hoarders and homemade pizza
Sunday, January 11 2004
I don't know if this has anything to do with the deep freezing I subjected it to yesterday, but my Vaio's battery is now able to run the machine for thirty five minutes on a single charge. This result naturally got me to thinking: if one freeze-and-charge cycle is good, why not two? But by then the outdoor temperature had risen to a relatively balmy 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so I put the battery in the freezer instead. The results aren't in yet.
Meanwhile, craziness had descended upon the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (where both of us do volunteer work). A woman further upstate in Fulton county had accumulated over 100 animals (including horses, llamas, donkeys, dogs, goats, you name it) on her farm. The woman, like most animal hoarders, had neglected the animals, and a good number of them were starving when the recent cold spell began. The result was that a lot of them froze to ground, died, and were devoured by the starving dogs (initial report, somewhat less horrifying, had been that they'd been devoured by coyotes). Many of the animals rescued from this case are ending up at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to live with such luminaries as Dino, the only survivor of the Prospect Park stable fire in Brooklyn.
Gretchen was at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary today to provide emergency assistance as the animals arrived. Most of them were either donkeys, llamas, or miniature horses (not ponies, but horses that had been bred in recent times for their small stature). Based on initial reports, I'd imagined she'd be dealing with a parade of half-dead animals, but all the ones that arrived today were fairly healthy. Many of them were also pregnant, another common symptom of animals neglected by hoarders.
Gretchen called me before she left the sanctuary to tell me get started on a homemade pizza we'd be having for dinner. She's also managed to bury her cellphone under a mountain of hay bails, and she could hear it pitifully ringing. Low on blood sugar, she began having a psychological meltdown over the phone. That was when Kathy (the CAS Grand Pooh Bah) dug through the hay and rescued the phone. Earlier that day Kathy had lost the CAS digital camera in a snowbank somewhere in Fulton County.
When Gretchen came home, she told me more details about the place up in Fulton County from which today's animals had come. It was a condemned farmhouse with surrounding acreage. Inside this farmhouse were a number of horrifying sights, including the remains of a dog hanging from the ceiling by its collar. Somehow the poor animal had jumped up and hung itself on its collar, died, and then been left to decompose. A common characteristic of hoarder homes is the presence of piles of feces and dead animals in various states of decay.
As for the pizza we made tonight, it was one of the most delicious meals either of us have ever had. It featured a two-ply crust made of homemade dough, fresh mozzarella cheese, pasta sauce made in Hurley by our friend Tony, sundried tomatoes, fresh onions, and marinated mushrooms. Not only was the pizza delicious, but its pieces were incredibly easy to handle - the crust of a slice easily supported all of its toppings even when held by only one hand.
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