July 16, 2007

Wiley Returns

It's been warm since last week and the tomatoes are ripening, the zukes are inflating, eggplant seems to spring forth wildly from the magical plants and we had our first mess of green beans. Summer is here.

The weekend was spent in a flurry of activity, trying to get my new hen yard completed. The heavy duty stucco wire (larger holes but much heavier guage of wire than chickenwire) is over eight feet high. It will have a two foot deep ring of rocks over a foot-wide skirt of wire. The wire is tightly attached to an old sheep pen that's got heavy wire around it as well.

Despite my plan, I was unable to finish it over the weekend. 8-(

The netting I'd planned to use over its roof was just a little too small. With a six-inch gap between the netting I have and the wire I'd just attached, and the sun setting on Sunday night, I had to let go of my plan to move the chickens in right away and rethink how I will roof the yard.

During all of this work (a flurry of activity, much of it in over 90 degree heat) a few things didn't get done. We have had two cats for over ten years, both volunteers that perform an important function here on the ranch. At night they are shut up into our garage and our barn so they act as a deterrent to rodents.

Sometime between Saturday afternoon and this morning, most likely Saturday night, the garage cat disappeared. Cherchez Wiley. We heard nothing, the dogs did not bark but if you read last week's blog its clear Wiley Coyote does not make much noise.

I don't know about reincarnation but my first cat ever was named "One Stickney" after the famous combatants who drew blood in the Michigan-Ohio War. For seventeen years my husband and I had these two calico cats that we had named "One and Two Stickney" after these two characters in history. One (the cat) died first and I was bereft.

About a month later an acquaintance who had no idea that we'd just had a cat die called and asked if we wanted a four week old calico cat. I declined. She persisted. "You need this cat. She's just a few weeks old, her mother and whole family were killed by a dog. She's named One - for the One that Got Away."

This kitten was the most beautiful long haired cat that looked like all she would want to do was snuggle. However, she hated being petted. Or handled. But she was a fierce mouser and has kept our garage rodent free for many years.

All day today we were depressed because she was missing. We called and looked in all her favorite hidey holes and there was no sign of a small calico cat. It is so easy to blame myself for not having checked she was inside the garage when I shut it up on Saturday night.


After I wrote most of the above, convinced One the cat was dead and eaten by Wiley, I headed out to feed and check the horse corrals one more time. Cowering in a corner, covered with dust and cobwebs, was One That Got Away. She's back in the garage, eating and drinking as if she'd been starved for days. Another reminder. Each day is a gift, none of us know when our personal Wiley will come around a corner into our lives.