Sunday, January 16 2005
For the past few days the dogs have been gnawing on the ever-dwindling remains of the dead doe deer I'd found along the Stick Trail back during hunting season. As you'll recall, that doe was subsequently picked apart by coyotes until only the skin, skeleton, a bowel contents remained. Next the skeleton found its way down to the Stick Trail and was hung in a tree by our crazy neighbor, the one who sometimes walks his dog Merlin in the woods. Then, a week or so ago, Eleanor brought the lower spine and pelvis back to the house and it has been out in the snow in front of the door ever since. As she'd walk past, Gretchen would greet it with a call of, "Hello, spine!" and then she'd ventriloquize its response with a gruffy voice in a throatier register, "Hello, Gretchen!" The rule about the spine was that the dogs could do anything they wanted with it so long as it stayed outside. But then its individual vertebræ became disarticulated and started appearing in the living room. Today a segment of spinal cord fell out of one of these vertebræ. It was a milky white cylinder the size and general shape of human finger, though it glistened like a garden slug. It kind of freaked out the dogs and they just left it there. Even Clarence the cat took a look at it, but he had no interest in actually eating it. Finally, after the other dogs started showing increased interest, Sally swooped in and ate it in a moment.
Ray and Nancy took the dogs for a walk on the uphill farm road today, but when first Eleanor and then Sally vanished, Ray became concerned that maybe they were lost. They weren't of course, they'd just found there way home. But Ray ended up spending something like an hour back near the abandoned go cart track shouting for Sally and Eleanor to please come.
As usual for a New York Times article, the one today about the Catskill Animal Sanctuary provided no URLs and its digital version had no links to the website. The Times likes to think of itself as above all that, and that means that people who want to learn more are forced to do their own research. Google makes this process almost effortless, but still you'd be surprised how little traffic a New York Times article generates. Gretchen and I watched the site meter for the sanctuary's website all day and all we got was about 80 hits that didn't originate with either of us. That's not much traffic when you consider how many hits Snitchreport.com got on the day it appeared on Cruel.com (over 4000) or how many hits my fake, completely static Trenchcoat Mafia website got on a normal day (66 to 341) before the end of Spies.com. And on September 11th, 2001, this online journal was hit 1232 times.
But the hits the Catskill Animal Sanctuary did get were what you might call "high quality" hits. For example, one of those hits resulted in a $1000 membership.
I spent much of the day doing further work on the sanctuary's website, fixing even the most trivial imperfections. I also repurposed a flash slideshow widget to give the home page a little more action of the minimally-distracting variety. Meanwhile our houseguest contingent was joined by Nancy's sister Linda and her husband-to-be. They're up in the Catskills shopping around for a place to get married. While I was busy working on its website, Gretchen took all of them to the sanctuary to give them a tour. It's like La Pupuseria in that it's come to be a must-see for our out-of-town guests.
After all the guests were gone and Gretchen curled up in the teevee room around the remote, I worked on building a ladder so the cats can climb up to the top of the new teevee room bookshelf should they feel so inclined. I took my inspiration from some crude African ladders I'd seen on display at the New York State Museum in Albany. These ladders are fashioned from a forked tree trunk into whose main trunk large notches are hacked at regular intervals to serve as steps. The two tines of the fork hold it stable against whatever it is propped to.
The space where I placed my ladder was the six inch wide gap behind the chimney, so I couldn't use a forked trunk. I used a dry Red Oak trunk I found in the woods. It was about four inches in diameter and straight in one dimension but somewhat bowed in the other. I used a power handsaw to cut the notches and I used one of the resulting wedges to hold it snug in its space and keep it from rotating. It ended up looking good in that fractaly rustic way I find myself liking more and more these days. But I'm dubious about whether or not cats will really be able to use it.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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