Barn Halloween, learning to cook and wanderings

As a girl who has lit top ramen on fire, and fried eggs green, learning how to cook adequately three meals a day has been a challenge. When asked once how I ate in my Seattle studio, I responded “poorly:” living off of peanut butter sandwiches, spaghetti, and salad. However, after a few weeks of bland food, I am finally comfortable in the kitchen, cooking meat and baking bread–all without measuring or recipes (trivial for some but a big deal for me!).

For Halloween, I decided to make a pear and apple crumble: requiring just six ingredients and 2 hours (in our poor, poor oven that barely heats up). For Barn Halloween, we also lit candles, set up an apple bobbing station and made some jello shots. Costume building required some creativity with limited barn supplies. The Dutch couple (they’ve been with us since mid/early October), dressed up as a scarecrow and scuba diver with tufts of cut straw and water gun. Becky made a hat from construction paper for her witch costume and Ben got dolled up as a 70s disco dancer–complete with his fabulous pet leopard Winston. With plenty of feathers, I designed a native american costume with headband made from straw, ribbon and feathers; a bow an arrow from sticks and string; and a scarf tied toga style with a braided belt from ribbons. The Dutch girls from Bushcamp appeared with handmade pirate hat, hook, and eyepatch and a witch hat and broom from newspapers. Another Dutch couple staying temporarily with us for the week dressed as each other: he in her dress and she in his pants. Games and giggling ensued with hide and seek in the dark–a barn favorite.

The night before, to get us into the Halloween spirit, we watched a horror movie: The Excorcism of Emily Rose. I’d seen it once right before going away for college in 2005. During the excorcism, I yelled, “SHE RAN INTO THE BARN!” which helped dim the drama. That night, with my overactive imagination and my rule that I refuse to sleep alone after a horror movie, I spent in Becky’s extra bed.

We left a candle on.

The next night, I spent alone but woke up in the middle of the night smelling smoke (in the movie, she wakes up at 3 AM smelling smoke)! Calmed myself quickly with the realization that it was simply the candle going out (and refusing to look at the time) and fell promptly back to sleep before being awakened by bushbabies and baboons calling in the night.

It’s very odd celebrating Halloween in the spring! And moreso I feel for Thanksgiving and Christmas with the weather warming up and thunderstorms rolling in. We’ve had some sprinkling this past week (although no real summer downpour) which cut one of my vegetation survey days short. John is on vacation in Mozambique for 3-4 weeks so I’ve been finishing up the data collection and entry for this month by myself. Nowhere in America, can you wander a few hundred feet from your house and become surrounded by a baboon troop. Becky and I decided this is definitely something we’ll miss.

The thorns are still a nuisance (with one still stuck in my leg for two weeks now) and I feel like Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment. Except instead of strings or lasers, it’s Acacias or Buffalo thorn with spiderwebs in between, and instead of solid ground, it’s mud, rocks and holes…

This month though, I’ve finally decided to start my own project for sure and will be hopefully following some monkeys around!

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