Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
I mean, I think she’s missing. The last I heard she and a bunch of the kids from camp were heading to the electricity shack for a little party, and then I never heard from her again. It’s been awhile.
I’m wondering if she got caught having a phone at the camp? But if she did, I know her parents would at least let her send me a text letting me know that she was okay.
She’s been saying she thinks Nora has it in for her. What if something happened between them? And Ron and Betsy––what if Ka really was onto something and they really are cult leaders or identity thieves or something like that?
Don’t you think it’s weird that she’s disappeared right after finding out that all the 1890 stuff is a sham?
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Okay, so... Nora? The poster child for Camp Frontier? You won’t believe what I found her doing.
She was typing.
At a computer.
In a special secret electricity shack Ron and Betsy have set up and don’t want anyone to know about.
Nora isn’t supposed to use the shack, but she sneaks into it every night when Ron and Betsy think she’s out walking in the woods or whatever. Nora and Caleb have been meeting at the electricity shack in secret since the camp began. They’ve been listening to everyone’s iPods. They’ve been drinking the Diet Coke that Betsy stores in a mini-fridge.
Nora explained that the shack is just to let her dad check out organic farming chat rooms, but I don’t know. . . Is Ka right? Are Ron and Betsy a front for some elaborate crime ring? Is more going on here than it would seem?
That would be AWESOME.
I can’t wait to tell Ka.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
But okay, here’s one. This was maybe the best. Grizzly Bear Wrestlers in Circus Side Show.
This one’s pretty good too: Identity thieves (they’re off the grid because they’re on the lam).
Yoga instructors who had to leave the business because Ron’s so stiff he couldn’t touch his toes.
Spies in a forgotten sleeper cell left over from the Cold War.
Cult leaders who are pretending this is just a summer camp but really are jumpstarting a commune––just wait until the fall when none of us gets to go home!
Okay, I’ll stop.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Here’s what you need to do to make butter. After you get a bucket of milk, you let it sit on the counter for a day. Before long, some stuff starts to collect on the top—a skin—and then if you leave it, it gets thicker. That’s how you get cream. I know, totally foul, but you spoon that into this big wooden bucket with a paddle in it called a butter churn.
Then you sit there using the paddle to mix up the cream stuff until your arm feels like it’s about to fall off. You lift the lid on the churn, check to see if you’ve got butter, and see that no, it’s not even close. So then you get really depressed. Being depressed is an enormously important part of the process; you can almost tell how thick the butter is just by how defeated and miserable you feel personally.
But you keep stirring it some more anyway. It takes about five hundred million years before the stuff in the churn turns to butter, and by the time it has your arms are trembling, you have blisters on your hands, you hate your mom, and you promise that, to make it last longer, you will hardly eat any of this butter yourself. But it’s so good, that’s kind of a hard promise to keep, especially when everyone else is slathering it on everything like it’s free.
I Can’t Believe (I know how to make) Butter!
Making butter is the stupidest waste of time in the world, considering you can go buy butter in any grocery store in the world any day you want. But stupid or no, I know how to do it and in fact I’m getting kind of good.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It’s not easy.
Doing laundry is a nightmare.
Here’s the main problem with laundry (if you really want to know, and trust me, you don’t)––Everything starts off about ten times dirtier than normal laundry at home. I mean, the white shirts, the bibs and petticoats––they were brown. And on top of that, washing them doesn’t really help because the water you’re washing them becomes instantly filthy. By the end of the day, you’re hoping to get things to a place where they’re maybe as dirty as the stuff you would put in the hamper at home.
By lunchtime on laundry day, every pot we had was filled with hot water. There was a washtub on the floor overflowing with suds. My mom had got out this thing called a washboard which is made of wood covered in wrinkled tin and looks like something you’d use as a musical instrument in elementary school, but is actually something you’re supposed to use to scrub out the dirt from clothes––you rub them up and down on the board, and then wring them out, soak them in the water and do it again.
There were puddles of spilled water on the floor. Our hands were red and chapped. My mom had sweat pouring down her temples––God knows I could feel it dripping down my face too. The muscles in my upper arms were burning and so weak from trying to ring out these enormously heavy shirts and petticoats that I could barely get them to move.
I think I got more skin to rub off my knuckles than dirt to rub out of the clothes.
