Woke up normal time, between four and five in the morning. I usually get up a few times a night to stoke the fire, but the stove has been burning well for the last couple of weeks. I still like to get up and throw a couple of logs on, and to be sure the fire doesn’t go out, I set an alarm for 10:30pm, 12:30am, and 2:00am.
Got up, checked the fire, finished the book “Boomerang” that I got from the library and tried to fix my car window. The driver’s window is stuck about halfway down, and since its winter, I really need to get it fixed. But I don’t feel like going anywhere today, especially since I have to drive with the window down. No, it’s better to put some plastic over it and wait a day or two to head to the mechanic.
Getting up so early and often generally requires that I take a nap during the day. Since I get up so early, nap time is usually around 9:00am, which sounds weird, because most people have just gotten out of bed or are just getting to work. But by nine, I’ve been up about five hours, and it’s nice to get a little more shut-eye. When I lay down, the wind was blowing and the sky was overcast, but it was warm and there was a steady pat-pat-pat of water dripping off the roof.
When I woke up around noon, I glanced out the big window and could not see the trees on the other side of the yard. They are maybe 150 yards away, but it was a white out. The wind was raging, and snow was blowing everywhere. The screened-in porch had about a half inch of accumulation despite the screens, there were a few inches on the ground while Pico turned white with snow after about a minute outside.
Since I had plenty of water in my brand new 5 gallon jug and lots of food, hunkering down didn’t seem like such a bad option. It would be downright enjoyable if I had another little nine volt battery so I could listen to NPR once in a while, but I killed the last battery yesterday. With all this indoor time on my hands, there’s really only one thing to do: Clean.
I had a roommate for the last couple of months, but he’s gone now, so I set to making the cabin a little less like a weekend retreat and more like a home. The biggest thing I have to do is the dishes. There’s four knives, a bowl, a fork, and a small sauce pot to be washed. It’s not that I don’t eat at home or cook, but I generally use paper plates and bowls, along with plastic silverware and cast-iron pans. I know, I hate using the disposable stuff, but it’s really hard to do the dishes out here with no running water. Plus, at least the paper dishes can go into the stove and produce some heat for the place. Using the stuff twice, that’s my justification.
The propane stove is lit and the tea kettle is on. There’s a big Tupperware in the sink to hold the hot water. I have dish soap and a dish rag too. Then the process begins. I’ve put the five gallon jug on to two small pieces of 2×4 to raise it a little. I wash in the hot water, rinse with the cold water. It’s enough of a pain that I am still going to use mostly disposable stuff, but it only takes a few minutes to wash the dishes. Trust me, this is a big step up in lifestyle.
I rearrange some other things so that I can sit on the couch in front of the big window and decide that that’s enough productivity for one day. After all, I got all winter out here. The storm is still blowing and the forecast now says that the high temperature tomorrow is going to be 1. There’s about 6 inches of snow on the driveway, and I have to get it plowed for the first time this year.
But it’s nice to just sit inside by the fire once in a while. There’s subtle pops from the woodstove and all three animals are snoring. The sound of a fat cat snoring makes me want to crawl back into bed, but I have to head outside and get another arm load of wood.