The Cinderblocks

New Owl in Ballard’s Northern Reaches

A never before sighted owl species has made its home in the northern reaches of Ballard, Washington.  What scientists are calling an “animin,” or animal-mineral hybrid, has taken up residency in the foyer of Loyal Heights’ residents Kathy McMullen and Gene Gousie.  The animin owl, which goes by the name of Sheldon, was presented to McMullen on Sunday evening by McMullen’s niece, Sarah Owen.

Sheldon the animin owl

Sheldon the animin owl

“I thought Sheldon was just another of Sarah’s whimsical shell, rock, glue, and drift wood creations, but after I placed Sheldon beneath the mirror in the foyer, Sheldon began to hoot,” reports McMullen.

The next morning when Gousie was preparing oatmeal, things got even stranger.  According to Gousie, “Sheldon flew into the kitchen and dive-bombed the oatmeal.”

"Feed me breakfast," says Sheldon.

“Feed me breakfast,” says Sheldon.

Since animins are such a new discovery, scientists are absolutely in the dark how exactly Sheldon came into being or even how more animins might be generated.  They have been analyzing Sheldon’s shell-to-rock ratio and studying his shell-rock configuration, hoping to find clues.  They had hoped to study a blue print, but Ms. Owen shuns kits, they say, so there isn’t one.  “Each of Ms. Owen’s creations is one of a kind, which might be great in the art world, but it makes our task task very slow going,” they say. 

The scientists are not sure if it was the glue, the specific ratio of shells to rocks, or the nature of Sheldon’s drift wood backing that brought Sheldon to life. So far all their attempts to create additional animen have failed.

And Sheldon’s hosts? They are learning to live with an animin.  “We’ve discovered he stays pretty calm if we wrap him in tissue paper,” reports McMullen.

They are looking forward to December when they hope to move Sheldon to the Christmas tree.  “We think it will be an ideal environment,” Gousie and McMullen say.  “We have several bird ornaments made out of materials similar to Sheldon’s.  We’re hoping he finds a kinship there.”


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