cat skull in the forest
Tuesday, May 3 2005
I took the dogs on a walk in the woods down the "Gullies" trail, which follows a low contour along the escarpment extending behind the house. But that wasn't low enough for me, so I set out on a random "mountain goat" trail (the kind that slopes gently down a very steep hillside), eventually finding myself on a flat shoulder of hillside buttressed by a series of rock-faced cliffs, one of them at least two stories high and completely sheer. I like walking the dogs in new places in the woods because they like the change and tend to get better exercise, particularly when the relief is steep. Sally came running up to me at some point with something white in her mouth. I could tell it was made of bone. But then I could see that it was a skull. So when she dropped it and it rolled down the hill I retrieved it. I immediately recognized it as a cat skull, though I wasn't sure who it had belonged to. Since it still had a little flesh on it, I guessed that it was too recent to have been one of the three cats we've lost to the forest over the past two and a half years. (The last of these was Maxwell, nearly a year ago.) This might have been the first non-deer skull I've found in the woods.
When I brought the skull home and showed it to Gretchen, she freaked out and didn't even want me to keep it in the house, saying that it might be Noah or Maxwell (though she seemed to be convinced that the wily Edna is alive somewhere). I said I was sure that it wasn't, citing the bits of flesh as evidence of its owner's relatively recent demise. That news didn't exactly further my cause, so I had to "disappear" the skull somewhere within the clutter of my laboratory.
In examining the skull, I was surprised to see that the ocular orbits (the rings of bones around the eyes) was complete (forming a circle). I'd read somewhere (I forget where) that this was supposed to be a characteristic feature of primate skulls (such as my own), but I guess that isn't true.
My landscaping project made much progress today, as I managed to deplete another of my "fill borrow piles" and liberate the grass that had been smothering under a plastic sheet beneath it.
Since I was excavating in the area anyway, I decided to start unearthing the water line to the well so that I can better insulate it against the brutal effects of harsh winters to come. As you may recall, that well line froze solid in January of 2004 and required a $400 procedure in order to get it working again. A few weeks ago I discovered that the line was only buried six to eighteen inches beneath the surface. So the plan is to dig it up and pack in a layer of styrofoam before burying it again.
The cat skull I found in the forest this morning.
Looking along the stone retaining wall southward along a trail that leads to the steps down to the Stick Trail.
The corner of the stone retaining wall, looking down the trail that leads to "the farm road."
The stone retaining wall, looking westward.
By evening I'd managed to expose the well line in a few places. You can see its housing, which is a piece of white four inch diameter PVC. Note the pile of small-grained gravel that the well line had been buried in.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next