COUNTRY ECHOES

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A pleasant afternoon in May has completely captivated me. I am sitting quite comfortably on a pile of new lumber, out in back of the barn. We are doing some needed remodeling and the lumber has been here for some time. Ah! That piney smell! It brings back memories of vacations in pine woods, a brand new cabin we stayed in one night, and some mountains we climbed in Glacier National Park last summer.

Under the circumstances I'm sorry I didn't hunt up this spot before. Yes there are even hints of Christmas trees in this clean fragrance, but a cabin among pine trees, with a clear air all around would suit me anytime and NO CATS.

Change of locality Mary and I have come to our farm pond. She has taken off her tennis shoes and is attempting retrieval of the poor old sinking rowboat. Here we find just plain old summer smells water, fish, and the sand beach which we have on one end, and also NO CATS.

Now Mary is getting some trout chow. Ah! The colorful fish are leaping way out of the water in rain bowed joy and appreciation. The Head of the Family has now joined us and he and Mary have tipped the water out of the boat and she has it out on the pond. Mother like, I wonder at the wisdom of it. Father is fixing a screen across the overflow as heavy rains brought the water to almost overflow level. The drainage tile water is being pumped into it from the pump bay. Things are looking up at Lake Almae.

Mary has returned with almost as much water in her conveyance as she had before they tipped it over. The truth is, we need a new boat, but NO MORE CATS.

Onto more fragrance and beauty also. Whatever could smell as fresh as a woodland in the spring? Violets are daintily blossoming under foot and not a mosquito to molest my enjoyment. Someone has parked the aging side delivery rake in an open spot here in the woodlot. A shooting star has pushed its blossom up through the rusty tines. The high metal seat makes an excellent perch for me and my writing-pad. Some ambitious bird is chitchatting away merrily up over my head. I can't determine what kind he or she is. Anyway her music is downright cheerful. I will assume only females trill like that.

A walk in the woods should' produce a suitable, sittable stump. Not this one, it has raspberry or blackberry bushes tangled all around it.

Ahhere is a fallen tree. After careful scrutiny I decide no Jimmy Skunk or Snippy Snake is living here, so decide to set for a spell. Lovely ferns are curling up over its side. Wild geraniums, and some sticky persistent little pest of a plant are everywhere.

Last year we planted a couple of packages of wild flower seed here under the trees. We are looking for flower catalog results. Here are NO CATS.

But Back up at the house now that is quite another matter. Three absolutely tireless young kittens are busily shredding one of my avidly anticipated and carefully cultivated flower beds to nothing but ruins. Maybe I came out here to escape the pain of watching them, or I may have feared I would commit murder before the sun sets on my wrath. I am almost certain those kittens shall be moved to the barn TONIGHT.

If I can retrieve my sweater from a blackberry bush this Patricia Rabbit will go back to the haunts of the working farm wife. No not yet. I see a trillium. and how comfortably the brown leaves rustle underfoot, Surely I must lay one blue violet across my page, for the sake of sentiment. Over to my left the shooting stars are spreading their basal leaves into a proper collar to frame the anticipated flowers. A wild strawberry thrusts three sets of three-loabed, saw-toothed leaves toward the warm sun. A yellow violet just said, 'Hi there!'' Now a mayflower adds his greeting.

Well I can't put it off. It's back to the kittens and if they have done more damage, who knows the outcome? Right now they don't have a kittnish appeal to me whatsoever, But I expect they will grow up. Cats usually do. In the meantime what about my lovely hosta lilies, and my, vinca minor, and OH! THOSE POOR BROKEN OFF TULIPS!, There is a choice to make. Either ' it is the kitten to the barn or me to the woods. After all there are mice that need catching in the barn. On second thought I DO live in my house among my flower beds and I like it here. I have decided to stay. Not one being given to escapism my squatter's' rights win. RATS TO CUTE CATS.