Tuesday, May 23 2023
Despite installing a new air conditioning compressor in the Subaru Forester, I never managed to get the air conditioning to run. I'd tried to charge it, but nothing much happened. So Gretchen arranged to have a professional work on it. This morning at a little after 8:00am (early for Gretchen!) we drove to the Ulster Avenue to drop off the Forester at a place called Sharp's Transmissions. They use what appears to be the same logo I remember from Sharp electronic devices, so maybe that company also makes transmissions. Or perhaps, as a fading corporation whose heyday was in the 1970s, Sharp doesn't have the money to pursue trademark infringement. In any case, it looked like any other general-purpose automotive shop inside. Since we were out on 9W, Gretchen thought we should check out a bagel place we'd never been to in all the 20 years we've lived in the area. The place was called Sunrise Bagel & Deli and looked like maybe it had been in continuous operation since at least the 1980s. The menu didn't look promising for someone of our dietary requirements, and, as expected, they didn't have any vegan forms of cream cheese. So we just bought four bagels and left while a line of regulars quickly formed behind us (we'd just beaten the rush!).
Next we went to the Dunkin Donuts nearby to get our usual oat milk coffee drinks. I'd been unaware of this, but it turns out Dunkin only sells lattes, not cappuccino. They just translate cappuccino to latte whenever I place an order. Adds with the bagel place, Dunkin seemed to have its own set of regulars. The ugly parking lot out front (with one sad picnic table on a muddy berm) reminded Gretchen of an article she'd recently read about the privileging of cars in America's cities and towns.
Our car was ready for pickup at 11:30am. Apparently the main thing wrong with the car was the difficulty of connecting the after-market compressor I'd bought to the wire that controls its internal clutch. I'd thought I'd managed to improvise a connection, which still didn't engage the clutch. But perhaps my improvisation had failed. In any case, Sharp was charging us over $300 for refrigerant and over two hours of labor, which Gretchen thought was ridiculous. It probably was ridiculous, and this is why I like to fix everything I can myself so as to lessen our exposure to price gouging. Later, when we were picking up the car, Gretchen asked a number of specific questions about the specific work that had gone into getting the air conditioning to work to demonstrate that she was not a woman who could be easily gouged. As always in such situations, I kept quiet. I've been on the other side of this sort of thing (though, surprisingly, not very often) and it's not fun.
On the way home, I went out of my way to visit the Tibetan Center thrift store to see if there was any crap I might want. But there wasn't. Then, as I was about to climb up Dug Hill Road, I stopped to pick up some additional large pieces of white ash. They were heavy and hard to wrestle, so I left them sticking out the back. One immediately fell out when I started driving and I had to stop to put it back in, so after that I only drove about 19 mph up the hill.
At around 4:00pm this afternoon, the dogs ran squealing and moaning out of the house due to something very exciting that was happening in the forest just south of the house. I grabbed my camera and followed them. But right away, I was concerned: there was an unusual and loud bleating sound coming from whatever was attracting the dogs. Was it an injured baby bear? That would likely be a very dangerous situation.
Then I saw part of what was going on. There was a mother deer standing on the flat part of the landscape just beyond the bottom of the mountain-goat-style path behind the woodshed. She seemed to be trying to drive off the Ramona and Neville. Nearby, there was a small speckled fawn that, had it been quiet, nobody would've seen. But it was bleating periodically. Neville thought maybe he could eat the fawn, and when to grab it by the haunch, but I quickly put a stop to that. Then the mother seemed to run away, perhaps to distract Ramona and Neville away from the fawn. The strategy worked, and the dogs ran after her.
I looked down at the fawn and could see a fair amount of blood spattered on the leaves and on the fawn's head, but I couldn't see any obvious injuries, though clearly there must've been at least one. What had happened? Had a tree fallen on the fawn? It was surrounded by pieces of a sugar maple I'd cut into stove-length pieces over the winter, and there was nothing freshly-fallen. Still, the fawn was under a piece of wood somewhat, so I lifted it out of the way. With that, the fawn stumbled to its feet and went off towards the escarpment to the northeast. It wasn't moving very fast, but now at least it wasn't in the place it had been, so Ramona and Neville would have trouble finding it.
