Tigger’s very expensive and back-ordered supplement arrived. I opened it; it’s a granular and good-smelling (to me) brown stuff with lots of good-for-joints in it. It has a measure. (Everything has a measure, and you have to dig for them in the plastic tubs these things come in. Yes, we re-use the tubs. My favorite feed-through wormer came in a 5 gallon bucket useful for SO MUCH, but they “improved it” by making it more concentrated and putting it in a much smaller square tub, too small to sit on comfortably…BUT perfect for storing extra sacks of dry beans, so there’s always a good side.) ANYWAY. I put a measure of the new supplement in with Tigger’s pellets and stirred it around, and then poured the liquid supplement (for other things) in striped across the top and added almost a cup of water to blend…he likes the liquid supplement and likes having his feed a little wet…and let the boys into the barn to eat. Tigger went to his feed pan; Rags went to his feed pan. They started eating. I waited to see how Tig would do with his new supplement. He sniffed it. Looked at me. “It’s really good,” I said. “And good for you. And it costs the earth, so like it!” Sniffed it some more. Shuffled his feet. Put his nose in and shoved it around a little. Shook his head. Finally nibbled….
ICK, said Tigger with a curled lip, open mouth, head tossing. He tried again. Looked at me in shock-horror, again with the open mouth, head tossing. “It’s NOT GOOD. It’s HORRIBLE. I can’t eat this! I’m going to eat Rags’s supper instead. Off he went to displace Rags, and Rags immediately came to eat Tigger’s, which would be bad because Tig gets a little more and Rags had eaten enough to make a combo of the two way too much. Also HE wasn’t prescribed the second supplement. I chased him away, with loud “NO! OUT! DON’T!” which upset Tigger (though he had started in on Rags’s feed) so he ran out of the barn. I then picked up the feed pan and carried it out, closing the west gate behind me; as soon as Tigger went out, Rags returned to his own feed. I offered the pan to Tigger. NO! NEVER! HORRIBLE BAD STUFF! I put it down, and he did try again but I could see more clearly (the sun had set but there was some light in the sky) that the texture was part of the problem.
So I fetched a bucket with some water and watered his feed more. He shoved it around and ate a little but then Rags came to the west gate, somewhat upset that things were not the same. I went back through the gate, fetched Rags a flake of hay and put it out for him and watched Tigger. Not eating. I fetched out the smaller watering tub, took that out, and started filling it with water (if he drank would he like that better?) He kept walking around picking at the nonexistent grass and then looking at me as if to say “Traitor. You ruined my supper.” What could I do? An idea came. He liked molasses. We had a fresh (small) jar of molasses in the house. And carrots. I went in the house, chopped a carrot, put two spoonfuls of molasses in a bowl and diluted it with a little water, shoved the carrot pieces around in it to get well coated, found a small scraper, and went back out, bypassing the barn and going through a different gate into the lot where Tigger was not eating his supper. (This avoided Rags trying to mug me for the molasses and carrot!) Tigger came to me to complain again and smelled the molasses. “Not yet” I said. Dribbled the molasses here and there in the feed pan, then filled the bowl with water from the hose that was in the water tub and rinsed it out into the feed pan. Tigger was already going after the carrot pieces. “This isn’t bad! This is actually good….o noes! There’s some of that horrible stuff!” I added another bowl of water and stirred everything with the scraper (one of those smaller, narrower silicone scrapers on a stick) until it was well mixed. Tigger slurped at the molasses flavor (all the carrots had been found!) and then just stood there. I moved away, back through the barn gate, then the aisle gate, and left the two alone for a half hour.
And lo! Tigger had cleaned his “plate.” I praised him, opened the west gate (Rags went out to be with Tigger) and took hay out to them both. And later took them night hay. Tomorrow I will feed earlier, at their usual time, and will have pre-slopped Tigger’s feed pan with the molasses and enough water to make it soupy. And re-think the routine that had been working so well.
Meanwhile, I have the chronology of the book–sequence and intervals–firmed up to about halfway through, sufficient to import the additional structural elements, the bones of the story. One of its problems (at the basic level) was its episodic nature, which I’d finally realized toward the end. This happens, then this happens, then this other happens, but the deep logic either wasn’t there or was buried too deep to show up in the reading. Some episodes have disappeared; others have been shortened. I’ve re-read Cold Welcome yet again, this time trying to connect to my original ideas for the VATTA’S PEACE books, the stuff that vanished with the concussion. I can’t reproduce it, but I can work from the clues I left myself, including in the computer background files made while writing Cold Welcome. Partly because of a lack of writer/editor connection in the earlier books (mostly and maybe entirely my fault) I felt hobbled at times and did not do as good a job as I should of setting up the turnover in the second book for a three book arc. So this book has to be the keystone or hinge, and it must be placed with a little more (or a lot?) more emphasis to make up for the visible structure of Into the Fire. I had not intended to use the day by day emphasis in that one because I knew it needed something else. Editor disagreed and our lack of connection meant we were not understanding each other’s reasoning. At least I think that’s what was going on, looking back at it. Anyway, working on the new structure and making progress.