Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, April 16, 2015
There's a moose on the hill. He stands out like a sore thumb. The Sandhill cranes are talking. The geese and ducks are also around.
Coffee. Crossword. I eat the last of the batch of granola.
I call my grandmother.
I do the morning walk around. Everything looks just fine.
After the Wild Hydro has finished its charge, I put on the skis and go up the dam road all the way to the snowmobile road. It's very beautiful. I feel so lucky when I'm up here, high in the mountains. I go left at the snowmobile road. It has some awesome downhill parts and gorgeous views. I've not been this way before. The snow is melting away. Parts of the trail are devoid of any snow pack at all. At times, instead of snow, I cross mud and growing grass.
I ski along for a while and then when I reach a downhill slope without a safe portion of snow to bank down on, I turn around and head back. When I arrive to my starting point at the snowmobile road I take the right-hand path. This time I go past the point I'd gone the last time. I find a spot to sit and have a protein bar and drink some water.
Then I'm lodgeward bound.
Afternoon snow is slick. I'm having a lot of fun. I gather good speed as I go and do my best to avoid the fallen trees, muddy patches, and heavy snow spots where the consistency changes and throws me to the ground like a cantankerous horse coming to an abrupt stop. I fall three or four times, sliding to stop, and scattering slush into the air around me.
It’s a good time out.
I take a bath. Drink a lot of water. Post some pictures. Put some laundry in the sink to soak.
I'm making rice and salmon when Phinehas calls.
I eat my dinner.
I record the weather. Down to only 6 inches of snow.
The cat runs with me to check the night things. She's in an exuberant mood.
I wash up the dinner dishes. Wring out the laundry and hang it up to dry.
I work on a short story. I watch a show. Drink a glass of wine.
I'm about to head upstairs for the night when I glance out the window and see the stars. I haven't been out to really appreciate them in a while. I grab my coat and go outside. The river is loud. The cat gets out of her bed and comes to join me, purring and winding around my legs. The stars are sparkling. One bright one flashes white, red, green, white. I see a shooting star.
Caretaker’s Log, Friday, April 17, 2015
The sun is bright. The morning sky a blue somewhere on the spectrum between pale and periwinkle.
The land through the windows is still. Maybe all the wildlife is sleeping in.
Outside though the birds sing. After a while, the ground squirrels come up out of their homes.
I sit on the front porch in the sunshine and watch the ground squirrels and talk to the cat.
I eat Scottish oatmeal for breakfast.
I turn off the manual charge at 12:15 and return the system to its timer. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
I draw some dolphins for Michaela. I goof around online. I squander the day. I feel listless. Without direction. I sit outside and watch the ground squirrels eat and chase each other. I read.
Finally, I cut up the carrots and make a carrot coconut curry soup.
I read some more.
Suddenly, it's evening. I record the weather. There was a high of 51 degrees.
The cat and I do the evening check. She runs ahead, weaving in front of my feet the way cats do. I weave behind her and that way we avoid collisions.
I eat tuna for dinner. It's just so easy to prepare.
The bluebirds are out. A pair of them. Spreading happiness around just by their existence.
I write a bit of a short story. It needs more magic.
I finish the Henning Mankell story I've been reading. I'm not as enchanted by his character Kurt Wallender as I was by Martin Beck and his team of police officers. I may give the series one more book as a trial.
Too soon, it's 10:30.
That same blinking star, red, blue, white, green is on the western horizon. As I'm wondering what is, I remember when I was in college that I once called an astronomer from the phone in the kitchen, a phone with a cord, to ask about a bright star on the horizon. I actually spoke to an astronomer. I can't remember how I found him or where I called. I might have even tried NASA because why not.
"What else besides a star could it be?" he asked me.
"A planet," I said.
"There you go." It was Venus, the bright and morning star.
Now I can just search online to find that stuff out.
Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, April 18, 2015
I wake up in a much better mood than yesterday. The sun is shining again. I'm humming. I sing a little bit as I make the coffee and prepare the morning things. There are two moose on the north slope. They're much harder to see against the brown and green than they were against the snow.
I go outside to look at them and take pictures. The bluebird pair is out. They pose in various places for me. The ground squirrels are up. The geese and Sandhill cranes are making a fuss over to the northeast.
The cat walks around with me. I bring my coffee and crossword outside and the cat joins me as I sip and puzzle.
The ground squirrels get used to me fast. I’ve decided to name them. Mikey is the most adventurous. He comes up to the porch and stands by my feet to look me in the eye. He's got a large plot of territory. He's the one audacious enough to eat right out of the cat’s food dish. Sammy is less aggressive, but very noisy. He lives in front of Willow and calls out frequent warnings when Mikey starts to edge in on his land. Dave has a home near the generator shed. Chico lives across the bridge with a home on Kinky Creek. Trent lives at the point of the triangle with Sammy and Mikey. Terrence lives by Elk cabin. They’re the main ones so far. More will come out as the weather stays warmer.
On my way to check the Hydro and eagle flies right over me.
The Hydro is working the way it should today. I'm glad.
I eat leftover Scottish oatmeal for breakfast. Post some pictures. Go back outside. This weather is just too nice. I sit and read. I eat an omelet. I call my grandmother.
Then I gear up, put my hiking boots on for the first time this season and head out. Across the field, across the treacherous bridge, and, when too muddy, alongside the horse trail, and when dry enough, on the horse path that leads up to Sportsman's Ridge. I'm on a quest to find the petroglyphs that Todd had told me about.
As I go along, I see a shiny thing. Like an animal, I stop in my tracks and stare, evaluating danger. Then I shake my head at myself and go see what it is. Astoundingly, it's a It's a Boy balloon. The string is wrapped around a Sagebrush limb and some air is still in it. A moose celebration? Congratulations. I untangle it and put it in my backpack.
I walk along. The old horse trail takes me along the rise and up Sportsman's Ridge. Up and up and up. I'm watching the path and then raise my head to see what's coming next. It's then I see the three bighorn sheep. It's then they see me. We all stop what we're doing and stare. After a moment, they trot off. Suddenly, all the cloven tracks I'd been seeing but hadn't understood make sense. They vanish into the wild and I don't see them again.
Bluebirds, robins, a keening red tailed hawk. A charming marmot thing. These keep me company as I go.
I continue on and on and on. Around the bend of Sportsman's Ridge. The land stretches down beneath me. The river winds a glistening path in both directions as far as I can see. The view is breathtaking. I say, "Oh wow!" more than once.
I never see any petroglyphs.
I go two hours out. Sit and eat a protein bar and drink some water. Then I head for the lodge.
Almost back to the treacherous bridge is a tree filled with robins, eight or ten or more of them. They look down their beaks at me and fly off in huffs when I pass too closely.
The cat is glad to see me when I return. I've been gone nearly four hours.
There's just enough time to take a bath and sort through photos before I have to record the weather.
I don't start a fire until 7:30.
Of course I have tuna for dinner.
I work a bit on the short story I'm wrestling with.
I watch a show, drink a glass of wine. And go to bed. What a day!