stray dog in Old Hurley
Sunday, October 7 2012
After Sunday morning coffee, I decided to retrieve the Honda Civic Hybrid, which Gretchen had left in the parking lot at the Hurley Mountain Inn last night. (When Nancy had tried to drop her off, Gretchen had realized she'd left the keys in a bag that had gone home with me.) Gretchen and I could have gone down together in the Subaru and then she could have come back with the Honda, but it seemed more energy-efficient (and fun) if I rode a bicycle down into the valley and got the car by myself. The morning was cool and clammy, so I wore a light jacket for the first time this season. This was essential during the steep mile-long downhill grade that began at the end of our driveway and ended about a quarter mile from Hurley Mountain Road. In ten years of living here, I'd only gone down that hill once before, and it feels a little like jumping out of balloon 15 miles above the earth. The air rushing past at whatever speed it rushes feels more like a fluid than a gas and on this morning it had a strongly and unpleasantly cooling effect. But it was also exhilarating like a slap in the face. A lot of cars passed me as I rode down Hurley Mountain Road, and I noticed they were all giving me a lot of room, essentially acting as though my bike was the width of a car. When I rode a bike as a kid in Virginia or as a young adult in Ohio, motorists generally gave me two or three feet and that was it.
As I was approaching the Hurley Mountain Inn on Wynkoop, I saw that a chain of cars had come to a stop in both directions, an obstacle that is easily-bypassed on a bike. But then I saw what the interruption was: a smallish black longhaired dog was running around in traffic, eluding several human captors, at least one of whom had a leash. Evidently the dog was a mystery stray and wouldn't let anyone catch him. He came up to me and I reached out a hand, but he just kept on going down the line of cars, oblivious to their potential dangers. Catching him seemed hopeless, at least for the time being, so I continued across the bridge to the Hurley Mountain Inn and loaded my bike in the back seat of the Honda (a procedure that requires removing the front wheel). Since I needed some more hardware for the greenhouse, I decided to drive out to 9W and get some. I went to Lowes instead of Home Depot (where I usually go) partly to see if they have different or better transparent roofing material for a part of the greenhouse upstairs project that I'm too lazy to try to explain.
On the drive back home through Old Hurley, I saw that the chase was still on for that small black dog. There fewer cars and people involved, and the dog was keeping a greater distance. If he wandered out into 209 perhaps he could involve more cars (or succeed in killing himself).
In the greenhouse upstairs, I continued taking care of the sort of little details I'd been avoiding while bigger tasks remained. This included installing a narrow strip of plywood between windows on the outside and squaring up the roof of the catform with a piece of plywood sanded into the shape of a wedge. (I managed to sand a bleeding hole into the tip of my left forefinger on that one.) I also started work on the pet door in the upstairs' human door. I'd framed a hole in the larger door for this smaller one and even run a steel rod (a piece of an old toner cartridge or printer) parallel to the top of that hole to hang it from, but I'd yet to actually build the door itself. I'd bought a bench router just for the making of that door and had used it to cut a concave slot into a piece of one-by lumber, but that slot needed to be enlarged and the top of the one-by lumber needed to be cut into a ridge before I could actually hang it from that iron rod. Once I had that working, I could attach a piece of quarter inch plywood to the one by lumber to serve as the bulk of the door. After a little sanding, it swung relatively freely and came to rest generally in the downward-hanging closed position. I'll have to tinker with it more, but for now it works as a pet door that a cat or a dog could potentially force his or her way through.
At dusk I went on another rock-gathering drive down the Farm Road in the Subaru, having first assembled a pile of suitable rocks on its shoulder. As I was driving out of the woods with my heavy load of rocks, Eleanor burst out of trees barking, running directly in front of the car, and acting generally crazy the way she does when in fearless guard dog mode. I've seen her do this to the other vehicles that use the Farm Road, and it's a wonder nobody has ever run her over.
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