Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fresh Food, Elk Feeders, and a Call from Mexico

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, March 5, 2015

I get up when I hear sounds of movement below. It's 7:00 AM.

Porgy has already started water boiling and I make the coffee. I make steel cut oats for breakfast with a maple syrup, coconut oil, and frozen fruit compote.

The Wild Hydro is running! The bulk charge goes on at 9:00 AM as it should. I am very pleased. Porgy and I go up to the Tame pit after breakfast to see if the pressure is different today, and if the bypass valve is open or closed. The pressure is still low at 30. The theory seems to suggest a leak in the pipe somewhere along the line. Porgy opens the bypass valve to keep the water flowing to prevent the pressure causing the break to leak anymore and to prevent more cracks from happening.

We go back to the lodge, gather snowshoes and skis, collect Arnie, and go up the hill to see if we can find a place that looks like it's been saturated with water. We find some unusual ice.

Porgy and Arnie go six miles away to the Horn Place where a friend of Arnie’s wants an estimate for some cabin repairs. While they're gone I clean the stove because the steel cut oats had boiled up out of the pot and everywhere. I ski back up to the ice area to get some pictures with my camera, check the generator shed—things look good, post a blog, call my grandmother, eat four cookies, and have another cup of coffee.

Then they're back. Porgy remarks, "We should have taken you with us. I didn't even think about it. It's beautiful along that way." I hadn't thought about that possibility either. I'm grateful for all I got done while they were away.

We have a snacky lunch with apples, avocado, and cheese. Or I have a snacky lunch and they have sandwiches.

Once we’re fortified, we go across the field to the treacherous bridge. Porgy wants to make a path across the field and also to get measurements so that he’ll be more prepared when he brings the Forest guys out next week. They'll come out on Wednesday and look everything over.

"Sled" riding is not a simple thing in powder-sugary snow. The snowmobiles get buried several times and we dig them out and get back on the trail. Eventually, we make it back to the lodge.

The guys pack up. They take the trash that's accumulated here since the fall, take the recycling. It feels like there's a clean slate there in the incinerator shed. Then they're gone.

I clean some. Sweep. Wipe down the kitchen. Organize the fruit. Straighten up. It's quiet again. I stop to listen to the silence in order to get my equilibrium back. The cat is glad they're gone.

The full moon is clothed in elegant clouds as it rises over the mountains.

I eat tuna and an apple for dinner.

I write a minimal amount. It's been a full day.

I drink several glasses of wine. I watch a show. I read a little of the start of the next book in the Swedish series I've discovered.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, March 6, 2015

It's nice to have the wilderness to myself again. I'm up at 8:11 AM. I take my time making coffee, starting the fire.

The Wild Hydro is still working.

Back to my morning routine. Coffee. Crossword. Fire. Water to the cat. Bring wood in. Check that the bulk charge is running and then that it returns to float.

I must have a socialization hangover. I don't feel like doing anything. After breakfast (leftover steel cut oats), I cozy up on the couch and read. It's summer in Sweden. Then the policeman goes to Budapest. I close my eyes and maybe doze off, maybe not. I read a little more.

Then I get up and have a fresh banana. Fresh stuff. There's nothing like it. I really appreciate this abundance.

I write.

Then I go upstairs. Take a bath. Wash my hair. It's rejuvenating.

I cut up some vegetables for dinner. So many choices. Zucchini, cauliflower, garlic, carrots, mushrooms. I'm going to roast them and eat them with a side of rice.

I do the evening walk around with the cat. Check the weather things. Look in at the generator shed. All the systems are doing their jobs. I sit with the cat on the porch and listen to the wind in the trees. I love that sound.

I bring in wood. I add olive oil and spices to the vegetables. I’d nearly forgotten how good raw cauliflower is. I snack on it while I wait for the oven to heat up.

I think all my wildlife friends have run off because of all the snowmachine activity lately. I haven’t seen anything but the cat all day.

No phone calls and no visitors.

I eat a salad with my roasted vegetables and rice. Fresh stuff. Yes.

I write a little more.

I open up a bag of BBQ PopChips, a luxury item that Porgy brought out with my load of groceries. I have a glass of wine. Watch a show.

I look over what I've written for the day.

I read a little.

Time for bed.

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, March 7, 2015

I'm up sometime in the seven o'clock hour. The morning stretches long like a pulled elastic cord with the extra, unused to time.

I eat three cookies with my first cup of coffee and work the crossword.

Like a dream, the Wild Hydro runs.

The fire burns hot.

I read more of The Man Who Went up in Smoke.

I spend time outside with the cat. I haven't seen a moose for days. The wind blows in strong from the north.

I make a green smoothie for breakfast. It's a power pack of vitamins and live enzymes. Something like that.

On a whim, I read through the short stories I've written over the past ten years. I have about a dozen decent ones. That's encouraging. I'd forgotten some of them and I get the chance to see the stories through a reader's eyes, not the writer’s critical ones. I look up from one story and am surprised to see the snow out the window. I’d left this world for another, however temporarily.

I wash up the dishes.

I sit at my computer to get some work in. I glance up and out the window just in time to see a snowmobile coming down across the field. I think it might be the woman Arnie and Porgy had gone to see the other day about repairs on her cabin. They said she might drop in over the weekend. I put on my coat and go stand on the porch in time to see a second and third and fourth snowmobile pull into the front yard.

The lead rider takes off his goggles. "Amanda?" he asks. It's the guys from the elk feed about twelve miles away with John, my old Fish and Wildlife buddy, and another guy named Ben. They had met up with Porgy and Arnie day before yesterday so they knew I was here. I'm slowly meeting the whole of northwest Wyoming.

I invite them in. Serve up coffee and water, remember that I have cookies to offer, and we sit and chat. The lead rider whose name I never get, but it could be Jay does most of the talking. They talk about rivers and mountains and feed grounds and wind and rodeos and cows and horses, and throw in a few questions here and there for me. Michaela calls from Mexico to ask a question and I tell her I can’t talk long because I have visitors. Imagine that. The guys find it amazing that she is in warm weather, hot weather even, in Mexico living on a boat. They stay about an hour and a half. Then they suit up and leave. It's 4:30.

After they're gone, I stand around for a little bit, unsure of what I'm supposed to be doing. It seems like every time I look up the road a snowmachine is coming down.

I call my grandmother.

The cat and I walk around. We sit in our chair for a while.

I see the beaver on the far bank of the Gros Ventre River. I'm happy to see him.

The day’s high temperature was 42 degrees. It seems a shame that I was lazy and stayed inside all day.

As I'm getting my dinner together—a salad and the leftover vegetables and rice from last night—I see a moose up in the trees on the slope next to the dam road. O blessed moose, how I've missed you all.

I eat my dinner and finish reading The Man Who Went up in Smoke.

I write. Things are getting thick and complicated for my character.

I watch a show. Drink wine, eat BBQ chips and cookies.

I read a story that I wrote for my youngest brother's birthday a couple years ago. It's a good piece. I've got a baker's dozen of decent stories. As I head up to bed, feeling like a writer, I tell myself like Han Solo told Luke Skywalker after they escaped the Death Star, "Great, kid. Don’t get cocky."

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