“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

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.

27 comments:

  1. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    On those two space cadets, all I can figure out is it had something to do with 'dope' of some short.
    Many of the dutch are into weed and maybe he was 'cultivating' somewhere in the boonies.
    Down here in Texas it ain't the cultivation, its the transportation. In South Texas some of this countries biggest dope corridors is Highway's 281 and 77. 281 goes north to San Antonio and 77 goes to Houston.
    If your in law enforcement and are looking for smuggling in humans and dope, those are the two to check out.

    There are a great many in rural places in Texas that are 'safe' with a few precautions and a hidden rifle and there are a few places where an MRAP and or an armored vehicle are the preferred motor vehicles.

    Hey Harry, just out of curiosity, does it seem that since the 1970's that America in general has grown more and more violent???

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    1. They were well dressed and didn't look like dope people. I think the Mexicans have pretty much killed off all the hillbilly dopers anyway. I almost think they were foreigners, but the girl never opened her mouth once so all I heard was the boy. I don't think English was his first language.

      I don't think there's any question that as the demographics of the country have changed, so have the crime rates and not for the better.

      My wife said "I'm glad you had your gun" and that's very unlike her, she usually doesn't think that way. There was something "uncanny" about that pair, though. Anyway, once I showed the Deputy where they were, my part in it was over and I didn't have to feel guilty. An action passed is an action completed.

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  2. That is really weird about the kids. I wonder if they were on some drugs, and scared to get help because then they'd be busted for driving under the influence. They were probably too stunned to reason out what to do.
    The dog bunker sounds great. We have been working on fence lines here. I'd like to get another pasture shelter built if we can before winter sets in. This is rumored to be another bad winter (sigh).

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    1. Well, I didn't leave them out in the middle of the forest with night coming on, because the Sheriff's Department would send someone out to check on them. One thing is for sure, the odds of anybody else coming along that road are about nil, and they weren't walking out. Weird is a good word to use for it, but then, they weren't local so maybe they were just scared of us. I can see it if I had been the only occupant of my truck, but evil doers don't usually bring their wives along.

      Everybody is expecting a bad winter. All the "signs" used in different locations to predict the winter say so. For us, it's the Woolly Booger caterpillars being all fluffy early, and the acorns falling early.

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  3. A couple of Amish runaways? does sound strange indeed. As for weather the Farmer's Almanac is calling for a colder than usual winter with lower than average snow fall.

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    1. Who knows? Whoever they were, they had a really nice little sporty pick up truck, or it was before it went over the side of the mountain.

      Everything looks like another brutal winter from here. I could do with a mild one, though.

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  4. Kids these days, American or otherwise. Good job on the Animal bunker. In winter fashion goes out the window staying warm is number one. Your one of the good guys Harry.

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    1. They're probably home now telling their family about the dreadful hillbilly who showed up, and how lucky they were that a Deputy just happened along with a four wheel drive vehicle and a winch.....

      Nobody ever sees this place anyway, but I try to keep it looking nice.

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  5. The straw bale enclosure looks nice and snug. Who gives a hoot about appearances - keeping animals warm in winter is the main goal.

    Thoses two in the forest would've spooked me too - did the girl look scared of the bloke? Or just scared of you? Hope the cop found them...

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    1. I'll look better once I sweep the loose hay up and put it inside the rooms. But as you say, it's keeping the animals warm that is the main point. I'm not looking to get on the cover of "Southern Living."

      They sure spooked my wife, although I don't know what she thought they were going to do to us. The girl was keeping behind the boy, so I assume she was expecting him to protect her. The Deputy said he would call the Department and get somebody to drive out there with one of their four wheel drives that had a winch. The hardest part was marking their location. I use a navigator in my vehicles so that if I have to call a wrecker I can be specific in where I am. Also because sometimes I find places with good views when I'm meandering around the woods, or with waterfalls and streams, and I want to be sure I can find them again. The woods are a labyrinth of old trails and roads, it's easy to get lost.

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  6. I love that you built a snug winter home for the dogs. Hubby built one for the tomato plants, it's not pretty either, but who cares it it works. I know your dogs will be happy. A strange encounter, indeed, but you did the best you could for them.

    Your daughter would like my friend Rachael, who works in animals rescue as a volunteer and now as an animal keeper in a state park here. She rescued many reptiles once and still has them, including an adorable bearded dragon named Sydney.

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    1. My daughter has some beardies. She has a monitor lizard of some kind too. Thank god she has found homes for the snakes except for her corn snake. I hate snakes.

