Building a cage

Story_squareWe can be a little frugal (I avoided other terms like penny-pincher and scrooge-like) in our family.

That’s why our daughter decided to spend a day crafting her own wire rabbit cage. Cheaper that way. I mean, frugal, of course.

She discovered some extra wire panels behind the garage and set to work with her materials in front of the tool shed.

She had to bend corners, crimp the back and front panels onto the main framework, design her own doorway into the cage.

She spent most of the time on her knees twisting and binding wire.

And then it was done.

She took a step back to admire the cage. It fairly glowed in the afternoon sun.

Her back ached, her hands were sore, and she decided she needed a little recreation after the big project.

We had 40 acres of open pasture and so a run on the four-wheeler looked invigorating.

Off she went. At 14, she hadn’t started training for her driver’s license but she handled the four-wheeler with experience.

She zipped across trails, feeling the wind blow through her hair. She made a loop around the house, leaning into the turn.

The cool early-evening air sliced past her as she drove on and on.

And then she swung around the chicken house with a little more speed than she intended and the four-wheeler refused to turn tightly.

She didn’t want to roll her vehicle so she eased out of the sharp turn.

Just in time to see what was ahead of her on the path.

She spent most of the day building her own rabbit cage but it only took about three seconds to flatten it with those big four-wheel tires.


Such A Class

SeasonsSometimes our elders have the wit of children when the spotlight is on.

That old television show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” has nothing on a senior citizen’s group.

We were sitting in a big circle in the activities room at the nursing home with each person answering questions. Queries included “Tell us a nursery rhyme” and “What is your favorite food?”

Laura, who was leading the activity, glanced down her list of questions on the paper in her hand. “All right, Irma,” she said, “Tell us what your favorite class was in school.”

“Arithmetic,” Irma said.

“Music,” Jim said.

“Social studies,” Dora said.

“Geography,” Lila said.

And then it was Sadie’s turn. Her eyes lit up as Laura stepped in front of her.

“So what was your favorite class in school, Sadie?”

Sadie’s eyes twinkled. “My favorite class was three o’clock! My only trouble was that I was still five miles from home.”

Permanently One

Story_squareYou know that some people show dogs and some show horses so it shouldn’t shock you that some people show rabbits, too.

At these shows, rabbits are required to have a tattoo in their left ear. A rabbit missing a tattoo is disqualified from a class.

Josie had three rabbits to show in one class and she had crutches after knee surgery. So friends offered to carry her entries to the show table.

“Check the tattoos,” she called out, “to be sure you have the right rabbit.”

Nicole peeked in the ear. “Um, Josie, there’s no tattoo.”

“None? Oh, dear.” Josie looked around. She was surrounded by other rabbit breeders and she lifted her voice. “Who has a tattoo pen with them?”

Somebody always had a tattoo pen.

“I’ll do it.” Terry held up her tattoo pen. “What is the tattoo in the ear?”

Josie checked her paperwork. “SPCOCOA.”

“Really.” Terry studied her for a moment. “In that ear you want me to put all that?”

Nicole fidgeted. A muffled voice blasted from the speakers above. “They’re calling for entries. We need to hurry.”

Josie threw her hands up. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Get whatever you can and we can substitute at the table.”

So that’s how a little brown rabbit named Cocoa ended up, for life, with the number one in her ear.

Louder please

SeasonsLola had already staked her spot in the front row before the singers arrived because she knew them and planned to catch up on life.

They were, after all, on the outside while she was tethered to her walker and assisted care. She was anxious for news.

They came in late and she settled in her chair, knowing she’d have time afterward for some news.

This was a weekly hymn sing in the nursing home and the group made their way through a dozen hymns before the singers closed out the morning’s entertainment.

“Susan,” Lola called out as Susan and the others gathered the hymnals. “Susan, you all need to talk louder. I couldn’t hear a word you said.”

“Really?” Susan came over to the table. “Not a word?”

“Nothing. I think you need to bring a microphone or something. You all have such soft voices. I couldn’t hear anything!”

Tess joined Susan at the table. “We have soft voices? I’m so sorry.”

Then Susan brightened up. “Lola, did you put in your hearing aids this morning?”

“No,” Lola said. “I need new batteries. Why?”

Susan and Tess smiled at each other. “Oh, just wondering.”

Under a satellite dish

Story_squareMy husband, sometimes known as the salvage king because he can spot diamonds in the rough from the far side of a yard sale, found a satellite dish for the taking a few years ago. You know the kind: 9 feet tall and once proof that the homeowner was a techie pioneer but now are older than your grandmother’s television.

He dumped the dish in our pasture until he could make a run to the recycler. “I put it face down so the kids wouldn’t get caught under it,” he assured me. Good plan  because at that time our kids were pretty good at exploring in places where they didn’t belong.

He dumped – er, tenderly laid –  the dish in the far corner of our 35-acre pasture. Shortly after, as the lovely prairie grass began to wave in the wind, we turned our sheep and goats loose to fend for themselves. It was much easier than tossing hay to them.

A few weeks later, I was doing my daily check of the herd and I could not find three baby goats. When you have 35 acres of rolling pasture, three little goats can find a lot of places to hide. I marched all 35 acres.

I was more concerned than their mothers, who munched the endless supply of prairie grass with no worries.

As I was completing my pasture sweep, our daughter said, “Be sure to check under the dish.”

“Oh, right. The dish that is lying face down on the ground so that you couldn’t get under it.”

She shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt to look.”

So we looked. Three baby goats staggered out from under their dark cave.

I don’t know how they got under there. I don’t know why their mothers didn’t stand guard. I don’t know why it occurred to our daughter to suggest we search there.

But I do know those baby goats survived. And, boy, were they thirsty.