Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, June 5, 2014
I get up at 7:00. First thing I change the linens on the bed. That’s my hardest task for the day. The rest of my prep work for the soon to arrive people will be just little pick up things. The Lodge is ready for company.
Out of habit, I glance out the window as I walk by and see the moose in the east pasture. Hurrying into the front room, I grab my camera and the binoculars and hope she’s still there. I watch her from the front porch as she makes her way along the field. The cat hears me and comes to try and steal my attention. “Not now, Cat,” I tell her. The moose begins to trot out of the sage and, to my great delight, a little baby moose emerges out of the sage behind her. I watch them until they vanish up the east hill and out of sight—blending into the dark green shadows, shielded into invisibility by the morning light.
With that excitement out of the way, I take my coffee and go sit in the sun and listen to Loggins & Messina. “I want to get away and live my life, In the rivers and trees, I want to spend the days making wine and be free, Be free (be free, be free).” L & M and I have a lot in common with wants.
This moment, sipping coffee, listening to Danny’s Song, and feeling the sun, is perfect. A perfect moment to add to my growing collection of perfect moments. This is good living. This is the good life.
I bring in some wood. I take some of my things upstairs to pack. I call my grandmother and tell her about the moose and moose baby. I clean the front windows again to wipe off the rain marks.
Karen and Kathy are supposed to arrive around 3:00. At 2:30, for the first time in two months, I put on a bra. It’s pretty awful.
I wait on the front porch listening for sounds of people. Then it comes. I hear the whine of a chainsaw from up the road. Once, then again. Then once more at the tree I knew had fallen across the road and warned Karen about. I take a breath. “Okay, Cat,” I say. “Your life is about to change too.” Karen, Kathy, Laura, and Loring arrive around 4:00.They each come in their own vehicle. We spend the next hours unpacking things. Boxes, and food, and fresh fruits, and veggies, and more boxes.
Kathy makes collard greens, wild caught salmon, and potatoes for dinner. “It smells like real food,” I tell her. She’s brought me a bottle of wine to make up for the wine lost in the great airdrop tragedy.
The Lodge is no longer mine to keep up with.
They all choose a cabin to sleep in and let me keep the loft.
The fridge is filled to the brim. The smell of fresh strawberries is like heaven. There are fresh greens. Bananas.
The cat is royally pissed that Boss the dog is here.
When Laura goes for a walk, early in the evening, I see a deer bounding into the woods, flushed out of the field.
All the doors that have been shut all winter long are now open.
Caretaker’s Log, Friday, June 6, 2014
Karen is an early bird. There are sounds in the kitchen below me before 6:00 AM. Breakfast is over and the dishes done by 9:00. Up and at ‘em.
Karen, Kathy, and Loring begin their training. Loring, the previous owner, is giving Kathy, the new owner, and Karen, the manager, the lowdown on all the systems and the switchover from winter to summer. Laura, the summer crew manager, goes to do her work. She’s been here before. She knows what needs to be done.
At 10:00 I check the systems as usual. Not sure when I’ll stop being responsible for these tasks. Probably as soon as they get the Tame Hydro running. Then someone else will record the weather too. Soon, I won’t be cycled around the times of 10:00, noon, and 7:00.
For me, every wildlife sighting, bird or beast, is an event. For these guys it’s common place. They don’t even look when I say, “There goes the bald eagle!” or “Wow! There’s a deer bounding into the woods.”
There’s evidence that there’s a mouse hiding in the kitchen. This unseen creature has nibbled into a few packages. The cat has fallen down on the job.
The bald eagle (which I am still excited about) is back to sit on its favorite tree.
We have breakfast and lunch and dinner all together at the table in the front room. The recharge time I need after social interaction is going to be longer—at least for a while. I can see I’ll have to readjust to this.
I go for a (maybe) final walk up to the dam. Boss comes with me. He finds a bone and drags it along back toward the ranch. He’s very proud. But he forgets about it in the east pasture when he’s distracted by the ground squirrels.
Back at the ranch, I go sit on the sauna porch for an hour. I laugh at a precocious ground squirrel, watch the birds, listen to the river, see the clouds go by, close my eyes.
I take a quick bath.
After that it’s back to being part of the human herd. I read through a manual Loring has written to explain the Charge Control Module and give him some feedback. “I’m surprised you understood it,” he tells me.
Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, June 7, 2014
Ranchers get up early. I stay up in the loft until 7:00. Then I go down to get my coffee. We have oatmeal for breakfast. The fresh fruit is. It’s superb.
I take the cat’s food and water out to her new hideout in the barn. She hisses at me then comes down when I call her. She winds around my legs and lets me scratch behind her ears.
Breakfast dishes. More coffee.
I’m volunteered by Loring to do the battery equalize while the rest of the gang goes up to the dam to get the Tame Hydro set up and running. After I refill the battery water level and the EQ is running, I go clean the Willow cabin bathroom. Two and a half hours later, Kathy says they’re back and it’s time for lunch.
I do the washing up with the help of a few fingers of whisky and Coldplay. The gang goes to do something with the irrigation system.
When Kathy comes back I show her how to chart the weather. I have to hand that task off to someone before Monday.
Kathy makes soup for dinner. She sets me aside a bowlful before adding some unidentified fish (that’s been in the deep freezer all winter long) into their portion.
At 7:00 I do the weather.
Everyone is worn out. It’s been a busy day. After dinner and a little visiting Laura, Loring, and Karen go to their cabins. Kathy finishes checking emails. She invites me to come work at the end of the summer session if I’d like. I tell her that I’m booked up through that time frame. I ask her if they’ve already scheduled next year’s winter caretaking stints. She’s says they’d love to have me back for that.