Caretaker’s Log, Monday, April 13, 2015
15 weeks today.
There are moose in the willows at the foothills of Sportsman's Ridge. First it's only one dark spot among the red and orange and brown, then two, and then a blessed third. I’m so happy to see them. I love all the meese.
A pair of Sandhill cranes makes their trumpeting trill as they fly from one spot to another. They are so very loud.
Geese, ducks, the bluebird of happiness, robins, and a bird I don't know to identify make the sky a busy place.
Ah spring, you bring so much activity.
The cat and I go over to Willow to find a file of maps to photograph and email to Porgy.
I post a blog. I eat granola for breakfast. I photograph the entire file and begin to resize and email the pictures. It’s a bit tedious. I chat online with my sister-in-law. It's one o'clock by the time I'm done with Porgy's task.
Laura, the summer wizard, calls to see if I’d found the maps. We chat for a while and I fill her in on all the things that have happened since the last time I talked with her.
It's nearly 45° outside. I can't stand being in the lodge any longer. I go out and sit in a chair. The cat comes to sprawl across my lap.
There's another ground squirrel in the lessening snow just off the porch. I wonder if it's the same one as last year.
The cat and I walk over to the root cellar and collect all the carrots. I deal with carrots for a while, sorting out the ones with mold and throwing them out. Setting aside the good ones, some to restore to the root cellar, and others to make into soup, still others to eat raw. I take two full bags back out to the root cellar. They should be fine out there until I get the chance to eat them too.
The snow seems good so I put on skis and go up to the first fence on the dam road. It's fun. It's good conditions so I go a little farther to the broken tree and then come down fast as lightning. Some of the path has become bare, dirt-faced and muddy, and I hug the sides of the way where the snow is still packed. When I'm down, I shrug and say, “Again?” Why not. I go back up and then come speeding down. Then it’s back across the field. But I'm not finished yet so I go up the new road to that first fence and then come down from there. Coming down is the best part. The snow is just perfect. I get a good forty-five minutes of skiing in. Back at the lodge, I sit with the cat for a minute.
I go in and take a bath. Wash my hair. I put on a clean shirt. It smells of patchouli and the faint incense my dad burns. This is the smell of my parents’ house. The smell of my mom, comforting like a hug. The smell of my dad, like an evening spent together listening to music.
I look over my writing. I think I may have finished the book. I need to read through the whole thing and see if that's true. It’s not the ending I’d thought I’d write. I start to read. I read it out loud. That's the best way to catch mistakes like missing words, misspelled ones, or continuity errors.
I eat tuna and an apple for dinner.
At seven o'clock, I record the weather. I've got my coat in my hand to go check the outside things when Michaela calls. We chat for a little while. Then I do the walk around.
The day is settling into dusk. I see two of the three moose. I see a beaver being busy. The sunset is breathtaking. “Stop being so beautiful,” I say, “it's extremely distracting.”
I read up to page 124 in my book. It's 11:30 when I head up to bed.
Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, April 14, 2015
After all the regular morning things, I take a cup of coffee and go sit in the morning sun. It's already over 45° and it's not even ten o'clock yet. The cat joins me. Takes over my lap. We are sitting in peaceful harmony when suddenly, she growls. I look out across the field to see what she's upset about. A coyote. It's the braver one. He digs around a bit, looks back behind him as if waiting. I look too, searching the landscape for his companion. It takes a while, but eventually there she is. She skirts the field. Not brazen like him to take to open ground in the light of day. Of course, like a fool, I've left my camera inside. I know better than that. But if I get up I’ll spook them. So I sit with the cat and enjoy the show.
Then it's time to check that the Wild Hydro is switching correctly to its bulk charge. It is.
I make scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast.
For the rest of the day I read through my novel. I catch some little errors and fix things as I go along.
I talk with my mom.
I have an apple for lunch.
I call my grandmother after I'm done reading all 283 pages out loud. I really think I have finished it. At least the first draft. It's not a literary masterpiece. But I think, I hope, that it's at least a good story.
I make spaghetti noodles with a stirfry concoction and top it with a fried egg. My stomach is complaining about my ill-treatment. It wanted food much sooner.
At seven o'clock, as I’m recording the weather the phone rings. It's JoAnn. We chat for a moment. Then I'm off outside to do my evening walk around. The cat comes down out of the roof, she's been hiding from the wind all day, and joins me for part of it.
I do some formatting things on my manuscript. I open a new box of Malbec. I pour a glass of wine. Celebration? It's a little soon for that. I'm still in disbelief that the first draft is done. I'd given myself five months to complete it. And it seems to have happened quicker than I had expected. There’s a kind of comfort in having a project to work on and now I feel an unsettled void forming in my daily routine. I've been working every day on this for the last 104 days. That's not counting the days of reading and research and thought. Of course, the first draft is just the first step. There will be editing and revision and most likely a second and third draft.
I start a show, but I'm not in the mood. I send a few emails and then I head upstairs.
The skylight shows a light dusting of snow. I'd seen those moody clouds move in. I wish they would dump a significant amount of snow. The snowpack is only 7 inches deep and receding fast.
Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
As if to answer my last night's wish it's snowing when I get up.
Spring yesterday. Winter today. I'm very much okay with that. There's already an inch collected and more falling.
After the morning chores, I put on snowpants, hat, gloves, coat, sunscreen, and sunglasses and head out to chop wood. I've let myself get down to only a one day supply. I chop for two and a half hours. The new stack of split wood lining the porch underneath the big windows gives me a feeling of satisfaction and security.
I eat a can of pineapple.
Michaela calls. She says she's been trying for five hours to reach me. I tell her it's more likely two and a half. And she concedes that it's more likely just one. We talk for a while. It’s from her that I learned my grandfather has been checked into the hospital. He had a doctor’s appointment this morning and I'm guessing the tests he was to take showed some cause for concern.
It's been snowing on and off all day long. The ground soaks up the moisture with greed and thirst. Spring wants to triumph.
I call my grandmother. Tell her I'm sorry that they're back in the hospital and to tell my grandfather I hope he feels better soon.
For a snack, I eat the leftover stirfry from last night.
My mom calls. She's been at the hospital with my grandparents. We chitchat while she drives home.
I eat tuna for dinner.
I’m at a bit of a loss of what to do. After dinner is my set in stone time to write. I don’t know what to work on tonight. The problem with finishing a project is the subsequent feeling that asks, What to do now? I read through an old short story I wrote years and years ago. I start a new one. My plan is to write one short story a week until it's time to edit and revise my novel. Even with that, I still feel a bit thrown off.
Seven o'clock is weather time. 0.15 inches of precipitation. 1.3 inches of accumulation.