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Hunter: Artist With Cat

10/06/10 5:55PM By Edith Hunter
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(HOST)  Recently, commentator Edith Hunter had the opportunity to observe the creation of something she regards as a large-scale work of art.

(HUNTER)  When I went out recently to sit by our pond on the nice bench that Graham put out there for me, I was amazed at how the cattails had multiplied. It was at least ten years ago that we had the cattails removed. It was surely time to have it done again.

The local company that did it before thought they could squeeze it in immediately. Dwight came to see me the afternoon that I called, and son Graham walked out to the pond with him to discuss what to take and what to leave. The very next morning, a little after eight, I heard the beep, beep that big equipment makes when it is backing up, and I knew the team had arrived. In short order the enormous dump truck and even more enormous CAT320 CL were moving past the sugar house to the pond. The small raft that is usually tied up near the south end of the pond had been moved to the north end out of the way.

Right after lunch, I went out and found that Dwight had already cleaned out all the cattails, alders, willows, young birch and maples that had self-seeded on the east and south banks of the pond. The enormous truck had carried them all away and dumped them in a low area east of the pond. He had skillfully left a fringe of willows and young trees untouched.

My bench had been moved to a convenient location out of the line of fire. And for the next hour, I watched as Dwight swung the long arm of the backhoe out to a large patch of cattails on the west bank, dragged the huge bucket filled with rock, muck, cattails, small trees, brush, and water, back and up, pressed the enormous thumb against the load, let the water drain out, and then deposited it in a pile on the bank before transferring it to the truck.

Of course, as Dwight drove at a 45º angle along the bank, I worried that the huge rig would tip over, but then I reminded myself that Dwight does this all the time and is an artist at the controls.

I apologized to the red wing blackbirds and any other birds who might have nested along those banks earlier in the year. I told the frogs, salamanders, and any nymphs that hadn't yet matured, that the silty water would soon be clearing up. And I told Graham's and Susan's ducks who were hiding in the brush at the north end of the pond, and who spend their days in the pond and their nights in the chicken house, that things would be back to normal, soon. And actually, it will be much nicer.
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