Sunday, May 18, 2014

Goin' on a Bear Hunt, Gonna Catch a Bear

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, May 15, 2014

I’m up earlier than usual and downstairs by 8:30.

I make up a batch of granola.

There are eight (8!) Sandhill cranes in the west field.

The birds are happy today, singing up a chorus from the trees.

I’m enjoying my coffee on the porch in the sun, thinking of what I need to do today, planning out a summer itinerary in my head. I make a list so that I can sit in peace and enjoy my morning without getting up every few minutes to start on something and then remind myself it can wait a moment. It’s nice to have a list to go off of.

I walk up to the dam.

Nearly there, I see some tracks. They almost look like mine. Look almost human. But they’re not. I’m pretty sure those tracks are bear. I stop. I stare at the tracks. They go in the direction I have to go. I wish I were better versed in how fresh a track is by just looking, like all the Louis L’Amour heroes. I’m not that good. I adjust the bear spray that’s looped conveniently around my shoulder and wonder what’s over that rise. 

Well, bear or no bear, I still have to make sure the trash screen doesn’t get clogged and the dam taken out. Maybe I won’t mention these bear tracks to anyone.  

The grating is almost completely clear of snow. There’s a little bit of weedy catch on one of the grating irons. I remove it with a long stick.

Back at the Lodge, I do an online search on what to do if I encounter a grizzly. It’s real reassuring.

I sit on the edge of the porch and read. Or really I sit on the edge of the porch and watch the ground squirrels chase each other around. One of them goes for the jackpot of food--it climbs up into the cat’s food dish and goes to town. Oh, ground squirrels will play when the cat is away. They don’t even care I’m there. They chase each other back and forth underneath my suspended foot.

It’s been 21 days since my visitor Todd came by. If no one comes today I’ll set a new record for myself of time with no face to face human contact.

There’s a green apple in the fridge that Karen left there. It’s still firm. Enough. I have it as my first dinner with tahini. I do miss fresh food.

I don’t have a second dinner after all. Just a handful of almonds and a few bites of chocolate with my nightly glass of wine. I settle in on the couch next to the fire and finish the #1 Superthriller of 1977 – Firefox by Craig Thomas. It’s actually a decent book.

There were butterflies out today. Just in time for my mom’s birthday tomorrow.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, May 16, 2014

The thought that makes me smile when I wake up is that it’s my mom’s birthday today.

I call her up and sing badly, as is family custom, to her.

I set out some garbanzo beans to soak.

The ground squirrels are running quite a racket. One distracts the cat and the other goes to eat food out of her dish. The cat is completely unaware of this deception. She’s hunkered down in the hunt by the rock.

My sister in law calls and tells me that I’m going to be an aunt to a nephew sometime in October.

A spam message in my email says, “Momma Grizzly is about to strike.” Good grief, I think, I sure hope not.
Michaela calls to talk to me about our upcoming nephew.

Grandmama calls.

I’ve spent a pretty lazy day lazing.

There’s a mist over this valley. Looks like it’s bringing rain.

I have quinoa and broccoli for dinner.

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, May 17, 2014

The mist has cleared from the valley, but there’s fresh mist over the mountains mixing with the clouds. It’s the kind of mist that burns off in the sunlight. Burn away mist, burn away clouds. I’m hoping for a sunny day.

I make coffee.

I put the garbanzo beans on the stove to cook. I’m going to make hummus later on.

Michaela calls.

After I check on things in the generator shed after the noon switch from bulk to float (and I do have to reset the system to go back on timer. I don’t know what drives it to flip on its own to something other than its preset program), I gear up and head in the direction of the Kinky Creek dam.

With the bear on my mind I decide to go up a new way. Through the brush and trees. Because why not. I pick my way through the sagebrush not liking when it gets too tall. I head to the creek, it’s clearer going along the bank, and admire the opposite shore’s pathway more than the one I’m on. The grass is always greener….

I cross the creek, absolutely grateful for the rain boots I’d bought last spring when I had a weekend stint as a chicken farmer, and slog through the snow up the hill. As if I’ve gone this way my whole life, I emerge over a hill (twenty or thirty minutes later) and come exactly up to the dam. I’m pretty impressed with myself. I wonder if I could do that again?

There’s no sign of bears, elk, moose, raccoons, beavers, cats, or badgers.

The dam grating is clear of all snow. I move a couple sticks off, and that’s that.

I go back down the mountain on the old and well known path.

The red tailed hawk is soaring circles above me.

I’ve seen that the main road in to the Darwin is showing now. For a lark, I venture over to test how muddy and impassable it might be. Sometime in the future someone is going to come down that road and take me out of here. It’s pretty dry in many spots. I walk all the way up to the top gate. There are a few patches, 100 or 200 feet long, with snow pack anywhere from one to eight inches deep. But it’s clearing.

There’s a downed tree around the first curve, not too far from the Lodge. I’ll have to take an ax and chop up the part that’s blocking the road. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it next week. I wonder if there’s a saw in the toolshed.

It’s a perfect day for a long walk. The temperature is in the high 50s, the sun is warm, the air crisp, the birds some company.

I get the last of the carrots, two cans of peaches, and four green apples (these have been in here since time began. Some of them have mold. I don’t know if they’ll be any good) out of the root cellar.

After I return to the Lodge and get changed out of my outdoor gear, I make hummus.

The hummus is really good. I eat it with carrots. The apple I choose is no good. I decide against trying any of the others just now.

Out of nowhere I think of the game-song Mammaw used to play with us kids. Going on a bear hunt, gonna catch a bear, gonna catch a BIG bear.

I imagine this catching of a bear to be done with a giant butterfly net.

I really don’t want to catch a bear. 

I make a cup of peppermint tea and take it to drink outside in the light of the descending sun. The cat likes this idea.

A mosquito bites me on the hand.

I relocate a spider from the kitchen to the great outdoors.

I watch a beaver for a while through the back room window with the binoculars.

No comments:

Post a Comment