Life Alone

Best picture of me, ever

Best picture of me, ever

I never planned on living alone. I was never a very social person, but I also never planned on having a life alone. Well, I also never really had a plan.

If ever a life has been lived in the moment, mine is it. I didn’t plan on being a cowboy as a teenager in Oregon. That just happened. I did learn a lot, but it was not on my list of things I wanted to do.

For a very brief period of time, I considered going to college and becoming a teacher. Then all the Laws started changing to the point that a teacher could not spank or do much to correct one of the little monsters, so I figured why should I spend 4 more years going to school which I always hated, anyway? By that time I had my choice of scholarships and refused them all. I was done with school. Don’t get me wrong, I think school is important and I would hate to go to a doctor that had not bothered to attend one.

Then by some bit of insanity I found myself married and not to a rancher. I had some passing thoughts about marrying a rancher and eventually maybe having some children, but it wasn’t a firm decision. Yet here I was, married to the least likely to ever be a rancher or even steadily employed. Talk about someone that had no idea what to look for in a husband, that would be me.

Given enough time, we finally divorced and I would have been alone, except I needed to babysit to pay my rent and work to pay for the divorce. Once that was all taken care of, I was invited to mine for a summer and by the next year, I was married yet again.

For once, I got it right. I loved being married to Charlie and we enjoyed our life together. Then he died and I was back to being alone. This alone was painful and debilitating. I didn’t function well and was not in a good frame of mind, at all.

I had read the Bible as a child, in school as there was one in the library and every year I read all the books. It took me ages to get through all the begats. There were a few stories, fictionalizing some Bible stories and I enjoyed them very much. We did not have any religious instruction at home and had never been near a church.

I met someone and thought it was going to be good times again, but I was not thinking correctly on that one, at all. It dragged on too long, but I have always been stubborn and hate to admit when I make mistakes. This one was another doozy.

I bought some property, my Mom sold her house and sent up the money, so I, with some help, built her a house. She couldn’t be alone and I didn’t want to continue the failed relationship, so we moved into her new house.

My daughter’s house sold and she also came out and we built her a nice house also. It has been a learning experience all the way around and I guess most of life really is.

Mom and I were both baptized the same day by my sister’s husband, in our Church. It was great. Then we went up to Chena Hot Springs and had a lovely swim. What a wonderful day.

Things were going well, Mom was feeling better than she had in a long time, when suddenly she became ill and we rushed her to the hospital. She died after a 5 day stay and I came home to an empty house.

Yes, these last few years since Mom died have been by myself but I am alone, not lonely. There is a major difference.

Advertisements

The Beginning – what a wait, it’s chapter 8

One morning out my window.

One morning out my window.

