So we finally decided to take the task in hand. We sprayed bug repellent on our legs and arms, put on our caps and gloves, and were all ready to set out for the trails. We had planned to push along our big garden cart with the plan that Dale would cut off branches, and I would pick them up and stuff them in the cart. Strange how many branches needed to be cut including some near the iris garden where our farmer friends cut and bale hay.
Too bad we hadn’t cut those branches a few days before, as we were met with several piles of yellow-brown hay. The baler couldn’t pick it up because the tractor couldn’t get under the branches that hung out over that area. Well, after yesterday, that will be different, and the tractor can do what it’s supposed to do.I was really surprised to find out how soon the big garden cart was full of all kinds of branches: oak, sumac, willow, and evergreen. After making sure the piles of branches wouldn’t fall out, I wheeled it slowly up the hill to the burning pile area where we had burned lots of stuff over the years. Fortunately, the Reynolds guys had come by the day before and raked up the hay into huge bales. They were so big and tall that I could hardly climb up the back to stand on top. As we moved along the trail, we saw our Fat Cat playing around in the field. I think she must have caught the scent of a mouse or two, because she sniffed and sniffed, sometimes rolled on her back, and then continued, keeping us in her sight as we did our job. After about two hours, we had crossed the creek and worked on the branches that hung way down to the trail. The grass hadn’t been cut yet, so we tried to be careful to stay right on the path. Cat continued to explore various spots below the trail and on to the creek in a different location. Because of the heat, we decided, after two hours, to go back to the house with its air conditioning. Somewhat later, we went back to work on the branches. Oh how much the temperature had gone up, and we didn’t need a thermometer to figure that out!
We continued to cut along the pond, branches like those from contorted willow, bald cypress, with its many overlapping branches, and more oak. Dale even clipped off some of the myriads of poison ivy that seemed to be just waiting to be stepped on. Huge rose bushes were cut off as well. Tired, we decided to finish up for the day by trimming the catalpa, albizia. and pear trees nearer to the house.
As we sat on the tail gate of the truck, we talked of our work for the day, and then I asked, “Where’s Cat? I haven’t seen her for a long time. Just thought she was playing around in the woods, but she should have been back by now!” Always looking on the bright side, Dale answered, “Oh, she’ll be back. She’s probably enjoying herself exploring.” “OK. I’ll fix supper,” I answered. Several times as I did that, I went to the door and called, “Here, Kit, here Kit! C’mon.” No answering meow from the cat, with no sign of her.
After supper I announced to Dale that I was going back to try to find Cat. He didn’t want to go because he had other things to do. His final words to me before I left were, “Don’t worry. She’ll be back. She knows where she lives, and she has a pretty good living, too!”
Down the hill from the garage, I walked along calling her. Sitting at the back of the truck, Dale waved as I turned the corner on the trail, and soon was out of sight. I even prayed that the Lord would help me to find that cat, because I have always been one who doesn’t want anything to happen to animals, things they have no power to change. I just had to find Fat Cat!About halfway up the trail, I thought I heard a sad little mew, so I stopped and continued to call. Poor Cat continued to answer me, but no matter how I called her to come out of the woods by the creek, she didn’t come. I noticed that I was at the spot where we had dumped a big cartful of cut branches that morning. Since I couldn’t see her at all, I started pulling off branches that made it hard for me to see the area in front of me. Finally, I could not only hear a sad mew, but I could also see just a small part of Cat’s head. Her eyes and ears. That was it! Those eyes told the story of her fright and hope that she would be rescued. However, no matter how close I got to her, she didn’t even try to come to me.
What to do? There was quite a drop off from the trail down to the creek below, so I decided to walk past the remaining pile and push my way through the sumac, rose bushes, and poison ivy to see if I could get her to at least try to come to me. Judging by the way she moved from her place where she must have been unable to get out, I knew that somehow or other she must have stepped on a sliding branch or two, and her legs were caught underneath. Continuing to move the branches, I finally found my friend Cat coming to me instead of trying to make it on her own, four or five feet from her original position. After she had emerged from the woods and found the path, she slowly walked behind me, much more slowly than usual. Poor Cat! She looked so frightened, something unusual for her, because she has always handled any situation as she pleases.By the time I had walked about 200 steps to the area of the surprise lilies, she stopped to enjoy the place where she could see the house up the hill, actually not THE house, but HER house! How she scooted up that hill to the garage where she found Dale waiting for her. She drank so much water that I thought her insides were drowning! Then came her food just inside the kitchen door. How good it was for her to lie down on the cool vinyl floor, to enjoy being at home again. After that she went into the living room and jumped up on the couch where her favorite toys were waiting for her! A big soft brown bear and a pretty boa constrictor…
Yes, I did thank the Lord that Fat Cat was now safe in her own home! – CHRIS