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Monthly Archives: August 2015

IMG_6435IMG_6438IMG_6439I’m going to miss hanging out with this guy everyday -and Morgan. Morgan especially.

IMG_6433Last week Luka had a terrible bout of diarrhea. I felt awful she was stuck in the cabin during the show, holding her bad guts in for as long as possible to no avail. Tore up her bed, chewed on the screen door and blew out her vegan kibble pants everywhere. Thus spoke a long, soapy hot water bucket night. The following evening she managed to get out of the cabin after a smaller accident and ran down to Lisa and Jason on the red house porch during intermission. They leashed her up so she couldn’t run out to site to find me during the second act and calmed her down.

Risa gave me a can of pumpkin which oddly helps with diarrhea or constipation in dogs. DNC stands for our Dog Nerd Club. Risa is making black cotton bandanna’s and I suggested she do it in the Darkthrone style font. The pumpkin helped but not enough. I took Luka to the local vet and she went on a five day course of antibiotics. I had tried switching up her arthritis supplement. I believe this triggered the attack but there seems to be something else going on bacterial or parasitic which she could have gotten from whatever else she gets into here when I’m not looking. Her appetite and energy is back and she’s been sleeping fine in the absolutely sparkling clean cabin. At least knowing that the diarrhea I was washing out was a mixture of oat/rice/potato/vegetable protein from her vegan kibble made it way less gross. I have to buy a new screen door though.

IMG_6362Lisa’s yard. Tiny treasures. Ample sticks. Home roasted coffee. Kuzu kombucha. Tall old fir trees. Cucumber slices dipped in coarse salt. Toads & water lilies in the goldfish pond. Buddy’s cow skull. Larch fungus & shiso leaves. Sanctuary.

IMG_6369Kate’s night doodling has been a happy discovery every morning.

IMG_6366Midnight Jason.

IMG_6266After dinner during production the cook shack’s propane water heater caught fire and we gutted it. With no hot water I left a note on the chalk board encouraging everyone in the morning to minimize their dishes by eating toast for breakfast with pea butt till we sorted the water heater out -which took way longer than anticipated. We ended up boiling the wash water for over a week. The company was at max capacity during this time. Boiling pots of water to clean up lunch and dinner dishes for fifty plus people was a chore but manageable. When the hot water came back it felt positively luxurious.

IMG_6309One of my days off hanging out at the marsh lands.

IMG_6508This morning is apocalyptic. What should be a clear blue sky is obliterated with thick forest fire smoke. I can taste the burning trees in my mouth. The sun is a red orb just over the roof of the cook shack.

I always mean to take pictures of the vegan lunches and dinners Jason and Kate make me but I continually gap on it. Now with MoFo over the rise I regret not doing it more -at all. It’s closing tonight and that means they’ll make brunch for everyone and build your own taco’s for dinner. My favorite memory of the summer was standing in line with Geoff, holding my bowl -I rarely use a knife; why do I need to if I’m not cutting up animal flesh? I don’t like eating off of plates though the bowls here are too shallow- and staring down at the platter of corn or wheat tortillas. Geoff and I instantly had the same insight and exclaimed to each other ‘Burrito Bowls!’ and died with laughter the whole way around the island filling our tortillas. Two more meals and I’m back to cooking for myself till the winter show starts mid-November. It’s been a good run.

IMG_6442I went home on the day off and the patches I’d ordered from Retirement Fund had arrived. The Vegan til I Die skull is awe-some! I also thought I was ordering patches of his Next Stop Adventure zine series but it was the actual zines themselves! I’ve read and loved the series in the book format published by Pioneers Press but having the originals is really nice too. I thought I would never be able to collect them. I love his drawings for the covers hence why I figured they’d be inspiring patches; reminders that adventure and a positive mindset are cornerstones to a good life.

IMG_6444I love that he added a slip promoting his friends and favorites, even though they are all familiar, the gesture is sweet and thoughtful. Funny too that a little while back Herbivore announced the new King Koala shirt he had designed and I’ve been consciously putting away money to buy that shirt when I’m in Portland this fall for the 20th anniversary H.P Lovecraft Film Festival. Matt Gauck is without a doubt my favorite vegan artist.

IMG_6447A Pioneers Press order had been picked up from the boarder as well! Best! A few of Matt Resist’s bike zines out of Minneapolis, Rachel Bell’s Welcome to Your new Life with You being Happy, Alex Wrekk’s travel zine, Harsh Barge Part 2, Part 5 of Adam Gnade’s six piece series about transitioning from the city to the country, two and three of Zine Crush and Sleep Tight…Er was gifted in the order from Retirement Fund. It rules. The Cometbus A Call to Arms might have come from Gauck, or Pioneers. I’m not sure. Everything went in the same bag when I headed back to the farm in the morning. I’m totally passing A Call to Arms on to Dad. He really likes Cometbus.

IMG_6449This was cool too, not only does Resist suggest you get planting your own food but also sent along seeds! I love when Jason bbq’s yellow zucchini here. Note to self: get a hibachi so I can grill up zucc’s back at home. I wonder if zucchinis on a stick over a fire would be good? I’ve done it with portobello. When I was working construction renovating a secluded house on the lake we found a fire pit on the beach and had a hot dog roast at lunch break but instead of bringing tofu dogs for myself I marinated portobellos. The guys laughed as I turned my mushroom on a stick but it was awesome all soaked in tamari and maple syrup then charred over a cherry wood fire. With my own stick there was no sharing a grill with their sad dead pigs. Win-win!

