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March 7, 2014: End of the Road

I heard from Pete this evening. He’s in McGrath and will be home tomorrow afternoon. I’m relieved. As I’ve said repeatedly, it really does take two people to run this place in the winter. Actually, one person can do this, but even with a routine, it takes 18 hours a day.

Pete has it easier than me when I go away because his priorities are different than mine. For instance, he has no qualms about foregoing cleaning the goat and the chicken pen. I on the other hand clean both every two days. Pete also has no qualms about not getting all the horses out. However, I feel like I’m letting them down if I don’t do this.

Today I first took Tinni and the dogs out on the trail, and then I next took Hrimmi and Signy. By the time I finished with this, the sun was starting to set low in the sky. Raudi, who when I put the others away, was standing by the gate, clearly wanted to get out. So I took her for a walk around the loop. It was a really nice walk – we both very much enjoyed being in one another’s company. At one point I broke into song and she snorted – twice.

When Pete’s away, the best I can do is put one foot in front of the other. In the mornings and evenings I bring in firewood, start a fire in the woodstove, take water to the horses and goats and chickens, refill stove buckets, and refill five gallon buckets.

Sometimes everything goes well, and sometimes it does not. It’s hard to keep a fire going when you’re burning green wood. It’s also difficult to take a shower in cold water. The on-demand hot water heater isn’t working. Imaginative me attempted to fix it. I stood in front of it and stomped my foot and said “I demand that you provide me with hot water!” It did not.

It’s also difficult getting around on 6 inches of snow –covered ice. I now know (sort of) where to step and where not to step. The base of the driveway is not as slippery as previously. But just in case, I put down some ash for Hrimmi, so that she did not slip.

I’m obsessed with writing, while Pete is not. I must keep writing. I’m pleased with how the proposal that I’ve been working on turned out; I added more to my second sample chapter (entitled “Imagination”) by coming up with a novel way of taking that which is integral to the cognitive based aspects of the composing process. I imagine NPR’s Terry Gross coming to our place for a visit. We have a good chat. Then after she turns off her tape recorder, we chat some more.

My whoas are insignificant compared to some. I’ve been thinking about those mushers out on the trail – the Iditarod is now going on eight days. The top mushers have been getting very little sleep. The same is true of their dogs.

Tonight I watched a U-Tube helmet cam video – it was made by musher Jeff King. It was of the Dalzell Gorge area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAHa-6VkUQY   Pete’s been in Rohn, which is after the gorge. King was one of 56 or so mushers who made it through this area, and then decided keep going. Ten or so quit. King is now about 400 miles from the finish. I figure that he hasn’t had any mishaps. The U-tube video is revelatory. The video begins with Jeff traveling along a straight, snow-packed trail. (He even remarks how nice this is). Then in seconds he and his dogs go up and over, onto the twisty, turny, rutty, tree stump strewn trail. His sled tips over repeatedly, and the contents (which include an aluminum dog pan) go flying about. I can only imagine the strength needed to right it. Yep, my whoas are pretty insignificant.

I would not want to mush through an area like that. I would (however) like to write about others going through an area like that. I’m not getting older – rather, I’m getting wiser.

Already, tomorrow is a better day.

It’ll fly Orville, just so long as you don’t pluck the shit out it.

More about the Dalzell Gorge: http://iditarod.com/about/the-iditarod-trail/rainy-pass-to-rohn/

Next: 67. 3/8/13: What’s in a Name?