      The dogs are relatively short haired and wouldn't survive outside without good shelter if the winter is harsh. I don't bring them in the house because I don't trust them around the ferrets, and because they wouldn't be much use to me security wise inside.

      One of the nice things about living out in the sticks, as we both do, is you really don't have to worry about what anybody thinks.

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  7. Sonds like your little animals will be all warm and protected this winter.

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    1. Lady Lilith! I haven't heard from you in ages. I tried to find your blog after Blogger wiped out my blog role and I had to reconstitute it but never found you. Hope you and yours are doing well.

      Yes, the cats will be fine and the dogs will be snug, let the wind and snow do what they may.

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  8. This is just why I am terrified of the forest/woods! Strange people, no phone services, no signs and everything scary and unfamiliar. I would be afraid of those people and you!

    No matter what it looks like, your animals will be nice and warm.

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    1. I like the forest. One of the great attractions of driving out on the old roads is that you feel like you are going where no one has been for a long time. You never know what you will find. Of course, once I found some dopers and that was not fun. This thing with those two strange teenagers was not exactly fun but it wasn't really scary for me. My wife was not big on the experience though.

      We are about set here for the winter. At least this time I won't have to buy propane in the middle of the winter and get cheated by the propane company like I did last winter.

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    2. i'm with your wife. you c ould have been taking your life in your hands.
      deb h.

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  9. G'day Harry,

    Sounds like those two kids had watched "Tucker & Dale Vs Evil" before heading out into the mountains. They were certainly acting suspiciously, maybe they had been joy riding in a stolen pickup.

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    1. No telling. They may have just wrecked and realized they were in a deep, dark forest with night coming on, then I show up. I suppose that might stress out teens, all things considered. I am sure the sheriffs department sent somebody out there and I had a good three satellite lock on the GPS.

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  10. Thank you! Between the troughs and if I can do this, I think I have it covered. Unless the raccoon kick the cats out!

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    1. I have had possums and racoons come up on my porch to eat the cat food and everyone seems to get along ok. I think the cats believe that possums and raccoons are just funny looking cats.

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  11. Harry,

    Your animals will be warm and happy with the bunkers made for them.

    Sounds to me like the young couple was hiding something and didn't want to get caught. You offered help, they didn't want it......that's all you could do.

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    1. My wife said there was something going on and she is pretty shrewd. You never really know what will happen when you go out in the mountains off the beaten path.

      I think we have the outdoor animals covered, even if the winter is severe.

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  12. How creepy it is to see those strangers out there like that. I can see why they'd be hesitant to go with you because you're a stranger, but they were out in the middle of nowhere. So odd.

    I'm glad your animals will be happier. I've heard it's supposed to be a bad winter. Who really knows until it happens.

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    1. I honestly think that they may have been foreigners. This is the time of year a lot of tourists come into the Blue Ridge mountains. If so they will have quite a tale to tell when they get back home.

      My guess is that we are in for another bad winter. I am better prepared for it than I was last year.

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  13. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    check this out

    http://www.examiner.com/article/dhs-to-intensify-attacks-on-freedom-oriented-citizens

    I normally would not mention articles from 'conspiracy theorist stuff' but this seems legit and the writer "David Codrea" has more credibility than many online reporters as far as I can tell.
    Like all despots' Obama (and his cronies) will become more dangerous as they lose popularity with the masses during the last two years of his administration. More left wing radicalization, anti-capitalist and anti-Constitution decree's will be spat' out of the White House during the last six months of his dictatorship.

    I'm predicting the anti-assult weapons ban (that failed in Congress a few years ago) to go through via executive order. I also predict the possible end of 'full capacity magazine sales" The end of home made firearms via 80% AR lowers via executive action as well as other far reaching, long term and permanent bans on just about everything that can be controlled.

    The goat of most liberal elites is the same gun control laws as Britain and Austrailia have adopted in the last 20 years.

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  14. Harry - i am so glad that you stopped and offered help to those kids. why they acted so strangely - i can think of a million reasons, all bad, but i hope it was because they were just jarred and didn't know what to do. the fact that they turned down your offer to drive them into town??? well, either they were hiding something or you use a stand-in and body-double when you post pics of yourself - bahahahahah! oh you gotta admit that was funny!!! but, if you offerred help and whatnot and they turned it down...something smells a little fishy there.

    anyway, i am so glad that the dogs, and cats as it would appear, have a nice winter home. and pretty - who cares about pretty??? have you seen the Manor???

    much love to you and yours, always, buddy! your friend,
    kymber

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