Monday, October 6, 2014
Building an animal bunker and a strange encounter in the forest.
This is the first time I ever built the winter dog house on the porch. It always goes under the eves on the side of the barn. This year though, we put it on the porch so the little entrances to the rooms will be protected from the wind. Also, last year the wind and the snow made a bad combination, snow blowing inside the rooms. That can't happen this way.
The three small rooms are each separated by a bale of straw. There is a small entry way, and the rooms themselves have straw for the animals to snuggle into. I know it looks a little tacky, but I'm more concerned with practical application and less with aesthetics in winter time. It's way early to be building this but the cold has come about three weeks sooner than we usually get it.
The leaves are changing. Within a week or so, this will all be red and gold. Then, about a week after that, there won't be any leaves on the trees at all. Everything will be gray and brown, and it will stay that way, when it's not covered by snow, for five months.
The mountains in winter are desolate, and they're deserted. Well over half the population of the county goes back to Florida after the leaf season. The marinas shut down, and traffic drops off to just about nothing. There's the one big burst of tourist activity during leaf season, then things just go into idle. I don't mind it myself, although I do hope this winter is not nearly so cold as last. Too much snow, too much ice, and too many days below zero.
This weekend my wife and I went out for a ride on the old mountain trails through the national forest. They don't have names. Some of them are old logging roads from the 1950's and 1960's. Some were made by the forest service for access to forest fires. Some are just there and I have no idea why. It's a little risky going out there these days, because of the dope peddlers, but this was the middle of the day.
I came around a corner, and there was a pickup that had gone off the road, down the side of the mountain. It didn't roll over, though I can't figure out why. There were two young people standing on the roadside, a boy and a girl, who looked to be late teens. I pulled up and rolled my window down , asked them if they were ok. They just stared at me. I asked them again. No response. If you know the old Uncle Remus stories, it reminded me of Bre'r Rabbit and the Tar Baby.
I got out of the truck, and I asked them a third time if they were ok. The boy said they were. He had a Dutch sounding accent and his English wasn't "local." I asked if they needed some help, and he said he had just called someone. This didn't make any sense, as there is zero cell service there. I asked him when and he said "two minutes ago."
I didn't want to leave them out there, so I said I'd give them a lift to town. The boy said "can you help" and pointed at the truck downslope. Without a winch, there was no way that was coming out of there, so I said I couldn't get him out but that I could take them to a phone. He just said "no."
The whole thing was a bit strange for me, so I punched the waymark button on my navigator, told them if there was nothing else I could do, I'd be going on. I got the distinct impression they were scared of me. The girl hadn't said one word and stayed behind this boy the whole time. My wife thought something was really out of kilter and she wanted to leave.
When I got on the highway I flagged down the first Deputy I saw, told him what had happened, and he wrote down how to get there from the waymark. That's about all I could do. Who those people were, and why they were so "children of the corn" I will probably never know. Nor can I figure out what happened for sure, but from the skid marks (which shouldn't have been on that old trail anyway) he was going too fast and saw he couldn't make that turn, then locked his brakes and slid off the road. Anybody who drives out there any faster than 2nd gear is using very poor judgment.
You never know who or what you will meet in the forest.