Caretaker’s Log, Monday, May 4, 2015
18 weeks today.
Coffee. Crossword. Fire.
I post a blog.
I have granola for breakfast.
I call my mom. She remarks on the bluebird I caught yesterday to say that a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Michaela calls from the airport. She's leaving her Mexican paradise for a week in order to renew her visa and visit some family while she's at it.
The birds are out in full force today. The clouds are also out. I sit in one of the chairs on the porch. Fifty-seven degrees is cold when the sun is blocked. I read. The cat drapes herself across my lap. Content. Happy.
Back inside, at my computer, I go through my book and correct the little errors my mom had found and that I had found. I add a couple little clarifying paragraphs and rewrite a few awful ones. It takes a couple of hours.
Succumbing to the power of suggestion—a friend had mentioned her afternoon pick me up tea—I make a cup of yerba maté and take it to the front porch to drink.
Michaela calls a second time. She didn't make it out of Mexico today. One of the flight attendants didn't show up and the plane couldn't leave without the required two. She'll try again on Wednesday.
I go get some eggs and potatoes out of the root cellar. The cat comes along. It's already that time, so while we’re out we go ahead and do the evening walk around.
I make scrambled eggs for dinner.
Phinehas calls as I'm eating. We talk for a little while. He tells me that he and his sweetheart had read out loud to each other the other day and that it had brought back memories of his childhood. He tells me that the times I read to him and Noah are some of the best childhood memories he has. Those times, those books, that connection to my brothers are some of my favorite memories too.
I wash up the dinner dishes.
I try to work on a new story but my ideas fizzle out and die. My editing will have to count for today's writing.
I'm in bed before ten o'clock.
Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
I'm awake and up before eight o'clock. As the commercial said, I've got a lot to do before lunch.
I get a cup of coffee in before I call Karen. It's the monthly battery equalize day and she, as usual, is my emergency standby.
Then it's out to the generator shed. I get all the battery cells filled to the proper level with distilled water. Then I run the charge. Since I'm out there, I test the generator batteries and the spare batteries. They're all good. Then while the charge is running, I clean out the grease trap. I collect the trash and take it to the incinerator shed and add CCLS to the septic system.
I eat pancakes for breakfast. I top them off with strawberries and a little bit of maple syrup. I have another cup of coffee.
The equalize charge is finished at noon. That's all the monthly chores done in one day.
I call Karen to tell her it's done. She gives me some good ideas for things to cook when the workers arrive.
I work some of the jigsaw puzzle.
Loring calls to ask about the road conditions.
I sit on the porch with the cat.
I call my grandmother.
I pilfer some of Kathy’s rum and drink a rum and apple juice cocktail on the front porch. When it starts to rain I go inside.
Noah prank calls me. I recognize his voice much more quickly this time. We chat for a little while.
The raindrops clatter against the upstairs skylights. 0.04 inches of precipitation.
I have scrambled eggs, crackers and cheese for dinner.
Suddenly, it's already eight o'clock.
I watch two shows and then head up to bed.
Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, May 6, 2015
When I come downstairs I talk at the cat through the window as I usually do. This time I notice she's in fierce mode. Her lips are quivering up around her teeth. I had seen her act this way the other day when she was stalking the bluebird. I look out the window to see what she sees. And it's big. There’s a juvenile northern goshawk sitting on the porch railing. I get a few pictures before the cat chases it off. For now the ground squirrels are safe.
I have a cup of coffee and work the crossword. I'm going for a second cup when the phone rings. It's my nearly 4-year-old niece. She tells me some involved plan she has about me bringing her a moose. We talk and then she gets silly. Or sillier. Her mom tells her to let me go because I might have things to do. Shea doesn't want to hang up. She tells me that I can't always get what I want. Then she says, "I'm freaking out because I have to get off the phone." And she's gone.
Marie calls me back and we talk for a bit. In the middle of our conversation Loring calls to say that Porgy and his crew are coming on the 13th.
When I go to check things in the generator shed the red failsafe light is on. Damn. Oh well. I go down into the Wild Hydro pit. The water pressure gauge shows only 60 PSI. It should be somewhere between 100 and 110. I shut the jets off.
I call Loring to report this and he thinks that there might be a leak somewhere in the Wild’s pipe. He suggests I walk the water line to the dam to see if there's an obvious leaky watered area. Then he thinks for a bit. "The static water pressure should be around 104," he says. "If it's back up then that means there isn't a leak." There might be silt clogging things up in the dam’s intake pond. He says I can sweep this out. We both cross our fingers for this option.
I gear up, but before I head up the hill, I go out to the Wild Hydro pit. Far off in the north meadow I see the telltale white behinds of a herd of elk. They're the first I've seen this year. Inside the pit, I check the water pressure gauge. The static pressure has risen back up to about 104 PSI. This is good.
Broom in hand, I walk through the trees to the dam. Loring's directions, as always, are great. The spot where the dam is located is green with moss and soft with the babbling of the creek.
There, I pull off the wooden cover that protects the pipe and sure enough it is caked in a thick layer of muddy silt. I brush it off. I drain the intake pond and sweep out as much of the accumulated silt as I can. I work at this for a couple hours. When I'm satisfied, I put everything back together. The rain I've been feeling all day starts up as I head back to the lodge. But it doesn't pour. Only sporadic drops fall.
Then I call Loring to report the good news. He sounds as glad as I feel. He says it's safe to start the Hydro back up. So I do.
Then I take a bath. Wash my hair. Start some laundry.
I talk to my grandmother.
I make noodles with garlic, ginger, artichoke hearts, heart of palm, cashews, and a fried egg for dinner.
I rinse and wring out my clothes and then hang them above the fire to dry.
I record the weather.
Michaela calls to say she's made it to San Antonio from Mexico. My brother is there to pick her up.
I work on a new short story.
Filmy, hazy clouds creep down over the east mountains. They bring a little rain in.
Later, when I go upstairs I see that the rain has transformed into snow. There are jumbo-sized snowflakes coating the skylights. A thin layer of snow.
What a day.