It comes on little cat feet…..

…..that is the fog (a Robt. Frost poem). And we have had a herd o’ cats these last three days. The fog is so thick we cannot see 200 feet and have not been able to now for three whole days and nights.

‘Course some things still have to get done.

One of them was the water line. It had slowed to a trickle and, interestingly, a trickle is enough water for us. Twenty four hours of stream-trickle fills up the cistern about the same amount as what we took out that day. I am guessing 60 gallons. So the trickle is a bit over two gallons an hour. Good enough……?

Not for Sal. The water line is her job! “Let’s get ‘er done. Take me in. Pick me up. I’ll fix it.”

Taking Sal ‘in’ is not quite as easy as it sounds. We get in the boat, with the dogs, and I head out. Down the bay we go. Depending on where the tide is, I find a ‘drop-off’ spot. There is no dock. There is no float. There is only rocky shoreline. Some of the rocky shoreline is just granite at 45 degrees and covered in slimy moss or just plain slime, some of it is boulder strewn gravel, some of it is almost impassable. I always find a spot. “OK, this is as good as I can do here. Get out. Get out as quickly as possible or the waves will push me against the rocks”. Sal gets out. Nimble as always. Sometimes she has to scramble over moss. Sometimes her feet are in water. Always the footing is precarious.

A few times, she has slipped and gone in. The water is 9C. She’s soaked. “Never mind. I’ll get dry later. I’ll just do it wet!”

The dogs are always a bit reluctant. Daisy pushes to the gunwale and looks over with trepidation. That’s all she does. Doesn’t move. Gus is less assertive but gets impatient with Daisy being reluctant and, very quickly, launches himself over her into the water or onto the boulders or sliding on the moss. Gus is a go-dog. He just gets wet. Daisy is a pussy. However, the sight of Gus and Sal scrambling their way ashore and, perhaps, the thought of being stuck with me always seems to prompt Daisy and out she goes. The Intrepid Trio are then on the move.

On the move is not easy. There is no trail for the first part – from the anywhere boat landing to the beginning of the ascent up a steep trail to the Old Cabin and the stream is just ad hoc scrambling and climbing, slipping and sliding, tripping and falling. That’s about 100 feet of boulder scrambling, bush-whacking, slippery-rock walking, water-wading determination just to get started. That part is easier for the dogs and Sal ‘Just Does It’. It would not be an unfair comparison to an urban rock-wall climbing while being sprayed by a hose wearing several layers of clothing. It is not a long haul but it is definitely a challenge.

I need to remind readers that Ol’ Sal is now, actually, a smidge well, old. We are talking NORTH of 70. Look around you at the women you know even close to that age and imagine dropping them off on a slimy, rocky, wet, cold beach without so much as a hand-hold. Imagine they do NOT step onto a dock but fling themselves over the side of a small boat. And then, send me their names and phone numbers. We might need some back-up.

The next part of the task is almost as daunting simply because it is all up a steep hill over rough ground. But the ground is softer and there is a trail of sorts, mostly. Sal could find her way up blindfold after all these years. Still, there are sometimes trees down, there is a section that really needs a short rope to assist with the climb and, of course, there is the pool from which the pipe gets filled. That pool is about ten feet in diameter and varies between an almost dry puddle and a raging torrent depending on the year and recent rains. Sal has, on more than one occasion, stripped down to ‘essentials’ and waded in an ice-cold mountain stream, ducked her head under and cleared the intake. Then she gets out, dries herself as good as she can and treks back down the other side to clear any air or debris in the line from any of the four inspection points (valves). By then she is back at the beach and I pick her up. We go home and I make her a cup of tea.

Elapsed time: maybe an hour. Sal’s always smiling. Sometimes soaking wet, sometimes only half wet and only rarely is she dry. The dogs are ecstatic. Going up the stream is one of the major delights for the dogs. They just zoom around running all over. Me, well, someone has to keep the boat from drying on an ebbing tide and that someone also has to steady the boat for loading and unloading. I’m invaluable.

“Can you still make the trek up, Dave?”

Yes, I can. Barely (it’s the getting in and out the boat on the shoreline that I find difficult now). I can do it all still but it is more challenging for me than Sal. I am not as light on my feet, not as flexible and it would take a lot longer. This is a good separation of duties. Did I mention that I also made the tea?

16 thoughts on “It comes on little cat feet…..

  1. As always…respect!
    What is the “modus operandi” in wintertime when there is snow?
    Must be even more difficult!
    Ever thought of having a backup water supply from collecting rainwater from your roof?
    Will not be enough in summer time, but might help you through the winter


    • Our back-up is two cisterns which total about 2000 gallons or over a month of use. We figure that, in a month, we can get the pipe flowing again no matter what. I am not a big fan of rain water collection. Lots of pipes, screens, cleaning, diverters and you still need a cistern. If you have good groundwater (we do), and you want more back-up, I figure that is easier and cheaper to just add another tank. And I am thinking of doing just that.


        • A big 1000 gal tank seems to weigh around 300 or so pounds…maybe a bit more or less. Empty, of course. I brought both of our tanks up here by myself. I plug the outlet at the bottom and tow it up the channel on a calm day behind my boat (there is a pic in the collection). Looks like I am being followed by a submarine. When we get to the shore in front of our house, I can now put it on the lower funicular to get it out of the water. But it is too big for the upper leg so that is a challenge. Using friends, neighbours, ropes and winches, tho, it does not take too long to haul it a couple hundred more feet to the tank section behind the greenhouse.


    • Can’t hike to it. Would have to first climb and then descend a 400′ cliff that is in our way. The boat gets us in (behind that Ayers Rock-kinda cliff) and the hike after landing is about 600-750 feet at a 25 degree slope. It’s steep but does not require all-fours. Just not something you want to climb carrying a bag of cement.


  2. Can’t you make like a “floating” intake that would skim the water from the surface and move up and down as the water level changes? At least Sal would not have to dive in
    If the slope across land is so steep, how did you manage to build it ?
    That most have taken up quite some of your time


    • When the stream rages, it moves logs out of the way and even carves out the bank. It can get up pretty crazy sometimes in the winter, so much so that Sal cannot go in. The water pick up is anchored on the bottom of the pool a few inches off (usually about two feet under) and that seems to be the safest place to avoid being washed away. And you can guess how that was determined – by having experienced it washed away a few times.


    • Well, I will, then. I am basically pretty good. Doesn’t take me long to get the way of a boat. But there ain’t no magic in that and it is not like I undertake much of any real challenge. So we can grade me a B amongst the ‘little boat operators’.


  3. Joe Biden turned 80 years old yesterday.
    The oldest President to ever hold office.
    If he runs and wins again he will be 86 at the end of his second term.
    If Trump runs and (god forbid) wins ..he will be 82 at the end of his term and he could run again after that…
    Some groups are lobbying for a rule to ban anyone older than 75 from running as President.
    In Trumps case I think they should ban anyone with an IQ lower than 75….


    • I am almost 75 and often lose my keys, glasses, wallet, reason for entering a room….It is quite possible I could leave the nuclear codes somewhere and even forget I had ’em. Don’t forget the interns are also pretty cute…..umh, where was I? Oh, yeah. Another point – I am, much to my dismay, no longer hip. Nor am I interested in being so. I even still hate my cellphone. The worst part: I hate meetings. I really hate meetings. I could start WW3 at a meeting. What’s my point? Well, I am 10 times smarter and 1000 times better in every way than Donald Trump. And I am no good. That man should be incarcerated for life in a mental institution with Melania. No TV. No phone. Just each other.


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