September 9, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.

Farmyard fun

By AMY KYLLO | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
Staff Writer

As the rope of the fence gate I was holding in my hand drifted with my robust shaking into the portion of the fence that was electrified, my older sister, who had the fence gate wrapped around her waist, got one of the bigger shocks of her life.

It all happened as we were playing horsey, with my older sister pretending to be a horse that I was driving, when the vigorous shake of the “reins” got us both into more than we had bargained for. I would like to mention that I also got shocked during the whole ordeal, but I guess having a hot wire fully wrapped around your waist is definitely worse than just holding it.

Fun on the farm was usually pretty easy to find. Luckily for me, not all my exploits were as shocking as that one.

A yearly farm adventure was the kittens. Growing up, our farm always had a pack of 15-20 cats which were — at least in nominal expectation — meant to keep the rodent population down. Their rodent diet was supplemented with dry food and waste milk, and though their effectiveness at doing their job was called into question regularly, they managed to produce soft, adorable kittens every summer.

Catching and taming those kittens became an important part of summer days. The process was replete with little snacks to bribe them with and the oh-so-delightful joy of touching their small noses and gazing at their round tummies as you cradled them in your hands.

As a young kid, my arms were covered in scratches from indignant or terrified cats and kittens unimpressed by my animal whisperer skills.
When I was young, the cats liked to hang out in what we called the “White Building.” The White Building was a dilapidated shed with the side of one wall missing. It was filled with cats, storage items and junk. Each year, Dad would take a tractor and bump the shed to make sure it was still stable. Though the building held little use to him and was an eyesore, he made the sacrifice of our barnyard aesthetic and didn’t tear it down until I was older because I enjoyed playing inside it almost every day.

One activity in the White Building was building cat palaces. I don’t know if the cats appreciated my efforts or not, but I had all the fun in the world taking the old 15-gallon teat dip barrels and bricks and other stuff stored inside and crafting my own makeshift jumbo farm “Legos” into cat habitations.

I even hosted a cat party once or twice. The party was probably not a thrilling experience for my family since the cats were considered guests of honor and were given a feast of food — I provided no refreshments for my human guests — while we played a game or two of cards. All I can say is that my family loved me and put up with a lot.

As I grew older, I began understanding the need and importance of finding at least some of the summer crop of kittens a new home. I remember the neighbors would stop by occasionally, and I would make sure their little girl had the opportunity to pet an irresistibly cute kitten, deviously knowing that once she had seen them, she would give her parents no peace until she got one.

Life has changed. You will never find me playing in electric wire; I respect fences more than cows do. I still love kittens though our population has petered out and the White Building has been replaced by lawn grass for well over a decade. I still host parties, but I try to focus better on my human guests than I did years ago. One important thing has not changed though. All those people who loved a silly little girl and went along with her games are still part of my life, and for that, I am thankful.


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