Friday, March 6, 2015

A Perfect Painting Day spent Road-building Instead!

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Thursday … the 4th day … little rain overnight, but the ground is spongy and, subsequently, the going is hard, but by lunchtime the overcast has turned into one of those wonderful days of cloud-shadows and sun-breaks across the landscape, which in the low Sun of Winter makes for marvelous sky-scapes.  It would have been a great day for painting had not road-building been the task of more urgency.  Showers were possible, but never materialized over me.  A good 8 hours were put in and 13 feet of road laid down, even with my slogging mud-fest reenactment of the Russian Front!

Every footstep placed carefully; each rock chosen prized out of the earth, to be carried to the road-site, singly or several at a time, depending on their size and weight, some as much as a hundred yards, to be carefully laid in place … a natural jigsaw puzzle.  Slogging out onto the flat, looking out for likely suspects, pushing my poker down into the mud beside a possible, giving the poker a twist, pulling it up an edge, and if suitable liberating it from the clay, and then to place it on a convenient nearby boulder, scan the area for others in the near vicinity, and repeating until several might be found and readied for transport.  When sufficient were found I shoved the business end of the poker upright into the mud to serve as a landmark, and began to ferry the new recruits back to road’s end.  A water break once or twice in morning, then lunch, and again in the afternoon, having to clean my fingers enough to be able to drink or eat.  These were my days.  But today was the best day so far, as I painted sky-scapes in my mind, and the road gradually lengthened, and beginning to build up the banks where I would have to turn the truck … 13 feet today!

The roadbed is coming along!  Two-thirds up from the bottom, along the right-hand edge of the photo, you can see a bit of grass with a boulder embedded … this is the immovable boulder that has caused me to have to extend the road past it before I can build onto the bank in order to make my turn.  Life would be easier were I able to build onto the bank right from the rear of the truck!

Having just checked my journal, it was tonight that I had my first hot supper, as described in my last posting … last night had been cold black beans and corn tortillas, with crushed chili.  I was able to heat breakfast water in an almost-break in the rain last night, so this morning was OK.  An almost full Moon rose through clouds while I prepared and ate this first hot supper, and then to bed.

The next day, Friday, was the same endeavor, but without the beautiful light of yesterday, and an hour and a quarter long shower interrupted the afternoon’s labor, and also came in again early so only 6½ hours managed.  The footing was better until the rain since the wind overnight and this morning began to slowly dry out the surface … dry being a relative term in this case.  The day’s end shower was long enough to keep me from working again until dark, but eased up enough for another hot meal and breakfast water for my thermoses.  Asleep by 21:30, after my usual contortionist undressing, and over the driver’s seat acrobatics to the sleeping bags, but was awoken at 23:30 by fierce rain and wind, much heavier than the rain of Wednesday, and for the next three hours slept and awoke fitfully until 02:30, when the rain ceased.  Up at 06:00, but I reckon I only managed 6 - 6½ of sleep.

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