Rags & Tigger & Elizabeth: I Don’t CARE What It Cost, I Hate It!

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.

12 thoughts on “Rags & Tigger & Elizabeth: I Don’t CARE What It Cost, I Hate It!

  1. Hi – A little bit of sugar makes the medicine go down. As bad as children. We had a dog which would eat everything except the pill hidden in the food – had to put it in his mouth and hold it closed.

    Take your time with the book – it is not easy to write as well as you do and we, your faithful readers, really do appreciate it.

    Stay safe and stay sane,

    Jonathan up here in warming and waiting for the XMass rain.

    1. The dog we lost last year could also eat her way round a pill, and find it whatever you hid it in, cheese, hame, pate, Marmite. If a pill couldn’t be crushed it had to be put right at the back of her throat – opening a German Shepher’s mouth when it Does Not Want That In My Mouth is hard – then you had to hold her mouth closed until you saw her swallow when you could risk checking her mouth, which you had to do as she’d also hide pills under her tongue to be discreetly disposed of out of her human’s sight.

      Glad you found a way to get the medicine into Tigger.

      1. Jazzlet: I had a horse that needed Bute daily. He defeated all the usual approaches, even cutting a hole in an apple, putting the ground-up Bute in honey in the hole, and “glueing the cut-out piece back on place. I’d tried a variety of carrier sticky-liquids–honey, Karo syrup, and of course dark molasses. He liked them all but he had a good sense of taste…it was impossible to crush them fine enough that he wouldn’t detect them in the sticky goo and refuse it, even if it was mixed with his favorite foods. There’d be little sticky blobs of white dots in the syrup on the ground, but he’d eat most of his dinner. With the apple trick, Ky could explore the apple with his tongue, lick the hole open, retrieve the honey-coated bitter pill, and spit it out…THEN chew the apple. (He also loved the pears on a tree we had and I tried those with equal unsuccess.) What did work, finally, was making a hole in a marshmallow, poking the pill into it and squeezing it shut…they’re so sticky. Then feeding him three marshmallows with the medicine one as #2. He’d explore the first, find it innocent, then quickly eat the next two.

        Tigger’s supplement is a powder and he’s supposed to have a good big measure of it (two of them actually) every day. Today I cut it back to half a measure, until he’s used to it.

    2. Jonathan…Some horses are much more flexible about their food than others, for sure. I was surprised he took to his first supplement (liquid, and to me smells icky and looks worse, but both horses became even more eager eaters when I started using it. Thus his refusing the second was a little surprising, but some horses just don’t like dry grainy stuff…the texture and the dryness, I think…it’s like eating sawdust (though it’s flavored…can’t recall whether I picked the apple or the grass flavor.) Some would just go get a drink of water periodically to clean it off their palate, but not Tig.

      Tonight he walked up to his carefully prepared dinner (the chopped carrot, the molasses mixed with the supplement and then mixed with the *other* supplement, and all mixed in with his pellets and an extra amount of water to make sure *everything* had touched both the molasses and the supplement he likes) and sniffed at it long and carefully. Of course he can still smell the one he doesn’t like. But in the end, when put out of the barn (so he couldn’t rob Rags and Rags wouldn’t eat his…which Rags shouldn’t, it’s too much and also the wrong mix for him) and left alone for thirty minutes, he cleaned his plate.

  2. Happy Christmas Eve to Elizabeth and Richard and Michael. It’s weird that I don’t really know you, but think I do because of reading your books and your posts here and on facebook. “Knowing” you has brought joy and a renewed sense of purpose to my life this year. I find it a bit difficult to explain, but I’ve read the Paks books repeatedly this year and have found encouragement to continue to follow the Call through all the discouragement of lack of involvement from others and trying to keep things together through Zoom. I’ve always loved re-reading because I read fast and miss things the first and even second times I read something. Just this week, I discovered a bit one of the marshals said to Arvid that I hadn’t paid attention to before and it was encouraging. So, thank you and as Paks would say, Peace to you. May you experience blessings from the High Lord this Christmas.

    1. Christmas Eve was enlivened by another dominance dispute between Tigger and me concerning his new supplement and whether he could avoid it by stealing Rags’s dinner. This time it ended with Tigger IN the barn with his meal and Rags outside scarfing up his own. Tigger was sulky and full of angst but did start eating while I was still in the barn, with a show of resentful disgust between every two bites. But licked the pan clean in the end.

      I watched “Lessons and Carols” online from the not-really-national cathedral in Washington D.C. until time for the “Lessons and Carols” from “my” church in Austin, St. David’s. St. David’s included a trumpeter for a few pieces of music, and since when I was in the choir we had brass every Christmas I loved it. In both cases I was able to “sing along” (sort of) and even sing the alto part on things I knew well. It’s not really singing with a choir, but it’s singing *with* and that helps, for an experienced chorister who can’t sing with nearly as often as feels right.

      It’s definitely been a discouraging year, even more so than the preceding three, and if my writing has helped you through it, then I am profoundly grateful. Thank you for telling me.

      If this seems disjointed it’s because it’s being written in the interstices of making spiced pear glaze for the ham. (Wash the pears, halve and quarter, then core, then finely slice and chop the slices. I did one pear at a time, with a longish pause between after Pear One was in the saucepan with brown sugar, spices, a little water, and then did Pear Two. They’re now both in, with the addition of some maple syrup. Spices are cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves. We were gifted a box of goodies, in which were four pears (we don’t need THAT much ham glaze!!) When they start softening, I’ll mush them around with a potato masher, and then decide how much fresh lime juice to put in. Then start the ham and potatoes. But at some point everything on the kitchen table (the mail sorting center and general repository for stuff) must come off, a table cloth go on, and three places set.

  3. Merry Christmas Elizabeth to you and yours.

    I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I used to. Working online from home is different from working online from the office. And with socializing mostly done online, time for adding bits here has wound up elsewhere.

    I am glad to hear that the writing about the writing is helping the writing.

    Daniel Glover

    1. When there’s no distance (physical) between home and work, then work quickly expands to fill the time. It’s the bane of writers, and to survive they either start writing away from home (previously) or they set definite limits to their writing time and writing-related work time. Or try to. Same’s true for any other “work from home” work. Take care of your health, and post here only when you can do it without compromising sleep, exercise, and other necessities and something you’d rather be doing.

  4. Solstice is past, but 2020 isn’t over yet. I miss you over on FB, and it has eventually occurred to me, “I should go to Elizabeth’s site, and at least give her holiday greetings and wishes [however belately] and say “Thank your for all the Tigger and Rags posts, and all the other posts and comments, and here’s hoping 2021 will be a MUCH better year for the world!”

    1. Paula, I also hope for a better year for everyone! Or at least not continue the downward trend. I’m here because it’s the only place I can get to right now (well, there’s You Tube…) until I have time and energy to ask one of the people I know to help me get re=connected. Feel free to show up here whenever you want to see if there’s anything new.

  5. I so thought of you the other day! As you probably know, in the UK we were not allowed to get together with our families over the festive season. My son-in-law’s family is very keen on amateur theatricals, and decided to do a dramatised readthrough of “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve (my daughter thought it would be awful, but ended up enjoying it very much). Anyway, needless to say my younger grandson, aged 7, played Tiny Tim. I thought of the youngest child’s part in the Winter Solstice festivals in Paksworld (N isn’t the youngest child, but the others are too young to take part).

    1. That sounds like a great evening! A friend and I got through the required Dickens novel in college by reading it aloud to each other…it was meant to be read aloud, while other families members did other work, so it reads very well.

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