I noticed a strange cat has been lurking around our house lately. Usually, the cat who is our landlady would make short work of a strange cat, but in this case the two creatures seem to have accomplished what the Syrians and the Egyptians haven’t been able to achieve: A workable truce.
The new cat is a mangy-looking critter — the sort of cat at which you might throw something if it were bothering you. But although it looks rough, it seems to be a cream puff. It does keep its distance, though.
It disappears quickly if the need strikes it. I was wondering where it went. One afternoon, it headed for the back fence, under some bushes. I walked back to the fence, peered under the bushes and saw what I was looking for. One of the fence boards had fallen to one side, leaving a nice open garage door for the strange cat to come and go at will.
I went to the other side of the fence and tried to replace the board, but managed only to knock a few other boards loose. They had been there for a long time, working without complaint night and day for nothing more than a paint job every few years. But now, they were giving up the ghost. Their bottoms had dry-rotted. I thought about rebuilding the fence myself, but the more I thought about it, the wearier I became. Finally, I called a friend to help, and the first thing he told me was we would have to have new boards.
“Redwood,” he said.
I gasped. Redwood? Aren’t we supposed to save redwoods?
He said no. He said redwood was very good for fences because it weathered well, always looked good and would last a long time.
I decided to check with a friend who is a forester, and he said redwoods grow like weeds in California, and are very good to build with.
“If you had yourself a nice little California redwood forest, and you managed it right, you could make a pretty good living off it,” he said. “And they smell nice.”
So, before too many more weeks, I’ll have a nice new redwood fence and the mangy-looking cat will have to find another way to come and visit.
But it’ll take a while before I can talk Mrs. Doud into letting me plant a redwood forest in the back yard.