I was working Venus on the lunge line in the pasture this morning. Toward the end of the workout, I said to her, “Okay. Ten more times around in each direction.” She started trotting off in one direction and I counted aloud as she went around. When I got to five, she stopped, turned around and went the other way. Humoring her, I counted aloud again. When I got to five, she stopped again. Her expression made it plain. “That’s ten.”
And so it was. Seeing how she made me laugh out loud on a Thursday, I didn’t press her for the other ten she owed me. The lady we bought her from told us she was smart enough to tie our shoes. She didn’t say anything about Venus’ ability to do sums in her head. And while Venus has yet to offer to lace up my boots, she proved today that she is a most clever horse and she’s got a sparkling sense of humor.
Shortly afterward, I was brushing Ophelia in her stall and heard a warning growl from Moose who was loitering in the aisle of the barn. Assuming she had seen or heard a mouse, I told her to go get it. But she didn’t. She just continued to growl. So I went to see what had disturbed her. In a pile of straw that’s awaiting a place in the garden, one of my gray Ameracaunas had made a nest and she was quietly sitting there, all puffed up and motherly. Moose and I let her be and several minutes later, she rose with a cackle and waddled out of the barn. I found three eggs in that nest! I wonder how many other secret stashes there are around the farm. There are quite a few Narragansett eggs unaccounted for.
The thing is, when Momma Orpington went broody a couple of days ago, she staked a claim to every hen’s favorite nest box. My clever little gray hen just found somewhere better. And my clever dog ratted her out.
Speaking of Momma Orpington, I think 24 hours in solitary has chilled her broodiness. I’ll know for sure tomorrow. She’s back with the flock tonight and when we put them up for the night she went to roost on the roost, not the nest box. Just a word of warning here to any who may try to break up a broody hen in a broody box – it makes them very cranky. Not only will they hurl every curse word in the book at you when you come near, they’ll knock over their food bowl, tell you they can’t possibly eat that slop, call you names and try to eat you instead. But hey, it’s a Thursday. I expect such things on Thursday. I can be clever too, sometimes.