Tips and tricks on living a frugal existence (with an emphasis on healthy living) from a queer girl and her partner as they attempt to play, love, and go to school while working at minimum wage in a too-expensive apartment in the heart of Nova Scotia.
What's That, Lassie? Jimmy Fell Into A Well?
How Wild Blackberries Almost Got Me Killed
Once upon a time, a jealous witch who didn't get invited to the baby shower for GF teamed up with a couple of errant gods, a swarm of malicious gremlins from the 80's, an amazonian witch doctor (no relation) and that voodoo guy from The Princess and The Frog and cursed her family line. Poor GF grew up as the most unlucky woman in the world, and has a thousand and one stories detailing how she dislocated both her shoulders with a glass coffee table, broke both her ankles by jumping, permanently damaged her knee by tripping over a cat, or became on of the two people in Halifax to get E. coli poisoning. Since we began living together in 2011 she's been to the hospital no less than twelve times. Murphy's Law was written for the girl - "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment," - with a special addition of "to me."
One of the tamer stories entails GF as a kid. She fell through a friend's deck. Young GF was a few inches away from breaking her legs and came home with quite a few bruises and a couple of deep scars (frighteningly close to her femoral artery) which are still very obvious today.
Let's just say my trip to the Kempt Shore this weekend made that story a bit less of a novelty and much more imaginable.
The field at my second cousin's cottage. (This is actually a
photo from two years ago. Sorry.)
They say if you don't like the weather in Nova Scotia, you should wait five minutes. Chances are it'll change. This past Saturday my dad and I had taken my grandmother out to see her niece and sister-in-law in the Valley, and although the day started in torrential rain, by the time we arrived at their lovely old cottage the skies had turned blue and I was dying of heatstroke in identically-coloured jeans. My second cousin (Dad's cousin and my Nanny's niece - it's all very confusing to keep track of, despite this being the small side of my family) was thrilled to announce their field had wild blueberries in it, which they had been collecting to make jam.
Anyone who's been reading this blog since the beginning (a whole five posts ago) knows that:
A) I compulsively collect food
B) I bought a shit-ton of blueberries from a U-Pick less than two weeks ago
These in mind, you'll understand why A could not say no to baking in the hot sun to pick wild berries (totally different from high-bush) and why B therefore was disregarded. I knew, however, that GF would tease me for bringing home more blueberries (which she dislikes), so I decided I'd delve into the just-ripening patch of blackberries (which she adores) near the cottage to keep her exasperation at bay.
It's understandable, considering that everyone except my dad and I were over 60 years old, that my second cousin and grandmother couldn't get anything more than a half-pint of berries. There were hardly any ripe suckers on the outside of the blackberry bush. But having spent hours as a child hunting out and eating all sorts of wild berries, and being as spry as I am, I knew what I had to do: I got right down on he ground and crawled into the centre of the blackberry bush. I collected armfuls of scratches, a sunburn, and a few upset spiders' webs (sorry), but ended up two full pints of the little gems. Being as I don't particularly care from blackberries, it was either unconditional love for GF or a rush of childhood nostalgia that made me willing to grass stain the crap out of my jeans. I made sure I'd collected every non-red berry on that plant, and was just doing my final lap around the bush when it happened.
The giant cast-iron faucet sticking out of the ground should have been an indication, but I can be dumb as a post when I'm distracted by food. There was a wooden pallet lying on the ground next to the blackberry bush, which the faucet was coming out of. I stepped on it, and moved forward in search of the last few berries. Suddenly, I wasn't standing up.
Being as there was a barking collie next door, if I had fallen in, I'm sure jokes would have been made. I had broken through a couple rotten boards on the pallet and was sitting with one leg hip-deep in an old well. I could see a couple of flat rocks siding the hole in the ground, but below my foot was just darkness. I have no idea how far down it went, but had the boards given way I would have at least broken my legs.
As it was, I very carefully crab-walked my way out and off the boards, gathered my spilled berries, and hightailed it out of there. Food was no longer especially interesting.
The moral of this story:
1) Always take free food, even if you already have lots of it - but only if you're going to use it. Hoarding food you won't eat only takes it away from someone who could.
2) Don't play near old wells! To people who own them: please check to make sure they're still holding up! PLEASE.