Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, February 15, 2015
1.6 inches of snow falls sometime between midnight and 4:00 AM.
One moose is out in the reeds.
I empty the drip bucket. Water the plants. Dust the piano room.
Granola. Coffee. Crossword.
Michaela calls from Mexico.
I work some of the puzzle.
I read through my work in progress. This helps me keep on track. So far I have about 120 pages. I read by chapters. I take breaks as needed.
I read some more. I fit a few pieces into the puzzle.
I eat a 12 ounce bag of broccoli. Almost all of it.
I call Grandmama.
I call Jesse. She's just gotten back from a ten day Vipassana sit.
The wind is aggressive. It has been all day long.
Because, why the heck not, I eat the last can of tuna. Now that's out of the way. I finish off the broccoli and eat some mandarin oranges.
My character has made a decision but he needs a stronger motivation. I’m afraid he’s going to come off as wishy-washy. I've got to take a break from this for now.
Two shows. Two glasses of wine.
It's shaping up to be a cold night. It's already dropped to 0.6 degrees.
Caretaker’s Log, Monday, February 16, 2015
The phone wakes me up at 7:30 AM. It's Marie, my sister-in-law, calling before my almost four year old niece wakes up and makes having an uninterrupted conversation too hard.
There’s a misty fog over the property. Frost coats everything, reeds, snowbanks, trees. It dropped to a chilly -12 at some point during the night. It’s still -9 when I come down to answer the phone.
As a result of my early rising, I get things done early.
I have Scottish oatmeal for breakfast.
I work some of the puzzle. As I try to fit pieces together, I have this feeling that I need to be working on something, but I can't decide what. Chores, writing, wood chopping, an outdoor excursion? There are a lot of choices.
I clean up the breakfast dishes. I sort the recycling and bag it up. I clean the kitchen. Then I clean the living room— dust, sweep, vacuum, mop. While I'm at it, on a roll, I clean both bathrooms and sweep the stairs.
Once it's all done, I feel much better.
I call my mom.
I call my grandmother.
I work some more of the puzzle.
I make spicy rice noodles with heart of palm and cashews for dinner.
I take the bagged recycling out to the incinerator shed.
I head across the porch to give the cat more food and see coyote tracks in the yard!
This exciting event must have happened in the afternoon while I was upstairs cleaning. I'm sorry I didn't see it. The tracks make a fractal pattern across the snow. The coyote, making itself right at home, has pooped near the cat’s "litter box". The cat feels completely affronted. She's not at all pleased. "Where were you when all this happened?" I ask her. She has nothing to say about that.
The two moose are out in the reeds. One stands and the other one is lying down.
The cat comes with me to check the weather things. Afterwards, we sit for a moment in our favorite chair on the porch and she purrs while I pet her.
Venus is especially bright. Mars hangs out, small and red, above it.
It’s seven weeks today.
Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, February 17, 2015
A cold front has cycled through. It's the winter modus operandi: a handful of warm days and an equal handful of cold ones that follow. It got down to -19.7 during the night. The cat is grateful for the morning sun.
I work some of the puzzle and listen to On Being with Kristin Tippit interviewing Seth Godin.
I have not seen another human being in person for 50 days. My longest stretch alone last time was 40 days. I feel no worse for the wear. Better maybe. I haven't gotten any crazier than I was before I arrived. Not that I've noticed anyway.
I take a short ski up the hill to the rock I've made my arbitrary turning point. At the rock I turn around and head back down. It's a good fifty-four minute outdoor experience.
I sit with the cat in our chair when I get back. She sprawls across my lap and settles in for the long haul.
I take some wood inside.
I talk to Grandmama.
I'm just eating the leftover pancakes when I look out the window in time to see a snowmachine drive up. It's Todd and his dog Lucy. I find it funny that he comes on the day when I've just been thinking about how long it's been since I've seen someone. I invite him in for coffee. He's brought me salad mix, cherry tomatoes, and a blessed avocado.
The cat vanishes into the roof. Lucy finds a place in the sun to sit and wait. I make some fresh coffee. Todd and I sit and visit.
He stays about forty-five minutes maybe. Long enough for two cups of coffee. I don't time it. I met Todd once last year. This time we talk about the people we know. We talk about animal tracks, moose, elk, the coyote, and the lack of snow this winter. He tells me about a rich guy who recently bought an old carnie ranch and who has two helicopters and a jet. He also supposedly hooked up with Tiger Woods’ ex-wife.
"He's good for the local gossip," Todd says.
"He's good for the local gossip," Todd says.
After he finishes his second cup he says he better keep on moving. He has a forty-five minute trip back to where he stays and the sun is getting low in the sky.
I evaluate myself after Todd and Lucy are out of sight. I don't feel any different. Seeing people is seeing people. Not seeing people is not seeing them.
That said, it was a nice visit and I do appreciate the salad and the local gossip.
I go out and tell the cat it's safe to come down, and we do our nightly walk around.
For dinner I make a gluten-free pizza. I decide to have a salad with my dinner instead of for my dinner. That way it will last three or four meals.
The salad is really good. The avocado is everything I could wish for.
Kathy emails to say that Porgy and two other guys will come on March 4th to see about the bridge repair. I've got visitors coming out my ears.
I finally get a chance to sit and write. My character’s motivation is becoming more believable. Thank goodness he hasn’t tried to start doing home repairs again. That would be a disaster for me. It’s hard to get him to stop once he gets going. For now he’s off chasing after mysteries. So I think I’m okay.
The stars are bright. The planets sparkle against the black back drop of space. It’s nighttime in the wilderness.