Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, May 24, 2014
Naturally I’m tired. That’s what I get for staying up so late reading. Feeling lazy. But I’ve got stuff to do.
I post a blog.
After the 10:00 generator shed check, I go up to the dam and clear off the minor debris. As I make my way across the field back to the ranch, I hear a loud splash as if someone has chucked a rock into the creek. This has got my whole attention. I stop dead in my tracks. I wait.
Triumphantly, an osprey with a fish in its talons emerges from the water. It flies off to somewhere when all of a sudden, the bald eagle tries to steal the osprey’s elevensies. There is a long, involved sky battle between the two birds. The osprey is, rightly, pissed off. It dives again and again at the eagle. I have no idea what happens to the fish.
I clear off some of the debris in the culvert nearer the Lodge. I have to step into the water to reach it. My rain boot fills up and my sock gets soaked. It’s a squishy walk back to the house.
I clean up. Wash my hair. Send an email to Karen locking myself into cleaning the kitchen and washing the windows for pay. That done, I go sit outside. There might be a storm coming in. My hands seem to think so. And those are some mighty dark clouds.
Two of the ground squirrels really go at it. Spinning, tumbling, rolling over each other and across the yard. It’s intense. A third ground squirrel comes bolting over and the fighters split. A peacemaking ground squirrel?
There’s the bald eagle again. Oh, and with a protesting keening cry, there’s the osprey. The earlier spat has not been forgotten or forgiven. The osprey wants the eagle out of here. It feels like there’s a political statement to be made in light of all this. A natural object lesson. Didn’t Teddy Roosevelt want the grizzly as the American emblem in place of the eagle? Didn’t he call the eagle “nothing more than a dandified vulture”? At least in the film The Wind and the Lion he did.
At 3:37 it’s still raining.
I talk to Phinehas.
I talk to Michaela.
0.16 inches of rain later, the storm is past. The sun comes out, the sky blues up just in time for sunset.
Everything looks greener. Much greener.
Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, May 25, 2014
The sun is out. The clouds are chased away. It smells greener outside, like growth, like after-rain. There are three pairs of geese in the east field.
I use the last of the good coffee to make my daily brew.
The cat is in a feisty mood.
I spend the morning and early afternoon on the front porch in the sun, wondering if Porgy will show up. Karen had said he was planning to stop by sometime this weekend to test out the roads. I have seen neither hide nor hair of him. I sit in the sun and wonder if I can get away with not checking the dam today.
The red tailed hawk is out and soaring, searching.
The majority of my day is spent outside reading. The cat sits in the chair next to me.
What sounds really good right now is chocolate cake.
Thus the day goes by. No visit from anyone—not even someone named Porgy.
I read right into the night.
Caretaker’s Log, Monday, May 26, 2014
I don’t get out of bed until 9:00. I have my breakfast and coffee. Read the tail end of The Girl Who Played With Fire out in the sun on the porch. The cat is nowhere to be seen.
After the 10:00 system check, I go up to the dam. The grate is basically clear. I wipe the tendrils of weeds and grass off for good measure. I guess that means the spring flooding dam worry is past.
I pick up the stuffed bear, a can of adhesive, and a tennis ball on my way across the yard. I add them to my collection on the side porch of things that were revealed after the snow melted. It’s time to start preparing to leave, preparing for summer guests.
As I go to the generator shed for the 12:00 check, I see a dead bird next to the house. At first I think it’s an owl. But it’s not. The osprey is dead. Looks like in the end it lost. I roll it onto a piece of bark and take it away from the Lodge. “I’m sorry,” I tell it. “Rest in peace, friend.”
I throw away three potato husks that have been on the ground since Karen was here, maybe even longer. I toss them in the incinerator to burn up later.
I bring in some kindling from the wood chopping area.
Back inside, I consult The Sibley Field Guide To Birds. I’m not sure that dead bird was an osprey after all. And if it was, it was a baby, not the shrieking warrior of the day before.
I heat up the last couple of inches of coffee and finish reading the remaining eight pages of my book. It’s nice out in the sun.
With a determined sigh, I decide there’s no time like the present to get things done. I put on some music and start the thorough cleaning of the kitchen. Michaela calls. I clean some more. Phinehas calls. I’ve gotten the kitchen in disarray. I’ve started the impossible task of getting the grease off the stove and the stove hood. The internet has no helpful hints like: spin twice to your left and blink, to help me clean more effectively. I just need to use soap, water, and as much elbow grease as I can muster. The things I do for money.
I clean for four and a half hours. The stove is done. That’s the worst part.
Then I heat up some dinner, have a glass of wine, and watch an episode of Castle before heading up to bed.