Last Sunday, when my mom said we had to get the laundry done this week and I had asked, “Do we take it to Betsy’s?” she laughed so hard I was worried they’d have to call some men in a van to take her away. Now I understand what she meant.
I was so tired last night I fell asleep sitting up on the porch.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
So dumb, right? I knew right away it was. And that was before I’d figured out Nora was going to make me milk the cow in front of her. I’d thought maybe I’d figure it out on my own that night in the barn.
And Jezebel? The cow? Up close, she’s huge. And red, like she’s angry.
All I remember about what came next was standing in the kitchen. Nora had told me to go get the milk pail but I was so freaked out I forgot what I was even looking for once I got inside. My mom was saying, “Gen? What’s going on?” and I just stared.
I felt like I was marching to the gallows, walking back to the barn.
And then, you’ll never believe it, but I milked that friggin’ cow!
Remember when we used to milk those fake cows at the zoo with the rubber bags hanging down shaped like udders? Well, I guess I must have learned something.
The milk came out so fast, some of it even splashed me on the face! =)
Sometimes––and I know this is pathetic––I have to force myself to remember that Nora should not look normal to me, that 1890 should always cause a shock to the senses, but it’s hard sometimes to remember.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
One of Gavin’s jobs is to carry ashes from the stove to a big bin in the outhouse. We all pour some ashes down the hole when we’re done. Everyone has ashes under their nails. Ew. When we were getting ready for the Sunday picnic my mom made us all scrub our nails clean.
Okay, the meeting: Can I just say how cute Caleb is? He wears this leather necklace and every time I see it I just about want to float away.
The rest of the meeting was horrible, though. Apparently you get graded on how you’re doing every week. We got the worst grade of the camp––a 4 out of 10. This other family, where they all have red hair? They’ve finished weeding their wheat crop while we aren’t even a quarter of the way into ours.
BTW: Some of the other families are cooking and eating their chickens. Ew.
Also at the meeting, I got to talk to Ka some more. She is starting to become my actual friend. Want to know something crazy? Her mom just got married to her step dad and they’re totally Brady-Bunching their families. For them, the camp is supposed to be bonding, but they actually hate each other.
But I forgot the best part of the meeting. After, when were all eating our food, Caleb came over and asked to trade some of his family’s chicken and cheese for my mom’s bread. (She’s getting better at making bread.) I’m pretty sure he was just doing it to be nice. To be nice to me!
When Nora noticed Caleb talking to me, she started throwing me these dark looks. I think she truly hates me.
So: Caleb. I was running to find a hiding place and I didn’t see that he was already there. I almost sat on him, and then suddenly he was holding my hand, dragging me into the woods! Does this mean he likes me?
It’s confusing. I think Nora might actually be his girlfriend or something. I can’t tell. They’re together a lot.
After Nora saw Caleb and me together, she ran off into the woods and five seconds later, Matt, who was It, suddenly knew where I was. I know this is paranoid, but could she have possibly turned me in?
It doesn’t matter. I don’t care about Nora. I care about Caleb. I’ll see him later at the Sunday Meeting––all the families are supposed to meet at Ron and Betsy’s house once a week, like a church service. On the first day, Ron had explained that going to church was a big deal on the frontier and I’d been like, “Whatever.” But now, a Sunday meeting seems so much better than another day slaving away in the fields, I’m like, “Bring it on.”
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Okay, Matt and Ka play kick the can like a couple of covert military operatives. My training at Camp Sunshine doesn’t even remotely measure up.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Gavin: Do you think that watching clouds in 1890 was what they did instead of watching TV?
Me: I don’t know but the idea that they considered cloud watching entertainment is maybe even more pathetic than the fact that they always had to eat beans.
Gavin: I think the beans part is just us.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Gavin was like, “So you’re saying that all summer, our choices are beans. . . or death?”
I have to say I was laughing pretty hard at that.
We’re supposed to have eggs, but Gavin hasn’t been able to convince the killer chickens to lay any. And we’re supposed to have milk––Ron said he’d give us a cow next week.
Monday, May 10, 2010
The other thing we eat is beans. My mom will make a pot for dinner and then we will eat them again all the next day. When grits get cold they congeal (nasty!) and you can slice them. So we had cold sliced grits with beans spread on top for lunch. Double nasty!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
My dad and Gavin went back to the house to get water. ARE there really bears out here? My dad said if you’re all by yourself you should sing to keep them away.
