THE CHURCH AT SAN JOSÉ DEL VADO
Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth
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I chanced across this little village on my back to Taos following the branding on Rowe Mesa, at the beginning of my travels in Betsy. It was for a while an important Pecos River Crossing on the Santa Fe Trail. Today it small, quiet town; the home, I believe, of Russel Means, aleader in the American Indian Movement of the 1960s.
Several days ago, Thea noticed sounds coming from the attic. Soon the sounds grew to the point of sounding like a bowling alley upstairs. Except that there are no stairs. Then we began to hear Meowing coming from the attic. We heard that some cats had died of Plague on the other side of Taos, so we decided it was time to get them out of there. Thea called animal control, and a deputy sheriff came out, climbed up on the roof, and braved the 120 degree or worse heat to go in and get the cats out. There were none. They must have left for the day. He sealed off the door that had apparently been left open by the satellite dish installer. All done. We thought. That evening, the sounds resumed. We called him back, and he discovered the problem. Our house was originally a flat roofed adobe. The roof consisted of a foot or two of earth on top of pine planks, lain across vigas, or log beams. Then, sometime in the fifties, a rather primitive pitched tin roof was built above the flat roof, creating a small attic space, running the length of the long, narrow house.
About that time, a false ceiling was added in the bedroom, by attaching compressed fiber tiles to cross pieces nailed to the bottoms of the vigas That created a shallow, second attic beneath the first. A kitten had somehow become trapped in this space, and abandoned by its mother and siblings. The deputy left food and a trap in the attic, but apparently the kitten couldn’t get to it. The noise continued through the night. We weren’t sure how much longer the kitten could survive in the heat and the dark, and with no food or water.
This morning, when I got out of bed, in the other end of the house, where our bedroom now is, I heard the sounds of an electric reciprocating saw coming from the former bedroom, now guest room where the mewing had been coming from. Thea was up on a step stool with saw, chisel and hammer, determined to create an opening into the false attic. She got it open and we made a makeshift ramp for the cat to come down, but it required a jump of six or eight inches. I could coax him to the edge of the hole, and see him looking down, measuring, then backing off, repeatedly. Thea put out a dish of tuna to tempt him. The meows turned to howling and louder meowing.
I put a piece of the tuna at the edge of the opening, and spaced a few more pieces down the ramp. Nothing. Just loud, continuous crying.
I went outside and got some branches to make a “tree” for him to climb down. Then I took a slender branch, rubbed some tuna on the tip, and began wiggling it around in the opening. Pretty soon, I saw a tiny paw reach out for it. Then another, and then the kitten slipped and came sliding down the ramp. Thea picked him up and I knew it was over. Our family had just grown by a tiny, furry bit. We named him Atticus for obvious reasons.
I read somewhere the other day that all blogs turn into either politics or cat pictures. Well, here goes…
THEA WITH ATTICUS
ATTICUS LOVES TO SNUGGLE
And so, life goes on. And it is grand!