Sunday, February 15, 2015


Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, February 12, 2015

I wake up suddenly, out of a dreaming sleep, at 9:00 AM. This is the latest I’ve slept in since I got here. I don't know what that's about.

All the chores are done by 9:35.

The usual two moose are in the northwest reeds.

I sweep the living room.

The clouds are charming today.

I post a blog.

Granola. Coffee. Crossword. Fire.

I'm in a bit of a bad mood. I think to myself that an excursion up the road toward the dam on snowshoes and a ski down will cure it.

The east field snow is deep and every so many steps I lose a snowshoe. The ski boots are too small for the bindings. I can't get the straps to stay tight enough. My heel slides right out. It's an excruciatingly irritating forty minute circle through the field and back to the main gate. I curse a little bit. Finally, I'm back on the path I packed down yesterday. I ditch the snowshoes and head up the main road on the skis.

A chipmunk or squirrel fusses at me from the trees. And that reminds me that I heard a bird singing yesterday. A trilling, spring like song. It must have been the black vested bird I've seen around.

At the first gate I sit up on the fence for about twenty minutes and come up with some reasons for the bad guys in my book not to kill my main character. Because why not kill him and be done with it? It's a good and obvious question. I come up with two solutions. I eat some Brazil nuts and some dried apricots.

Then I go all the way up to the property gate. My mood improves the higher I go. Perched on that top gate, I eat a trail bar and drink the majority of my water. And then I come back down.

I stop off at the root cellar for some garlic bulbs. Then back to the lodge.

All in all, it's a two hour and thirty-four minute outdoor adventure.

A hot bath helps even more to dispel the remnants of that bad mood.

I wash some clothes.

I drink a lot of water.

I fill the cat’s food dish. Bring in an armful of wood. Finish up a crossword.

I add different music to my iPod.

I do my evening walk around and check the weather things. The cat sleeps through most of it. She's on the porch, bright eyed and bushy tailed, when I come around the corner.

I eat tuna for the third night in a row. I finish off a can of mandarin oranges.

I write.

After my evening wind down I head upstairs. I see the stars through the skylight, bright and compelling. I haven’t been out to see them since Lovejoy was the going comet. I go back down, put on my coat and hat, and go stargaze.

One airplane passes overhead and then silence. Such silence—like the company of a close friend. An immense expanse curves above me showcasing the filmy veil of the Milky Way, my old pals traveling their way across the sky, Orion, the Pleiades, the Big Dipper, Jupiter, Mars maybe, Polaris the north star. I go down the path toward the generator shed to better see the north and northwest sky. It's 12.3 degrees but the air is so still I don't get cold. Not even in my socks and flip-flops. I think again of how lucky I am to be here. To see the sky in this way.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, February 13, 2015

I wake up feeling better than I did yesterday.

There's frost over everything. Last night’s temperature descended to -1 degrees. I take big steps to match the moose tracks that go from the yard down toward Kinky Creek so that I can take pictures of the frost flowers.

Coffee. Crossword. Breakfast.

I sit out on the end chair on the porch with the cat. It's warm. I'm feeling lethargic. The silence, but for the drip of melting snow off the roof, is beautiful. The cat sits in my lap for a while and then jumps down to sprawl about in the sunshine.

I write for a bit.

I make pan fried potatoes and spinach and garlic for a second breakfast or first lunch.

Then I put the snowshoes on.

Today I get the trek I’d wanted yesterday. The correct boots make all the difference in the world.

I follow the dam road and then leave it to crest one hill, go down it, and up another. The problem with that trekking philosophy is that there is always another hill to climb. I'm heading toward Bacon Ridge, but don't plan to make it that far. My legs would have voted against this adventure if they’d gotten the chance. They're still recovering from yesterday. But there's no time like the present and no better day for this. I walk parallel to some coyote tracks, cross over them, crisscross with them.

As I stomp the metal ridges of the snowshoes into the ice topped snow of the hill I'm climbing I'm reminded of the T.I. computer game we played as kids called Alpiner. The Alpiner encountered various mountain dangers like avalanches and, I can't even remember what else… maybe mountain goats? But at the top of his journey sometimes the Abominable Snowman appeared and then it was game over. At the top of the next ridge, I might encounter the Abominable Snowman and then will it be game over for me too?

I don't encounter him. I do create my own tiny avalanche. And see a lot of coyote tracks and the far-reaching gash I've created in the snow that marks the way I've come, how far I've gone.

I sit with the cat again when I get back to the lodge. We take our afternoon walk around. The cat lets me know she's upset about missing out last night. I shrug. Then I drink some water, take a bath, wash my hair, put some clothes in the sink with soap to soak, eat the leftover potatoes and spinach from earlier, and listen to the new playlist on my iPod.

I write.

I record the weather.

I eat tuna for dinner. Again.

I write for an hour and a half.

I watch two shows. Drink my evening glass of Shiraz.

I reflect on story arcs and plot as I head up to bed. It's so easy to be cliché. It’s trickier being original. Maybe the key is just to be interesting.

There were no moose sightings today.

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, February 14, 2015

I leap out of bed and rush downstairs at the sound of the phone. It's eight o'clock in the morning. It's Paul the owner with his biweekly check-in. I tell him about the beavers. He tells me about the one time he saw about a dozen of them where the river bottlenecks somewhere just across the field toward the northwest. One of the beavers slapped his tail in warning and Paul thought someone was shooting at him. It's that loud of a sound. A good warning. I know this firsthand. The beavers warned me off plenty of times last spring.

Paul says that Porgy, one of the men who does a lot of the fix it up stuff around here, might come in the next couple of weeks to repair one of the bridges. He says to make a list of things that I might be desperate for and Porgy could bring them.

Now that I'm up, I'm up.

I open my 11th can of coconut milk.

Coffee. Fire. Water to the cat. Check the bulk charge. Bring in wood. Crossword. Music.

I work the edges of the jigsaw puzzle.

It's nice out. I go sit in the end chair on the porch and the cat joins me. It's so warm there are two flies buzzing about. A bird makes noise from the trees. Snow melts off the roofs. Airplanes fly over. It feels like spring.

I work more of the puzzle.

I must be procrastinating from sitting down to write.

I talk to Grandmama.

I eat an apple, tahini, and some olives.

Still procrastinating, I go walk around outside the lodge. I chip some of the ice away from in front of the incinerator door. Now the door opens even wider. While I'm there, in the vicinity, I shovel off the snow from the roof of the Wild Hydro pit.
The mama and baby moose are hanging out in the northeast reeds.

Back inside, I get out new Kleenex boxes for my “office” and upstairs. I restock the bathrooms with toilet paper. I peek inside the freezer to get ideas other than tuna fish for dinner. I refill the diesel dust bin.

Short of cleaning the lodge, and I'm not ready to go that far today, I might be out of things to procrastinate with.

I finish procrastinating.

I sit down and write.

The sunset makes a stunning show.

The moose have wandered over to the northwest reeds.

I record the weather. High of 48. Low of 8.

So, big surprise, I eat tuna again. There's only one can left. It's just so easy to make.

I fit a few puzzle pieces into the puzzle.

I sit down and write some more.

In tribute to Valentine’s Day I eat two squares of dark chocolate as I wind down for the evening.  

I reread what I’ve written for the day and think about how to fix it all as I head upstairs for bed.

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