A bird in the brush
Yesterday was the first moment after … ohhhh, 40 days and 40 nights … that it wasn’t either raining or threatening to rain. Between that and the end of the year’s big hunting seasons, the dogs and I were finally able to return to long, leash-free walks in the woods instead of annoying, leashed walks around town (annoying because Ava likes to gallop and Robbie barely moseys these days; I end up walking sideways with my arms extended in two directions).
It was glorious. Chilly, but blue and still.
On our afternoon walk, though, we came across a lone crow feasting on an elk ribcage. Ava — she of the killer prey drive — alerted and paused. Figuring the crow would fly off, I gave her permission to run at it.
It didn’t fly off. It hobbled into the weeds, limping and vainly flapping its wings.
Ava really does have a killer drive and I expected her to crunch the poor crow’s bones. But she seemed more puzzled than anything. She followed it a few steps then backed off when I told her to.
The bird finally settled down into the brush, broken wing awkwardly extended, allowing Ava to sniff it and me to walk right up to it. I knew it would probably get eaten by predators if it stayed there into the night. I considered my available methods of putting it out of its misery, but everything seemed either overkill or inhumane. I admit I didn’t think seriously about attempting to rescue the baleful old bird, whose leg also appeared to be damaged.
We walked on and as Robbie (as lame as the crow) hobbled past that spot, I turned and watched the poor crow try to flee again. It couldn’t know Robbie never was much of a killer and at 14-1/2 has no interest in harming any creature.
It was still there when we came back, looking a little more vigorous and mobile. I didn’t have the heart either to kill it or try to help it and don’t know whether that was right or wrong. At least it’s got plenty to eat.
A lake in the car
The dry day also let me deal with the Problem of Old Blue: she leaks. Like a freakin’ colander. Oh, not oil or coolant or anything worrisome. But let it rain and oh, me oh my! And did I mention we’ve had a few gentle showers lately?
There appeared to be four leaks — two minor and two capable of producing rivers — and I couldn’t locate three of them despite seeing their evidence floating along the floor.
Before buying Old Blue in July I inspected carefully and found the spare-tire compartment three inches deep in water though it hadn’t rained for weeks. I pulled the rubber plugs I found in the tire well. The water drained. I then spent half an hour spraying her with a hose and wasn’t able to recreate the problem. I figured I’d figure out more this winter.
Yeah. What I quickly figured out was that water in the trunk was the least of it.
On Wednesday, I toweled up all I could, ran an extension cord through a window, duct-taped the window, and let a space heater dry the interior as much as possible. Yesterday, partly by locating which spots were still sopping wet, I found that water’s been coming in around both taillights, particularly on the right-hand side where there are signs of a fender-bender.
I used the hillbilly solution: Gorilla tape around the lights and all the lower trunk openings. Maybe not a long-term solution, but should help me see if I’ve really located the trunk leak.
Exploring further, I found (cross fingers) that what I thought was another, completely inexplicable bad leak in the rear passenger compartment was probably just the taillight leak first saturating the trunk, then saturating the underside of the back seat, then running down to soak the floor.
Hope my theory is correct. I may enjoy the occasional swim. But not in my vehicle. In winter.
I’ve already been keeping two of those marvelous Eva-Dry renewable dehumidifiers in the car. They couldn’t drain the lake, but now maybe they’ll be able to keep up with the ordinary NorthWET humidity.
A head in the clouds
I said the other day I’d probably have more to say about Japanese tidiness guru Marie Kondo and her megaselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But you know, after finishing it, I concluded (no surprise) that she’s so far from our universe that there’s no point.
Aside from her New Age moonbattery and pathological compulsion for tidiness (Kondo used to come home from school and immediately start tidying house, including her parents’ and her siblings’ rooms; were I her sister and she messed with my stuff, she might not have lived long enough to write a book), she’s just … well, let me give you a pair of examples.
Even though her mantra is “discard everything that doesn’t spark joy,” she assumes that her readers and clients will possess — and choose to keep — so many purses that they’ll need to cleverly stash one purse inside another. On the other hand, in the chapter “Astounding stockpiles I have seen” she brutally mocks past clients who possessed 35 toothbrushes, one hundred boxes of cotton swabs, and 80 rolls of toilet paper — practical items that don’t wear out and could come in handy as trade goods.
Lady, all I gotta say is you don’t ever want to come to some of my friends’ houses!
She barely recognizes the existence of tools. In fact, she relegates virtually all forms of tools, from bandsaws to garden implements to craft glitter, to a single paragraph in a chapter about komono — a Japanese word meaning miscellaneous stuff — and doesn’t offer any tips for organizing them.
That said, for anyone who has a problem emotionally clinging to household stuff, clothing, and knicknacks or anyone who wants a dwelling of Japanese simplicity, Kondo is it. She really does have useful advice. For the rest of us, she’s just another person who’s profiting (and more power to her) from the whole trendily impractical side of the “simple living” movement.