Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Little Pepper’s Big Adventure
It has been a couple weeks for the record book around our place.
Our son broke his arm jumping on hay bales. Silage chopping came and went, we farrowed a round of sows, had a beef and pork delivery, started our first week of home schooling, hayed our millet, and our specialty meat products we have been waiting on for a couple months arrived.
It was like drinking from a high flowing garden hose. Thankfully the Lord carried us through, and with the help of our family we are still kicking.
It’s during times like this that random things, creatures, or events try to be the icing on the crazy cake. They become the laugh or cry moments in hectic times.
Enter Little Pepper.
Little Pepper is our runt barn cat. Thus named because his black and white markings are exactly like Big Pepper’s (formerly just Pepper). His mama isn’t exactly tame, and I do believe she was relieved when, after unsuccessfully trying to move him from the hay pile to the shed with the rest of her brood over a two-day period, our four-year-old daughter zeroed in on him from a quarter mile away.
Our daughter immediately began the process of loving him to either full life, or death, in that way ranch kids do. Calf milk replacer mixed with dog food, time on the porch, and regular contortionist sessions did the trick. While he still looks a little rough around the edges, Little Pepper was unaware such a scenario would kill a normal kitten, and I believe he’s going to make it.
A couple weeks back he attended fair, where he won a participation ribbon in the little kid class. If he wasn’t the best cat in the world before, he immediately reached that status upon earning a ribbon.
I should point out that I do not share my daughter’s— both kids’ really – enthusiasm regarding Little Pepper, or tame cats in general.
In the midst of our hectic last two weeks we had folks we know out to get a pig. Of course, our daughter had to show them Little Pepper, and explain all his virtues.
They left and we went on with our evening. Later that night, a man called to say Little Pepper was fine, but had somehow ridden an hour back to his home under/in his pickup. I told my husband to tell the man he could keep him – we currently have five other tame cats who “belong” to our kids. But oh no, he had seen how much our daughter loved that cat.
So, the next day, after selling at farmers market, I had to forego my usual grocery shopping to drive all the way across town to pick up a little potbellied, yowling, black and white kitten.
His temporary household had loved him enough to get him is own kennel at night, feed him breakfast, and he had just finished part of the man’s chicken sandwich before coming to meet me. I weakly asked if the man was sure he didn’t want to keep him – they seemed to get along great. But no, he insisted Little Pepper head back home to my daughter.
I then drove an hour home with the little cat perched on my shoulder with his rear end in my face.
But, I was greeted by an ecstatic little girl when I arrived, and her brother. The two of them promptly broke into a fight over who got to hold Little Pepper first. I just had to shake my head and chuckle, and go park the pickup and trailer. In large part because the only other option at that time was to cry.
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