Caretaker’s Log, Friday, May 9, 2014
It’s like déjà vu. When I wake up it has snowed, it is snowing. It’s still snowing. I make up a batch of granola. Just another lazy day.
I spend the day inside listening to Agatha Christie’s Secret Adversary on audiobook and working an impossible bug jigsaw puzzle.
I talk with my grandmother.
Through the window I see that it’s pouring down snow. One isolated snowstorm after the other.
At seven when I go outside to record the weather there are two pairs of geese and one pair of Sandhill cranes in the eastern field. The cat is being a complete pill. She nearly overturns the precipitation bucket I’ve put on the ground near the snow measure stick. She darts in front of my feet when I move. She wants attention.
I wish there were something easy for dinner. Maybe I’ll feast off canned fruit.
I steam up some broccoli and eat the last can of pears in pear juice. It’s easy enough.
I finish the impossible bug puzzle. There are six pieces missing. Almost to the moment I put the last piece in, Alex Jennings intones the last words of Secret Adversary. That worked out.
I stay up late reading up on meteorology.
Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, May 10, 2014
It’s softly snowing.
Over breakfast I’m a little wistful that all the good coffee creamer has been used up by me. I’d welcome company if they brought me canned coconut milk.
11:17 it’s still snowing, a denser film of flakes, yet ever softly, soundless, white.
I tune my ipod to the Rocky Story which starts with Eye of the Tiger, route it through the front and back room speakers, and go clean the bathrooms. I jam out when my favorite song comes on and sing along, “There’s no easy way out, there’s no short cut home.” There’s nothing like 1980s rock n’ roll to get straight to the point.
11:43 the sky is still softly sifting snow.
At noon after I go check to see that the bulk charge has gone back to float, I make a circuit west along the fence line. Glancing at the northern slope I see a new figure. It’s got to be an elk. Loring had told me that I should expect to start seeing them soon. Sure enough. I stand up on the top of the fence and squint into the distance. Not averse to a little extra walking, I traipse around the mud and go back to the Lodge for the binoculars then back to my spot by the fence, up on the fence. There are actually two elk feeding on the northern slope. I watch them come to attention when the Sandhill cranes come honking by.
With my spyglasses around my neck, I walk up to Industrial Park and check that the gas tank is not leaking. It’s not. The cranes are still making a fuss. As they zone in and come for a landing they’re greeted by the call of another pair. Two pairs of Sandhill cranes! Boy, these guys make a raucous noise.
Back at the Lodge, I bag up all the empty cans and take them to the recycle bin located on the cat’s porch. I’ve eaten at the least seventeen cans of fruit.
I’m reading about the Coriolis force when I look up and see the trees stirring in the wind. The motion mesmerizes me. They sway left and then right and then come back to center. Start all over again. Soothing and slow, rocking under the blue sky and the cotton ball clouds. “The Coriolis force can only change the direction of motion, not the speed.” It all seems connected.
The ground squirrels are getting fatter.
All I’ve written for the last few days is snow, snow, snow, snow. And here, now, despite all that, there is no snow on the grass except in those shaded and northern spots, and up under the trees. Where did it all evaporate to? After all, today’s high was only 39.9.
I set some beans in water to soak overnight.
Early evening, with those fluffy clouds, with that blue sky, it looks like spring again.
Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, May 11, 2014
I conduct my usual morning rituals: fire, coffee, breakfast, crossword.
After I check the bulk charge (it’s at a strong 58.4. This pleases me), I call my mom.
With a faint hope for cooking success (I know how I want them to turn out), I dump the beans in fresh water and put the giant pot on the stove. I add in an onion and some garlic.
After noon, I put on my outside gear and go for a walk. You know, climb every mountain and all that. While I’m singing along in my head, I decide to save the ford every stream line until after the weather turns a bit warmer.
The coyote sees me before I see her. In fact, just as I register her presence on the rise I was about to clamber up, she darts away and out of sight, gone. I climb the rise after her, knowing she’s long gone and that’ll be my only sighting for the day. At the top I look around anyway. I scan the trees with the binoculars, looking for her. Then I climb another rise. Then another. Then I go down. It’s all new territory for me to see. I follow elk tracks and see that I’m backtracking the coyote. I follow the fence line thinking I can make it all the way around. But the fence is down at the river and I can’t cross that way. I need a canoe.
I head back to lodge at a leisurely pace. One of the Sandhill crane pairs startles me as I walk past. “You guys are so loud,” I tell them.
At the Lodge, I wipe the mud from my shoes and hold my pants legs up from dragging on the carpet as I go inside and get cleaned up.
The beans are simmering.
A large bird of prey circles the western field, catches my attention out of the corner of my eye. Not wanting to lose sight of it, I reach blindly for the binoculars, put them up to my eye, and squint into the distance come suddenly closer. A bald eagle! It dives into the burnt orange shrubs and I don’t see it reappear for a good long time.
As if there’s a bird show in effect, a red tailed hawk makes a circuit of the field. It’s majestic in flight. Its feathers seem to glimmer in the late afternoon sun.
The trick to beans is to let them cook for the entire day.
I talk to Phinehas for an hour.
My grandmother calls and I wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.
I eat rice and beans for dinner. The beans came out just as I’d hoped they would. It’s a cooking success.
The moon is nearing full.