The Clinton Theater

On a rainy Monday night in March I experienced something I never dreamed possible.  Clinton, Michigan, population approximately twenty-three hundred, is about a fifteen minute drive from the farm.  In this tiny village, there’s a movie theater.  Even though I drive through at least twice a week (if not more), I never paid much attention to it.  When a group of us decided to see Beauty And The Beast, an internet search showed that it was playing there. 

Admission to the theater is four dollars.  That’s right, $4.00.  Since we went on a Monday night, it was half off popcorn night.  That’s enough right there for me to be a customer for life.  But then . . . the sign said . . . Eden organic popcorn.  With real butter . . .  and sea salt.  What’s that in the cooler?  Virgil’s Root Beer?  Oh yes.  If I were to open a movie theater, this is what it would look like.

While there are previews of other films, there are also old music clips playing in between.  Artists range from the Monkees to songs in German to Reggae.  It’s weird and fascinating all at the same time!  It was so much fun to watch a movie in this quaint old theater, that a couple of weeks later, I went to see Kong: Skull Island.  There’s no way I would ever go see that movie except that I wanted to sit in the theater with my giant bucket of half off popcorn, sipping my root beer, having the theater experience. 

After the movie, owners Karie Dorsten and Frank Cianciolo were kind enough to chat with me for a few minutes.  After I gushed on and on about how much I loved the place, I asked them how they are able to offer movies and snacks for a fraction of what it costs at the big theaters.  Karie said that they keep it simple, they are a family owned business and they do everything themselves, from selling tickets to running the concession.  There’s an interesting article here that tells more about some upgrades they did to the theater in 2011 and how Frank’s band, Frank Allison and the Odd Sox played to raise funds for it.

So far his year I think I’ve seen more movies than I have in the last five and I’m sure this trend will continue.  In fact, I’ve got plans to go again next week!  Since the cost is nominal, it’s easy to take a chance on a movie I might not otherwise see and I love being able to support a local business.  If you haven’t experienced the Clinton Theater, and are close enough to be able to, I encourage you to treat yourself to a night out.  You just might see me there, munching on a giant bucket of popcorn!

Deer and Roses

Things are growing like crazy here at the farm.  Every day I try to take a walk around the perimeter, checking on various plants and wildlife.  Since I don’t have much knowledge of what’s what, other than what we had on our property when I was growing up, I spend a lot of time looking at books and the internet trying to identify things. 

There are gooseberries growing in a little patch with red raspberries, but there are also prickly gooseberries growing in random places.  What I thought were black raspberries, I think are blackberries, at least that’s what they look like now that they’ve blossomed and the berries are starting to grow. 


Prickly Gooseberries

Black Raspberries


There are also beautiful wild rose bushes scattered throughout.  There was such an abundance of blossoms that I started researching rose hips, finding this awesome article and making plans to keep watch and determine when the hips were ready to pick.  That was my big plan anyway.

Beautiful Wild Roses

Another recent event on the farm was the sighting of deer running through our fields and behind our fence line.  They were huge and beautiful and I was so happy to see them close up!  Until I discovered that they are very fond of rose blossoms.  The bush closest to the house, the one with all the blossoms, has been decimated, picked clean by those dainty, velvety lips. 

Wild Roses After the Deer Stopped for Breakfast

There are still some blossoms and there are other rose bushes, but it’s likely that they won’t last until fall when it’s time for harvest.  Since I’m wiser than I was a few days ago, it wouldn’t surprise me if deer enjoy the hips as much as they enjoyed the blossoms.

This is a lesson that I’ve learned repeatedly and I think most of us have, otherwise we wouldn’t have sayings like: “The best laid plans of mice and men often run awry,” or “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” 

It’s hard to know where to draw the line between being proactive and making plans and being adaptable, able to take it in stride when things change unexpectedly.  When my plans are thwarted, I can get angry, I can try to control things so they go my way, or I can look at the situation anew and determine my next steps.  If I were mature, I would always choose the latter, but sadly, that’s not always the case. 

Plans for all the things I can make with rose hips are up in the air at the moment.  It’s not possible to know in June what will be happening in September.  There’s still a chance that I can make a pie, jam, cake, or cup of tea with some rose hips but in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the blossoms that remain.