Saturday, October 20 2012
I got up early this morning as I often do and went downstairs to check in on Ramona in her isolation corral. Sometimes I snuggled with her for a few hours, but if that was on my mind, the idea quickly dissipated. Ramona had shit the bed and appeared to be lying in her own feces. It had been a long time since she'd last shit or pissed the bed, and of late when she's had an emergency, she's shit or pissed on the linoleum in the nearby mud room. But for whatever reason last night it had seemed to her that shitting in the same place where she would be sleeping was the best of all available options. Lucky for me, the shit was dry and crumbly and had only affected one sheet (which I took outside and shook out over the asparagus patch). After replacing the sheet, I took an ambien, stayed up for awhile in front of my computer, and then, when the ambien-induced fog eliminated other cognitive options, I returned to bed.
Today Gretchen had her weekly literacy volunteer workshop to attend, but in the middle of the night her armpit abscess had begun to spontaneously drain itself, so she thought she should return to Northern Dutchess Hospital to have it attended to. Once she got there, all that the hospital staff could do was squeeze that lemon-sized lump, producing an unknown quantity of pus. Gretchen later said that it was one of the most physically painful moments of her life. But afterwards the swelling went down and she went to her literacy volunteer class, which got out early this afternoon.
Meanwhile down at the greenhouse, I did some more detail work: painting the small amount of south-facing plywood the same olive green I've painted the rest of the exterior. I also finished the carpentry of the upstairs door by adding a final piece of plywood. Finally, I more or less finished the pet door by balancing it on the rod it swings on so that it would hang straight down. This involved thickening the door with three quarter inch styrofoam, an inside-facing layer of quarter-inch luan plywood, and evening-out the bottom with a specially-shaped piece of three-quarter-inch trim wood.
Late this afternoon, Nancy came over and the three of us drove to Woodstock to attend a book reading by Gretchen's friend Griffin, whom she knew (and briefly worked with) when she lived in Brooklyn. I met Griffin ten years ago when his girlfriend Rebecca hosted a listening party for an episode of This American Life which included a segment wherein Griffin talked about the effects testosterone had on his body when he was transitioning from female to male. The reading was at the Golden Notebook (Woodstock's only bookstore), in a tiny 40 square foot area just inside the front door. There was only seating enough for the Nancy, Gretchen, me, Griffin, and Rebecca. People came and went while the reading continued, and most of them did their best to be quiet (aside from the eight year old in a stroller who was either special needs or the product of a new strain of pathologically infantilizing parenting).
The book Griffin wss promoting was his new novel The Nostalgist. He read from only a few densely-descriptive passages describing genuine sociological phenomena he'd observed in the East Village, including the period when Beagles went out of fashion as hipster canine accessories only to be replaced by English Bulldogs. From what I heard, it sounded like something of a page turner.
Later the five of us went to the Garden Café for dinner, where I was mostly just interested in the red beans and hominy soup. (Poor Nancy; they didn't have the Indian (dot not feather) "enchilada" she likes and she was forced to eat a garden bowl.) Dinner discussion focused for a long time on the local Mid Hudson art scene and the somewhat colorful characters that populate it. It wasn't long before we were talking about the sculptor who claims to be able to speak for cats (and all other animals) in a sort of panzoic Esperanto that they all share (see an example here). As we were chuckling about that, I looked around and cautioned, "maybe we should keep our voices down." Not thirty seconds later, the cat-channeling sculptor we'd just been talking about came into the Garden, looked around, and then left. It was as if we'd conjured her up out of thin air. Mind you, we almost never talk about her and she frequents Kingston, not Woodstock. What were the odds?
Ramona today. She still spends most of her time in her corral, but she gets to have leash walks several times each day to strengthen her leg muscles.
The greenhouse today after the work I'd done, viewed from the south. You can see the corrugated plastic of the solar heat box between the two levels.
The west end of the solar heat box, showing one of the black-painted "studs" and the corrugated polycarbonate. Eventually this end will have to be closed in, as will the one on the east end 12 feet away.
The outside of the greenhouse viewed from the southwest. Note the pet door.
Fossil brachiopods in the stone work at the bottom of the steps leading up to the greenhouse upstairs. The rock in our area is Devonian in age, and the only fossils I've seen have been brachiopods and (maybe) worms.
The greenhouse viewed from the east.
Inside the greenhouse upstairs, viewed from the east.
Inside the greenhouse upstairs, viewed from the west.
A dying late-season katydid on the outside of the solar heat box.
Julius (aka "Stripey") with pokeberries, a couple feet south of the greenhouse.
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