I think I'm gonna have to take my half-full bottle of BBQ sauce out and show it to Mabel.
I always use a "half-full" bottle as opposed to a full or empty one. I've learned that a full bottle tells them nothing - only that you HAVE BBQ sauce, but not necessarily that you will USE it. An empty bottle has the same effect - empties can be picked up anywhere, even the NEIGHBOR'S trash.
But a HALF full bottle of BBQ sauce lets them know you have some - and more importantly - you aren't afraid to use it.
I've threatened EVERYONE in the barn with it - even cats. They don't know you aren't supposed to eat cats - and I'd like to keep it that way - fear of frying is the only way I keep them from rioting.
This afternoon, Mabel decided to "push a few buttons" - namely MINE. It was even during a time where I was being NICE to her.
It's one of those days where the temperature is right below freezing. The big water tank I have in the fence between the cows and the goats had a thin skin of ice on it this morning - the fire pot didn't QUITE live long enough for "ice free" water. I decided to break the ice up and let the critters have a drink. I waited until about 12:30 to start another fire.
When I got to the tank with my matches, the ice was still broken up enough for drinking, but - I ASSUME, anyway - it wasn't good enough for Mabel.
While I was waiting for the fire to get going good, I decided to be nice and put out another bale of hay for the cows. There was still some left, but I figured that they could have at another one (besides, I didn't want to go chop corn stalks in the fog...).
So, I mosey back into the barn, grab a hay bale, put it on my "bale buggy" I built for the purpose, then headed out the back door. Since it only takes about 3-4 minutes to wheel the bale down to the feeder, drop it off, and cut the twine, I only made a half-hearted attempt to shut the door behind me.
Besides, all three of the bovine were getting a drink, so there wasn't much concern about them heading for the barn.
It's the old "never trust a goat around an open gate", thing - only this time it was Mabel. The INSTANT I turned my back, she must have headed for the barn. She's usually pretty good about trudging up the hill, through the door, past the "snooker fence" and on into the milk stanchion. This time was no different, except.....
It wasn't time to milk, so there was no food in the stanchion pan.
I turned from my hay delivery duties to announce to the three that lunch was served, only to find one of them was missing. A quick scan of the pasture, shed, and surrounding area took about 10 seconds.
Nobody around but two hungry calves, a goofball LGD, and a goat begging for a hand-out over the fence. I circled the buggy around, headed up the hill, and almost had a head-on collision with my wayward cow. I had to stop and allow her to pass before I could go through the door.
The best estimation of the time she spent inside the barn is about 2 minutes - long enough by all accounts.
I chastised her on her way past me, but the smirk on her face - and the low grunt of laughter - told me she didn't CARE what I had to say. At any rate, I headed on into the barn - closing the door behind me - wheeled my bale buggy to where I store it, then proceeded on through the milk room.
There, on the stanchion floor was a nice, steamy pile of fresh Bovine "by-product"....
Evidently, she had just enough time to make it all the way to the milk room before she cut loose.
Also evidently, she wasn't happy about finding an empty pan....
I think her and those cats are in cahoots, and conspiring against me.
I just KNOW the cats are behind it....it fits their style.
Sunday, December 13, 2009