Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, January 10, 2015
I have dreams of siblings. At one point, Noah hugs me goodbye and loans me his car while he plans to sleep through the day.
I get up at 8:50.
Paul, the owner, calls at nine o'clock. He's just checking in. He seems pleased that I love it so much here. We talk about the moose, the ski trails, and the weather. At one point, he says that every guy's dream is to be out here alone. I tell him it's my dream too, and I feel lucky to be here.
I do some stuff online.
I eat brunch at noon. I eat the last fresh banana.
In the afternoon, I put on the skis and go across the field, over the bridge, and to the base of the hill that leads up to Toad Hall-- the professor’s little summer cabin. The snow has a slick quality today and I'm not feeling the energy to go up the hill. Another day.
I go as far as I want and turn around. With the intent to practice my downhill maneuvers, I scramble up a small rise, following a single line of coyote tracks which suddenly stop. They disappear. It's as if the coyote had vanished into thin air, no return tracks and no forward tracks. It must be some kind of magic coyote. What other explanation could there be?
My downhill maneuver ends up with me toppled over in the snow. I swim around until I finally have my feet set and my ski poles in the right position to lever myself back into an upright position. It's exhausting and I'm sure completely entertaining. I'm glad I have no audience except perhaps, the magic coyote.
On my way back over the bridge, I decide to do a timed selfie. Smart girl that I am, I loop the camera strap to the bridge just in case it slips. But too late for all things, the lens cap, attached by an elastic band to the camera, impishly slides off and falls to the snow below. Falls in that iffy area between the frozen river and solid ground. I shake my head. Seriously. Well, the moose have crossed here, why not me? I leave that thought for a moment, and not to be deterred from my photographic task, I take my picture and then, still smart (not willing to tempt fate today), I use one of the ski poles to reach down and hook the lens cap and bring it up. It only takes me five attempts to get it. I'm done with pictures for now.
As I pick up my camera to strap it back around my neck it slips from my fingers and falls. Thank goodness I hooked it to the bridge. I shake my head again and decide to go back to the lodge before anything more untoward occurs.
Back at the lodge, I bathe. I feel like curling up on the couch for the rest of the evening.
I check the weather and get about two shots of rum from Willow cabin out of the secret stash I found the other day.
I call Grandmama.
I eat sweet potato, mushroom, and a Mexican-style pizza made with Socca bread as the base, refried beans as the sauce, goat cheese, and a green salsa that Kathy made on the eve of Christmas Eve. It's good.
I write for a bit. 13 pages. 4005 words. It's not much, but it's a start.
I make spiked spiced apple cider with my bootleg rum and watch a show. It's really to bed early tonight. I'm exhausted.
Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, January 11, 2015
It's snowing when I get up.
The cat comes out to get fresh water and a bite to eat and a scratch on her ears and then she curls back up in her house.
Like the cat, I’ve also decided today will be a day of rest. My muscles think this is a good idea.
I work some of the puzzle and listen to Steinbeck as he travels across America with his poodle Charley.
I have a green smoothie.
I eat an apple.
There are flurries, insincere flurries all day long, and no accumulation.
I read some of Larry McMurtry's Streets of Laredo.
I write, adding about 400 words to the story.
My grandmother calls.
Where did the day go? It's already time for dinner.
I talk to Phinehas.
I record the weather.
I eat my makeshift dinner.
I write for a bit more.
That's the day.
Caretaker’s Log, Monday, January 12, 2015
It's a gray cloud morning. A dusting of snow fell overnight. Enough to notice, but not enough to wipe out tracks.
I nurse the fire into a nice blaze.
I open up the fourth can of coconut milk for my coffee. I have a total of thirty small cans and one 96 ounce can. I'll run out before my time is up, but for now my coffee and my cooking can be creamed.
I laze away the morning with computer work. A white-vested black-winged bird flies by. I see it through the window. That's the first time I've seen that bird this winter.
Around one o'clock, I call my mom. We talk for a while.
Thinking it'll be a ten minute excursion there and ten minutes back, I decided to ski up and check Industrial Park and make sure that there is no gas leaking from the fuel tank as I'm supposed to do occasionally. Forty minutes later, after starting up the wrong hill and slogging through the snow like Rocky does in Rocky IV while training to fight Drago, I finally make it to the top and reward myself by sitting on the fence for about five minutes trying to catch my breath. I make it back down in a breezy fifteen minutes.
Then while I'm all suited up, I chop a day’s worth of wood just to see how it feels. I'm as strong now as I had gotten when I left here last June. That's good. I can only get stronger.
I make a quick trip to the root cellar to grab a few things.
I began to make a vegetable soup. While I'm chopping potatoes the phone rings. It's my three and a half year old niece. She and her mom have me on speakerphone and Marie tells me that they had been talking about an upcoming trip to Dallas and that she had had to tell Shea I wouldn't be there and that Shea had been sad. "Because I love you, Tante," Shea says. Those words are enough to melt any winter-iced heart and mine is not frozen at all.
"I love you too, Shea," I reply.
The soup simmers. I check in with my grandmother. I record the weather. I eat my soup. I work some of the puzzle. There are only about eighty pieces left. They are all blue.
I write for a bit-- only putting down about 230 words.
I see the moose in the north field. I'm glad. I’d almost thought they had all left the area.
The days are already getting longer, darkness falls a little bit later now than it did even just a week ago.