Farm & Ranch Living

DAYS OF GOLD

- JESSE NEVE MINNETRIST­A, MINNESOTA

Goldie’s belly was quite round. The kittens would be arriving any day now, and every day after school my sister and I would tear down the driveway, running straight to our soon-to-be-mama to see if her belly was still full.

One day my friend Tina came home with us, and we began the search for Goldie. We looked in all her favorite places, but she was nowhere to be found. We grabbed flashlight­s from the house and searched the remotest corners of the barn. At last we saw Goldie and her new little family deep in the rafters, right next to the sloping roof, in a tight space obviously chosen to keep her babies safe.

Even with flashlight­s, we could barely see the kittens. But we were desperate to get a look—so we came up with a solution that, in retrospect, wasn’t one of our better ideas.

We fetched a ladder and went outside the barn, near where Goldie and her babies were nesting, then we proceeded to pound on the tin roof directly above them. Our theory was that she wouldn’t like the noise, so she would bring the kittens out and we would be able to see them better.

When we tired of pounding, we went back in the barn to assess our progress. Goldie and her babies were still in their protected spot, but Goldie looked concerned. Still no closer to seeing the kittens, our interest waned and we headed to the house in search of a snack.

The next day, my sister and I returned to the barn to check on things, and we found

Goldie walking along the top of a partition wall, which was made of concrete blocks and topped out 4 feet below the ceiling. Goldie’s demeanor was anxious, and it seemed as if she were trying to communicat­e something with us. We didn’t know what to do, so we went in the house to enlist our dad’s help.

Dad climbed the ladder until his head was level with Goldie’s. From there he could see into the hollow blocks that made up the wall structure. Shining a flashlight downward, he peered through the hollow space nearest the fretful mom. She pushed her head against his so they could both have a look. There, at the bottom of a stack of blocks, they saw movement. Goldie gave Dad a knowing look as if to say, “See? That is the problem I have been trying to solve.”

Dad’s first attempts at a rescue failed. His lasso of twine and wire caught repeatedly on the mortar between the blocks. When at last he was able to loop the lasso around the tiny kitten’s body and get her a few inches o the ground, she’d manage to twist or wiggle and roll right back out of the harness. Goldie kept watch from the top of the wall next to Dad, and my sister and I watched nervously from below.

Dad needed to find a new approach. He and Goldie moved to the bottom of the wall. They knew which hollow spot the kitten had fallen into, and he decided to cut a hole. Using a concrete drill bit, he began drilling holes just above the block that housed the baby. After making many holes in a circle, he loosened the circle by tapping it gently with a hammer, careful not to let it drop on the baby below. It broke free easily and Goldie stuck her head in and lifted the kitten out. We erupted in cheers as Goldie returned with the baby to their nest, where the others were waiting.

Goldie didn’t hold a grudge against us. We knew we were the cause of her family’s relocation, but she allowed us to visit in the straw and pet the new babies. Obie (as we later named that lucky baby) ended up moving into our house when she was older. We figured she started her life with serious trauma so she should spend the rest of her days relaxing and free from worry.

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 ?? ROSEMARY LAMBERT SHELBY, MICHIGAN ?? WHEN MY HUSBAND put up a swing for me, I didn’t know I’d have company. But one of our cats, George, had a better idea. Here he is—looking curious and cute—just above my head.
ROSEMARY LAMBERT SHELBY, MICHIGAN WHEN MY HUSBAND put up a swing for me, I didn’t know I’d have company. But one of our cats, George, had a better idea. Here he is—looking curious and cute—just above my head.

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