Monday, August 23, 2010

Tater the Terrible

Tater has ramped up his trouble-making. I used to compare him to a teenager. I would like to revise this to a two-year-old. You know, the two-year-old that likes to open every kitchen cabinet he can find and pull all the pots out. How about the cabinets that have the cleaning supplies?

Today he figured out how to open a door into the barn that uses an old style latch with a weight. How did he figure this out? At first, per usual, I thought I must have left the door unlatched after feeding. The donkey is quite adept at taking advantage of this particular door. It must have been the donkey. I latched the door purposefully the next evening. And, the animals were in the barn again in the morning.

Our guests find this behavior particularly funny and endearing. Tater will usually be back in the loafing shed when we turn up for morning rounds. Moralecia will be looking for a way out and the donkey will be skittering along the wood floors of the barn attempting to push past me to the door.

I'm a little smarter with the horses these days when it comes to reducing opportunities for chaos. I only drop a bale of hay at a time, so the most the animals can redistribute is this and maybe some loose straw. The trash can is always up-ended and horse blankets, stools, and brush buckets strewn about, but the biggest clean-up is the horse poop. Gives everyone a reason to try their hand at the push broom. For now I have rigged a chain through the door so the horse can't get in. Of course, we can't get out either.

Tater the Terrible was not to be outdone. He took on the feed stall next, a door that had never been tested as Tater-proof, but why? It was locked with a wire twist. We were lucky at first because the grain was low in the bins. I would retwist the wire. The horse would hoist himself up a three foot step, knocking over stored jump rails and standards, and plop (and I do mean plop) himself in the middle to the grain bins. By the time I finally came up with a solution to this behavior, he had flattened several metal trash can lids and eaten every ounce of food not run off by the rats and the mice.

Because my brain is only slightly larger than his, it took me several attempts to find a hook big enough and inflexible enough that Tater finally gave up his drive to drive me nuts. It's hard to be mad at a horse with such intent and big, brown eyes. I'm just glad neither he nor the other equines ate so much they colicked. There was that one morning when they all bee-lined for the water because they ate their fill of salt. I can't even conceive what will be next; however, my two year old grandson might have an idea.

Photo: Tater not looking so terrible here. Bored, maybe. "Get that lady to let go of me!"

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