Caretaker’s Log, Monday, March 2, 2015
Nine weeks here today.
I wake up at 6:15 before my alarm goes off. At 6:20 I get up. I've got a busy day scheduled. I'm doing the EQ charge. My last monthly chore for March finished on the second day of the month. I did all the other chores yesterday. Since the Wild Hydro isn't connected I have to text Karen to see how to proceed. Possibly adding or subtracting steps from the process. I talk with her, she talks to Loring, I talk to Loring. I tell him I'm going to have to start paying him by the hour. He says something to the effect of "Don't be silly."
By consensus, it's decided to stop all the nonsense of trying to babysit the Wild Hydro failsafe light and just turn the system off altogether. To do this, I read through the manual, have Loring explain it all to me, and then repeat it back by steps to him.
Then I find a pipe wrench, get the long key tools, grab a shovel, and go out to the pit.
I miraculously find one of the pipes by kicking around in the snow.
The other pipe is smaller, lower to the ground, buried under the snow. I have to dig for it. With a surprising amount of luck I dig in the right spot the first time.
The hardest part is getting the caps loose. I can't tell if they're simply on tight or if they're frozen fast. Just when I’ve despaired of being a weak girl, I get them open.
I shut off the Wild Hydro. I feel very successful. I crack myself up by considering myself to be a Jane of all trades. Jane is, in fact, my middle name.
I put the caps back on, put the tools away, grab the distilled water, and start the equalize charge. Once the battery cells are filled and the electrolytes are mixing with the new water, I can go inside and eat granola for breakfast, have another cup of coffee, post a blog.
Make more coffee.
At two o'clock it's all done. I feel I've done a week’s worth of work in three days. I call Loring to tell him it's all taken care of and have a chance to talk to Porgy who will be visiting here and helping me with the Hydro systems on Wednesday.
Now I can relax.
I sweep and mop. I take a bath and finally get the chance to wash my hair. I do some laundry. Hang the laundry up to dry. I feel like a real person again. I smell less of oil and grease and wind and stress.
I eat the last apple Mike brought. I eat the last orange.
I sit down and read for twenty minutes.
Then I start my dinner prep. Put the salmon in lemon juice. Put the rice in water and add salt and coconut oil. Rinse off some lettuce leaves.
I call Grandmama.
I record the weather. It started snowing about four o'clock and it’s really coming down now.
For dinner I eat the salmon and rice wrapped in red leaf lettuce.
I watch a show.
Loring wants me to keep track of the battery discharge numbers. So I do this at six o'clock when I do the weather. Again at 8:01 because I think I'll stay in the house after that. But I've rallied myself to go out once again at ten o'clock. The discharge is about 5% every two hours. I'm trying to keep my electricity use to a minimum.
I finish off the box of Zinfandel.
I read. It feels like "normal" times, more or less, again.
Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, March 3, 2015
It snowed all night. The wind wakes me up as it bangs the sled I use to haul the split wood from the woodpile to the porch against the side of the lodge.
With the Hydro shut off I'm not on the nine o'clock and eleven o'clock checking lights schedule, but I go out there anyway to record the numbers for Loring. I go out on and off all day to check the numbers and write them down.
It's snowing. I'm tired. I finish up a couple chores I wanted to do before having company. Porgy arrives tomorrow morning.
While I talk to my mom I make a kale salad. Thank you, Forest Ranger Mike!
I dust the living room.
I make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I substitute coconut flour for regular flour so I can eat them too. I forgot how exceedingly sweet sugar makes things.
I take some time and sit and read. My Swedish policemen are working toward solving a crime.
I eat the kale salad, use half an avocado. It's delicious.
I talk to my grandmother.
I record the weather. 1.6 inches of snow.
The moon is nearly full.
The amp hours removed are at -191. I call Loring to see if I should do anything tonight. He says no, tomorrow is fine, but I may not have power when I wake up. That's fine. I know what to do.
I eat grapes, cheese and crackers, and half an avocado for dinner.
I write a little more.
I watch a show.
I open up a box of Cabernet Sauvignon.
It's going to be a cold night. I imagine I'll leave all seven blankets on tonight.
Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, March 4, 2015
I'm up at seven o'clock. I have a handful of things I want to do before Porgy arrives. I want to get my daily writing in early just in case there's no time later. I want to have some coffee, get the fire burning hot, work my crossword, eat a wholesome breakfast, and prepare myself for a day of work.
First thing I do is go start the generator to recharge the batteries. The setting says LO but the power in the lodge is still on.
I clean the ash out of the fireplace. I start a fire. Obviously, I'm putting my best foot forward for my incoming visitor.
I make coffee. Work a crossword. Wipe off the table. Dust the windowsill. Tuck my writing notes into the desk drawer, out of sight.
At nine o'clock I go take water to the cat, fill her food dish, bring in a pile of wood, and check the generator shed to see how the charge is going.
More coffee. More writing. I get in 514 words before breakfast. It's something anyway.
I eat scrambled eggs and grapes for my first breakfast.
Loring calls to run through some things and as we’re talking I see Porgy drive up. Arnie, a construction guy, comes along behind.
They've brought me two coolers worth of fresh food. I unload the groceries while they walk around and evaluate the buildings. Arnie has been hired to do some repairs before the summer guests arrive.
Porgy and I go replace the Wild Hydro piece that Loring thought might be the problem. Then we turn the pipes back on and start it up. It works.
Then we get on the snowmobile—these guys call them sleds—and head up to the Tame Hydro pit. It's across the field, on the way to the dam. When we get there, Porgy parks the snowmobile and we stomp a path from there to the pit. The snow is too powdery for the "sled".
Porgy shovels off the pit roof. We go down inside. He replaces the orifice with one that has a smaller opening. It's a matter of pressure, volume, and available water. Then we start the turbine. But the system doesn't switch on. The water pressure is too low. There might be a problem up at the dam. There might be a hole somewhere in the pipe. We’ll look into it tomorrow.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Arnie has shoveled clear the door to the sauna and has gotten the fire going hot. We all sauna.
I record the weather.
Then it's time for dinner. Porgy has brought salmon. I make a salad and rice and cook the salmon to just the right heat. Not overdone, not underdone. I'm learning. Porgy teased me that if I did a bad job with the salmon it would just go as a negative mark on my caretaker’s chart. He’s spent a lot of time out here, he's met a lot of the caretakers. The guys say it's a good dinner. It's a good dinner. Porgy sets aside a bit of the salmon for the cat. I take it out and she purrs very loudly.
I check the generator shed. The Wild Hydro has been running correctly for six hours now.
The guys clean up the supper dishes.
Then we’re all tired. They decide to sleep in the living room. It's warm and cozy enough. They've brought sleeping gear and there's the couch. I go up to the loft.
It's strange to hear voices coming up through the living room ceiling, through the loft floor.