Saturday, April 25, 2015

No Mouse Left Behind

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm lying awake in bed thinking about my dream in which I’d been hanging out with President and Michelle Obama. I’ve just decided to get up when the phone rings. It's Marie. I ask if I can call her right back. I run back upstairs to get dressed and brush my teeth. There's a mouse in the bathtub. I run downstairs for the mouse collecting bucket, get the mouse, take it outside, wish it well, empty the leak water bucket in the entry room, and call her back. We talk about an hour. When I tell my niece about the seven moose I had seen the day before she says, "Well, maybe when you come to visit me you can bring one with you." She makes it sound so simple.

Then I get the other morning things in. I check the generator shed, start a fire, give the cat water and food, drink another cup of coffee.

I work a crossword on the front porch with the cat’s help.

The phone rings. It's Michaela.

I make breakfast. Post a blog. Then I start on the inventory of the storeroom food for Kathy. After a couple hours, I take a break. Add wood to the fire. Open a multi-green Kumbucha I’d brought with me. Read for a little bit. I do some more inventorying. Then I take a walk outside. It's 59 degrees!

I start the generator at four o'clock. I'll let it charge since it was getting low again. While I'm in the shed I hear a strange sound. A strange cracking noise. I go outside to hear it better and am just in time to see a tree fall on the north slope.

I make salmon and rice for dinner and have a can of sliced pears as a side. I clean up the dishes. Record the weather. Check on the generator shed, the charge is still running. Talk to the cat.

Back inside, I see a mouse sneak in to get some of the cat’s food.

I write a little of this new short story I'm working on.

Check the shed again. There's a beaver swimming around. Then there are two. They stand on the bank working together. A third one joins them. I sit on the Wild Hydro pit's roof and watch them for a while.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, April 23, 2015

There are two mice in the bathtub. They’re huddled in the drain catch together. As I'm collecting them in containers, I set one on the edge of the tub, but it jumps out the top and runs off in the blink of an eye. Damn. I should have known better than that. Hey, mouse, I think after it, whatever happened to no mouse left behind?

I take the second mouse about a quarter to half a mile away and let it loose. It looks scared and I feel badly. I would have liked to have set it free with its friend alongside.

There are two moose heading up the slope. Then they're out of sight. The swans fly across the way and settle in the water over to the northeast.

Then it's time for coffee and a crossword.

I'm in the kitchen getting a refill when I see the two moose galloping down the slope and across the field. They disappear into the willows. I like to think they encountered the mouse that I relocated, lifted up their hooves, cried, "Eeks!" and then fled away in the opposite direction.

It feels like a storm is coming in. I can feel it in the inexplicable bad mood and the pain that I'm experiencing.

For breakfast I make quinoa tortillas and have egg, potato, mushroom, spinach, refried bean tacos with fresh made guacamole and grated cheese on top.

I clean out the mouse droppings in two of the cabinets in the piano room. I clean out the mouse droppings in the bathtub and scrub and disinfect it.

I take out the trash. Bag up the recycling.

I finish the inventory count for Kathy and type some of it up.

I feel gross. Unclean and covered in dirty clothes. I go take a bath. Wash my hair. As I’m getting set to leave the bathroom that escaped mouse peeks his head out, sees me, and disappears again. I imagine I'll see him in the morning.

I put some laundry in the sink to soak.

I walk around outside. The cat comes with me.

I wring out the laundry and hang it to dry.

At 6:39, the storm I've been feeling all day finally arrives. It's rain! I go outside and put my hand out to feel it just to be sure. It's rain not snow.

I eat the leftover breakfast stuff for dinner.

The storm lasts for all of twenty-four minutes and then it's gone. Outside, the earth smells of water, the land looks brighter, the birds sing.

JoAnn calls.

I finish up the inventory document and send it off to Kathy.

It's already nine o'clock.

I write a token bit.

I watch a show and drink a glass of wine. A mouse runs by. Watches me from under the desk where I do my writing. The impudent little bugger.

There are frost imprints on the skylight that look like fern leaves.

The moon is a crescent.

The bathroom mouse pokes his head out again when I come to brush my teeth. Is it the same one as from downstairs? I don't know. There are just too many mice.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, April 24, 2015

There are no tub captured mice when I get up. I'm glad to have a break from them. At least for now.

I see a kingfisher on the fence.

I start the generator and then make coffee. I work a crossword with the first cup. I check my email and the Internet while the fire gets going. I take my second cup of coffee and go sit on the front porch. The cat loves this. The clouds occasionally block the sun which makes me sing the Elton John song The Way You Look Tonight because one of the lines is, "I was feeling like a cloud across the sun."

The wind makes the trees hum every now and then. The birds add some harmony.

I pick out some of the little burrs that collected all over my boots yesterday morning when I was relocating that mouse.

I walk across the yard and do a little inventory of some of the things in the root cellar. While I'm there I get a jar of prepared horseradish and some cans of cubed pineapple.

I take the bagged recycling to the incinerator shed.

I finally stitch the hole in my coat that has been leaking white feathers all over the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

I call Loring to ask there's any reason not to start the Hydro up again. I'll do that after the generator charge has finished.
I eat tuna for lunch.

I stop the generator at three o'clock. Turn the Hydro back on at 3:15. It's all powered up. Now to see how long it'll last this time. I check in with Loring one more time to make sure the gauges are all reading the right numbers.

Clouds are moving in over the Valley. The storm rolls in just before five o'clock. The mama and baby moose dash across the field trying to beat the snow which is already falling. First it snow pellets. Then snow. It falls in pretty, thick flakes. I go out and turn my face upward. It's magical and wintry and I love it.

I go in, sit at the table so that I can see the snowfall, and read.

Just that quickly, the storm passes. Barely thirty minutes.

I read a little longer.

At seven o'clock, I gather the precipitation bucket and measure what’s there. 0.02 inches.

The clouds hang thick over the east mountains.

I write for a little bit.

At eight o'clock, it starts to snow again. This time earnestly.

I watch a show. I go upstairs.

There's a mouse in the bathtub when I go to brush my teeth. "You'll have to stay there all night," I tell him. "Sorry." I give him some raisins to sustain him. His buddy is lurking nearby. He comes and sits on the faucet but I know I'm not stealthy enough to trick him into falling in. I'll have to hope he does that on his own while I sleep.

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