I have an easy job. I watch my flock, honk at the moon, and write an occasional blog post.
The Farm Manager has a simpleton’s schedule: out the door before lunchtime, in the door before dark. I do the heavy lifting. I supervise the distribution of snacks, watch the flock from atop my stump, and shuffle them around if they meander when they ought to be hoofing it. Late summer and autumn are pretty boring, and we all like boring. Nice predictable days, sleeping in and early retirement. But it’s winter, now.
My big job every day is to watch the flock while we are in the back yard. Any fool could do that, but I have to round them up and get everyone back into the aviary at dusk. A million crows fly over on their way to roost and that’s when it’s time to go in. The hens are all organized and go in as a group, except Pearly Mae. She’s kind of a wild card. My gal Cubicle does what I ask, and that dummy Shamrock thinks she likes him, so he follows her in. Then the rest of the ducks follow them in and finally the Muscovy hens. They’re a little weird.
Lately, Vinny has been having a tough time. His BFF Tony is gone now, and Vinny is hella old and nearly blind. Boxcar has taken over for Tony, kind of a seeing-eye-duck for Vinny. There’s only so much I can do, but yesterday when the Farm Manager came back with the sheep, Vinny was still stuck going in circles, like he was lost. It was a little dark and he was still out in the yard with Boxcar and nearly got left out. The Farm Manager double checked on him tonight. In fact, she generally checks on him all morning, too, making sure he gets some lettuce and duck food.
And then there’s Bev, Hamish’s duck girlfriend. The Farm Manager checked for Vinny tonight, but only glanced around for Bev. She knew right where to look, though: in the sheep pen. Hamish’s bed is a mountain that used to be a straw bale. It’s perfect for ducks. Bev waits for Hamish in the straw, but he’s a bit nonchalant about their relationship. What really happens is that Charlie snoops around until he finds her, she pecks at him, he frowns at her, then she waggles her tail and heads home. Same thing every night, this time of year. Out late.
It’s always entertaining to watch the sheep come in from the front yard if the Farm Manager has been slacking. If it gets even a hair past dusk, Charlie won’t come in. He balks outside the gate, a real scaredy cat. Hamish marches right in, eager to get at any birdseed we might have overlooked in the back yard. The Farm Manager’s always got her hands full of stuff, like that puny hen Princess that lives inside and won’t walk in the mud. The minute she finds a place to set Princess down, Charlie prances in like it was a big joke. Probably was.
I guess if we didn’t have stragglers I wouldn’t have a job.
Yours truly, Norman
Extra Credit: Baad Romance