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December 13, 2014: Power to the People

Not much to report from this end of the world; a good thing, I think. It’s been in the teens out, with the sun remaining low in the sky. And it’s been quiet, blissfully quiet. I am fortunate to live in a place which is generally quiet. Most forego quietude and accept the fact that one condition of life is that they must live with noise.

We don’t have much noise here because the number of residents in our area is low. The number of residents in our area is low because we live in an area that lacks conventional power. If we had power, those neighbors of ours who aren’t here often would be here more often. This is because on the grid living is

Writing cabin at dawn

easier than off the grid living. As it is, those who live here have to get water from town, neighborhood creeks, backyard creeks, or from a well. (The latter is what we have.) And they must either have solar and wind and/or a generator power source. (We have solar and wind, and we also have a generator, which we use minimally.)

We are the only ones with horses in our immediate area. Their off-the-grid care is harder than it might be if we lived on the grid. I use a headlight in the winter rather than a motion detector. This allows me to scoop poop when it’s dark, both in the morning and in the evening. We also water by hand, heating the water on the wood stove, and running it down to the horses three-four times a day.

If power came to the area, the number of people in our area would increase. At the same time we’d lose what I call our buffer – which is the uninhabited space that surrounds our immediate property. For example, Dick and Liska, an older couple who own property to the left of and diagonally to us, would be around more. And Scott, who owns a cabin across the way, would be here more. And Ryan, who owns property (and upon this property a small shack), would be here more. And Nancy, who owns land to the right of us, and a cabin above and to the right of us, would be here more. I like it when they’re all away because then it is quieter than usual. When they’re here, individually or singly, they do tend to make noise, noise that generally involves the use of chainsaws and the like.

I have noticed that some of our more far-flung loop neighbors have either sold their properties or passed what they own on to their not-so-distant relatives. The three families that I’m thinking about have children. And children being children, they’re noisy. My theory is that these people moved to this area because they couldn’t afford to live elsewhere. So they’re toughing it out, as they wait for grid power to materialize. I don’t think they value what I value, which is what goes hand-in-hand with the absence of noise – quietude.

We live adjacent to state land – and in the time we’ve lived here, we’ve seen the main trails get trashed. This is why we put in our own horseback riding trails. The beauty of this lies in the fact that they’re accessible, and in this respect, don’t require that we spend inordinate amounts of time and money in order to get to them by truck and trailer. I also like the fact that I can walk the horses to and from the trailhead along our residential and not heavily trafficked roads. This allows me to warm them up prior to riding, and cool them down after riding. This is so very good for them.

Today, Pete and I went for a ride. As we were going up Jim’s road, one of those nasty Suzuki four-wheeler thing came up behind us. I had just released Ryder and Rainbow, and was getting ready to mount up. The occupants of the vehicle wanted by, so I had to switch gears and again gather up the horses and dogs. But as I was doing this, they turned around and headed down to the other, adjacent trailhead. As we were cutting over to it on Jim’s trail, we saw the vehicle, dogs, and occupants heading uphill.

There was some noise. There was, speaking of noise, also some snowmobile activity today. There has (thankfully) not been much of this this year because we haven’t gotten hardly any snow. This has given our area what I call a more resort-like feel.

Every single day I thank dog that I live in such a quiet area. A part of my appreciation for this comes from the fact that I am fully cognizant of the fact that at the drop of a hat, things could change. I hope they don’t, but am ongoing happy for things being the way they are.

Next: 333. 12/14/14: Downward Dog