Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Part 81



I was tired of being cold.  I hadn't slept very well during the last storm.  Then the horde carp and all the stupid girly emotional carp of seeing Sarge again and running around in the snow and cold and then prepping for the next storm ... scratch being tired of being cold, I was just plain tired, am tired not just was.  I decided that the bed curtain idea was really great but that it just wasn't enough when it was so cold the air froze your lungs and the heat never went more than a few inches from the stove.  A new strategy was needed.

First I pulled the bear skin rug over near the stove and spread it out evenly.  It wasn't a huge rug because it hadn't been a big bear, but it would help keep the cold from coming up through the floor.  Then I pulled the mattress and my existing bedding off the bunk and put it on top of the bear skin rug.  This was my foundation.  Next was the stupid but fun part ... I built a "fort" over the top of my bed.  I used what I could spare from keeping the door shut which meant I was pretty well left with a couple of chairs, folding card table, and two igloo coolers.

I set the card table up over the center of my bed.  Good thing I was short or I would not have even been able to sit up without getting a crick in my neck.  Then I set the chairs up on either end of the bed facing away from where by feet and head would be when I laid down.  Then I started drapping all of the sheets and blankets I had overthe top of the table so that the ends drapped over the chair and the side of the table away from the stove.  To keep the chairs from falling over I put a cooler in each seat on top of the covers.  The back of my "fort" still flapped a little and let out the heat from the stove so I went around the cabin and found things to weight down the covers there.  All in all the cabin wound up a royal mess but working had kept me somewhat warm and boy did I need it.

My next project since I was up and moving and nervous was to check out my food supply.  The few cans that were left from the supply that Jace had put in the truck were in danger of freezing so I put them inside the coolers and decided to figure out a way to use them up first.  I hated to since they were my "long term storage" but I decided better to use them up sooner than to lose the food to a frozen and split can.  In fact, the can of chili that I had set out for my supper popped the topped as I was looking at it.  One of the weirdest things I've ever seen.  It reminded me of the prank that Toddie and some of his friends pulled at this block party our neighborhood had.  They shook up all of the 2-liter soda bottles and then set them on the drink table.  The way I heard it they just thought someone would open one and get sprayed really good but what actually happened was like a chain reaction.  First one 2-liter blew its lid and then they all started doing it; it was like one of those geysers out at Yellowstone.  OMG what a mess.  Enough adults thought it was funny that Dad didn't kill Toddie but again, OMG what a mess.  It wouldn't have been so bad if Mrs. Jarlson's stupid poodles hadn't decided to play in the stuff and then run through all the mulch in the yard because they didn't want to get caught and given a bath.  Did I meantion, OMG what a mess?

Memories.  Sometimes I like when they pop in for a visit and sometimes I don't.  It wasn't so bad this time - maybe the hurt is starting to let go of me or maybe I'm learning to deal with it.  But they do tend to steal time that I need for other things.  And the other thing I needed to do right then was do a food inventory.  Seeing how few cans were left gave me the heebies.

I still had some of the convenience thingies - like baking mix - leftover from Jace's supplies.  Not much but some is better than none.  Where food is concerned that has always been true and will always be true.  Sure you may still starve but at least it will take a lot longer for you to get there and you have more time to fight.  I used acorn meal and cattail starch to make the baking mix go further but not even that solution would last forever.  Eventually everything gets used up just like eventually everyone goes away.  It doesn't matter what you want, that's just the way it is.

All of those glass jars of pickled eggs and pickled turkey gizzards - blech, definitely an acquired taste I never acquired - were used up.  I miss eggs like crazy but since I couldn't wiggle my nose and get me some I tossed the thought out in the storm where it belonged and was more useful.  I was using the jars to store my acorns (for meal), dried cattail starch (for flour), and other roots.  Using glass in this cold was a risk, I'd already had two jars shatter when I picked them up after taking my mittens off.  Now I left my mittens on when I touched them.  Last thing I want to do is have to sew up my own finger again just because of a stupid piece of glass.  I nearly had to change my pants after that bit of work.

I had a few other odds and ends but staying alive was beginning to require as much creativity and work as our group had to use right before I escaped the city.  There was no place to salvage here in the woods, not unless you got really, really, really lucky.  Spring and fresh green things are still a long way off.  The animals are just as hungry as I am and the ones I catch may have thick winter coats but they have less and less meat on their bones.  Fishing is about the only truly productive food source I have and the more thaws we have the harder fishing is going to get because only stupid people go out on the ice when it starts to thaw.  Hypothermia from falling into icy water has killed a lot of people.

So has hypothermia from any kind of cold.  I had to switch to writing with pencil because my ink and gel pen tips keep freezing.  I suppose I should try and just get some sleep anyway.  My "fort" is working better than the bed curtains did so I will likely leave it up until it starts to warm up.  It isn't as comfortable sleeping on the floor but on the other hand it is a lot warmer than sleeping so far away from the stove.  What Mom would have called "six of one and half a dozen of the other."  I just hope I can sleep over all of the awful moaning and groaning of the wind.  It is making me lonesome and when I get lonesome the memories try and crowd out reality.  Definitely not cool.

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