Monday, March 10, 2014

Kory Jean McGillicuddy

A short-lived snow that we had one day last week.  It snow heavily all morning and then quickly melted........

The last week has been a very labor intensive week, filled with wood cutting and truck loading and truck unloading and wood splitting and wood stacking (finally) in the wood shed that is attached to the house.
About 10 miles from Atomic City a couple of full bearded and rough looking characters (who are actually incredibly friendly and who smile readily and easily) have been taking down an old silo.
The agreement with the owner was that if they tore the silo down they could keep all the wood, and throughout the winter they have been gradually working on tearing the structure apart while at the same time salvaging whatever wood they needed and selling off the rest.
Which is how LC and I came into the picture, and we spent one day cutting and loading old poles and beams.
The good news is that the wood was completely dry and in very good shape and will be burnable next winter.  The bad news was that all the nails and bolts were not immediately visible and LC went through a few chains while cutting it all up.
Sore backs and sore arms and sore hands but we got a load and may get another load before it is all said and done.
In addition to silo-wood, we came across a family not far from Aberdeen who had cut down various size trees on their property and were offering free wood to anybody who wanted to cut it up.
The first time we went to cut wood, LC and I were both astounded as the size of some of the trees.  Some were completely down and some were still standing - looking as though the job of downing them had been interrupted in mid-stream.  I have no idea, but when I saw their beautiful property I could not fathom all of the beautiful trees that they had destroyed.  I wouldn't have done it.  Truthfully, I couldn't have done it, but to each their own.
Some we can handle.  Some of the trees are so big that only professionals could deal with them, and so we will take what we can.
Two loads down and at least a couple more to go, but this wood is new and likely will not be burnable until winter after next.
Since living out west I have moved more wood around than I have moved during the entire rest of my life.
I could have quite contentedly lived out the remainder of my life without ever lifting or stacking or carrying wood, but it is what it is and the wood stove is an important part of getting through winters in the west.
And in the west, if you find free or cheap wood, you grab it when you can because somebody else will take it if you hesitate. 
I have some pictures of wood and trees and beautiful property that I will download soon and post.............

