If you’ve ever spent time as a hut keeper at a ski or hiking lodge, you have to read this great poem recently penned by Tyler Bradley.

Tyler Bradley is a hut keeper and tail guide at Valhalla Mountain Touring and other lodges in the Kootenays. He contacted us recently to say, “I was writing up my to-do list and discovered to my horror that I had written a poem.” He went on to say he preferred the sound of “hut keeper” versus custodian because it’s “more pastoral, less janitorial” and that he knows “rhyming couplets have the ring of Hallmark Cards, but I was going for ironic.” To illustrate Tyler’s great poem, we’re featuring the watercolour work of Lars Baggenstos. Enjoy! (Our favourite line is “Check the bulbs and cobweb gowns.”

All illustrations by Lars Baggenstos.

The Hut Keeper’s List

Dish-dog the breakfast dishes

Buff the flatware, grant three wishes

Chicken cut thin for P.M pizzas

Discuss the hazards, terrain features

Sweep and wipe all counters clean

Keep the kettles leaking steam

Launder sheets for Leigh and Sam

Unstick the sticky lid on jam

Tend the bogs, restock the paper

Give pep-talks (no one’s a gaper)

Split and stack the woods and kindling

Karate-log the cedar stripling

Caulk the kitchen chasm of crumbs

Wipe and bleach the sauna blond

Get the guides hut commons clean

Cool the woodstove, clear the screen

Sweep the ashes (dump out back)

Cement the sink-trap blackened stack

Check the bulbs and cobweb gowns

Knock the snow off porch-front down

Stop to hydrate; eat your lunch

Shovel footpaths, back all hunched

Check the propane, tumble dry

Kale on stovetop, oil, fry

Stop to stretch and see the sky

Answer distant howling cries by sat phone, cell phone, wolven eyes

Thankful for the space and time

Where mountains, snow

and work collide