Caretaker’s Log, Friday, April 18, 2014
I wake up sore. No surprise there. Not after a full day of shoveling snow off the roof. I tumble out of bed and head downstairs. It’s already 45 degrees at 9:00 AM.
There’s a grey-lit, dusky cloud sliding over the east mountains. Eyeing it, I take my coffee and book and go sit outside in the sun. The cat joins me. The wildlife is displaying temerity. For example, the cat jumps in my lap. “Uh, no, Cat,” I tell her, disengaging her kneading claws out of my jeans and gently encouraging her to jump back down. “We’re not getting that friendly.” I scratch her behind the ears and she eventually plops down under my chair like a companionable dog.
Later, as another example, when I’m back inside a spider jumps down my shirt. We both survive the experience and I relocate the spider to the great outdoors.
There’s precipitation—tiny pieces of ice, not quite hail, not quite snow. The temperature drops ten degrees and it begins to snow in earnest. I start my morning fire at 11:30.
“How’s the isolation?” my grandmother asks each time she calls. Without the cat and the geese this place would feel much more isolated.
In the evening, I see the beaver again, by chance, through a window as I pass. It reminds me of Rat and Mole and I think it’ll soon be time to read The Wind in the Willows again. Maybe that’s the promise of spring. Or I’m just confusing that the book begins with spring.
The snow fell for three hours and is already gone. Who needs a coat when it’s 40 degrees outside?
Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, April 19, 2014
I find some heavy whipping cream in the back of the refrigerator. It expired on the 10th. So I open it and dump it in my coffee. This is the first awesome cup of coffee I’ve had since I got here. Who knows how long the cream will last. I’ll have to drink it up quickly.
I see a chipmunk on the woodpile.
My grandmother calls.
Although I’m feeling lazy and wanting to procrastinate, I gear up and go outside to chop wood. I’m down to about a day’s supply. I chop for four hours. It’s not so bad once I get started. I split wood until I’m out of strength. If the weather keeps getting warmer, this supply will last me much longer than a week.
I see the beaver swimming about.
Now that the spiders are waking up I’ve started shaking my boots out before putting them on. I learned that from reading Louis L’Amour and from staying out at my grandparents’ farm in East Texas where there was real chance scorpions would be in one’s shoes.
A robin redbreast flies up on the porch as I’m finishing up my dinner. The harbinger of spring has arrived. I hope it eats the giant mosquito-like creature I just saw.
There go the ducks.
Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, April 20, 2014
Coffee laced with heavy whipping cream is splendid. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m not as hurt or sore as I thought I’d be from chopping. Maybe that’ll come tomorrow.
A goose was one-legging it at the beaver’s water descent area this morning. I had to get the binoculars to see what creature was there. At first sight, I thought there were two beavers, but it was only one silly goose and a rock.
I water the plants.
There are things being revealed out from under the snow. For instance, a bright orange fishing hat and a pair of scissors on the propane shed’s roof.
Yesterday and the day before I heard the sound of melting snow, a fizzing, a cricket’s song, like something living taking air, or something dying giving up its last breath.
There’s a chipmunk playing statue in the front yard snow. It’s frozen on account of me. I’m moving too much as I sit in the sun and fend off the flies from my place here on the porch. The cat abandons me after I go warm up my coffee.
I want to do nothing today. The question is: where to do it exactly.
Late in the afternoon, following the sun, I go sit on the log outside of the sauna room. A kingfisher with a black plume crown trills at me from the fence by the river. A swarm of white-bellied birds, nuthatches maybe, flit overhead. One dips its beak into the water as it flies by. The river sings around a rock, a bend.
The beaver is out. While I’m watching him slowly munch on a reed I see a second beaver! His reed eaten up, the first beaver swims right past me.
I hear an owl.
The hydro-electric battery float charge is 49.8 when I check it at 7:30. That’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it. While I’m checking the caretaker’s manual to remind myself what the dangerous low is, my brother Phinehas calls. He distracts me with funny stories.
But the low float charge worries me. I find the range in the manual. It’s not supposed to go over 64.2 volts or under 46.8. The volts are currently within the acceptable range. I hope it doesn’t go lower tonight while I’m sleeping. I’m not exactly sure what will happen if it does. I just know that I’ll have to fix it.
Now my hands are sore.
I calculate the remaining weeks, my wine supply, and worry about the upcoming Kinky Creek spring flooding. Then I chide myself. Don’t worry about things that won’t happen in the dark of night. Be calm. Enjoy the fire. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the night.
I finish the last Tecumseh Fox book by Rex Stout. I’ve read all three in the series in less than three days.