I think I might try that singing thing to let them know that I’m here. But the way I sing, a bear might attack me just to make me stop. And the only song I know all the words to is “Beat It.”
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Here’s the thing: being a farmer is BORING. I am halfway down one row, there are ten rows to go, and it’s already taken TWO HOURS.
Monday, April 26, 2010
That girl’s name is Nora by the way. She still doesn’t like me. Or anyone. She was really snotty about the fact that we barely had anything to eat and hadn’t figured out how the pump worked.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This is what it’s like to sleep with Gavin: right now his pillow is soaked in drool. He mouth breathes and I can smell his nasty breath.
Not to mention he tosses around all the time and has pulled the quilt we are sharing onto the floor.
And that the mattress is hard and thin and laid on top of a hammock woven from rope that digs into me at every time I move.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The girl––she’s the daughter of the family who runs the camp. I haven’t even really talked to her, and she already hates me. I guess that’s because I laughed at her for having made a bunch of dolls.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Ron’s wife Betsy was dressed in this crazy Pillsbury dough boy outfit. A long dress and an apron. She had this big smile spread on her face. She said, “Welcome to 1890.” When I said, “So 1890 is the year we’re pretending it is?” she looked at me like I was crazy. “Oh, no,” she said. “1890 is the year it is.”
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
She sent this one later that first day:
When the camp director Ron met us at the airport, all of that Amish stuff we learned about in sixth grade came flooding back. Ron looked Amish, except the Amish are usually driving buggies and making pretzels, and Ron was holding a sign that said, “The Welsh Family”––that’s us––as if he were some kind of celebrity limo driver gone wrong.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Mr. S. said that wasn’t enough, so okay, here’s more about Gen:
Birthday: September 18
Sign: Virgo, but I will tell you she thinks signs are a little dumb
Hair: Brown, long, mostly in a ponytail
Style (Ashley is fashion-obsessed so she made me put this in): But Ash, Gen doesn’t even have a style!! Just kidding, Gen, in case you ever read this. Gen wears jeans every day and t-shirts she thinks are funny. She’s pretty but doesn’t wear make up or anything.
Okay, more about Gen:
Music: She isn’t that much of a music person. She really loves the Beatles. She has a lot of classic rock on her iPod.
Favorite joke: Gen still thinks it’s really funny in soccer practice when out of nowhere someone pulls someone else’s shorts down. (FYI she gets really mad when someone does it to her.)
Favorite subject in school: Gym. After that, English.
Favorite movies: High School Musical 3. Just kidding! She loved Bring it On. Blue Crush. Twilight.
Favorite show: Veronica Mars
Relationship status: Single
Siblings: Gavin. He’s 10. Pasty and pale. A video game addict. When we have sleepovers at Gen’s he sits outside the door, eavesdropping.
Gen’s most inspiring moment: This past spring our soccer team was looking like we might go undefeated, but in the last game of the season, at halftime, we were down 2-0. Gen looked at us each in the eye. She gets this face on when we’re in a game, and she had it on now. “Let’s DO this,” she said. And that was it. But I felt so pumped up––everyone did––and then we won!
Last time I saw Gen before she left for Camp Frontier:
The night before she left––school wasn’t even out yet. She was packing. Her blue Speedo bathing suit hung on her closet doorknob. When I said, “Don’t forget that,” she burst into tears. Apparently, at this camp, if she was going to swim, it would be in some kind of a stream and she’d have to go in her underwear as bathing suits hadn’t been invented in 1890. Whoah.
Here's the first post I got from Gen. It came on the first day they were at camp:
Help! I'm dressed up like an American Girl Doll minus the fashion sense. My sleeves are so tight I can't lift my arms above my head. Is this the new me?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I've had a brilliant idea - my friend Gen is stranded at some crazy camp her mom is making their family go to. It's a place where you pretend you're living inside the Little House on the Prairie books. Does that sound cool (um, no!!). There's no TV, no computers, no iPods. They don't even have flush toilets. Yuck.
Anyway, Gen snuck in a phone and has been texting me. If I turn her texts into a blog, I won't have anything to write myself. Yes! Yes! Yes!