These hot humid summer days have been barely tolerable for a temperate climate sissy pants like me. I am melting even as I get up in the morning, and our house has been two degrees warmer (93 degrees) than the out of doors.
One morning as I drove the ten miles of country roads to get to work in town, I was listening to the news on the car radio when I puzzled over why the radio station would be playing cat meows over the news. I turned off the radio, and realized the meows didn’t go away.
As soon as I was able, I pulled into a parking lot and surveyed my car from back to front, looking under seats, opened the back, scratched my head. Then the plaintive meowing started again—under the hood. I struggled with the latch, lifted up the hood and a distressed bundle of kitten fur hurtled out at me, clinging all four little greasy paws to my shirt. Unscathed except for greasy feet, this little two month old kitten had survived a 50 mile per hour ride for 20 minutes, including several turns and stops. He immediately crawled up to my shoulder, settled in by my ear, and began to purr. I contemplated showing up at a meeting at work with a kitten and grease marks all over me vs. heading back home with my newly portable neck warmer. I opted to call in with the excuse “my cat hitchhiked to work with me this morning and is thumbing for a ride back home” and headed back down the road to take him back to the barn where he belongs.
At that point, my meeting at work was already over so I dawdled in the barn before heading back down the road. I noticed the Haflinger horses had broken through our electric wire fencing into a more inviting adjacent field so I wandered out to check fence line. The hot wire must have been shorting out somewhere in the pasture. As I approached the fence, I heard numerous snaps and pops that I interpreted as hot wire shorting out in the dry grass and weeds, creating a potential fire hazard with the winds whipping up. I could hear snaps all up and down the fenceline, but could not see sparks to lead me to the problem spot.
As I studied the wire, I heard a little “snap” and a tiny seed pod burst open in front of my eyes, scattering its contents very effectively on the ground below. It was dried common vetch seed pods that were snapping and popping, not hot wire shorting out. They were literally exploding all up and down the fenceline in a symphony of seed release. Not a spark to be seen — at least not of the electrical variety — only botanical.
So I learned practical advice to be content on a hot day on the farm:
Remember to bang on my car hood before I start the ignition, cats do have nine lives, keep the hotwire hot to keep the horses where they belong, and especially, vetch doesn’t start wildfires, but explodes wildly in its noisy reproductive cycle. If vetch can find ecstasy on a hot day, so can we all.
It doesn’t get much better than that.