And then I got ridiculously busy with other projects. However, I can finally tell you about them!
First, Mike and I, along with three of our very good friends, are launching our own LARP. This is very exciting for all of us, as we are bringing an entirely new flavor to LARP in Alberta.
Albion is a historical immersion LARP. It’s set in Dark Ages Britain, on the south side of Hadrian’s Wall, roughly in the neighborhood of 2nd-8th century.
We have been working on it for a while now, but we have events coming up, starting with our big Launch Party on May 24th. I am catering it (with some help of course) and we are putting on a great medieval feast, some raffles, lots of good game-related releases, and of course contests and a bonfire. Very exciting.
You can check out more about it on the Official Website, but here are some photos we took of costuming examples.
The saddest legionnaire in the land
That has kept us extremely busy. I did a lot of work personally on the rules, and built the website, and wrote a good chunk of the content. We are planning and crafting and trying to be ready to go for the first real event in July!
Mike also started a new job almost a month ago. He’s working in Brooks now, at the bovine processing facility there. It’s good, because he’s learning a lot of new millwright skills, and making a good living while doing it. It’s also kind of inconvenient, because Brooks is 2 hours away from home, and he works 4 days on and 3 days off. So he rents a room down there for his days on and then comes home for his days off. Having him gone for half the week has been an adjustment. While I do relish my new alone time for reading and doing projects (that’s a lie, mostly I sleep and eat a lot of cereal) I am not used to him being gone. When the kids are with their dad, it’s just me and the cats. It’s lonely sometimes, but the worst part is that he’s not gone long enough for me to really get any of my projects really completed, but he’s not home long enough for us to really get a lot of things done as a team.
So, in May I am going to try and take a few Fridays off (currently he gets home Thursday afternoon and leaves again Sunday afternoon) so that we have some time together during weekdays to do thrilling grown up things like go to the optometrist, or grocery shop, or teach our cats to poop in the toilet. That was just for you, Dad 😉
We will see if that works out a little better. He does seem to really be enjoying his new job, despite what I feel are far too frequent incidents involving him being sprayed in blood. Luckily he mostly does his own laundry down there.
Over later winter we went ice fishing, and Mike caught his first ever fish through the ice!!!
He was very pleased, after almost two years of absolutely terrible ice fishing luck, it was awesome to finally have a successful outing.
The second major project in the works is that Wendy and I are starting a business together! A home-based food business, actually. It’s called Sprek (a bit of an inside joke, and a nod to our shared Norwegian ancestry) and although we are still in the preliminary steps, we are very excited.
Our main focus will be locally grown (hopefully by us, but more on that shortly) produce that we will can, pickle, or otherwise preserve. We will also be making a lot of really unique jams and jellies (dragonfruit-strawberry jam, Guinness jelly, and other flavors you won’t find anywhere else) which will set us apart from the rest. Not to mention many tomato-based products, and my very popular pickled sausage.
Early in April Wendy and I attended a full-day course and received our Provincial certification in safe food handling, which is the first step in our business venture.
We both scored really high marks on our exams (high 90’s) and we are looking forward to getting our certifications in the mail. Next we have to look into liability insurance, and a few other permits we need before we can get started. We have been test-running recipes and plan to get a lot more going now that many fruits and vegetables are coming into season.
Speaking of vegetables, Wendy and are putting in a TON of gardening this spring. So far we have a sizeable green house, and at least 400 square feet of outdoor garden space. We also plan to do some container gardening in our respective yards. We have over 18 varieties of tomato, half a dozen types of potato, turnips, 4 kinds of peas, many varieties of beans, lots of kinds of carrots, leeks, fennel, beets, radishes, squash, Medusa peppers, and probably a dozen other things.
We have spent the past couple of weeks preparing the greenhouse for planting. The space hadn’t been used in nearly a decade, so the soil was like concrete. We started breaking it up last fall, and although it’s been a serious labor of love, it’s actually got great potential now.
This is what it looked like to begin with:
We have been utilizing all of the llama poop we have access to (courtesy of Ominous, the llama that lives with my horses) because it’s safe to use directly on the garden without having to age it like horse manure. We also have a great compost pile going! We use pallets to keep our pile together. The left-hand side was started last fall (when this photo was taken) and the right-hand side will be started this year. That way next year we will have a “mature” pile and an “in-progress” pile. I save all of our food scraps (besides meat trimmings) in an old kitty litter pail and take them over every day or so. We also add leaves, horse manure, old hay, and whatever else we can find around.
So, it’s been a very busy spring indeed. Hopefully, we settle into some sort of routine in which I magically get everything done that I need to do. To close, here are some good photos of gophers. I love the spring!