Wednesday, April 22, 2015

From a Great Height

Caretaker’s Log, Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm up before eight o'clock because there's a possibility I'll get an air drop this morning. I'm tired. I dreamed I was taking a full college load and had missed one of the research paper deadlines. Because I was blackmailing the professor into letting me, I had four hours to make up the final in order to not fail the class. To top that off, I couldn't read the assignment. Every time I looked at the page it was blurry. Not exactly a stress-free dream.

I don't get an air drop. No email either. I guess it's off. It's a windy day. That's okay.

I take my coffee outside but only sit for a while. The wind is too chill.

I make a Mexican pizza for lunch. I read a little. Work on the short story I'm writing. Call my grandmother.

Somewhere around five o'clock I go outside. I check the generator shed and sadly, the red Failsafe light is on. I try four different times to reconnect the system before I call Loring. No answer. I try it one more time then call Karen to ask if I should shut things down and drain it all. She consults with Greg and they say yes. It’s easy peasy to do that. I know how. Also all the snow is practically gone which makes things even easier to get to.

As I'm getting set to put things away out by the Wild Hydro pit, I hear a sloshing water sound. I look up to see a mama and new baby moose wading at a trot through the river. They head right at me in the river’s straightaway and then turn with the bend. They follow the water until they’re out of sight and sound.

"That was awesome," I say out loud to no one but myself. I don't think they even saw me.

I send out an email to update everyone concerned on the Hydro system. I eat the leftover Mexican pizza for dinner. I just want to sit and read in the time I have before bed. But I make the mistake of updating the software on my phone after I plug it into my computer to transfer some pictures. That makes relaxing and reading not so relaxing. I have to keep checking and approving the changes. Finally, it's done. Nothing too hateful changed with the update and I'm glad for that.

I read a little bit more then go to bed. I'm tired.

Caretaker’s Log, Monday, April 20, 2015

16 weeks today.

I've got no warning as to what time the airdrop will be. Karen had told me it was scheduled for today when we spoke on the phone yesterday. So I get up early. And it's a good thing. There's a mouse in the bathtub. The bathtub is turning into quite the mouse trap. Effective and humane. I collect him and take him outside to the trees. The cat follows lazily behind. "Fare thee well," I tell the mouse as I leave it.

There are four moose on the slopes.

Back inside, I clean the mouse poop out of the tub. Pour a lot of bleach in to soak.

I'm bringing down my notebooks and water bottle from upstairs when I hear the plane. It's only 8:05. I'm glad I've been up for a while and I'm already dressed. I even still have my coat and boots on. I grab my hat, gloves, sunglasses, and camera, and rush outside.

I wave as they buzz the house a second time. Then they drop package after package in the east field. The first one I see hit the ground is a box which explodes with a violet purple cloud on impact. Ah, wine, I muse. The moral of the story is still that boxed wine does not airdrop well. There's not a drop to salvage from the container. I hadn't requested any, I still have a supply, but they had kindly thought of my wine likes and included it just to be nice.

What I do get is: three jigsaw puzzles, a jar of honey, one cauliflower, three avocados, some button mushrooms, a container of spinach, one ball of mozzarella, one stick of Havarti, some rice crackers, three small cans of tuna, a new pair of dishwashing gloves that are actually small enough to fit my hands, and three bars of soap for hand washing in the bathrooms. It's a treasure trove.

By the time I've brought in all the boxes and opened them up it's 8:35. Karen calls to see how things went and to find out how far the guys are away from them.

I eat a very delightful veggie omelet for breakfast.

I clean up the dishes.

I call my mom. We talk for an hour. Then I put the skis on and go up the main road. It may be the last time. Good portions of the road are devoid of snow altogether. I skirt the sides of slopes where the snow still stands. Once or twice I tread lightly over mud. Only once do I take my skis off and that’s on the way down.

I go up past the main gate and go until the snow is too soft and I begin to consistently sink in ankle deep.

I turn around and head back. It's fun and a bit tricky. I avoid the mud patches and fallen trees and slushy snow and still managed to have some good downhill runs. All in all, it's a good hour and twenty minute excursion.