Chapter 8
The next morning, I take a grub hoe and shovel out to the little spring and start digging a bit about it to see if I can increase the flow a bit. I dig and pull out all the water weeds and willows I can manage. The alders I cut and dig around the roots until I have a fairly good mound of stubs and roots piled over to one side. The ground is all saturated and very mucky. I shovel out as much as I can, making a small shallow pool area. It appears to be filling fairly fast with muddy water. I will leave it a couple of days and see how it looks.
After some breakfast, it is back to cutting and hauling firewood. I had not been paying attention to the days of the week and not seeing Noah for a few days, he surprised me by showing up and pitching right in on helping with the firewood.
While we are loading the pickup, he mentions the odd sounds he had heard earlier this morning. I tell him about the possible spring I have found. The possibility of water on the place is exciting to me and I probably babbled on too long about it. I know most of the wells that have been drilled out here have been disappointing in depth and quality of water. If I can find something I can do myself, no matter what quality the water, I can purify it for drinking and cooking. That would save me a big worry and also make my gardening easier. The spring is actually uphill of my garden plot. If it wasn’t, I would be laying out a new future garden plot if this really is going to be a good source of water.
After we unload the pickup, we walk over to the area I dug out earlier and I am surprised at the volume of water coming out. I decide to try to improve it in the morning, but continue to work on my wood supply the rest of today.
After we unload the wood, I fix some lunch and we take the sandwiches with us back over to the wood lot. We finish up the day cutting, hauling and stacking and I am amazed at how well we work together. Noah treats me like a partner, someone to talk to and with. He says he is getting muscles on his muscles. We have managed to put more wood in the woodshed in one partial day of work, than I could have by myself in 3 or 4 days of steady work.
I tell him I need to go down to the river and haul some river rock to enclose the area I dug out around the little spring. He offers to haul rock from the gravel pile down the road, but I explain river rock won’t leave a muddy flavor in the water. We head to the closest river and find a good, easily loaded supply of rocks. The pickup is well overloaded by the time I think we have enough.
After carefully driving the pickup between the trees, getting as close as possible to the spring, we pitch out the rocks into a pile. Somehow, it doesn’t look like as many on the ground as it did in the pickup. We decide to go to the small river in the other direction, as we had loaded all the easily loaded where we were. Noah suggested stopping at the Hit & Run for something to eat and I realized it was getting late. We pulled in and I think she was about to close up but was nice about not being obvious. We ordered a couple of cheese steaks with potato salad, chips, pickle and iced coffees. She started up the generator and fixed the sandwiches and had our order ready in a very short time. The coffees were delicious while we waited. I mentioned to her that we were hauling river rock for my new little spring and she said she had a couple of spots on her place that seemed to seep pretty good, too. She always planned on digging them out to see if it would flow freely. Now she was going to have to actually do it. She said she had some sections of new perforated sewer line, if I wanted to have a piece to bury in the rocks for the water to leach into. I offered to help dig out her seeps, we both accepted. We set a time the next morning and we went on down for our load of rocks.
I checked my spring the next morning and it was looking good. The water seemed to be flowing a small steady stream. Not a large amount, but if it remained steady, it would do fine.
Rose was waiting for me when I arrived, and we set out to the seeps she had marked. The first one was actually a fairly good seep and we marked it well with tape. Then we pulled some brush and weeds away from it. As we worked, the water flow increased a bit and we got excited to think maybe we could make springs on both places. She had paid to have a well drilled. It was over 300 feet deep and not extremely good water. They used it in the summer to wash clothes and bathe, do dishes and water the garden, but not for cooking or drinking. She had never been able to afford getting the quality tested, so wasn’t sure on content.
Her spring was on a steeper incline than mine, so she could put a pipe in and have it high enough to fill containers under it. I could maybe, after I dug out a bit more around my area. She was apologetic that her backhoe was not running or she could have done this all much easier.
We took the pickup down to her storage area and found the perforated pipe. We loaded 2 pieces and dropped one by the area we had dug out for her and she got out there while I headed back to my place. She had made good use of her old dozer while it had still ran. The roads were not bad on her place, just needed some smoothing in areas. Too bad her equipment was all old and not working for her.
When I got home, I unloaded the pipe and Noah walked up. The man seemed to be a glutton for punishment, the way he just got right in and helped, no matter what the project I was working on. We carried the pipe and a chainsaw over with us to the spring site and I was pleased by the amount of water that was running.
Since I had made it pretty close to the spring with the pickup, the day before, I decided to try using it to pull out some of the stumps of the trees that were right around the spring. Each tree and shrub would drain water from the spring and the farther back I could clear, the better the chances for my water supply.
We fell a few of the small trees and then hooked cable around the stumps and to the back bumper of my old pickup. Easing into it did nothing, so I backed up a bit and gave it a jerk. The small stump came sailing. We decided that was good and went right on to the next one. When we got to a bigger stump, we changed the cable over to hook into the trailer hitch as it was fastened to the frame and might not come loose as the bumper was. We cleared the immediate area of stump wads with the pickup and I felt pretty good about it. I’m glad none of the trees out here have a tap root or I would have just wrecked my pickup.
We went back over to the house and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. Will and Shari drove in soon after. They had brought a picnic lunch and wanted to know if we would join them. Food has always been one of my habits I enjoy a lot. Shari was an excellent cook and the fried chicken was still hot and crispy. We were just in the middle of enjoying lunch when another rig pulled in to my getting popular driveway. No one believes the signs any more. I need to get some new ones.
