"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pasture Puzzle (Chucking Monkeys)

Hope has been bringing home logic puzzles as homework lately. A man is trying to get a cat, a dog, and a mouse across a river in a canoe that only holds himself plus one animal at a time.... you know the rigamarole. I hate these things. Buy some cages, dumbass! Or maybe, you know, a bigger canoe? In fact, if you have to cross this river with such frequency, think about investing in a freaking bridge.

Similarly, I know that the real answer to my pasture puzzle is more fencing. But, like the man with his problematic menagerie, all I have is an inadequate canoe. Here's the situation:

-One main pasture.
-One sacrifice area.
- Both areas have good shelter, thanks to Homero's work expanding the field shelter last month.
- It's winter. I need to protect my main pasture as much as possible from hooves.
- One small herd of dairy goats
- Two ponies who are vicious bullies where food is concerned
- One dairy calf who is apparently very stupid.

In this scenario, the dairy calf is the annoying cat who cannot be left alone with either the rat or the dog. The goats and the ponies will both bully her and steal all her food. Additionally, only the calf gets expensive alfalfa; everybody else eats local grass hay.

Currently, the goats and the horses are in the main pasture and the calf is alone in the sacrifice area. This is the dumbest arrangement because it leaves almost all the hooves on the main pasture. Last night I put the horses in with the calf, but they kicked her out of the field shelter and she slept outside. And they ate all her hay.

There is one more piece of the puzzle that seems like it ought to be useful but so far I haven't been able to make it so. I have a calf hutch ( Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's.....)  in the sacrifice area with the calf and the ponies. Theoretically, I could put the calf's alfalfa in here and she could get to it but the ponies couldn't. In reality, I just spent a half hour crouched inside the hutch rattling a container of grain, biting my cheeks in frustration as the brainless calf peeked timidly in at me and occasionally barked her shins against the lip of the hutch. It's no use. She's just too stupid. It's not her fault.

The goats, on the other hand, are used to the calf hutch and have used it before. They will all crowd in and sleep in there together. That would leave the field shelter to the farm bullies, the ponies. The calf could go into the main pasture all by herself. She'd have the warm barn to herself - not counting the chickens. The main pasture would have only four hooves on it, instead of twenty-four.

I'd need to buy one more cattle-panel (Cattle (Panel) Rustling) before I can try this arrangement, because there's a small low spot in the fence around the sacrifice area and the goats can jump it. The vulnerable spot is right by the fruit orchard, too, and it would only take them five minutes to destroy the trees. And the van - which I need to bring home a cattle panel - is out of commission.

The logic puzzle just keeps getting more complicated. It's as if, while the man is standing on the riverbank with his cat, rat, and dog, somebody starts chucking monkeys at him.