and instead just hung around the house doing crafts and chores. It rained briefly which is always exciting for an Angeleno. It was Tom’s last night in town as well so we had some nice red wine, a yummy dinner, and finished watching A Discovery of Witches.
Day 18 – April 5th – Another Lazy Day at Home
Tom left early this morning so now it’s just Nana, Wiley, Henry, Vivi, and myself. Had a coffee with Bailey’s this morning, which was a nice treat. I also wrote my friend Claire back as she sent me such a lovely letter. My skin is SO dry and I’m getting low on lotion. Sadly my favorite one is only sold at the little store in Eagleville and it’s closed so now I’m rationing it and making it last longer by mixing rose and lavender oil in it. I wonder if my skin will acclimatize to the dry air or if I will continue to need to slather myself in a thick layer of oil after each shower. One thing I do love here though that I am so grateful for is the wonderful well water. It makes my hair SO soft and shiny. Wish I could bathe in this water back home.
I spent a majority of the day handling the chicks, who are getting SO tame and loving by the way! Now when I put my hand down into the trough they all hop on my arm. In the evening my mom and I ate pasta and watched Outlander together. I made the kids sushi for dinner to remind them of home and they gobbled it up, of course, begging for more so now we’ve got all the sushi making essentials coming in the mail for another night of it.
Day 19 – April 6th – Bread Making + Bald Eagles
We woke up to a lovely dusting of snow that sadly melted with the morning sun. One of the locals told me, “If you don’t like the weather in Surprise Valley, wait 5 minutes, it’ll change.” That perfectly sums up Eagelville. Wiley and I went on a lovely walk together with Birdie after breakfast and, of course, it was sunny. We did about 3 miles, which was so nice. We saw this beautiful Bald Eagle again that loves to hang out in the tree outside our house with another brown, juvenile one.
We spent the day around home again today as Wiley was making bread and he needed to be close to tend to it throughout the day. So I had the kids get some schoolwork done while I vacuumed the house. In the afternoon the kids did some lovely art and we had Julie over for a delicious dinner of BBQ Salmon, Cauliflower and Cheese, Wild Rice, and Salad. SO yum! After that we played Rummikube and then went to bed.
Day 20 – April 7th – First Loaf + 5 Miles
We finally had our first sourdough loaf baked and ready to eat! It was a very exciting accomplishment for Wiley and left is feeling like true pioneer folk.
Today we decided to attempt a five-mile family walk. Armed with the double stroller, snacks, water, and a trash bag, the four of us and Birdie made our way along the beautiful country back roads. The whole time we kept our eyes peeled for litter, and sadly we found quite a lot of it. The kids made a game of searching for them in the bushes and before we knew it our bag had been filled. While there were definitely some tortuous moments, mostly involving the kids bickering, we managed the five miles and might even consider doing it again.
Day 21 – April 8th – Sunny Day, Washing Line + Chickens
It was so lovely and sunny today so we spent the majority of it outside in the front garden. The chickens finally had their first day outside in a secure pen on the grass and they had the best time chirping and scratching to their hearts content under the warm sun.
Meanwhile, the washing line I had put up a couple days prior was finally ready to use! It worked beautifully and we managed to dry four separate washing loads outside. It’s so nice knowing we saved all that energy! Our day was lazy and we spent it just milling around the house as a family which I loved.