Every day, Maria saves the table, cooking, and vegetable scraps and puts them into a bowl. She often throws in a few tasty things for good measure. She takes the bowl or bowls out to the barn and dumps the slop (that’s what we call it) into a big red bucket. In truth, it is most often the leaving of fresh or gourmet food.
The bucket fills up quickly, and she takes it out to the pasture fence every afternoon after lunch. She dumps it over the wall and onto the pasture. The sheep, donkeys, and chickens gather to eat the slop, peck at it or gobble it up.
They always know when she is coming, we suspect they can hear us talking in the kitchen.
There is no panic or rush, or crowding. They all take their turns.
However they do it, they are always gathered by the fence and waiting.
Zinnia and Fate are there to collect any scraps that might fall on their side of the fence. We keep them out of the pasture during the “Bucket Drop”; they would likely get kicked in the head or butted.
They are always delighted to see Maria coming. She is always good news.
The donkeys are the most powerful, and the other animals give them some space until they pick what they want. When the food is gone, the hens show up to look for the small leavings. It is all very calm and polite.
There is always something for everyone to eat. The barn cats stay away; they want no part of a crowd.
They do not grovel for food, they simply quietly demand to be fed.
They are above it all.