Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, January 22, 2015
This cold spell likes the area so much it’s decided to move in. It's -17 when I come downstairs. I get some water boiling, start the fire, gear up to go check that the bulk charge has started, take water to the cat, and give her the usual attention.
The sky is a clear fresh blue, the sun strong, the air frigid.
I eat breakfast at close to noon.
Thus fortified, I decide to do a multi-sport excursion. I put on the snowshoes, stick the skis under my arm, and I'm off. I snowshoe up the dam road just past the first gate mark. Then I "ski" down. I fall twice in a tremendous depth of snow.
On my way back to the Lodge, I grab the molding sweet potatoes out of the root cellar, some onions, and some carrots. I hope to salvage enough of the potatoes to make a sweet potato soup.
I take a bath. Wash my hair.
I get caught up trying to send a video to my mom and time gets away. Suddenly, it’s late.
I chop vegetables. Record the weather. Check on the cat. Bring in some wood.
Dinner isn’t ready until seven o'clock. I read while the soup simmers. It's all I've wanted to do all afternoon.
I finally get some writing in at eight o’clock. I work for an hour. I’d hoped to do so much more today, but I need to sleep on some ideas.
I only see one moose here at the end of the day, far off in distant reeds.
I open one of the boxed Merlots.
I watch a show.
I read a bit. Now it's time for bed.
Caretaker’s Log, Friday, January 23, 2015
I sleep soundly. I don't wake up until 8:45. There’s a thin layer of new snow covering the skylights.
I don't rush around. What's an extra fifteen minutes or half hour of sleep? There's no need to rush so long as I check the bulk charge, give fresh water to the soundly sleeping cat-- it's a day for sleeping in-- and get the fire going.
I work the crossword while the kindling catches flame. I have my first cup of coffee.
For breakfast, I make gluten-free pancakes. I halve and modify the recipe I find online. Though half of ¾ + 2 TBSP confounds me so I just wing it. The pancakes turn out okay. Maybe less quinoa flour and more coconut flour next time.
It snows from before I get up until noon. There's an extra inch of snow for me.
I’ve decided to write. Which means that I find all kinds of excuses to stay away from the computer. I go outside to photograph the snowstick and to find an Instagram worthy scene for the daily darwin_ranch posting. I pay attention to the cat. I sweep up the living room. I fill up my water bottle. I change shoes. Finally, I get to work.
I work for a couple hours.
Michaela calls. She's just worked her last day at the office job. She’s set to sail on a forty foot yacht for at least a couple months. Only a couple more days until she leaves.
I go back to writing.
Moody clouds hover. They drop low on the mountains, shrouding trees and threatening more snow.
I eat a bag of broccoli florets for lunch.
The cat makes a silent meow my way to remind me of her schedule. Four o'clock means more food, fresh water, and attention. I bring in some wood on my way back inside.
I read for a while. This is the day I’d wanted yesterday. No time like the present.
The sky has turned salmon-pink with sunset. At some point, the sky cleared and the day has become bright and blue and filled with sunshine.
0.06 inches of precipitation. 0.7 inches accumulated. 25 total inches on the ground. The moon is waxing. Venus shines.
Quinoa for dinner.
I read for a bit. The Streets of Laredo is all about people living under horrible conditions and doing worse things to each other. It makes me a little mad.
I finish up my writing for the day.
My evening kickback time comes with a glass of Merlot.
Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, January 24, 2015
There’s a moose over there in the snow just beyond the reeds. I see him when I bring the cat her water. He stands up, wondering if he should run away because of me. I see the other one when I get back from the root cellar. I've had to retrieve some eggs. I get some potatoes and a can of mushrooms while I'm there. There's a third moose on the far hill, in the direction of the dam.
I fry up two eggs and top my potatoes, spinach, and mushrooms with them for variety. I need to stop depending on eggs. And potatoes.
I read for most of the early afternoon.
Michaela calls. She leaves tomorrow. Bon Voyage!
I read some more.
I decide to take a short snowshoe excursion across the west pasture. Short excursions are like shortcuts, they don't ever end up being exactly short. With me, the problem is I just keep on going. Just to that brush, just to that tree, just to the top of that slope, until I've gone so far I can't not continue. And I'm glad I do. I edge up to a ridge and look down. In the open expanse below there are three moose--startled, probably by me--into running across the way and into the distant trees. I'm a bit jealous of how quickly they move through the snow.
I've only been this far west once before and it was on the opposite side of the expanse. I actually climbed the ridge.
An hour after my short excursion’s beginning, my ears frozen by the wind (I thought that 30° weather would feel warmer, but not in this breeze. Not in the wind sweeping across the open land, not in the wind dusting the top layer of snow into a fine running mist over the deeper snow) I head back. Going back is easier, not easy, but easier retracing my steps. "You got this," I say, once or twice to myself, "easy peasy."
Back at the Lodge, I do an outside walk around, bring in some wood, and check on the cat all before I take off my boots, before I get a bath.
I eat a high-protein snack to avoid hunger desperation.
I download the pictures I've taken and discover that one of the three moose I’d seen crossing the open expanse had antlers. The first antlered moose I've seen! And I wonder if all three moose are new to me. How many moose live around here? I am definitely a minority.
I read for an hour. Such a depressing book. I have a feeling that Larry McMurtry is going to make me mad again just the way that he did in Lonesome Dove. In that book he killed off the only agreeable, the only likable character. I can't see that this one will end any better.
I call my grandmother to tell her about the antlered moose. My sister calls.
I eat leftover quinoa and peach halves for dinner.
I write for a while.
I watch two shows. I drink more than my daily allotment of wine.
Oh well. It’s past my bedtime now.