Friday, August 29, 2014

Part 64


It was both annoying and comforting that when we reached the cabin the men insisted on looking around to check for any boogey men.  It was annoying because I didn't want to get tangled up with people that might wind up hurting me again; they hadn't wanted me in their camp so they shouldn't be acting like they were trying to take care of me at all.  I didn't like the forked tongue routine because it made me feel like a charity case.  But I was grateful too because despite everything I knew that it would be stupid to not count it as a possible asset to have the Singing Water camp sorta kinda think of me as a person worth something even if I wasn't one of them.

Yeah, I know that doesn't sound like me.  I guess you could say I'm not one for a lot of "self analysis."  A couple of those books from the trailer are those self-helpy kinda books.  And yes, I got just that bored a few times that I wound up reading parts of them.  Some of those romance novels from the trailer also had women analyzing themselves and other people in the story.  I guess you absorb that stuff whether you mean to or not.  Puss brains aren't the only reason you need bleach for your eyes.

Oh be careful little eyes what you see ...  (or in this case read).

As for the rest of it, either Mr. Svenson or Mr. Owen made sure I got some of the stuff that resulted from them scrapping the trailer and truck.  The frig was made up of too much plastic to make a smoker out of - or so said Jamie - so they said I could use it as a cooler if I wanted to.  Even the "stainless steel" was really just fancy plastic.  When the ground thaws a bit I'm going to try digging a "root cellar" under the cabin and putting the cooler in there.  Haven't a clue whether my plan will work on not.  I'm about three miles as the crow flies from the lake that Singing Waters is on and a little over a quarter mile from the creek I get my water from.  The outhouse I use is on a slope on the downside away from both and is one of those fancy things installed by the USFS that is like a mini septic system that you empty from the back.  It was disgusting when I opened that stupid hatch wondering what it was.  Geez, smelled like a puss brain had crawled in there and wallowed around for a good long while.

Hopefully the distance from those three things - creek, outhouse, and lake - means that I'll be able to dig where I want to without hitting the water table but I guess we'll see.

Some of the aluminum I got did make a neat little smoke house though I haven't gotten to use it much.  I will this summer as I am beyond tired of always being hungry.  I use up as much energy hunting as I get calories from eating what I find.

I got two windows and Mrs. Svenson sent a note that they were to be used to make some kind of little green house box.  What I am supposed to plant in the little green house boxes she didn't say though I have some ideas.  Mom would have a snit at the idea that I'm going to try and grow dandelions but I learned to like them after Sherry showed me how to gather and eat them in the city.  And there were some other things too but I haven't found a use for the stuff yet and it sets off to the side of the clearing that has developed around the cabin.

Not every week was exciting like that one.  Most were very ordinary; dull even.  After over a year of "excitement" I enjoyed dull just fine, at least in those early weeks.

Haul water.  Cut wood.  Hunt.  Haul water.  Cut wood.  Hunt.  Haul water ... well, you get the drift.  And in between those things came the snow storms.  During the storms I would stay in the cabin and read and exercise to keep from getting too bored.  I also slept more.  When two storms came back to back it was almost like I was a hibernating bear cub snuggled up in all the covers I could find with the stove going to keep me warm.  I also finally puzzled out I had to pull back a piece on the rifle so that I could use tweezers to wedge the casing out.  Mr. Svenson's only comments were, "Took you long enough" and "Teach you to keep your gun clean won't it".

The days were shorter, at least the number of daylight hours were fewer.  It seemed for a little while that the sun would rise and then decide to get back in bed and set before I'd barely gotten going myself.  That was ok, it kept visitors down to a minimum.

Mr. Svenson got sick from a cold that was going around in camp so I didn't see him for over two weeks.  During that time I learned something all on my own.  I accidentally discovered some edible fresh water mussels in the creek I use for water.  How I discovered them was by being startled by a deer jumping out of the bushes and scaring me and then sliding into the creek up to my elbows.  I felt what I thought were jaggedy rocks at first and went I pulled my hands up out of the icy water to throw the "rock" I realized what it was.  Mom and Dad had liked fish and things like that so I knew what they were and how to cook them.  I'm glad no one saw me dancing a jig to celebrate.

Those mussels were the first time I had done any serious cooking in a long time.  Mom always said that there was cooking to get by and then there was cooking to enjoy it.  Most of the time you tried to enjoy what you were getting by on but sometimes you couldn't.  I'd been cooking to get by.  That night I cooked to enjoy myself.

I only brough back a handful of mussels as I didn't want to strip the creek of a "potential renewable food source".  Another lesson repeated in the books I was reading on how to live off the land.  To be on the cautious side I also did what Mom had always done; I put them in a bucket of the water that I'd processed for drinking.  She said it gave them time to filter out anything they had in them that wasn't appetizing for human consumption.  When it came time to cook the mussels I got into the supplies that I'd found at the trailer.

One of the things in the cabinet was dried minced garlic; like a ton of it so I assume the man must have really liked to get his Italian on or something.  I took some of it and added clean water and juiced the dried stuff back up.  It already wanted to stink up the cabin so I put it in a plastic container that had a tight lid.  After that was complete I heated some of the oil in a skillet with a tight fitting lid then put the garlic in the oil and fried it just enough that it was clear-ish.  Then I dumped in the mussels and some white wine from those bottles I snagged for my own.  It wasn't to drink but experiment with which was what I was doing.

I steamed the mussels in that hot mess until they popped open.  Oh my gosh!  Best thing ever!  The only part that wasn't so good was the smell.  I had to open two of the windows in the cabin and freeze my rear end off to clear the wicked smog out and then about an hour later a buncha dogs show up.  Not nice puppies either but dogs that had gone feral.  I was stuck inside for the rest of the day and all night.

The next day Mr. Carter came by to check on me and caught me scooping all the poop out of the clearning so I wouldn't track it in the cabin and re-stink up the place.  Unfortunately he found it extremely funny.  (He would.)  I had to listen to him hee-hawing for nearly a mile back to camp.  Jamie and Shane came later in the day and after getting their own snickers in started tracking the feral pack.  They said they tried to keep them thinned out because of rabies and the fact that they really are hard on the small game that is the life blood of all the camps in the area.

Trying to hunt that afternoon I had to agree with them.  There wasn't anything to be found and if I hadn't been willing to eat more of the pickled turkey gizzards my stomach would have made it hard to sleep.  Pickled turkey gizzards and cattails ... yum, yum.  Uh ... no.

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