So then I went running down the Stick Trail to see what trouble my dogs were getting themselves into. Initially I was concerned that they were chasing the mother deer, but an adult deer has nothing to worry about from a dog, especially an old arthritic one like Ramona or even Neville. I think my concern was that they were driving the mother away from the baby and that the two might have trouble finding each other. But then I saw a third dog in the mix. But this wasn't a dog in the sense that Ramona and Neville are, this, it took a couple seconds to figure out, was a coyote. Suddenly the cause of the fawn's injuries were clear; it had been attacked by a coyote and Ramona and Neville had responded to the commotion by running over to it, which saved the fawn's life. They would've of course eaten the fawn themselves had I not shown up. Or perhaps they would've been more tempted to chase the coyote. In any case, once I'd made it clear they wouldn't be eating the fawn, chasing the coyote was the only non-boring thing left to do.
Oddly, the coyote didn't seem to care about me and seemed to be trying to figure out how to circle back around Neville to the fawn. But Neville was determined to keep chasing the coyote and seemed to be complicating his or her plans. Not that the coyote seemed especially concerned about Neville; he or she could've easily outrun him and gone wherever he or she wanted to go. But instead, he or she trotted along ten to fifty feet ahead. Meanwhile, the fawn was now bleating again, which was telling everybody where it was. I was most concerned about what Ramona would do with this information, so I did what I could to coax her back closer to the house. Then I went in and gave my colleagues in the remote workplace the story of what I'd just witnessed.
But the story wasn't over. I grabbed my phone so I could give my colleagues updates from the forest and went back out to see what was going on. Neville had stopped chasing the coyote and was now licking up fawn blood from where it had been lying. I went out to the escarpment to look for the coyote and saw nothing. But then I saw the mother deer only about 150 feet down the escarpment with her little fawn, which was standing and no longer bleating. The deer saw me and didn't seem concerned about me, but when I made a shooing motion with my hand, offered more as a form of interspecial communication than anything else, the mother started to slowly stroll away, stopping periodically so the fawn could catch up (this involved climbing over fallen trees and other obstacles that the mother had no trouble simply stepping over). Once the mother deer and fawn had disappeared in the ravine that separates our downhill neighbors and Crazy Dave from our septic mound, I figured I could go back inside and resume my work.
But when the dogs failed to return, I went out to see what they were up to. To my surprise, Neville was once more chasing the coyote around in the same terrain as before (which was just south of the Chamomile on the side of the ravine that allowed me to watch them from a considerable distance. By this point I was a little worried that Neville would drop dead from a heart attack. But eventually the coyote vanished and Neville decided to follow me and Ramona back to the house.
Meanwhile Gretchen had been off at physical therapy to have the slipped disc in her neck worked on. When she returned, I told her all about what I'd just seen.
Later Gretchen baked some pre-made "Korean-style" pancakes she'd bought somewhere, and she served them with a savory dipping sauce she'd made. The pancakes contained a variety of vegetables and chunks of potato and were very good. We ate them while watching first Jeopardy! itself and then the Hulu-broadcasted Jeopardy! Masters tournament, featuring a small group of the best recent players. The clues for the game skewed much more towards Gretchen's expertise (literature, film, and poetry) than towards mine (music, science, and geography).
Later I took a nice relaxing bath.
Southbound on Hurley Mountain Road from the Tibetan Center thrift store today. The mountain in the distance is the Shawangunk range near Mohonk Mountain House.
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Slightly further along on Hurley Mountain Road.
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The somewhat-bloodied fawn where I found him or her, only a couple hundred feet south of the house.
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Ramona watching Neville chasing the coyote near where the Chamomile crosses the Stick Trail.
Neville in the place where the bloodied fawn had been lying in between rounds of chasing the coyote.
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A blurry photo of the coyote, the only one I managed to get.
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