Saturday, January 10, 2015

To come down, you must go up

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The fire doesn't want to burn this morning. I use diesel dust, a fire starter, and a bit of swearing to finally get it going.

All four moose are in the west pasture. Mama and baby are lying (laying? Darn it… chickens lay, people lie. What do moose do?) in the reeds. One moose is scrounging food on the near side of the fence while the second moose is walking determinedly in the direction of the woods on the other side of the fence. There's no grass to tell which side is greener.

I have zero motivation today.

I write a bit.

I work more of the puzzle and finish the Dorothy Sayer's audio book.

I eat an apple. I eat some carrots and hummus.

Annoyed at my lethargy, I go for a walk, something to get my blood moving. The cat comes along. She needs the exercise too. The air is so invigorating I decide to ski around the yard, for practice, exercise, and outdoor motion. I have such a good time that before I know it forty-five minutes have expired. Two of the moose are at the edge of the woods. I de-ski and walked over that way. I climb up on the fence and moose watch for a long time.

I talk to Grandmama.

I talk to Michaela.

I'm starving now. I munch on some olives and have a handful of pecans while I try to decide what to make for dinner. I make a coconut flour Socca. It's a flatbread. It's good.

These days, there's an awesome mist in the west field each night around dusk.

I go outside and stand on the edge of the porch. I'm awed by the night sky. I'm looking for Comet Lovejoy. It's supposed to be just to the right of Rigel. I think I see it. A shimmering greenish thing. I go inside to look at the star map online. When I get back outside I think I've lost my vision. The sky is completely covered by clouds.

Now to work.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, January 8, 2015

For the first time in a while, I actually wake up feeling more rested. This is fun. And it does seem that I'm doing better overall, maybe my new healing regimen on top of the past healing regimens is doing me good. Or it's the outdoor exercise, high altitude, and cold. Whatever it is I’ll take it.

Coffee, morning fire start up, fresh water to the cat, petting time, checking the hydro system-- all these chores get done before breakfast.

There are glistening particles moving about in the air like extra small fairies off to find mischief or magic to perform.
Dawn and dusk are bringing in these amazing low clouds, mist, fog. Surreal. Quick moving.

I make a green smoothie for breakfast. I read through my research notes while I drink.

The day is so nice that I can't help but get out for a ski. I decide to go up the road at least to the first gate. It's so fun and I'm having such a good time tracking what is either a coyote or a wolf that I decide to go all the way to the big property gate about a mile or so up the road. There are deer, moose, something little, and the coyote/wolf tracks. Also my own tracks from the other day. Forget the scenery, I take pictures of tracks and scat.

I hear a sound and stop dead to listen. Nothing. Nothing but the creepy creak of the trees. Nothing but the sound of my breath. Nothing but stillness. It's disconcertingly quiet.

I carry on.

Then another sound. The low call of a moose? A warning sound to the others of some predator in the woods? I wonder if I should turn around. Go back. Nah.

It takes me thirty-five minutes to get to the top. At my sister’s request I learn to use the timer function on my camera. Now I don’t have to train a bear to take pictures. I sit on the metal railing of the gate for a small break and then I'm off again. To come down, you must go up. And coming down is an awful lot of fun.

"That was awesome," I say as I come around the final curve.

I take a bath, wash my hair, wash some clothes.

Now I'm starving.

I eat an apple and the remaining half of the bread I made the night before.

I write for an hour.

Suddenly, it's five o'clock. The day has passed so quickly. The sky has turned a slate blue, a dusky periwinkle that I'm not able to capture on my camera.

I go out for the nightly check. The cat is eager to show off the mouse she's killed. She picks it up, drops it again in the snow, jumps up on the porch to rub against my leg. I'm not sure if it's a gift for me or a snack for her.

I look for Lovejoy. I may see it. It's hard to say. The night sky here is incredible. The Milky Way is a thin cloud overhead. The Big Dipper proclaims the north. The stars, oh the stars, I couldn't count them all if I tried. Out of the corner of my eye I see a shooting star. I’m not sure what to wish for, so I wish for nothing specific and everything all at once. I see a satellite zipping across the sky, or is that the ISS?

I take my camera and try to program the manual settings to record the stars. The cat is thrilled that I'm down flat on the porch. She climbs on top of me and makes herself at home. She loves stargazing.

I don't quite get the pictures right.

I eat mixed vegetables for dinner.

I write for a little while. I like the direction of the story now-- not that I can exactly say where it's going, but I'm sure it'll get there.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, January 9, 2015

I dream about walruses up in a craggy cave. I don't know what they're doing there or why.

I get out of bed at 8:45.

Morning is filled with all the normal chores. I check that the bulk charge is running, I bring water out to the cat-- the dead mouse is still in the snow next to the porch. I take my time building the fire and it lights up great.

Breakfast, crossword, a bit of puzzling, Mozart's Requiem in the background. I feel more rested again this morning.

With a friend’s camera tips in mind, I start reading through the Nikon Coolpix P530 user manual so that I can learn how to photograph the night sky.

I have so many options of things to do today that I end up doing nothing really. I experiment with camera settings and hope for a clear night. I find a few fitting puzzle pieces. I read more of the Nikon manual.

In the afternoon, I put my boots on and go out to ski across the field. I've made my field circle and am heading to the hill that leads up to the dam when I hear a snorting bellow. A moose crests the rise of the hill I was going for. I stop literally in my tracks from a few days before. He snorts and bellows and disappears from my sight. I decide not to go that way anymore. With a view of that slope, I sit up on the property fence and listen. I have no idea what that moose is saying.

To finish out my daily constitutional, I go up the road hill and then come flying down it once. I'm not feeling very adventurous today. After fifty minutes of fresh air I come back inside.

I call my grandmother.

Michaela calls me. Two weeks until her adventure starts.

I read more camera stuff. I eat some carrots and hummus and an apple.

The temperature is 22.2 and falling.

It's been a strange day, doing things but not necessarily getting things done.

I write for an hour.

I've just decided to make the Socca flatbread again and smear it with vegetarian refried beans and goat cheese when I realized I need an egg for it. I trudge over to the root cellar in the gathering dusk. The flashlight makes the snow glitter like a hundred million tiny diamonds. I fill up an egg carton and grab two potatoes. I get back to the lodge just in time to check all the weather things. I give fresh water to the cat. The dead mouse is no longer visible in the snow. I'm afraid it has fallen into the slushy water at the corner of the porch created from the rooftop melt. Permamouse.

I bring in some wood.

I try to photograph the night sky with even less success than last night. Who said knowledge was power? The cat, however, loves night sky photography. She sits in my lap and purrs up a storm. She gets in the way. She's not very pleased when I stand up to leave.

I talk to Katie. It's her birthday. I take the easy road and make scrambled eggs and pan fry potatoes for dinner. The potatoes are red inside. They smell okay. Since I have her on the phone, I ask Katie if potatoes with red insides are safe to eat and we both figure after a brief consultation that they should be fine. Deeper colors means more vitamins, right?

I work some of the Taj Mahal puzzle by lamplight and listen to John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley.

The evening has gotten by me. I think I'll call it an early night.

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