Friday, January 16, 2015

I Planet Well

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm up and about at around the usual time.

The sun causes the frost on the tree limbs to glow white. A winter wonderland doesn't just occur at Christmas.

It's -8 when I look at the thermometer, but rapidly warms up as the sun rises higher. The cat loves the sun as much as I do.

I need to take out some trash. Before I can do this, I'll have to break the ice that's preventing the incinerator shed door from opening more than a crack. It sounds like a task for another day. I wish I created zero waste.

I am in the mood to write. After breakfast, breakfast dish cleanup, and other light chores, I sit down and get started. I have to come up with a secret from the 1940s, early 1950s and then have an even deeper, darker secret.

One of the meese is up on the hill on the dam road.

I write. I blog. I stare out the window.

In the late afternoon, I ski up to the first road gate. I make record time—thirteen minutes. It takes five to get down. I talk to Michaela. Take a bath. Wash some clothes.

The sky has turned pink with sunset.

The cat follows me down the path meowing at me as I check the generator shed and the precipitation bucket. She thinks it's time to sit in my lap and be petted. Back on the porch, I oblige. Then, she's happy to eat dinner and go curl up in her house.

I talk to Grandmama.

I record the weather.

I eat leftover soup and listen to Steinbeck. He also was a winter caretaker.

I finish the 1500 piece Taj Mahal puzzle.

I can hear the cat snoring through the window.

I write.

I look up some research stuff.

Before heading upstairs I run the water in the kitchen and the water in the downstairs bathroom the way I do every night. Then it's off to bed.

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Two of the moose are on the north slope. One grazes and the other chills out under a tree. It's cold. The thermometer readout says -14 degrees when I come downstairs. I can feel the difference in the air even inside. The sun warms things up quickly, as does the fire I start.

As I’m uploading pictures from my camera some old files catch my eye. Caught by memory, I look through the photos of when I was in Italy. I was there, I think. Amazing. I'm so absorbed in the remembrance that I'm surprised when I glance up and out the window and see the snow.

I finally mend the hole that's been in my wood handling gloves since the first day I put them on.

As I'm taking out the ice layer in the cat’s water dish I notice my coat is shedding feathers like a molting duck. I somehow have torn little rips along one sleeve. Or maybe I burned it? I go right ahead and mend it as best I can. I listen to Travels with Charley while I stitch. I've had this coat for possibly nine years. Maybe even a little longer. May it make it through this winter too. I guess there's always duct tape patching if these stitches don't hold.

I'm feeling all kinds of lazy.

I look at more pictures from Italy. Florence, Padua, Milan, La Torriola, Montecompatri.

Michaela calls.

It's such a nice day-- bright blue sky, sun shining, moose all around-- I feel I have to get out for at least a token ski. I go across the east field and up the dam way slope. Then back again. All in all, it's about a forty minute excursion.

One moose makes a bed under a tree in the west field. Maybe it's feeling all kinds of lazy just like me.

The thing that sounds the best right now is a long, long, hot bath. So I go for it. I wash my hair while I'm at it. It was the perfect thing to do.

I read some more of Streets of Laredo.

Outside for my evening check, I see Mercury and Venus just over the western edge of the mountains. Venus is dazzling. She upstages the softer, paler Mercury who is her evening companion. Mars is above them and to the left. In the southern sky, I look for Lovejoy and think I see it, but doubt myself since I can't zoom it brighter than fourth magnitude with my naked eyes. The binoculars aren’t much help either--however, my sky conditions are delightfully clear, maybe I am seeing it. 

Jupiter, startling bright rises up over the east mountains. I can't believe how brilliant it is. At first I think it must be something else, though what exactly I don't know. I see a shooting star pass over the Pleiades. If it wasn't -6.7 degrees I would stay out longer and gaze.

I write.

I watch a show (my parents got me the full Burn Notice series for Christmas and I am watching it through looking for plot inconsistencies and enjoying it for the Boy Scout goodness that the characters assume in helping people in need) and drink the last two ounces of brandy from a bottle in the liquor cabinet. Kathy had encouraged me to finish off these nearly empty bottles. Fortunately for my liver there isn’t much in there that I will drink. I’m on a gluten-free dietary path and whisky and gin (which are in plentiful supply) are on the iffy list for the gluten intolerant so I’ll leave them for the next people who come through.

With that generosity in my mind, I head up for bed.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, January 15, 2015

As my niece says, "The sun is up, I am up." Though I didn't get up with the rising Sun just about twenty minutes earlier than usual.

I make a fresh pot of coffee. Give water and attention to the cat. Check that the bulk charge is running. Bring in some wood. Start some oatmeal soaking.

The east trees are frosted and magical again under the touch of the sun's rays.

It got down to -15 degrees last night. Although it's only 3 degrees now the sun is heating the rooftop snow, the snow piled up on the wooden porch chairs and wisping it into evaporation.

I eat the oatmeal while listening to more Steinbeck.

I sweep.

I gather the trash. I go out to the incinerator shed and hack the ice with a metal rod until I can open the door just wide enough to fit through. One of the moose on the north slope looks my way at the noise and then goes back to eating. I put the trash in the bin and close it up tight. I hack with a shovel at the ice mound that is growing daily with roof drip onto the path stepping off the porch. The cat thinks I'm crazy.

Isn't oatmeal supposed to be one of those really filling foods? I'm hungry again. I eat the last fresh apple I brought with me. There might be one or two more little ones in the fridge left by Kathy and her family.

Two moose are in the west field. I go look out the den window to see if these are the same moose that had been on the north slope earlier. But no, one big guy is still grazing on the north slope snow. His buddy might be lower in the cover of the reeds out of my sight.

I make some coconut flour Socca and have a piece topped with strawberry jam.

I flip the Taj Mahal puzzle over-- I may draw something on the blank side.

I go for a snowshoe excursion. The shoes are made for someone with larger feet than mine. I stop to adjust the clips every 15 to 20 steps. I go along the fence line, past the root cellar, and into the east field.

There is a moose!

We stare at each other for a long time. I take a lot of pictures. Another moose is snorting from the west field. I glance over that way. There are two moose in the west field, two moose in the north reeds, and this one—a fifth Moose!—in the east field with me. I'm surrounded by moose.

I moose watch more than I snowshoe.

It's almost 40°. This feels like spring weather.

I leave my hair down all day for whatever reason. It's long. It gets in the way. It makes me feel a bit more girly--and this isn’t a bad thing.

I write for about forty-five minutes. My character is trying to discover secrets. He's making slow progress.

On the lookout for them, I see Venus and Mercury again before they follow the sun down beneath the western mountains. I've got my eyes peeled for Jupiter to rise, but the southeast sky is overcast.

I record the weather. The last 24 hours held a wide spread of temperature. The low was -15.2 and the high 40.8. That's quite a range.

I eat leftover soup and another piece of coconut flour bread covered with hummus for dinner.

I write.

Michaela calls.

At eight o'clock, I go out to try and capture Jupiter on camera. The sky is so clear, so speckled with light, and the air is so quiet. I hear only the wind distant in the trees. Again, I see a shooting star, a perfect trailing line of light over the Pleiades. 
That seems to be my lucky spot. I stay out marveling at the stars, at the cloudy wisp of the Milky Way until my limbs turn cold and my cheeks turn frosty. I feel so privileged to see this.

After I've warmed up some and seen that the camera actually did pick up the stars, I go out and try again. I take time to look up without the camera, to appreciate the moment and this place.

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