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Today I have two rescue stories. In the first, Bob is off to the rescue. In the second, my husband is the one being rescued.

A week ago, we heard tiny meowing coming from near the barn. It sounded like a kitten trapped somewhere. I walked around the yard, looking for a feline in trouble. I didn't find anything, mostly because the calling stopped when I got close to the barn.

A day later, I heard meows again, but I wasn't any luckier finding the cat.

Finally, just before leaving for my speaking engagement at the Black Creek Library, we found the cat. It was in our yard, high up in a basswood tree.

I called to the kitty for supper. It was one of our regular barn cats. It should have hurried over for food, but it didn't. It seemed afraid to come down. I couldn't believe it. I thought that was a fairytale that cats got caught up in trees. I've watched our cats go up and down trees forever, and none ever got stuck. Well, we had one stuck now.

Bob thought about getting a ladder, but the cat was too high. His next solution was a good one. He hauled out the old bale elevator, cranked it up and put it against the tree. The cat reacted — it went even higher. I began to think the cat would only come down when it got too weak to hold on and fell.

We watched that cat all day. Again, it didn't come down for food. Luckily, sometime later, it got up the nerve and took the elevator down. Of course it had to walk. Bob's rescue attempt took a while, but it worked.

The second rescue came the following day. Bob was anxious about his riding lawnmower. When he tucked it away for winter, it would only run properly for 15 minutes before shutting down. He figured it would take a bunch of tinkering to get it running properly.

To his surprise, the mower started right off, and even though our grass wasn't very tall, Bob set about cutting. He expected his machine to sputter to a stop soon, but it didn't, so he kept going.

It was a lovely day. I was busy taking the straw covering off my flower beds, until my cellphone rang. The ID said it was Bob. I knew he was in trouble.

Bob needed rescuing. His mower was still working, but he was stuck in a ditch.

I got into the utility cart I had filled with straw and went to see what I could do. Maybe a little tug with our two-wheel drive cart would get him unstuck.

I arrived to find the mower really hung up. Bob had gone into a wet spot, and the mower's wheels were just spinning. We hooked the chain to the machine thinking we'd give it one pull before going for a tractor. That's when neighbors started arriving.

Setup work on a planter stopped when the Williamson brothers heard Bob's mower quit. 'Uh, oh,' they thought. Bob must be in trouble. They hopped in their Gator and took off to help my husband.

After the brothers arrived, I knew I wouldn't have to get down in the mud. That made me very happy.

Two minutes later, a second off-road vehicle showed up. It was another neighbor. Jim had driven past in his car, only to return to help, too.

Another couple minutes passed, and a third vehicle arrived. This time it was the brother's father. Rick was in his pickup.

I wish I had my camera. All the guys were laughing and joking as they analyzed the situation. Finally, with a little tug from the pickup, the mower was free. Boy, it's great to have helpful neighbors. We are blessed.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;Sunnybook@aol.com;www.SusanManzke.net

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