From Pipi’s Pasture: ‘Help’ with the chores | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: ‘Help’ with the chores

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

The cows are on summer pasture, and we have a summer corral routine in place here at Pipi's Pasture. So now, it's time to focus on other chores around the place, and there are plenty of them!

Before I can start on the inside cleaning, there's the garden and flower pots. So, this morning, I was planting beans and peas, and that's when my "helper" showed up.

"Helper" is not the best way to describe this small black cat. "Nuisance" is better, but I do appreciate his efforts at being friendly. The cat showed up here at Pipi's Pasture last fall, likely one from a litter of kittens born in the spring. He has always been friendly, but he's a little too affectionate, especially when I'm trying to get chores done.

The cat meets me on the front porch every morning as I'm leaving to do corral chores. He's is right there in front of my feet as I carry three buckets, one filled with calf bottles and two empty grain buckets (one inside the other). It isn't easy to walk with a cat rubbing on my legs, and it is especially hard to avoid walking on him. Worse, I'm afraid I'll trip.

At the carport, where we keep the grain, the cat sits on top of the tub that used to cover the grain sack as I measure out grain into two buckets. Then, I'm loaded down with grain and bottles as I start out for the corral again. The cat resumes walking in front of my feet. When we reach the gate, I have to set the buckets down, often on his tail. Amazingly, the cat never howls as he tries to get his tail loose.

All the way to the corral, I maneuver my way, pushing and sometimes even kicking the cat out of the way. Once I begin chores, he walks in front of me all along the corral fence as I put out hay and grain. He does spend some time visiting with the other cats there, however, so I get a little break.

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That brings me to planting the garden this morning. My helper was there, too, rolling in the dirt by my feet as I attempted to dig rows, plant seeds and cover them up. There have been times that I unintentionally stepped on the cat while trying to work around him. However, I haven't found anything that discourages the cat from "helping" — at least, that's what he apparently thinks he's doing.

That's not the only" helper" here at Pipi's Pasture, either. The other is Turbo, the bottle calf that has called the backyard home since about April. You might remember, from a previous column, that he was a tiny calf, so we babied him. Though he is still small, he's certainly not tiny.

The backyard hadn't been watered so far this spring, so a couple of days ago, I pulled the hoses out from where they'd been all winter. They hadn't been neatly coiled; they were tangled up and kinked in places. I dislike having to detangle hoses, and the effort was made a lot worse when Turbo showed up. He wanted to play.

Turbo jumped around, like calves do. He got back and took a run at me, trying to butt. He tried to chew on my fingers. In the process, the calf got his feet tangled in the hose. I was trying to pull a length of hose through a loop, but now, there were feet to pull out of the loop, too.

Many minutes later, I had the hose spread out and the water started. I prayed Turbo would go to sleep, but no such luck. Every time I went out to change the water, he was there. At one point I happened to glance over at the fence.

My black helper cat was standing there.