Thursday, May 22 (continued)
Photos in this post are scenes around our camp near Salina, Utah.
There goes Del, checkin’ the chickens.
I’m at my laptop looking out the back window when I see him go by. Suddenly circuits fire in my brain. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! I’ll ask him. He’s a local. He’ll know.
I watch until the pick-up turns around and heads back this way.
Then I dash outside and stand at the fence as if waiting for a bus.
Del stops the truck and says, “Hi!” His son, Reg, is with him. Reg works at the correctional center in Gunnison.
Reg answers. “Not so good. We lost another two.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Do you still think it’s a coyote?
“We don’t know,” Del replies. “I can’t see how a coyote is getting inside that pen.”
We chat for a while.
Del has driven about a hundred miles over the past few days, going to cemeteries to place flags on the graves of veterans for Memorial Day. He and Reg finished the flags today. The two of them are going up to Fish Lake with the grandsons this weekend to do some night-fishing for splake.
(A splake is a hybrid of two fish species resulting from the crossing of a male speckled trout and a female lake trout.)
“Maybe you guys can help me. I’ve had my trailer since August of 2011 and I’ve driven it around the West ever since. I’m told I need to have the wheels greased. You know, have someone look at the bearings, the cups and cones and all that.”
Del smiles as I continue. “Where’s a good place around here to have that done?”
“The Sinclair station in town,” he states without hesitation. “Don’s Sinclair.”
“Oh, great! I knew it’d be a good idea to ask a local.”
Quickly I put Bridget and Spike inside the Best Little Trailer, shutting the door with a promise to return. Reg walks up the lane to the cabin while Del drives around and picks me up.
The first structure we come to is an outhouse in a small clearing.
Of course it has a crescent moon cut into the door.
“That’s the first thing we built out here.”
“Darn! I shoulda’ brought my camera!”
We pull up to the cabin. “Oh, look at that! I love it!” I exclaim as I climb out of the truck.
I touch the bark on the rough, porch columns.
“It’s perfect! I wish I had my camera! I love how you did this!”
“You can come back and take pictures,” Del suggests mildly.
“I think Sue wants your cabin, Reg.”
Del explains the construction they used is called cordwood.
Later I look it up online and find this definition:
Cordwood masonry or what is sometimes called “stackwall” or “stovewood” is a form of house construction that consists of laying whole or split wood, width-wise in a bed of mortar. When looking at a cordwood wall, log ends are the only part of the wood that are visible. The wood actually rests on two mortar beds that are each about 4″ thick – one mortar bed is the outside of the wall and the other bed is the inside wall. — cordwood.com
Del and Reg obtained a permit to cut the logs.
Each log is sixteen inches long. The exterior and interior walls are four inches thick of cement, leaving an eight-inch air space between. It’s a snug cabin.
Del reads my mind and opens the door.
“C’mon inside,” he says.
The dimensions of the cabin are about 13 ft. by 20 ft. Directly inside the door is a round table with a red checkered tablecloth and four curved, rustic benches. “I made those,” Del points out proudly.
To the left is a kitchen counter, sink and appliances under the window. In the back left corner sits a black wood stove. In between, against the left wall, is a dresser. A bunk bed covered with a Mexican blanket is against the right wall. A shelf runs around the room at the eaves.
Everything is simple in design and functional with no excess space.
The log ends that polka-dot the walls, the plank flooring, the exposed beams of the ceiling, and the bright colors of the tablecloth and blanket make a very cozy abode.
We go outside and walk around the side of the cabin.
I joke around with Del and Reg, acting as if this is my cabin. I show them where the roses will go.
“Oh, no,” Del responds. “No roses. This is Reg’s man cave.” Reg laughs. “We can’t have any roses around here!”
On the short ride back to the campsite, I ask Del another question.
I don’t know what prompts me to ask it.
“Am I right calling the creek Ivie Creek?”
“Yeah, that’s what it says on maps, but we don’t call it that. We call it Grove Creek and the other fork up above is North Creek.” He pauses a moment and continues. “My great-great-grandfather was killed by an Ivie.”
“Really!” I respond, surprised at this revelation.
“Yep, took a big stick out of the fire and hit him on the head with it. That’s why we don’t call it Ivie Creek. It’s Grove Creek.”
“My people were the early ones that came here. We’re Morman, you see. I’m the youngest son of the youngest son of the youngest son. When Joseph Smith was assassinated in the jail, it was my great-great-grandad’s wagon that carried him away.”
I remark that I’m not Mormon but I respect the way Mormons conduct themselves and their values. “I feel very safe here.”
I respect these two men, father and son, who build together, who check chickens and night-fish and place flags on graves together, and who, without hesitation and in good spirit, befriend a temporary neighb0r.