A well-behaved barn crowd and a sad, lonely chicken
Jean · Jan. 20, 2007
Tonight I was showing Ellen the ropes for putting the barn crowd to bed. Usually the most entertaining and challenging part of the process is getting 10 barn animals into 6 barn stalls, in the right places. Usually 9 of those animals (Petunia being the only exception cuz she's already inside) are crowding at the doors and ready to mow down any human trying to act as traffic controller. Usually, I feel a moment of panic as they all barge in and Spritely goes in Swinger's stall and the donkeys race to Spritely's stall, and the sheep go in Gideon's stall...well, you get the picture.
So what happens tonight when I'm about to demonstrate the finesse I've developed and impress the boots off Ellen with how well I manage to keep my cool and get everyone in the correct place? The crew decides to change their habits, and come in one at a time and march quietly and nicely to their own stall. I was reminded of last year at the passport office, where you stand behind a line and wait for the clerk to call you forward. We opened the barn doors, and the only animals waiting to come in were the donkeys, who walked nicely into their stall. I poked my head out and saw Annie, Kissy and Grammy, the sheep, waiting their turn. Kissy and Annie came in, and with a little encouragement, Grammy followed suite.
And then I looked out the open doors and saw ....no one. We had to go out and call the horses. And instead of stampeding in willy-nilly, Swinger walks into his stall, followed a few minutes later by Spritely who goes into her stall. Five minutes later she's followed by Gideon, who needed a little encouragement to get past Swinger who likes to nip his bunkmates as they wander by. That leaves Carl, who patiently waits for us to finish with feeding ritual and to make up his bed for him. Even he was cooperative tonight, only keeping us waiting a couple of minutes to be able to close the barn doors, instead of the 15 or twenty it took last night to get him in.
Oh Ellen, you are in for a surprise Monday when you get to solo! I wish I had a webcam out there.
As for the chickens, Hank the rooster went to his adoptive home today. We moved Edna to the other side of the two-part chicken enclosure to live with Rusty, Pleeze, Jerome and Helga. Hank's new family took a crate in, and Hank hopped right in. And Edna rushed over to the adjoining fence and began her sob, sob, sobbing. OMG, my heart went out to her! And as Hank was about to be carried out, all the others came and lined the adjoining fence and gave him a military salute. When I checked at 7:00, Edna was still sob, sob, sobbing by the fence to the old space she shared with Hank. Who would have thought that an old curmudgeon like Hank could evoke such grief in the little hen who preferred to sleep in a dog crate rather than share a henhouse with him?
All in all it was a great day - the laundry got done, the hay has been delivered, Carol had visitors aplenty to keep her out of our hair (AND she did a great job cleaning house from her wheelchair with some assistance from Caroline in the big dogs' room), Hank got a home, Nicole and Mo ran the dogs, and Ellen, Carol and I got to eat Deb and Chris's awesome shepherd's pie for supper and Deanne's wonderful brownies for dessert.