Tuesday, July 8 2003
Yesterday I started giving Noah his annual haircut, a prophylactic measure to keep his long fluffy fur from becoming a large network of dreadlocks. That was what happened last year when we were still living in Brooklyn, though then it seemed to happen much faster than it did this year. Last year he had dreadlocks on his back well before summer (when we finally got around to doing something about it), but this year he's only manage to develop them on his belly. By the end of the day today I'd mostly finished his haircut. I'd cut it close all over his back, sides, two thirds of the way down his tail, and also the back of his head (I can't have my boy sporting a mullet in 2003). It was more difficult to do his belly, because he tends to guard it cantankerously. Owing to unusual levels of friendliness, though, I had a fairly easy time keeping him around long enough to make rapid progress. He's been starved for affection since he began boycotting the upstairs, a consequence of his revulsion to Mavis.
Meanwhile Edna's face has become an archipelago of injuries. Even through the cosmetic screen of her fur, her complexion resembles the most acne-ridden face you remember from high school. I suspect these injuries are the result of her many hunting expeditions. We keep her claws trimmed to lessen her burden on wildlife, though some of the things she continues to catch come with wickedly sharp teeth.
Today, for example, Edna brought a live adult chipmunk into the house. It immediately escaped and hid behind the piano, where it continued making alarm calls until I was able to corral Sally and the cats and shoo the thing outside.
I'd never been so close to a shrieking chipmunk in my life. It turns out that the alarm call consists of two parts: a brief high-pitched Tseek! (with which I was well-acquainted) followed by a much quieter warble (which I'd never heard before).
In other news, I've been extending the Stick Trail steadily southward through various forest types, private properties, and occasionally through land belonging to Catskill State Park. I get the feeling that the place where it's running now is Park land because it features many more large, fallen oaks than one ever encounters on private land. Today I was out in the hot sun cutting through some of these with a bow saw to make way for the trail. Typically I'd cut whatever was necessary to run the trail straight, though sometimes the resulting log would be so heavy that I could barely move it. (It's a capability I have that God lacks: I can cut a log too large for me to move.) It's amazing how thoroughly drenched one can get when exerting one's self in humid weather.
The southernmost half of the trail runs along a hilltop whose understory is comprised mostly of blueberry bushes. On the way back home I noticed some of the berries had ripened. They were small but delicious, and I was often able to pick three or four berries with a single gesture. I'm sure the local bear population could provide many additional details.
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