Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Off the Grid

Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had a snow-storm. I'm not sure exactly how many inches we got (on account of the fact that the ground is no longer frozen, so when it would stop snowing, the snow would start melting from the ground up), but I think it's somewhere in the 16-18 inch range. Not a lot, but enough to make life a little more difficult around here. The last five miles of the main road that leads to the ranch are dirt, the whole ranch has dirt roads, and the City/County/whoever only plows out until the pavement ends. ("Where the Blacktop Ends" - Isn't that a country song?)

Anyhow, sometime Saturday night, in the last fierce dregs of the storm, the power went out. I only know this because the alarm clock in our bedroom was blinking at me when I got up. Of course, my first panic was - "Please God, let the power have come back on in the Greenhouse so that the thousands of young plants in there didn't FREEZE." Once I had ascertained that everything was indeed alright in the greenhouse, I discovered that our Internet went out with the power outage and had not come back on. I hustled over to the router in the laundry room and restarted it to no avail. I had a mini-panic attack. And then I took a deep breath.

You see, Jason and I were already living "off the grid". We have no cell phone service here. I haven't used my cell phone since last Wednesday when I went into town. Now, I had no internet - no email, no blog, no facebook, no skype. And the roads were scary and snowy and unplowed under 16-something inches of snow. I was not comfortable making the one hour drive into Cody that I had planned for my day off. I was, in all effect, cut off. Truly off the grid.

Except for the DirecTV in the bunkhouse and kitchen. And the Ranch landline (which I decided to use so that Jason and my parents would know I was alive).

We just got our Internet service back up and running this morning, three days later.

I'm so glad.

And yet, somehow, life was so simple for a few days there without my cell phone or access to the Internet. I must be adapting my California ways to the Wyoming lifestyle. Slower. Easier.

I certainly spend more time just chatting than I have in years. In the morning when we all gather in the kitchen before we start work, we chat. During our hour long lunch break, Chad and I sit in the kitchen and talk about all kinds of things. Today's topic? Football. Then, when I walk up to the road to get the mail after lunch and take it to J.W. and Heidi's house - Heidi and I chat. Probably for too long since I'm supposed to be working. But being in their house with their little ones laughing and giggling and squealing and just being kids makes me smile from ear to ear. And Heidi has such a good heart - I just love to talk with her! Then, on Sunday night I sat with Elizabeth (another staff member here on the ranch, and a super talented painter) and drank tea and talked for hours - we had so much to talk about!

Sometimes it's just good to slow down and talk. I think being alone with the dog in the greenhouse makes me a chatterbox when I have another person around.

Speaking of the greenhouse - things are slowing down in there. All the seeds are started, and there is ZERO SPACE left on top of the work tables. Everything just needs to keep growing in there. After this week, I'll probably only work a few hours in there every day until it's time to work on flower boxes and prep the outdoor raised boxes for the veggies that will go in them. The rest of the time, I'll be doing odd jobs around the property - whatever they need. Most likely helping Elizabeth get the main lodge ready for guests. But who knows?

AND.... JASON COMES BACK TOMORROW! I can't wait to see him! Although, I certainly will miss the awesome nights of sleep I've been getting while he's been gone. I love you, baby! I'd rather sleep poorly than without you!

In other news - the Grizzlies are awake and around. J.W. found sets of tracks belonging to three different bears yesterday. They're not uncommon here on the ranch. They like to try to raid the dumpster during the summer, and last year Chad came out of the Bunkhouse to find one hanging out in the outdoor kitchen. Awesome. I mean, Awesome! I know that Black bears are more dangerous than brown bears (Grizzlies are called Brown Bears). And I've certainly encountered enough Black Bears during my lifetime while camping in California. My Aunt got so angry at one that had disturbed her sleep, she came roaring out of her tent and chased it up a tree! So there's really nothing to be afraid of. And they are really cool. :) The ones I should be a little worried about are the wolves and coyotes. They'd think that Indy would make a perfect snack. So we have to keep our eyes on him - he's certainly not prepared for any animal that would try to make him lunch. No signs of the wolves yet, though.

So there you have it. The three day catch-up of life here on the ranch! Jason and I are taking Saturday and Sunday off this weekend, and we're headed off to explore. Can't wait!

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