It's been something of a roller-coaster here at Falling Downs.
Thursday night, after I'd stepped out for my bed-time toke, Chloe the Cat slipped out the door as I was slipping in.
That's not like Chloe. She'll maybe venture onto the front stoop on a sunny afternoon, but that's about it.
I didn't give it much thought, but reminded the Farm Manager to let the cat in before she retires for the evening.
Friday morning comes and there's no Chloe in the house. Apparently she was nowhere to be seen when the FM went to let her in.
We spent the morning looking for her, around the house, the garage, the barn, calling her name and shaking a bag of cat treats.
Chloe is somewhere around twenty years old. We braced ourselves for the worst. I spent the afternoon researching "behaviour of dying cats."
There's a vast trove of info out there about how ageing cats are wont to steal away and die alone when the time has come.
We had obviously come to that time.
I must admit we both got a little misty-eyed contemplating the demise of our beloved companion of twenty years. She could be, depending on her mood, aloof, cloyingly affectionate, distainful, or openly hostile. All
within a fifteen minute span.
Now she was gone... oh how I wished I could have rubbed her belly one last time.
Too late for that.
Even as tears flowed freely, I was able to discern the outlines of a silver lining.
We didn't have to pay $350 for the vet to put her down.
So we'd made peace with the fact that Chloe was gone to her reward. I was sitting out on the stoop around midnight last night, well into my cups, having that bed-time toke, when I thought I heard a meow.
When you're half in the bag and you just fired up a fattie you don't believe the first thing you hear, and I didn't.
Then I heard it again.
I got up and wobbled off in the general direction of the meowing.
It was coming from the barn. It briefly occurred to me that I should inform the FM of our good fortune but I thought better of it.
This could be a hallucination, triggered by grief and wishful thinking and good weed.
When I got closer to the barn I actually saw her, the dead cat I'd been mourning moments before. Then she ducked into the barn.
The barn here at Falling Downs is of course falling down, so we don't venture in there without good cause. This was good cause. By then I'd alerted the FM and between us we retrieved our dear Chloe.
We celebrated well into the morning!
We woke up just in time to see the Lundys off-loading their cow-calf pairs in the barnyard. The cows had wintered at their home farm, but were now set free to graze in our lush meadows for the summer.
It's one thing to see wee calfs romp and frolic and kick up their heels. It's quite another to witness a 1400 lb. cow do the same. They were just delighted to be here!
We were even more delighted to see them here.
And tonight, twenty-year-old Chloe caught a mouse.