Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Many-Splendored Thing

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm up at twenty minutes to 9:00. All the usual morning things. The wind is brisk, making it feel colder today at 30° than it felt yesterday at 22.

I'm checking emails when I hear the yipping of coyotes. Two barking bouts and then silence. I put on my coat and grab my camera, but it was only a sound show and not a visual—for today. I hope I see them.

About twice a year or so I have to handle business regarding my home in Colorado. This year it's about providing insurance coverage information to the mortgage company. Four phone calls later and it's all done. Only a minimal amount of hassle, mostly with my HOA who seem put out when they're asked to do anything that resembles work.

After passing through the automated system of the mortgage company, I realize how ridiculous we’ve made our world. The yipping of coyotes, 28 inches of snow, and time with the cat in the sun make more sense to me now than the idea of call representatives at desk jobs or me pressing numbers an infinite amount of times to try and get through to a human. No wonder the girl at the HOA was so grudging, she's missing out on what I have.

I eat Scottish oatmeal for breakfast.

I talk to my mom.

I post a blog.

I send a food wish list to Porgy. It includes: roasted and salted mixed nuts, salad greens, romaine lettuce, kale, avocado, bananas, apples, mushrooms, zucchini, and cauliflower. I add an extravagant wish list. It includes: PopChips BBQ chips, another box of red wine or a bottle of rum, canned coconut milk, and eggs. I don't know what they'll be able to bring. Anything fresh will be welcomed and appreciated.

The day is getting away from me.

I put my ski boots in my backpack and tighten the laces to my snow boots. I snowshoe across the field. The cat meows after me. I think she wants to come along. "This will be too far for you, Cat," I call back to her.

I cross the treacherous bridge and skirt the river. It's deep snow in places and I trudge through, powering along. My goal is a distant hill. My dream is a fun, fast downhill adventure. I want to practice with speed.

It's slow going getting there. Which reminds me of Westley in The Princess Bride when he says, "Look, I don't mean to be rude, but this isn't as easy as it looks." After an hour and eleven minutes, I finally make it to the tree I've made my destination. I take some pictures. Switch boots. Attach the snowshoes to my backpack. I clip into the skis. And start downward motion. The snow is ice-crusty. I promptly fall. It takes me twenty-two minutes to get down the slope. Most of this time is spent trying to get up out of the snow and back on my feet. Isn't there a saying? A joke? Something about falling and not being able to get up? Yeah, well, it's not funny.

Eventually, more than once, I get up. Make it a down a slick section and fall again.

I don't like feeling inept. I want to be good at this. And I'm not. I need to learn how to ski. My lessons to myself are leaving much to be desired. I'm frustrated, disappointed, and tired.

Once I'm finally down that hill, I make the forty minute trek back toward the lodge. I see two moose crossing the field from southwest going northwest. They are making better progress than I am. They make it look easy.

At the short bridge crossing that goes over Kinky Creek, just shy of the lodge, I unclip the skis. I don't want to end a torturous trek with me in the water. My legs are so spent I almost can't make it up that last little hill—sinking into the snow up to my knees, up to my hips.

Then I'm back.

The cat is glad. She's out of food.

As I put the skis and snowshoes away, I hear the coyotes yipping and barking in the distance. The sound redeems some of the aggravation of my excursion.

I get a bath. Wash my hair.

Record the weather.

I eat the leftover pizza.

I call my grandmother.

Then I make a salad with avocado and have an apple and a lot of tahini. It's high in protein. I need it. Something's got to repair my thigh muscles.

I write.

I'm exhausted. That's all I've got.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, February 19, 2015

I get up before eight o'clock, by three minutes, but still.

Morning chores. I wash some clothes. I write for forty-five minutes. I reset the ah removed to zero at eleven o'clock.

As I pass through the back room, I see a dark dot against the snow in the east field. I grab my camera and zoom in. It's a fox. A beautiful red fox. It's so far away I can barely get a good picture. Retracing my path of yesterday, I cross the Kinky Creek bridge and go stand by the fence to see if I can get a better capturing. I watch it dig in the snow. Through the screen of my camera I see that it finds something to eat. I can see it chewing. Then it disappears behind a snow mound.

Breakfast is eggs and potatoes. It's a three cup of coffee kind of day.

The fox has reappeared and this time it's closer. I watch it cross the field and head over to the brush near the new road. I get some better pictures now.

I work a few pieces of the puzzle. Do some stuff online. Then I get dressed to work.

As I pass the shelf across from the refrigerator in the entry room I see three cans of tuna. Guess what I'm having for dinner?

I go outside to chop wood.


I chop seven sledfuls of wood. I had made myself a goal of six, but the aesthetic balance was off with the porch stacking so I had to do one more. This should last me between three to five weeks. The afternoon is gone by the time I’ve finished.

I sit for a minute with the cat and then we do our evening walk around.

I go in and eat some tahini and finish off a jar of mandarin oranges.

I take a bath. Wash more clothes. Time for the weather.

Big surprise, I have tuna for dinner with the last of the salad that Todd brought me. Dinner is a many-splendored thing.

I write.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, February 20, 2015

There's an extra 0.6 inches of snow this morning. A variety of snowstorms pass over and then are gone. I'm taking it easy today. I put on some music, work the puzzle, eat Scottish oatmeal for breakfast.

Other than bringing in wood, checking the generator shed, feeding and watering the cat, giving attention to the cat, and doing the weather later on, I have decided that today will be an inside day. It's nice that it's snowing out. Makes being in extra cozy.

I feed my almost obsessive need to finish the puzzle.

The two brother moose cross the west field, jump the fence, and come graze in the front yard. One, when he gets tired of grazing, plops down in the snow next to Willow cabin. The other is around the corner and out of my sight.

I call my grandmother.

The day is really spent with the puzzle.

I take some time out to go sit with the cat. She gets really comfortable in my lap and we sit there for a while. The wind makes music in the trees. Another snowstorm blows in.

I finish the puzzle. It's kind of a relief.

The cat and I check the weather things. The moose are on the east side of Willow cabin. As I come out, they give me the eye. The cat is in quite a mood, playful and crazy. She loves her evening walk. Back on the porch, she takes her place on the armrest of one of the chairs. From there she growls at the moose when they move. Apparently she doesn't want to share. "Really?" I ask her. Whether or not frightened off by a feline, the moose head out, going further east. They jump the fence, across the pasture, and disappear into the trees.

The fingernail new Moon is stunning next to Venus and Mars.

Dinner is the usual tuna melt on crackers, and mandarin oranges.

I write.

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