On Thursday, Hick and The Pony took off for Oklahoma again. The Pony had an appointment for registration at midday on Friday. I stayed home, having always had a policy that leaving for Oklahoma within five days of getting back from Oklahoma smacks of travel gluttony.
The care and feeding of Hick's critters fell on my shoulders. The dogs and cats were easy as pie, what with their food supply and dishes being located on the porch and in the garage, both places I frequent on a daily basis. The chickens are not hard to feed, but require a walk across the yard to the vicinity of Shackytown, meaning you get a good soaking if the rains pour down like today. The nutritional needs of the fowl also require the upper-body strength of a world-class clean-and-jerker.
Hick's chicken feed is kept in a metal garbage can. Like the kind people used to set out on the curb, before trash services started giving everybody sorting tubs seven ways to Sunday, so the customer could do the separating work for the items the trash service would make money on recycling. Not that I'm complaining, of course. Val is a friend of the environment. And besides, she lives outside the city limits, and pays a fortune for a trash truck to drive up in here whenever they feel like it, usually about three days a month due to high water or snow or a bad hair day, and empty the big green plastic dumpster with the broken hinge and handle that they provided her with 18 years ago.
The problem with keeping chicken feed in a metal garbage can is that squirrels (who are quite fond of chicken feed) have tiny little hands and tiny little brains with just enough smarts to take the lid off a metal garbage can. So...Hick had to find a way to outsmart them. Stop thinking of him as Bill Murray trying to get that gopher on the golf course! Hick has not yet had an inkling of building a Caddyshack, and I hope nobody tips him off. No, the way Hick outsmarts the big bad squirrels is to weight down the lid of the chicken feed garbage can with a wheel. That's right. The metal rim from a car tire. Don't know which car is missing its wheel, but that's what I had to heft to open up the can and dispense three metal scoops of chicken feed.
My sweet, sweet Juno and Puppy Jack followed me over to the livestock area. They knew something was afoot, because my red Crocs hardly ever traverse that route. They were quite diplomatic, though you could see them purposefully slowing their gait, and looking at each other like spry 50-year-olds humoring their oxygen-tank-pulling septuagenarian mother down the main aisle of a casino.
Once the fowl were clucking over their meal, the guineas bullying the chickens, and the big turkey all chill like a giant who knows might means right...I headed to feed Billy the goat and Barry the mini pony. Yes. They were already named when we got them.
Apparently squirrels are not so fond of sweet feed. But Billy and Barry luurrrrves 'em some sweet feed. You can smell it the minute the metal lid comes off their metal garbage can of food. Billy took to cuttin' up and banging his head against the woven metal fence, and Barry whinnied like I was his long lost paramour. I poured their one-and-a-half metal scoops of sweet feed into the narrow trough Hick made them by cutting a segment of PVC pipe in half lengthwise. Barry promptly whooshed his portion out of the trough and onto the ground by snorting through his horsey nostrils. Billy ping-ponged from one end of the trough to the other, taking a bite here and there like a kid (heh, heh, I said KID about a goat, get it?) off his ADD meds.
The entire feeding experience only took about 10 minutes, though I lingered to commune with the critters a bit longer.
The most disturbing moment was this:
Yes. Billy has a problem getting his head stuck in the fence. He DOES have little horns under that piece of plastic pipe Hick duct-taped on to thwart the problem before it reared its trapped head.
Over by Shackytown, no one can hear you scream.