Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Dog and Pony Show
Eyes flew open at 4:15 this morning. "Ohmigawd, I forgot the apple treats!" My own dog-and-pony show here at Farview is nothing compared to the three-ring circus down the road. Two more cats have been added and hummingbird feeders have been hung since my last tour of duty. I'd gone down the night before for a crash refresher course; took too long and five of my six goats would not go in the darkened barn when I got home. They spent the night outside and I spent that night listening to the coyote pack yip and howl and fearing what I'd find in the morning. (All was well.) Last night was my first night as caretaker and the plan needed revision. Not wishing a rerun of the previous fiasco, I tucked my herd in first while they could see to the back of their stalls, then drove down the road for the next act.
Four cats get equal portions of food. Two get fed in the house; one gets fed on the patio; one gets fed down in the barn. Two cats must be locked in the house at night; one cat can come and go at will; one cat sleeps anywhere, probably in the barn. I was lucky; the two cats under house arrest did come in when I called and I was able to run around and shut doors. Two of three hummer bottles were empty; I'll deal with them this morning.
Taking the remaining portion of cat food, I drove down to the barn where I was met by Shadow and Cricket, the donkey and burro, who have the run of the property. They each get a half-cup of pellets and share a half-flake of alfalfa and a half-flake of grass hay. Grabbing another cup of pellets for Frick and Frack, the alpacas that have been sequestered in a pen across the way, I went into their yard to be greeted by their cranky screeching. (They'll get grass hay in the mornings.) Remembering to tie the door open so the phantom cat could get in but keep Shadow and Cricket out, I left the food for Sofia, the cat that zipped by like a flash. That left only the twenty or thirty chickens who were reluctant to go to bed early and had to be herded into their room. Free-ranging as the hens do, eggs are laid everywhere during the day and must be gathered at night. They're particularly fond of the feed mangers in three or four stalls, but they also choose boxes and corners, so it's an egg hunt in semi-light. Inside animals in, outside animals out, all critters fed. I came home and put my own chickens to bed. Mission accomplished and the curtain could fall on the last act.
Drat! I forgot to cut up the apples.