Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The locals don't think I'm crazy

Well, actually the locals do think I'm a little nuts, but not because I claim to have seen a mountain lion over the weekend. A number of them claim to have seen the occasional mountain lion in these parts in recent years. They're not common by any means, but not unheard of.

Just because the Department of Conservation and Natural Resourses says there ain't any don't make it so. People around here probably wouldn't bother calling the state to report one anyway. The state would want proof of one before listing it as an official sighting and the locals are more likely to shoot one with a gun than a camera. Since mountain lions are a protected species in Alabama (how can you protect something that doesn't exist?), the last thing you want to do is tell the government you killed one. Instead, you follow The Three Ss: Shoot, Shovel & Shut Up.

I wandered the woods the following day, looking for any sign of the big-ass cat but found none. I can only hope that it was merely passing through, much like the six-foot rattlesnake I saw next to my driveway last year. While it is amazing to see something that big and scary in your own backyard, one time is more than enough. Not exactly something you want to make a habit out of.

While the snow has melted, the cold temperatures are expected to hang throughout the week. By cold, I mean mid-20s during the night. This is a bit of a problem for me only because I am once again dangerously low on propane. I ran through that last 100 gallons pretty quickly. That's what I get for cranking the thermostat up to 60 degrees.

To put off ordering more propane (at least until I can scrape up the dough for the minimum 100 gallons) I have once again stopped using gas for just about everything except hot water for washing dishes and the occasional whore's bath in the sink. All food is cooked in the microwave or toaster over. Using the coffee pot instead of the superior French press. While this is all well and good for conserving my precious propane, I am not looking forward to my next electric bill.

The heater still kicks on when the inside temp drops below 47 degrees - the lowest setting on the thermostat. No matter how warm the fire heats the house at night, the inside temp drops low enough by morning for the heater to kick on. Last night, I left a bare light bulb burning next to the thermostat to trick into thinking it was warmer than it really was. When I woke up this morning, it was 40 degreees inside.

I don't mind the cold. Hell, just wear a sweater and extra socks. But I do worry about running out of propane. I guess if you actually run out, there's some extra shit that needs to be done when you do finally refill the tank. Not sure exactly what that extra shit is, but it probably costs extra money. I don't have regular money, much less extra money. My only other genuine concern is the pipes freezing up.

I also am expecting a couple CouchSurfers Friday evening so I want to hold onto enough propane so I can splurge on keeping the place reasonably warm enough for one evening/morning, offer a couple hot showers and use the stove to whip up pancakes and eggs for breakfast. (Oh yeah, at least three chickens are now laying eggs. Yay!)

So, the heater has kicked on again - warming the house to almost 46 degrees. It's currently 25 outside and won't start warming up at all for a while (the sun's not even up yet). I have to go watch Gramma Guthrie this morning so I don't want to start the fire back up since I have to leave in a couple hours anyway. Hopefully the sun will warm this drafty trailer up enough to keep the heater off while I'm away. I'll saw up some more old barn rafters when I get home this afternoon and start a fire then.

1 comment:

Fred said...

I've heard tales of bears in the Cotaco Valley area although they aren't officially supposed to be there. I'm seldom surprised by what I run across in the woods and I've seen lots of interesting things.