I've always felt a responsibility to oversee the running of this place and am pleased to have the mature presence of Jack at my side as co-manager. So far we hold identical views on how and when things should be done, and he is a huge help in keeping the woman on track.
We were waiting for the woman to trudge out to begin her chambermaid duties when Jack suddenly said "Here she comes and she's gotta cup of Joe with her!" I was flabbergasted. I confess, I thought he had had some sort of age-related mental breakdown and was spouting gibberish. She was carrying a mug filled with coffee but there was no one called Joe in sight. Jack became very excited and started huffling and generally carrying on till the woman came over to the fence and let him examine the mug. He stuck his muzzle in and began siphoning up the remaining coffee. When he had extracted every last molecule with the tip of his tongue, he closed his eyes, smacked his lips and said "ahhhhhhhhh!" When he finally opened his eyes I asked him who on earth this Joe is. "Why, coffee, boy, coffee, doncha know. Used to drink it reglar an I was beginnin ta think I'd never taste it again." Next thing he'll tell me he always has a cigarette with his first cup in the morning. I'm very much a tea lover myself but if coffee can make him that happy, I hope the woman continues to share her occasional morning mug.
This afternoon we oversaw the cleaning out of our hay storage area in preparation for delivery of the new supply. The horses were put on the lush side of the paddock (highly discriminatory) and we stayed on the barren side because of her obsession with the "f" word - founder, I mean. She got the wheelbarrow and pitchfork and began overturning the wooden slat things that keep the hay off the floor. Jack hurried over, used his nose to flip open the gate, walked in and began dining on the fallout of hay bits. The woman laughed and told him he could stay if he behaved. That's a fine turn of events - I've always been evicted unceremoniously in the past when I attempted entry. I waited awhile and joined them and she had the good grace to let me stay.
Jack has a highly developped talent for opening and closing doors, which initially took the woman by surprise. His nose is almost prehensile and he can wrap it around the slightest edge of any door or gate that is slightly ajar and have the thing open in a flash. He has figured out the horse-proof latches and is working on the clips that hold my stall guard in place. Today he rapped on the door when the woman was chambermaiding and she let us in to have some hay in the aisle, leaving both end doors open to allow the breeze to blow through. Jack wants her to know how much he likes life in the barn, so he marched over and slammed first one and then the other door. Then he gave a deep sigh of satisfaction and went back to his hay.
We donkeys put in very full days but with Jack onside, I feel there is hope of bringing the woman into line eventually.