Noah started smiling and went to meet the new arrival. Seems it is his Dad. The 2 men walked back over and Noah introduced his Dad, Roman, all around. Soon he had a plate of food in front of him and we were all talking at once again. This is a nice older man, I wonder how Rose would like to meet him? If he is anything like his son, maybe they would hit it off. She could use some friendly male companionship, I think. Now, how will I make sure they meet?
I needn’t have worried. Talk soon came around to the springs we were trying to clear out and we decided to go help the neighbor get as far along as we were on mine. This could be perfect.
When we pull into the drive at The Hit & Run, I am sorry we just had lunch but thought we could all handle something to drink and ice cream to see us through the work ahead.
Kara and Rose are both there and we order ice creams, a couple of sodas and a couple of iced coffees. We explain what our plan is, and Rose seems dumbfounded. I don’t think she is used to having help and especially help that just drops in. She comes along with us and I see she had moved her backhoe over to the area near the spring. We hooked the cable around clumps of brush and she pulled with the bucket on the back. It sure saved wear and tear on the pickups. Then the backhoe started belching out oil and she shut it off. She said it did that as soon as it warmed up while working. Roman hopped right up and started looking it over. Seems he is a retired diesel mechanic. How perfect. The 2 of them seem to hit it off right away and I must have a goofy smile on my face because Shari sidles over and grins at me then winks. She is enjoying this, also. She has come out of her shell. Maybe pounding nails was good for her. Will says she is brimming over with ideas on things they can build at their place and she wants to be in the middle of building them. Gone is the ghost and it makes her beautiful.
We leave Noah’s Dad and Rose tinkering with the backhoe and head back to the Hit & Run. Kara asks how it was going over there and we talk for a while about the projects we are doing. She says she and her Mom are doing pretty good on the wood for the coming winter. Will is surprised that firewood is so important to us this early in the Spring. So we both start in on him about getting ready for winter and the need for lots of firewood each year. He says he has some firewood in the woodshed that was there when he bought the place a few weeks ago. He has never spent a winter here. So since we are all out and about, we offer to go look his supply over and see what needs to be done for them to have enough for the coming season.
Noah trots down to see if his Dad is ready to go and comes back saying we can pick him up on our way back. Seems Roman is now looking at the old dozer and thinks it will be easy to get running again. Kara gets all excited and says she sure hopes so as that was a Mother’s Day present from her Dad to her Mom one year. Wow, now that would be hard to beat in the present department. She said yes, Dad was really good at giving the unexpected. One year he gave Mom a rifle for Christmas, even.
We all get in our vehicles and head over to Will and Shari’s. They have bought one of the places a couple of miles on down the road. The folks that had owned it wanted to move to a warmer climate. It was a nice place and Will and Shari were fixing it up to look even better. The woodshed out back was not very large and was about half full. I told them a cord of firewood is a 4’ x 4’ x 8’ stack. We measured the pile in the shed and they may have had about 4 cord in it. I suggested they get a firewood permit from the State and not cut any of the wood on their own place unless needed in an emergency. Will saw the reasoning in that and asked where to go in town to get the permit. I told him and he made a note. Shari was laying out the area she wanted a greenhouse built. So we looked it over and I complimented her on the site she had chosen. A good south slope with no shade over it. If they hurried, they could still plant in it this season. I had some extra plants she could have for it. She said they would get the supplies needed for the greenhouse and the permit when they went to town tomorrow. I offered to come help them build if they wanted, but she said they were using a kit and it should be simple. We walked out into the trees a bit, looking for water brush and seeps to see if they may have a spring showing, also. We found some water brush, but no active seeps. We pulled a bit of brush and the roots were very wet, so we kept at it. Will brought over a shovel and dug out a bit in the middle low spot we had found. The area was very muddy and as he dug, it was getting muddier. He decided to check it tomorrow or later this evening.
We went on down to the river and loaded up the pickups with river rocks and took them back for Rose. We backed the pickups close to the area we had dug out and piled the rocks for her to use around the spring.
Noah’s Dad still wasn’t ready to leave as they were talking away a mile a minute. He asked Rose if he could come back by sometime and she told him, any time. He said he had some tools that could help on telling exactly what was wrong on the dozer and maybe something to help the backhoe, too. I think they like each other.
When we get back to my place, Noah and Roman go down to his camper. It has been a long busy day. I’m glad we could help Rose and Kara and maybe Will and Shari.
Noah came over a few minutes later and tapped on my door. I asked him in and he smiled and asked, “Are you setting my Dad up with the neighbor?” I smiled back and said, “ I sure am.”
He laughed and said, “Good, I haven’t seen Dad that interested and happy since a while before Mom died a few years ago. It is like having my Dad back. Thank you. ”
He reached over and kissed me a small kiss on the lips. Sparks, Wow.. Then he placed his hands on my shoulders and kissed me for sure. Oh my, this guy can kiss.
He steps back and looks about as surprised as I feel. He starts to stammer an apology, then says, “No, I am not sorry.” and kisses me again, gently and thoroughly. A person could get used to this.

I’m in Love

OctoberDay2

I’m in love. The first time we spent the night together, I thought it might be a passing fancy, but now I am positive it is true love. That warm feeling inside when ever I think about our time together, the longing to be together again, missing spending more time in our own little cocoon of warmth and happiness. This is the stuff of dreams.
With the onset of winter, here in Alaska, just thinking about all those cold nights we will be spending together makes me feel happy inside. Even my cats love you. Every time I see them snuggled up on you, it makes me smile. Yes, this is love.
I make sure every night when I turn on the generator, that I smooth out all the little wrinkles from your surface. An electric blanket has to be treated with care.