My sweet new dog Kory and I spend a lot of time alone and together, me walking and she running and both of us wandering quietly together in the vastness of empty BLM land behind the house.
Weather continues to change from moment to moment but I don't really mind.
Already I miss the complete and utter silence of the frozen world we lived in for months on end during the winter.  There is something very soothing and calming about the silence of the long winter, and I am sad to see that season finally slipping away.  
I like the changeable and still cool weather we have now but am not looking forward to the endless hot and dry and unrelenting sun of summer in the Snake River Plain.
LC and I talked about it this morning, wondering out loud how anyone could ever get tired of one hot and bright sunny day after another after another. And yet we did.  And will again.
No signs of rattlesnakes yet, although I am certain they must be moving around by now.
Next month we'll take Kory into the vet to get a rattlesnake shot, and we also wondered out loud this morning how she will respond when she sees them. 
On this walk, Kory and I headed towards the hay bales and abandoned silos located just on the outskirts of town.  The wind was very cold on this day, and I was uninspired to wander far with my girl.  And so we stayed close to home.
Kory knows the routine after all this time.  
As soon as I reach for my shoes, my jacket, my hat, her tail begins to wag and she watches me closely because her canine-internal-clock tells her that it is time to run.  As I get closer to being ready my dog begins to bark loudly, barely able to contain the excitement of impending adventure.
By the time I reach the front door Kory is jumping higher than my head, and one day I am sure that she is going to hit her head on the old general store wood grain scales that sit right beside the door.
It's just a matter of time..............
These silos are exactly the same as the one down the road where we got our dry wood.
LC and I took a look inside one of these old silos one day not long after we arrived in Idaho.
It was one of the few times that I did not have my camera with me, but these silos look even more enormous from the inside than they do from the outside.
The one we explored briefly was almost completely empty, now used for storage of old building supplies and a few pieces of old and worn furniture, rather than crops that it stored in its previous life decades ago.
One day I will surreptitiously wander into a silo again and snap some pictures. 
I hope that whoever owns these does not decide to tear them down.  I love the look of them - the geometrical, straight line, worn and weathered, architecturally pleasing, silence of them.............
There is one section of this field that Kory always runs to as soon as I set her free from her leash.
With the snow and ice now gone, I frequently see my dog crunching on various things she finds in the desert.
There are random bones everywhere in these fields close to town.  One more sign that coyotes are rampant in the area and frequently wander close to town.
The other day I  turned to call after Kory and she came running with a large section of a spinal column in her mouth.  
"Drop it!".  She dropped it right in front of me in the middle of the trail, and I reached down to throw it into the mass of tumble weeds against a fence.
Every time we walk by this place she stops for a moment and looks longingly into the tumble weeds and I have to smile.  She remembers.
Other smaller bones she refuses to let go of, and as I watch her happily run into the field I can hear her crunching.
We live in the middle of a vast desert.   Endless open space where deer droppings are fare game to taste, where sun bleached bones are a crunchy treat she cannot ignore, where occasional animals are big fun to chase.
I think she likes her new home...............
As Kory happily ran and played and crunched in the fields (and in between frequent returns to me for an ever-present hot dog treat) I stood in the center of a brown field, pulled the zipper of my jacket up a little higher and pulled my wool hat down a little lower against the strong and biting wind, and looked around me.
The sky - as it always is here - was beautiful.  Some blue and much grey, and cloud shapes and colors that mesmerized me for a few minutes.
The Table Top, the Twin Buttes, Cedar Butte, Big Butte, the endless wall of snow covered mountains to the north and west.
There were occasional birds flying around in the desert and I watched Kory happily chase a couple until they flew beyond her.  She quickly turned back to investigating new smells on the desert floor, the birds immediately forgotten.
I looked over at the fence line, studying the three-feet-deep wall of tumbleweeds that lined the front of the wire fence.  
A few days after Kory arrived in Idaho I took her for a walk on BLM land for the first time.  She saw a deer in the adjoining field and I watched her closely, wondering how she would respond.  
Transfixed by the deer this dog, who was still a stranger to me, forgot that she was on leash.  I could tell by her body language that she was going to jump the fence and I had just enough time to call her name.
When she sprang into the air it took all of a tenth of a second for her to fall back onto her behind. 
I had been afraid of her jumping while she was on leash, but it was actually the tumbleweeds that got her in the end.  
With no experience with tumbleweeds Kory did not realize that the ground underneath her feet would "give".  Her expected leap into the air turned into a faltering, floundering, half jump and then full fall back into the depths of a very deep and yet light-as-a-feather mess of jumbled tumbleweeds.
Nowadays when she wants to jump she searches for what she recognizes as solid ground................
Eventually we wandered into a second and then third field, and headed closer to the back of the silos.
I took many pictures of the large concrete circles on the ground close to the silos, but this camera with its scratched lens (the collateral damage from my bike fall in the mud while living in Wyoming) does not do well facing into the sun.  
I "think" that the large circles are remnants of an old pump system.  I need to take more pictures of them because they are also architecturally pleasing beside the triangular form of the old potato silos.
On this day I was snapping pictures without much thought or care.  
Lost in my own head as I so often am, walking against the  cold wind, watching the sky and monitoring the continued proximity and safety of my girl.............
I looked over towards the silos and realized that my pup had wandered over to them and was exploring.
She is a free spirit.  
Four legs, a tail and two unfortunate ears built around a loving heart.
We named her Kory and LC (since the time she has arrived in our lives) has expanded on that name.
She is now Kory Jean McGillicuddy. 
I have no idea how these kinds of things evolve, but nicknames seem to just spontaneously develop and then quickly take on a life of their own, and so it goes with our pups name............

There are times when the sheer wide-openess and sameness of the terrain around where we live is frustrating.
Equally, there are times when I look out into the open and realize that there is nobody out there for miles.
The terrain and rhythm of this place is all becoming familiar though, and I find that both comforting and peaceful.
We continue to explore new places in and around Cedar Butte, and each newly found trail is exciting to find.
I will walk on Big Butte again soon, maybe this time with my new dog and maybe this time LC can meet us part way up so that we can explore areas that are off trail.
As we took back roads towards Aberdeen to cut wood this past week we found public access areas to the reservoir - something we couldn't find after frustrating hours of searching a few months ago when we pulled off the interstate in search of potential kayaking and fishing places.
One nice day when we are not cutting wood (which I hope is soon) we will explore all of these public areas.
When LC comes for walks with Kory and I, the world is full of endless chatter.  
When Kory and I are alone the world is full of endless introspection that is interrupted only for occasional "good girls" when my dog excitedly returns to me for treats.
I spend a lot of time looking out over an endless, uncomplicated, silent world
And that works for me..............
Where is my oasis? Too far from
here for me to crawl with these
dead legs, refusing to co-operate
Hands and fingers clawing uselessly
through the grains of sand.............Kiera Woodhull, Chaos of the Mind

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