Sunday, January 4, 2015

Moosemas is Everyday

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year.

I get out of bed at 8:40 after lying awake for a while, not wanting to break the warmth. I do some exercises. I put on my warm clothes.

It's only -17 when I come downstairs.

The kitchen water is sluggish but not frozen today. The hydro system is going like a dream.

I start a new healing regimen with apple cider vinegar, honey, and water. I slurp down a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses.

I get a fire going.

Later, I go out to break the ice in the cat’s water bowl, and stand a minute in the sun. “It's nice out,” I say aloud. It's 15 degrees.
I finish the 500 piece puzzle. My grandmother calls. I talk to my mom.

In the afternoon, it warms up to 23.5°, the icicles on the eaves of the house are melting.

Although the idea of taking all my clothes off at once feels ungodly, I take a much needed and quite glorious bath.

Dinner is pan fried potatoes, lox, and half a grapefruit.

I bring in some wood. I feed the cat. I record the weather. I walk around the lodge doing my evening perimeter check and stargaze while I'm at it. There's Orion, there are the Pleiades, there's Cassiopeia, maybe that’s Cygnus the Swan.

My sister calls.

I start work on the novel I'm going to write while I'm here. One hour of work. I'll build up from there.

It's warm in the living room.

I'm off to bed.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, January 2, 2015

It's the normal chores after waking up. Boiling water for coffee, drinking my new apple cider vinegar and honey water, checking that the pipes are not frozen, building a fire, taking the cat fresh water, working a crossword.

I find the Vitamix blender where it was stowed away in the back room and bring it into the kitchen. I'm filled with joy that it's still here. There will be soups and smoothies in my future. I tell Karen to tell Kathy that I will treat it even better than I treat my own.

After breakfast, I put on all my gear and go for a first ski run. It's a perfect day for it, 10°, sun shining, scattered clouds. Kathy, Paul, and their kids had worn some nice trails in the snow and I follow one of them across the field and over the bridge. Animal tracks crisscross the ski ruts. I see four moose. Two up on the slope (even from there they eye me suspiciously) when I get too close for their comfort they vanish into the trees. I stop to catch my breath. To my right, maybe one hundred feet or so away, is a baby moose. It sees me and darts behind the brush where its mother waits. After a minute, they come around and stare at me, trying to gauge what kind of threat I might be.

“I mean you guys no harm,” I say. And to show that this is true, I turn around and head back to the lodge. They take off in the opposite direction up the slope.

Gray clouds come in from the west and cover the sky, cover the sun.

The cat greets me with a meow when I come back. I scratch her head and sit for a while with her on the porch.

I do some work. I blend up a green smoothie. I call my grandmother. I call Michaela who only has twenty-three more days of phone service before she starts her next adventure. Her phone rings with my call just as a friend asks her, “What's up with your sister in Wyoming?”

I take the cat out a few pieces of goat cheese. I bring in two armfuls of wood.

Michaela calls me back while I'm making dinner. I'm having the last serving of lox with pan fried potatoes, scallions, and mushrooms. I write for a little over an hour-- this includes the (frustrating) time it takes to shut down and restart my computer when it gets locked up.

It's the time of month to do the battery equalize charge and I email Karen that I will do it on January 5th unless she prefers some other day since she has to be on standby to troubleshoot any problems that might arise. She suggests either the third or the fourth since she'll be leaving town on the fifth. Better sooner than later, I think. I set things up for tomorrow.

I watch a show, have a glass of wine, finish off the bag of barbecue chips. Bedtime comes at 10:30. It's a warm 6.6° when I head upstairs.

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, January 3, 2015

I’d thought about getting up extra early in order to start the equalize charge before the normal daily bulk charge has a chance to start --it occurs at 9:00 every morning. With the equalize charge the bulk charge is really unnecessary. But I nix the idea. It won't hurt anything for them both to run in the same day. Why rush things? I get up around eight o'clock. It's 6.6° outside. Warm. A brief snowstorm has passed through. Some wayward flurries hover in the air.

I make coffee, get breakfast going. There are two moose in the southeast pasture. I watch them paw the snow and stick their heads down to eat. I call Karen to tell her that my plan is to start the equalize charge about 11:30. She thinks it would be better to cancel the bulk charge which is already started and go ahead with it. But I talk her out of it. I don't tell her the reason is that I haven't eaten my breakfast yet or worked my crossword. Priorities.

Apparently, the cat doesn’t like goat cheese. I take it out of her food bowl and throw it away.

With the dishes cleaned up and my belly full, I go over to Willow cabin and look for a headlamp. While I'm digging through drawers and searching cabinets, I discover a hidden stash of rum and tequila. This may come in useful later on. There's nothing like spiked spiced apple cider for cold wintry days. I'll have to find out whose it is from Karen.

My apprehension about doing the equalize charge goes away once I get started. I've done this before. It's not as complicated as the manual makes it out to be. I fill the battery cells with distilled water, carefully measuring the amounts so as not to overfill. I get the generator going, I switch on the correct switches and switch off others. Now it's just a waiting game. While the charge is running, I take some trash to the incinerator shed, bring wood in to the lodge, put some things away, feed and water the cat. She meows at me and I come over and squat next to her. She, the opportunist, jumps up onto my newly created lap and makes herself at home, purring. rubbing her whiskers against my fingers, curling into the crook of my arm.

It’s snowing a little bit though the sky is blue in the east.

The equalize charge is completed at 3:25 PM. I put things back the way they should be. Everything looks fine. That's another chore done for the month.

Despite not getting up (much) earlier than normal, I'm tired. I sit on the couch for a moment and contemplate taking a nap. Instead, I start a 1500 piece puzzle that my brother gave me for Christmas and listen to a Rex Stout Nero Wolfe mystery while I work it.

For dinner I make a multi-vegetable soup which accidentally becomes a chipotle soup when I dump too much seasoning in the pot. I scrape out a whole lot of it, but it's still very dominantly chipotle. Too early yet to know if it will taste good.

The moon is nearly full.

I record the weather. The snowboard has 2/10ths of an inch of snow. The precipitation bucket doesn't register more than a trace amount. There are twenty-two inches of snow on the ground.

The soup is pretty spicy.

I write for an hour and quit when my character starts putting insulation up in an attic. First drafts can be so brutal.

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