This is how it is. Every evening the goatmother comes out to clean up and pass around the hay. Once she gathers up an armload of hay, all bets are off as to what will happen next. Or maybe not since the operation seems to proceed in pretty much the same way no matter what. Ella stands with her feet on the headpiece of the hoof-trimming stand (as if she weren't tall enough already), which in turn is facing and right next to the entrance between the inner sanctum (where all the hay and Peanuts are stored) and the goats' part of the barn. In order to get the hay to our particular area (the girls' side of the barn), the goatmother must run the gauntlet. This means she must pass through the first gate, pass Ella (atop her precarious aforementioned perch), go through the gate between the boys' side and the girls' side, and make it across to the far side where the hay feeders are located. Doesn't sound too hard really. Or does it?
Step 1: The goatmother gathers an armload of hay, rising to about her line of sight, which makes it exceedingly difficult for her to see where she's going.
Step 2: The goatmother reaches to open the latch on the first gate, desperately seeking to balance said armload of hay on one side.
Step 3: As she passes through (one hand securing the gate behind her), the Ella sentinel reaches out and grabs a mouthful of passing hay which knocks the goatmother off balance.
Step 4: The goatmother regains balance just in time to pass through the second gate at the same time as myself (Not really room enough for two. The goatmother ought to think about losing some weight).
Step 5: The goatmother manages to regain her balance once again, actually makes it to the hay feeder, and opens the top trying to get the flakes apart. It's kind of like a game of skill where she has to get one flake in each side and still have one left for MY feeder in the corner.
Step 6: No matter which side the goatmother starts to fill, Boo is ALWAYS on the opposite side and must push her way between the goatmother and the feeder in order to gain immediate access. Being Nubian, it never occurs to her that she could, in fact, go around. Plus, Boo's being, well, obese, ALWAYS serves to unbalance the goatmother once again.
Step 7: The goatmother finally manages to get two flakes in the feeder without falling down and turns, third flake in hand, to head toward the corner feeder - at which time, I, atop the most conveniently placed spool, grab yet another mouthful of passing hay.
Step 8: The goatmother is momentarily spun about, but still manages to make it to the corner feeder with the last flake. (Woo Hoo! A score of 5.8 for the goatmother!)
As I said before, that's how it goes down. Day in and day out ... until ... last night. The goatmother's been thinking again (always a dangerous proposition). So this time when she started through gate one and reached back to latch it securely, she simultaneously turned and blew in Ella's face. I'm telling you, I don't know whether her breath was bad or what, but Ella came off that stand like she'd just been hit by an eau de outhouse on a hot day. I can tell you I stepped back and let her pass. Even Boo thought twice when the goatmother puckered up her mouth (and listen, for Boo to think even once is a miracle in itself.)
So that's how the goatmother changed the nightly procedure. I'm thinking of trying it out myself when I want to get to the hay feeder, but I haven't figured out how - yet.
"The winds of change are always blowing,
And every time I try to stay
The winds of change continue blowing,
And they just carry me away." - Willie Nelson