The yard snow is almost all gone.

I take a bath.

I call my grandmother.

I sit on the couch and read. It's what I had wanted to do all day yesterday.

Phinehas calls.

I read a little more.

I eat an apple as a pre-dinner snack. I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for. Nothing sounds good. Eventually I settle on tuna, of course. I use one third of the first avocado.

There's an eagle being chased off by ducks. It settles in a tree. I go out to try and get a picture of it in the gathering dusk. The cat comes over to say hi. We do the walk around. It's 6:45 and the battery level is low. I had thought it would last until the morning. I debate on whether to run a charge now or go ahead and let the power go completely out sometime during the night. I choose the latter.

Two eagles dive and soar over the east field. I can’t tell if they’re friends or foes.

I go in, finish my dinner, clean up the dishes, tweak the short story I've been messing with some, and start a new one.

Then I shut the computer off and read for about forty-five minutes while I have a glass of wine. This second Kurt Wallender book is better than the first one.

I can hear the owls.

It's only 9:30 when I head up to bed. It's been a long and busy and good day.

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm awake around six o'clock. I can't go back to sleep. So at 6:20 or 6:30 I get up. I've got power on the mind. Surprisingly, it's still on. I'd been sure I would lose it around 2:00 AM. It's not the end of the world if the power goes out. Not for short periods anyway. Starting things back up is as simple as turning the generator on.

I get outside. The sun is just about to rise up over the mountains. The clouds are long and white and cotton swab soft.

There are seven moose on the slopes. Three pairs and one loner. I think at least two of them are new babies. They get big so fast.

I start the generator at 7:01 AM.

The birds are out and singing.

The cat is surprised that I'm up this early but she'll take attention at any time of the day or night.

The ground squirrels are having territory chasing battles. Mikey and a new squirrel named O'Conner get into it, tumbling together in a wild wrestling match during which Mikey grabs hold of the back of O'Conner's neck. I almost step in to break it up, but then they separate and run away to their home bases, panting and eyeing each other. I roll my eyes. The ground squirrel life is a wild one.

I have my coffee. Work a crossword.

A bird makes the mistake of flying into the netted porch where the cat’s house and food are. She can't get out. The cat sneaks in waiting for her chance to have a feathery breakfast. I can't stand it. I go out to lend aid. After a bit of chasing around I get the bird out through a slit in the netting. It flies away with relief. The cat is sorely disappointed.

I read.

The phone rings. It's my sister Jesse.

Then Marie, my sister-in-law, calls.

I read some more.

The phone rings. It's the owner Paul checking in and talking about yesterday's airdrop. While we're on the phone a random storm blows over. It snows for something like three minutes and then it’s gone.

The generator charge is still running. The power had gotten very low. After seven hours it's finally finished and I shut it off. The silence, well, silence broken by geese, ducks, Sandhill cranes, mountain bluebirds, all the ground squirrels, and the cat, is lovely.

I read some more. I've almost finished the second Kurt Wallender book. It's better than the first but I'm still not bonding with the character. Maybe I will on the third.

I talk to my grandmother.

The cat and I walk around. I feel like I've been on the phone all day. Inside all day.

I have tuna for dinner.

I answer some emails. Kathy, the owner, warns me that workers may be coming here as soon as May 20th. I can't believe the time is getting away so fast.

I record the weather. I go out for one last walk around. The cat comes too. It's a lovely evening. A pair of geese is in the river. Ducks are everywhere. As we’re watching, two swans rise from the lake over to the northeast and fly in front of me, trumpeting like pages in a Walt Disney movie. It sounds so comical that I laugh out loud which makes the geese annoyed at me. So much so that they fly off to another part of the river. I guess not everyone has a sense of humor. Silly geese.

I write a tiny bit.

I settle in for the evening. I’m sitting on the couch reading when a mouse walks by. It goes from the door to the far wall and then back again as if it’s doing its nightly constitutional. Then it darts into the kitchen and I go after it. I want to catch it. I’ve got a full on catch and release program in motion for all these mice. But it’s too clever, too quick. It gets by me and disappears in the piano room. Goodnight, mouse.

I go up to bed.

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