With one week left of the show I hope I’ll have free time to dig into all these goods. Good mail days are the best!

IMG_6327This was during tech last week, setting levels for the lights after rehearsal. It was hot and stormy. The rehearsal shade tarps over the bleachers were soaring and cracking with the wind.

IMG_6272This tree might be dead but it’s covered in fungal life.

IMG_6273 IMG_6377I’m finding trees all over the pasture rubbed smooth where Jason and Luke, the two itchiest clydes, scratched their butts and necks, strands of hair left behind. I miss them everyday. Reminders are everywhere.

We were finishing up rehearsal on the day of our first preview. I was waiting to release Endo for his liberty walk across the stage. It had been a long, hot day and everyone was nervous about doing the show for an audience. It never feels ready the first time. Luka was tied up under the bleachers and started barking when she saw Charlie in the parking lot field chasing ground squirrels. I started to feel tense and Endo started circling.

We got the cue to go and walked to where I let the loose rope around his neck drop. Instead of walking across the ‘stage’ -it’s a pasture in the forest- to Morgan, he turned back, got confused and trotted towards the trees. I called out ‘Whoa’ and he stopped. I threw the thick rope across his shoulders and as I reached to collect the other end he swung his head fast and impacted me square across the left side of my face with such force it blew me off my feet on to my back. A youth spent snowboarding and skateboarding ingrained that when both feet leave the ground my body should stay simultaneously controlled and relaxed. Fall into the unknown.

Gaz said when he heard the crack, he thought it was a tree branch breaking not the sound of a blind appaloosa skull and my skull colliding. Courtenay ran over thinking he’d kicked me -that rumor lasted several days. I kept hearing ‘So you got kicked by the horse.’ Morgan smiling broadly; nodding her head as she took Endo ‘Yeah, fucking hurts doesn’t it!’ Horse people. They get knocked around the worst but their love for horses doesn’t stop. Lesson learned. I now know when Endo is nervous and given that he doesn’t have any eyes, he is prone to swing his head suddenly. I learned the ‘arms length rule’ the way most horse handlers do.

Rehearsal dispersed and we prepared for the sold out house. Jen and Courtenay looked at me seriously and said ‘You know the signs of a concussion, tell us right away if you need to go to hospital.’

‘Yeah. I’m fine, a little rattled but I’m fine, thanks.’

Still I couldn’t tell the difference between show jitters from four weeks of intense work or the symptoms of my brain having been violently swooshed. At the half hour I asked Jason to look at my pupils. Standing on the porch he stared for a while and said they looked normal/stable. He remarked I did seem ‘off’ but questioned too, if it was just nervous, tired energy. I forged forward and we all bumbled through the show. The liberty walk was changed and thus far has stayed changed. Morgan walks out with him instead of me releasing him to her and I just give the cue.The audience doesn’t know what they are missing given the standing ovation every night for the horse who lost his eyes to moonblindness and his best friend/rider who refused to put him down because of it and has remarkably helped transition him without sight.

As a vegan I struggle everyday with the fact that I work for an outdoor theatre company that also works with horses. I hate rodeos, urban horse drawn carriages, petting zoos and aquariums. I reject the idea of animals used as entertainment and yet here I am twelve years with a company I love and horses who I consider family, though many have passed away in recent years. This is horse country. A lot of people have drafts that till, log and work the land but mostly they’re big pets. Big, expensive to care for pets. Or as Cameron calls them ‘giant dogs.’ In my small circle around here I’ve seen nothing but well loved and cared for horses. One friend, when his -now ex- wife gave him the ultimatum ‘It’s me or the horses’ he dropped his head and said ‘I’m so sorry.’ His team of belgians were driving the wagon at the farmers market last Sunday.

I won’t ride them -I use to and my last major concussion was being thrown from a wild horse on my cousins farm in Australia- or drive them, no matter how many times the Teamsters offer me the reigns but part of my job here is working with them. I’ll continue to do so as gently and respectfully as I can.

Endo loves going out for his final curtain call. He hears the ‘go’ from my radio and snorts and does this little joy buck with Morgan on him bareback and bridal-less and canters out to center stage as the cast spread wide like a deck of cards for them. I love this horse and feel lucky to spend a summer with him and his rider -who has had him since he was a foal and is tirelessly dedicated to his care. Not every show involves horses -though winter shows always do and the letterhead of the theatre is a clydesdale horse- this dichotomy lives in me. At least the animals out here are treated by the same rules that govern our theatre union. In fact they might even be treated better than our union standards.

IMG_6384The day following mine and Endo’s head bonk Sarah May showed me what  the plant yarrow looks like and cut me a bunch to take a bath with. She said it will help with the inflammation. She said to steep the bundle in a glass pot of boiled water with a lid over it to keep all the properties in, then add the yarrow tea to the bath. It’s been so hot I haven’t taken the bath yet but next cold night, I’m in! Now that I know what yarrow looks like I see it everywhere on the farm.

IMG_6383Just like the plantain that grows everywhere too. Sarah May also taught us if you get a wasp sting: grab a leaf, chew it up and put the pulp over the bite. It’s amazing how fast it cools the sting, pulling out the venom. Jan and I were walking and a wasp slipped under her sandal strap and stung her. I chewed up a dirty piece of plantain at our feet and stuck it on her bite. The bits left in my mouth were dry and gnarly and stuck to the top of my throat. I laughed and accidentally sucked it up my wind pipe into my nostril. It was horrible trying to blow it out.

IMG_6364Almost sunset on the day off. Tomorrow starts our third week of shows.