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Hairer and hairier…with “UP-doos” today.

No, we are not at ALL crazy.  😉

Except preceded by “stir”-  — because this was Day #6 of the power outage up here in The Woods.

NEWSFLASH: The power finally came back on at 5:30 this afternoon. But I will keep what I wrote about it earlier today:

Monday noon: James called the utility company hotline again last night. A woman assured us in pleasant tones that we were amongst 156 other people without power at this point, after the worst of the storm earlier this week. Is this supposed to be reassuring?

We are a select group. It is a dubious honor at best.

She told James the same thing that he heard the day before — that the power was scheduled to be restored by 11 p.m. on Sunday night.

It’s still off now, in the early afternoon on Monday. James remarked that the utility company hotline folks should simply admit that they don’t know when the power will be restored, so we don’t get false hopes.

We are discovering, as we experience our fourth winter out here in The Woods, that during power outages we have every amenity for a number of days (with a small generator), but that WATER is always the first to go.

It’s because we have a well which runs on electricity. It requires a LOT of juice. We would have to buy a huge generator in order to operate the well pump.

So we’ve been getting by on filling the 20-gallon tank in the Airstream trailer, which lasts us a few days with judicious use. But after five days we’ve had to fill this tank (from the well) a second time, and now the tank is empty.

We’ve been using the toilet in the bathroom off the barn, which is hooked up to the well tank by a garden hose! Now that the pressure is almost gone, today James had the idea of filling the toilet tank with a bucket of water from a small “pond” which forms whenever it rains. This is a temporary body of water which disappears once the dry season starts in late Spring.

This water is crystal-clear. If this power outage continues for a few more days, we’ll probably be filling a lot of buckets!

Whenever we get impatient about the power being out, we bring ourselves back to reality by remembering that we have everything we need, and that this outage is actually just a minor inconvenience.

We’ve come a LONG way since that first winter of ’07-’08 when the power was out for nine days and we didn’t have a generator! Luckily we had heat from the woodstove. We did end up running out of water after five days, and reluctantly went down to my brother’s house in Sacramento.

But this time we are better-prepared, and will be even MORE so in the future. We plan to set up an elevated water tank in the barn (there used to be one when the previous occupants tapped into a spring) which will alleviate the water problem during an outage.

There is another spring which one of our neighbors uses, and we’ve discussed the idea of hooking into it. There is a lot of black plastic PVC pipe still on the property.

We will also install the new woodstove (in the Music Room) that we’d bought the first year but couldn’t get running properly, because we tried to use a combination of six- and eight-inch stovepipe. This did NOT work, and the stove smoked horribly. We ended up putting back the ancient Franklin stove with the original 8-inch stovepipe, which served us very well that winter before it finally died (the rusty bottom part dropped out).

We need to look at our living experience out here in The Woods as a process of evolution. The rustic nature of our existence can be daunting. But it gets a little better each day. As a friend recently observed, “Cameron, you are living the dream.”

I hope I never wake up.

After raining constantly for three days, it has now begun to spit reluctant snow. At this stage it is very wet and isn’t sticking. Yet, at any rate.

James and I miss our daily walks on the various paths wending their way past all the cabins around the Woods. There are several differents routes ranging from low- to high-impact, depending on the contour of the land. I tend to like the steeper paths which offer the best exercise.

But since Sunday we’ve spent most of our time indoors because of the rain, and are now going a bit stir-crazy.

Meanwhile, our hair continues to grow.

Yeah yeah, I know this looks like Hair Thursday instead of Hair Sunday, but I’m sure you understand.

It’s been quite an adjustment being home in The Woods for the first time since September, along with continuing to process our dear friend Laura’s sudden death.

It is both reassuring and sad to be on the land that Laura loved so much. I sense her spirit in every song of the bird, sigh of the pines in the breeze and rush of the water over the rocks in the river.

But she is no longer here to enjoy these things and we feel empty. A huge gap has been created in our lives and it will take some time to heal. Life does go on, and Laura would want us to enjoy it as much as possible. But we need to honor the grieving process right now.

After working so intensely since September, it is actually a relief to have some down-time. I can now turn my musical energies towards more creative pursuits. I am currently working on a synthesized ambient piece.

James is putting the finishing touches on a brass sextet (two trumpets, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba) which is a suite of five movements in honor of our cat Rupert. It is truly a remarkable piece, and will hopefully become part of the brass repertoire. I view James’ progress as a composer with great amazement and pride. I’ll be able to say that “I knew him WHEN!”  😉

Unlike much of the rest of the country, the weather has been unseasonably mild here in The Woods. Now that I don’t have any gigs lined up for a while, I actually HOPE that it snows; we have nowhere to be, and could afford to be “snowed in” for a few days. We missed the one major snowfall around Christmastime. It is so beautiful here when it snows.

It’s been a very intense week.

We traveled all the way across the country from Ft. Lauderdale to Sacramento, starting on Monday Dec. 28th. We finally arrived safely at the family home on January 2nd.

Just before we left, we got a call from the partner of our dearest friend Laura, who told us that he had to take her to the hospital (near Nevada City) the previous day. Later on Monday, he called to say that she had died.

This is all very sudden and unexpected. Laura was only 72.

We are reeling in shock from this. It is too early for me to write in more detail about it, but I will do so soon.

For the past two days, we’ve enjoyed visiting my brother and family in Sacramento. It’s been a healing time; we need to show the love we have for the people still in our lives.

Today, James and I go up to Nevada City to help Laura’s partner deal with some of the “nitty-gritty” stuff associated with this sudden loss. We’ve been frustrated this week, being so far away. Now we can finally be with Desmond.

We’ll leave the Airstream parked in the driveway for a few days until we figure out what to do. Meanwhile, it is important for us to go see Desmond and provide whatever love and support we can give to him.