Everybody around here has been on their best behavior out of respect for the Farm Manager. She’s always been short, but she’s short-handed now, too.
It’s kind of not true because there are lots of people around here now, but most of them are useless. There’s only one lady who helps outside. She pops out the kitchen door, lets the sheep out for breakfast, and then we don’t see her again until the next day. The Farm Manager doesn’t celebrate morning, and it’s looking like the Bartender made his last pot of coffee a couple months back.
The Farm Manager isn’t just short, she’s slow. In all ways. The sheep are smarter than they look and they have got her figured out. Their life goal is to bust into the aviary and chase ducks as often as they can. So this morning, she had her arms full of this-and-that, and with perfect timing and precision, Charlie streaked past her and headed straight for the chicken food. The joke was on him because the Farm Manager sprinkles cat food in it for Pearly Mae, and it kind of stinks. He made a snorting noise and exited the barn to chase the ducks.
The Farm Manager cussed a bit and then left the aviary. Charlie, not getting attention for being bad, went to the gate, paced back and forth to be let out. The Farm Manager ignored him, even though she was only pretending to work. Trust me, I know what that looks like. She fed Hamish some crackers as Charlie looked on and stopped pacing. She opened the gate. Charlie backed up, and while she was thinking that over, Hamish snuck up behind her. Charlie suddenly lunged through the open gate. Hamish is no fool, and he lunged, too, but into the aviary. With the sheep passing on opposite sides of her, she spun like a revolving door, but she did not slip on the mud and fall splat like she usually does. That was disappointing.
Now Hamish was in the aviary. Unlike Charlie, Hamish isn’t “reward driven.” That’s technical talk for “doesn’t care that much about crackers.” He doesn’t chase ducks, though, and also turned up his nose at the cat food flavored chicken food. To our surprise, the Farm Manager simply went into the house and, I suppose, just plain forgot that Hamish was in the aviary with us.
She eventually showed up and let Hamish out. Funny thing is, sheep were’t the only visitors today. A pair of mallards wandered in at the end of the day. The Farm Manager demonstrated slow for us because that’s the only way to get rogue mallards out of the aviary. Move fast and they fly straight up and hurt themselves on the chickenwire roof. Mosey around and they’ll mosey on out ahead of you. Maybe she’s not as slow as she looks.