Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wolves in Wolf's Clothing

Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, March 8, 2015

Time changes always throw me off. It'll take me a day or so to stop adding and subtracting that Daylight Saving hour. In these new times the weather will be recorded at 7:00 PM rather than 6:00. My life routine has shifted forward one hour with the daylight. 

There are four moose in the back pasture’s red willows. I'm so happy to see them. Then I hear the yipping sounds of wolves? Or coyotes? I feel once again like I'm in the wilderness rather than running a visitor center at some way station.

My joyful mood is somewhat dampened when I go to the generator shed and see that the red Failsafe light is on. Again. Four presses of the "connect" button in the Hydro pit and we’re back online. For the moment anyway.

I refill the diesel dust bucket. I have some coffee. Work my crossword. Eat a cookie. Eat a banana.

The wolves (or coyotes) make a sounding off noise again. They don't seem to be that far away but I don't see them.

I post a blog. Shoot off some emails. Heat up the leftover steel cut oats for an official breakfast.

Michaela calls.

I water the plants. That's the extra Sunday chore.

After noon, when the bulk charge cycles back to float, I put on the skis and go to Industrial Park to make sure the gas tank isn’t leaking. It's an occasional chore and I haven't been up there in a long time. Everything looks just fine.

I go back toward the lodge and then head up the main road to the first fence. I need the fresh air and exercise. I'm frustrated. The malfunctioning system worries at me. I like things to work the way they’re supposed to. I like to be able to fix things if they’re broken. Physical motion relieves the stress somewhat.

There are four moose in the back field. They stay there all day.

I sit with the cat. The sun shines. It's a beautiful day. It’s warm enough for bugs to have hatched. They fly zig-zaggedly in the above-freezing air.

The system is offline and it won't reconnect no matter what I do or how long I wait between attempts with the button. Damn it all.

I take a bath.

I wash a load of laundry in the kitchen sink. My sweatshirt really needed it.

I eat three scrambled eggs for a late lunch.

I start the next Martin Beck mystery. I'm still in Sweden when I read.

When I go out for another go at the Hydro "connect" button, the beaver is out. I watch it slide down the far bank, take to the water, dive under the ice, and reappear a bit further down the bank line. I don't have my camera. I just enjoy the activity. Two moose watch me as I watch the beaver and then they ignore me. The other two moose have wandered off somewhere.

I'm glad to have my wildlife friends nearby today.

I wring out my laundry and hang it to dry over the fireplace.

I speak with Loring. We try one thing to fix the system. No good. I shut off the Wild Hydro and drain it. I'm experienced at this now. Easy peasy.

I'm sitting with the cat when the phone rings. It's Phinehas. It's Sunday. We talk.

I have a good-sized salad for dinner. I'm thankful for all this fresh food.

I email Karen an update.

I write.

I watch a show, drink some wine, eat half a bag of Salt & Vinegar Popchips.

A good cry would do me a lot of good. I go to bed instead.

Caretaker’s Log, Monday, March 9, 2015

10 weeks today. I’ve now been here longer than I was here last winter and spring. The days have sped by. Sunrise, sunset, as the song goes, and I still have over half that time again in weeks remaining.

As I recall thinking yesterday, the time change has thrown me off. I'm up earlier than usual, but later by the new time.

The Hydro is off. All I have to keep an eye on is how quickly the batteries discharge.

I'm going to read through my work in progress again. That's my plan for today.

The two moose are in the backyard red willows. There's a lone moose up in the trees on the dam road.

I sit with the cat for a while.

I read my book.

I make a potato, spinach, mushroom, and egg scramble for breakfast.

I'm still a bit on the verge of tears. A good night’s sleep, a healthy dose of exercise and fresh air, or an indulgent cry (if I can do it. I’ve never been good at crying on demand. If I go that route, I’ll have to be like Bill Murray in The Man Who Knew Too Little and poke myself in the eye and say, "My dog is dead.") will solve that feeling.

I read through my novel, adding some words in as I go and fixing inconsistencies. In between chapters I get up and stretch, look out the window at the moose in the red willows, watch the lone moose climb the hill and then disappear, check the battery level in the generator shed.

Eat a banana.

When I’ve gotten through all I've written, I put on the skis and go up the dam hill past the fence, past the broken tree. It's a warm day. The snowmobile track-packed road is slick with crusty ice. It’s going to be an adventure going down. And it is. I make a good bit of it down on my posterior, skidding tremendously into the taller banks of snow when the speed and ice throw me out of control. It's exhilarating, that's for sure.

Back at the lodge, I sit with the cat then change my boots and do a walk around. There are still three moose in the backyard red willows.

The batteries are at 35%. The power will most likely be out when I wake up in the morning.

I make tuna and a salad for dinner.

I'm writing something down in my notebook when I see movement in the east field. Two wolves?! They have a German Shepherd look about them, dark snouts, full coats, long legs, bushy tails. They make their way across the field and up the road I had been sliding down myself only an hour or so ago. My camera doesn't like zooming in at dusk. My photos don't come out as clear as I'd like them to. When they’re all the way out of sight—trotting up the dam road like it's easy as pie—I check my doubts in the Peterson Field Guide Series. Wolf or coyote? Now I don’t know.

I eat my dinner. Read for a bit. Then find the coyote pictures I'd taken last year. I think these guys were wolves. My first sighting. It's an exciting day.

I write.

Time for my evening wind down. The stars are bright. The moon is waning.

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'm up around eight o'clock or something. I'm still thrown off by Daylight Saving Time. Give it all a few more days and it’ll be like it never happened except for the lighter evenings and the later dusking nights.

The power is still on, but only barely. I start the generator and let it run a battery charge.

I do all my usual morning things.

I call my mom.

There are moose in the red willows.

The cat wants to play. She bites at my gloves. Rolls around like a crazy thing on the porch. Paws at my boots, claws at my pant legs, purring the whole while. "You old crazy face," I tell her. She doesn’t mind name calling.

I make a green smoothie for breakfast.

I'm not sure how the day gets by me. The battery charge is complete. I'm good on power now until it runs down again. That should last a couple days. Suddenly, it's 4:30. I put on the skis and go up the road. I go as far as the first fence, start to go farther, and then hear snowmobiles. I'm not feeling especially energetic so I go back just in case it's the Fish and Wildlife guys back to visit. But it's not. The sound fades away and is gone. I ski across the field. Stand staring at the dark patches of rock where snow has melted away. Spring is coming early it seems.

I head back to the lodge. It's 41 degrees out. Too nice to be inside. I sit with the cat. Then I go in and eat an apple. Then I'm back outside with my book. The cat is in seventh heaven.

After a while, I go in and call my grandmother.

When I do my walk around I see the two moose and the beaver. I grab my camera from inside and go back out and watch. There are two beavers. They've got their own spots on the bank where they're working. They swim around, crawl up the banks to get willows, and eat, and build.

The moose eye me occasionally when I move. I eye the moose occasionally when they move.

It's peaceful.

There's a bird singing somewhere nearby. Everyone thinks it's spring.

I record the weather. The twenty-four hour high was 43, the low -5.

I fix a salad with avocado and have it with cheese and crackers, and sauerkraut for dinner.

Michaela calls. She's seen another whale.

I write a meager amount. I'm off my schedule with this time change. Let me adjust quickly, I’m feeling out of sorts.

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