An interesting feature about our place here in Cobalt is the number of outbuildings surrounding the house, on and beyond our property. On the property “proper” sits the house, a garage, a bunkie, and a powder magazine. All quite normal for this part of the world.
No, not powder room, powder magazine. The building that holds explosives.
I know! Welcome to Cobalt!
Other structures, like those in the woods to the south of our property are mouldering old sheds and former animal enclosures. Presently they store all manner of cast-offs: stuff that didn’t made it to the landfill for lack of resources, but needed tucking away somewhere out of sight. We are tackling these as seasons change and energy allows. As you know, out of sight, out of mind.
To the north are two larger buildings, two wood cabins that sit on mining property and may have been squatters’ buildings if they were not part of the mine operation. Reiner feels that mine workers lived there, but I’m not convinced. There is no sign of chimney or stove pipes, so perhaps they housed livestock or stored equipment.
When we moved up, the one closest to the house contained more cast-off stuff and in the front lean-to, a nice pile of dried firewood. The previous owner used the second building to house his geese and ducks. Reiner has poked around in both buildings, but I hesitate to explore inside. I helped haul the firewood from the lean-to last year, but haven’t ventured beyond the threshold of the main doorway.
Black Cat, however, knows the insides of both sheds intimately, having spent an afternoon on the lam. A few weeks after we moved in, he went AWOL, not realizing that his status as outdoor cat had been revoked.
It was a great day, clear and breezy: a perfect day for hanging laundry on the line. I took the first load of wash out through the patio door. Black Cat made a move to join me, but I managed to close the door in time. With the second load, however, he took advantage of my fumble as I struggled with the wonky screen door. Damn thing kept jumping off the track.
The cat made his escape, and no amount of scolding or pleading could stop him.
I followed him off the deck and toward the cabins. At one point I was within a few paces of catching him. He dodged into the woods and disappeared from sight.
Reiner tried to pick up the trail, but soon gave up. The undergrowth was impenetrable, and besides, who knew what was underfoot? This was a mine site, after all. Agnico has filled or barricaded the open cuts and holes, but over the years the earth settles and subsides. Coils of guy wires and broken utility poles lie concealed by moss and leaves.
I could hardly settle for the rest of the day. Every twenty minutes or so, I’d call for Black Cat. I was a wreck. By dinner time, I figured that he was a goner.
After the meal, I sat and moped about that dumb old cat. I berated myself for not taking enough care, I berated the cat for being a cat and I hollered at the crows for making such a racket.
Why were the crows upset? Did they know something I didn’t?
Sure enough, the birds were fussing over an interloper. A big ol’ black boy, who was skulking around the wood sheds, having the time of his life exploring uncharted territory. He was hungry by now, and relieved to see a familiar face. Even then, he struggled when Reiner nabbed him and brought him back inside.
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Categories: Mining Heritage