Norman’s Nonsense 5 – Indoor Recess

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Norman’s Nonsense 5 – Indoor Recess

It rained today. It rained yesterday. It rained the day before that. It rained for the two weeks before that. And if the rain wasn’t bad enough on its own, the sheep got indoor recess again today.

Technically, what that means is they are allowed into the aviary to wreak havoc. When the Farm Manager opens the gate, they roar into the aviary, looking tor chicken food. They have skinny noses and long sticky tongues and they can eat enough chicken feed in five minutes to give them tummy aches. That’s not enough to stop them, but the clever Farm Manager locks them out of the barn where the chicken food is. The hens can still duck under the gate but the sheep can’t do that, so indoor recess snack time isn’t a thing. They still come in and roar around like maniacs, though, making my job a nightmare.

It’s worth waiting for The Grand Finale. That’s also called Getting the #$%& Sheep Out of the Aviary. Because it’s raining and getting dark, they are usually already in their pen when she comes back outside. Led by Hamish, they leave the pen, frolicking and dancing their way over to the aviary ahead of her. They want to make certain she knows they have been in there, and in fact, they own it now, and want to live there. So after a bit of jumping and crazy antics they make a mad dash through the gate and turn and look at her, defiantly. They will not leave.

I have done my job, ducks and hens are in for the night, and the flock watches the drama anxiously. We are all in the aviary, the hens have snuck under the gate and they are all roosting. Wherever, as it turns out. Remind me to tell you about Miss Pearly Mae Who Cannot Make Up Her Mind. What a dingbat.

Pearly Mae is white. This is not a good color for a hen who takes dust baths and then runs around in the rain.

The Farm Manager is the most clever human I have ever met, though to be fair the only other one I ever see is The Bartender. Anyway, she has a pocket full of crackers. She pulls out a couple saltines and displays them flagrantly, making sure both sheep see them. Charlie, the hungry one, runs right out to her. Hamish, the sulky one, stands around for a minute until he sees that Charlie has already eaten three crackers. He finally runs out to get a cracker, but this is where we all laugh at the poor Farm Manager. Charlie runs back into the aviary as Hamish comes out for his cracker. There are no more crackers. The Farm Manager’s jacket pocket only holds four.

Not to be bested by sheep, she wanders off to their pen. She takes a detour to the kitchen, stocks up on crackers, four more, maximizing the holding capacity of her jacket pocket. She begins the evening ritual of stuffing the feed bins with orchard grass. (We’re still astounded that sheep are nocturnal. Dobby used to eat all night long, too, but the sheep are more like him than we ever expected.) Charlie, the hungry one, arrives first. He runs right into his pen, checking on her like she might not fill both bins correctly. Hamish follows and stands on the deck, outside the pen, analyzing the situation. The Farm Manager feeds Charlie a cracker. This gets Hamish’s attention. The Farm Manager feeds Charlie a second cracker. Hamish knows there are only four. He runs into the pen as the Farm Manager deftly exits. She offers a cracker to each sheep and slams the gate shut.

There’s a bit of baa-ing as she heads back our direction. She closes the aviary gate. She opens the barn gate. She opens the two cat gates, so they can skulk around all night if they want to. She counts the hens, clucking at where they decided to roost this time. She tips her hat at me, and exits. Indoor recess, we all love it.

Yours truly, Norman

Extra Credit: How many crackers did Charlie get? Hamish?

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