Rain on a Tin Roof

The skies were heavy this morning when I awoke from a good night’s sleep.  I knew the forecast was for showers and thunderstorms, but I took a bit of time for tea and a bagel.  Alas, by the time I had finished, the rain was beginning to fall.

As I made my way to the barn to fill up grain buckets, the sound of the rain pinging on the barn roof greeted me and the thunder rolled in the distance.  There is something quite nostalgic and comforting about the sound of rain on a tin roof.  It evokes images of simpler times from the past.

Rain on a tin roof brings forth images of cows and horses contentedly munching hay and grain in roomy stalls.  It evokes the smells of dusty haylofts filled with freshly cut hay where children would play, cats would pounce on unsuspecting mice, and chickens would hide clutches of eggs to set and hatch.  It recaptures a time when the family worked together, played together, and stayed together.

Our barn is a work in progress – it houses animals and hay in the winter, equipment in the spring, summer, and fall.  Our barn will be ever evolving as our farm grows and changes – but it is my hope that our barn will evoke fond memories for our daughter someday when we are gone.

The sodden landscape is now obscured by thick fog and the thunder continues to echo around the farm.  The rain is heavier now, creating a loud cacophony on the barn roof.  The animals are all tucked in, dry and comfortable in their shelters and I have another blog post ruminating in the back of mind.

You see, my father-in-law has taught me that a barn is a living thing….

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A Dark and Rainy Night

One two-edged sword of living on a farm is orphaned domestic animals.  Dogs and cats are routinely dropped off at farms by folks who know that farmers care about animals.  I would venture to say that most farms have experienced such a drop-off.

Our little orphan came to us from a fellow farmer and neighbor.  Immediately hang up the phone when you hear the words, “Sue here.  Can you do me a favor?”  When those words are so innocently spoken, you need to run for your life because a tiny, gray fuzzball will soon follow – tiny meows will melt your heart and tiny paws will grip you and never let go.

The story of our little guy begins when he was about 4 weeks old – old enough to see, but not old enough to go to the bathroom by himself.  But I digress.  He was dropped off on a chilly, rainy night in May at our neighbor’s farm.  Wet, cold, and alone, she found him by her barn and brought him into the house.  Due to work schedules, they were unable to devote the time to nursing the little guy through his infancy.  So we entered the picture, ready to foster this little creature until he was old enough to go back as a barn cat.

When she arrived with our little bundle, he was crying as tiny kittens are prone to due when they are hungry and separated from their mommas.  He was small and fit into my palm.  He snuggled against my neck, burying himself in my hair – and then my daughter’s neck and hair.  Thus began a love affair with the tiniest kitten I had ever taken care of.

Bottle feeding, warming him with a heated corn pillow, holding him close to comfort him -oh, did I mention he wasn’t old enough to go to the bathroom on his own?  After he had been with us for 24 hours, I realized he had not used his tiny litter box at all.  Quick trip to the computer and the SPCA website informed me that kittens in their infancy are licked by their mothers to facilitate urination.  Out came a warm, damp paper towel to do the job of surrogate mommy.  Presto!  It worked.  Within a day he was using the litter – for which we were very thankful.

We fell in love with this little creature who was so dependent on us for his survival.  He thrived on our love and attention – and we realized that there was no way we could send him back to become a barn cat.  A call to our friend confirmed her evil intentions.  She had been hoping all along that we would keep him and we were more than happy to oblige.

So here we are, four years later with a beautiful gray cat that has entwined himself into our lives and hearts.

Thank you, Sue.