Thursday, July 9, 2009
How I Got Here
Last night, I dreamed I was riding again in the cupola of that Alaska Rail Road caboose on the way to Moose Pass, firing my new-bought, pawn- shop .22 revolver out the window.
I saw the flashes out the leaky sides of the gun chamber, but couldnt hear the shots, because of the clackety clack of the railroad track. The train seemed to keep on rocking and rolling through most of the night........ until I smelled the coffee.
The coffee ....I smelled it before I opened my eyes .
Gradually, I noticed G.'s airy whistling from the galley below, and remembered where I was: up in the cupola of the trailer Davey set up and lived in only a year or so before Mnetha and family moved into town and he relocated across the yard, leaving the trailer to the mice and weasels.
It took a major blitz-surge to get the inside under control, and the weasels still chase the mice between the walls at night.
I can hardly believe that, after all we have done to get this abandoned trailer into shape, Davey's asking us to pay rent. To pay him rent, now that I am doing just about all the work of the place outside of writing his memoir....... and it looks like even that won't get done unless I do it.
Propped up on my elbows in the cupola , looking out through the condensation on the plexi like from inside a cloud, I saw the reddish-blond blob of a deer grazing just a few yards off and below, near one of Davey's caged fruit trees .
So many deer. Last night after our mushroom feed and before sleep, looking straight up at the traveling moon, we heard the yippity- yipping of a dozen coyote cubs out back, probably celebrating over another fawn they'd torn apart .
The open state land around us produces as much weight per acre in mice and deer as an acre in Idaho produces potatoes. The lusher the season and milder the winters become, the more fawns are born. And this year is junglly lush, with trees breaking in a moderate wind because of so much leafery, squirlly grape vines crossing the highway on telephone wires, fawns in sandboxes and flowerbeds. It's crazy.
The coyotes don't do much damage to the deer numbers...can't keep up with them, but the deer themselves do a lot of mischief in the orchard....worse even that the roosters.
So wouldn't you know, in late May, about when the pregnant does were tramping out of the woods to do their damage, Davey went up to Lake Bonaparte to fart around and do some dock work, leaving me in charge of everything here at Dog's Plot.
When I walked out back on the trails he had scythed from grafted pear tree to grafted pear tree, I saw that the deer had already been sampling some of the grafted shoots, so I took a lot of the buck thorn brush Davey had cut and leaned it around the most exposed of the clone trees . But I saw that really, the best thing would be to expand the mowing and fudge the trails some so they don't just lead the deer right to the trees.
The machete is my preferred tool for just about everything except driving nails, but it's mostly a one at a blow tool, so I would need to use Davey's scythe.......and since the scythe itself is longer than I am, I had to get out my dry wall stilts too .
In the shed, there was a robin's nest on one stilt, so I moved it to a snow shoe. I don't use the stilts much here at Dog's Plot...mostly just for when I go to town.
I'm pretty good on the stilts....so t someone passing me on the sidewalk might take me for a slightly arthritic but spry person of normal proportions, rather than a the guy with the partially descended legs....... but the scythe was a totally new thing for me.
I got up and going alright though. And the scythe is such a powerful multiplier of effort , that I was soon moving through the grass like a hover craft. Carried away by the tool. Not really the way to mow.
Out by the Black Berry patch, I heard the twittering of what I assumed to be the mocking bird that flits around here doing imitations of crows, finches, and the squeaky wheel on Davey's wheelbarrow......... when suddenly it stopped and a human voice shrilled out "Careful you don't take my head off with that fugging thing." I stumbled, tottered, and fell.
I managed to throw the scythe aside, but I hit my head on something.....I think on on one of Davey;s Buckthorn stumps.
When I came too, I had a pulsing bump on my forehead like a horn about to come through. I was soaking in the bathtub Davey had built into the back of the trailer. From the galley, came the sliding notes of that free-bird whistling and the sound of the manual coffee grinder.
My clothes and stilts were piled in the orange tobbogan sled on the floor beside the tub.
Never mind the horn of pain on my forehead, I was more comfortable than I remember being for years.....too comfortable to move .
Within a few minutes, that coffee scent came snaking under the partition door.
Then the door slid aside, and she walked in with a tray.
With that hair color somewhere between pumpkin and chanterell, With the tattoo of an oak leaf on one cheek, and a fall of maple leaves down her arms.
" it''s me,!" she said, but at first I didn't recognize her.