Thursday, May 12, 2011

Trying Hard

I am trying very hard to come up with colonies for Sunday's FCCO clinic. Why? Because they're young people coordinating it, short on cats for the clinic, and I want them to be successful and not get bitter and burned out, like some of us older people.

They are organizing clinics, however, in an area where us older cat trappers have been working for years to fix big colonies. To root out unfixed colonies, they'll have to really work at it.

I had fun yesterday, posting fliers in Tangent, Shedd, Halsey, Harrisburg and Monroe. I made it into Philomath but was running short on time. Had to be back before 5:00 to check the traps at the business.

I like the Shedd cafe and the Shedd store, where they sell very good homemade sandwiches at their deli. I was not going to get one yesterday when there, was just going to post a flier, but I weakened, yes I did. I've always liked those two places, ever since the farmer's bought the Shedd cafe and staffed it. Someone else might own it now. I'm not sure.

In Tangent, I passed the rental house where a young woman and her kids lived, a few months back. She had called me, wanting help fixing her cats, so I picked up ten or eleven of her cats to be fixed. Now the house has fresh plywood boarded over windows and a white paper with small black typed print, that I could not read from the road, posted on the door. What happened, I think to myself. Where is she and where are those cats now? I'm glad I got them fixed when I did.

In Halsey I posted at City Hall and the post office and a store and once again felt drawn to the drafty rusted old warehouses, creaky and stark, colored grays, and faded rust red and pale dirty silvers, with the sharp corners bleak against the sky and otherwise flat stretching fields beyond.

"We may be abandoned and empty but we still stand," they seemed to say to me. "We still count. We could be something, although we have no obligations but to remain standing." I wanted to inhabit them, for some reason, like I do water, when I'm near it. I am so drawn to water and into it, I dare not be near a river or lake unless I'm prepared to be wet.

So I drove on by these relics of yesterday and better times, without leaving my car, for fears I would be drawn close, snatched in by the trap of their charisma, and end up occupying a county jail cell for trespass.

Halsey has that flat out town stark against the middle of nowhere appeal. There's not much to Halsey, which is for the better. You'd get tired of it quick if it was of any size.

Harrisburg has lost its industry, which was building RV's. They had a mint press once, where they refined mint oil and you could buy it right there. Maybe that's still around. Harrisburg too is surrounded in flat land perfect for growing almost anything. But mostly, around here, in this fertile valley, the land gets used to grow grass for its seed, that is then sold to create lawns and sports fields.

Lately wheat is taking hold, even turnips, but for their seed, I hear. Pumpkins are grown and there is nothing like laying eyes on a round speckled orange sea, come September, that is really acres upon acres of pumpkins ripe for harvest.

I must get in my Oregon plugs. We grow the best blueberries here and cherries and strawberries far better than those grown in California. We grow hazelnuts and a lot of people are into growing grapes to press and ferment into wine. Wineries are a big thing here and a lot of these wineries are owned by absentee landlords, rich and trendy, who jet in now and then, to check on things.

I ended up zipping back up through Monroe, which lies half dead just north of Junction City. Then I cut through a back road and stopped in at that seed warehouse where I trapped 27 a year ago last February. I knew they had more and I was happy to be there, too. I love old warehouses and the people so quirky and interesting.

I finally talked to the guy in charge who used to drive me around, last time I was out there, with his pickup doors flapping open. I wanted to cut a deal: I'd trap any cats left unfixed and in return, he could take the nine in my bathroom from the business. He wasn't sure on that yet, but he said go ahead and trap this weekend for whatever I could catch of the unfixed ones out there, and to talk to Nacho at another warehouse because they needed cats or they'd have to pay over $10K for gassing their warehouses free of mice. I'm not so sure about calling Nacho. What if I take nine little teeny cats out there to that vast bunch of warehouses and those nine can't control the mice fast enough and they gas the warehouses. What then? Those cats would die horribly under the nerve gas. So I'm not sure I'll call Nacho at all, if they're thinking about gassing the place now.

Then I drove onward to Philomath but I haven't been comfortable in Philomath since the highway revamp to bypass downtown and turn it into an expressway through.

Doesn't seem the same, not like a town anymore, more like a highway to the coast with a little bump of stores attached.

Then I cut through the back side of Corvallis on Reservoir Road, like I used to do, when I lived in the slum shack on West Hills Road, which I still miss, for some ridiculous reason that has more to do with the location, which I loved so much, than living in that god awful heatless dripping moldy freezing shack. Seriously, Corvallis has no standards at all, I think to myself often, in regards to rentals and what landlords are allowed to get away with there.

I stopped in at the trailer park where cats used to roam and handed out some fliers. then I really really had to get on going, to be at the business in time to check the traps before they locked up.

Why am I still trapping at that business?

It's not so much for that mother with kittens. God only knows where she took them when she moved them that night. But, here's the thing, I think there was one more kitten, the one Sassy the silver tabby was hanging with near the insulation piles inside the warehouse when I first saw her and I don't think I ever caught that one, although I'm not completely sure, and I feel guilty over one kitten alone out there, where nothings fed and I want to catch that one before I give up, until, that is, that mother is seen again.

Linn County, despite its small population, has a ton of towns if you think about it. I visited some yesterday, to post fliers, and some the day before. Yesterday, I went south of Albany to Tangent, in Linn County, then to Shedd, Halsey and Harrisburg. I could have swung up Peoria road from Harrisburg, to hit Peoria, a wide spot in the road and also in Linn County.

The day before, I hit Crabtree, which is north and east of Albany, east of I5, the north south freeway through Oregon. It's a wide spot too, with one tavern and nothing else.

I then went on to Scio, which is kind of trendy little wide spot, cute, clean and slightly inbred in attitude. You get a feeling there, I did at least even just stopping in, that outsiders might be considered suspicious from the onset.

From there I meant to head straight to Lyons, but hit the wrong road and ended up instead in Stayton, over on the shy side of highway 22, the highway that runs out of Salem on to Detroit reservoir and the mountains. Stayton isn't Linn County, it's the far reaches of Marion County. Just west of Stayton is Aumsville, where that tornado hit. Just north and east of Stayton is the clean upscale town of Sublimity, also of Marian County. Stayton isn't much for the eyes.

On from Stayton by the backroads I drove to Lyons and that was pure pleasure, driving along, seeing the mills, some used some left behind, with glimpses of the north fork of the Santiam and sometimes of the mountains, with even the foothills topped in snow still.

I liked Lyons. People were friendly, even the kids were, walking home in groups from high school, which had just let out. I liked Mill City too, when I finally got there and the people there were just as friendly, but the poverty hovered like a dense fog.

So all these towns are Linn County: Albany, Tangent, Shedd, Halsey, Harrisburg, Peoria, Crabtree, Scio, Lyons and Mill City.

I'm not sure what county Gates is in. Gates is just beyond Mill City. I never hit other Linn County town like one store Lacomb, and that is beautiful county up there. I never went near Lebanon and I like not going near Lebanon. Or Sweet Home beyond that. Or Crow or Sodaville or Brownsville or Crawfordsville or Holly.

Benton County by comparison has just Monroe, Philomath and Corvallis to claim. Although I suppose Blodgett, Adair, Summit and Burnt Woods sort of count. And I've never really bothered to find out if Monmouth, to the north, is in Benton County or Polk County.

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