Monday, May 19 2014
It was only a little after 8:00am when I took the dogs for their first walk of the day. We went all the way down the Farm Road. From there, I could hear the sounds earth moving equipment to the west, so I followed the sounds until I saw what was happenening. Evidently our neighbor Georges (the guy with the farm at the end of the Farm Road) has hired some local equipment guys to "clean up" the quarry. Georges ultimately has plans to sell building lots back there, a plan I'm hoping for Peak Oil to scuttle. In the meantime, Georges is cool. He has a new wife, interesting things to say in that Luxembourgian accent of his, and he lets us swim in his fancy new salt-water pool.
On Saturday, Gretchen took a fresh look at a growth on Eleanor's left haunch and was horrified. The growth had seemed ignorably "wartlike" for a long time, though it's always been a bit too pink to actually be a wart. But, as Gretchen noted on Saturday, it has recently started growing more aggressively, becoming less disklike and more spherelike and also hijacking a surprisingly large bloodflow, giving it a beet-red angry appearance. You might argue that the sort of herbal remedies that I can gather in the yard are worth what I paid for them, but Gretchen (on my recommendation) had good results treating one or more warts with some perennial wild Chelidonium that spontaneously appears every warm season in our southmost tomato patch. So since Saturday, I've been dabbing Chelidonium's bright yellow sap all over Eleanor's tumor. Gretchen had wanted me to set up a vet visit for today, but the vet she insists on Eleanor seeing won't be available until Wednesday of next week. Until then, it's party on for the wildly-multiplying cells in Eleanor's haunch tumor.
Yesterday I'd wanted to look for a variety of human artifacts in state park lands near the southeast tip of the forested parcel we own, though that mission had been thwarted by a porcupine (or, more accurately, Ramona's insistence on bothering one). So this afternoon I took the dogs on a second long walk in the forest, this time following a steeply-tilted ridge down to a large (8 acre) forested terrace about a quarter mile northwest of the middle of Canary Hill Road. I'd been down on this terrace in the past, but today was the first time that I really absorbed all the evidence of human endeavor. Not only is the terrace cut up by numerous stone walls, but all along the escarpment is a line of rocks that were obviously put there by humans (though they are too few in number to comprise a wall). Evidently this was once agricultural land, perhaps grazed by sheep (since it's hard to imagine it having any higher agricultural calling). Scattered here and there on the terrace are evidence of old campfires, some of which may have been made by 17th century shepherds (back when large tracts of these hills had been deforested to make grazing land). For some reason, I decided to dig around in the midden near one of these fires, right beside a dry lump of what looked to be coyote shit. Surprisingly, I found a pair of flat incisors (complete with roots). They looked exactly like human incisors, and it's difficult to imagine what other animal might have once possessed them. Deer don't have incisors, carnivore incisors are more peg-like, and rodent incisors have much bigger roots and less distinction between crown and root. If these did belong to a human, that human is probably on a list of missing persons. You be the judge:
I followed one of Tommy's mountain bike paths along the edge of the escarpment to the northeast, passing through a region of massive treefalls from Tropical Storm Irene. Tommy had managed to cut a path through some of this with a chainsaw, though in places the fallen trees were so big that he stacked stone ramps on either side of them so he could ride his bike right over them (usually he would have also cut a notch in the trunk to make it not stick up quite so high). In one blowdown, I managed to get a fairly good view of the cornfields below in the Esopus Valley:
(Click to enlarge.)
As I got closer to where the porcupine incident had happened, I became increasingly nervous, but we headed back towards the Stick Trail system a good quarter of a mile shy of there. Here's a map of today's walk.
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