Sometime back in the spring the woman ordered a fly mask with ears for me. It finally arrived this week. She says it took them that long to find enough material for the ear portion but I rather think that is just her unrefined sense of humour at work. The ears are somewhat long and tend to flop over at the ends but they most definitely keep the pestilent hordes from setting up a cafeteria in my finely tuned hearing apparatus. In fly season all I hear is a constant buzzing. Jack now has one on order in a slightly larger size. When the woman first put it on me she stood back and barely stifled a hearty laugh, unsuccessfully turning it into a phony cough at the last minute. "Sheaffer", she said, "you look like a donkey super-hero". That's more like it, I thought. Then she ruined it by adding "or a badly disguised donkey bank robber". Pahhh.
Now that the extreme heat is here we are allowed into the lush part of the paddock more often but that means we have to gallop back to the run-in when the fly hordes descend. Actually the others gallop but I proceed at a stately trot, looking, the woman rudely says, like the Queen Elizabeth 2 steaming into port. There is far too much haste in these modern times, in my opinion. Jack can put on an impressive turn of speed for someone of his age and he always beats me to the run-in by a wide margin. "Young man", he said, "you are in no danger of depletin that store of calories yev got put by." I should think not - I've been storing these calories for years.
We have one defense against the bugs and that is repeated, vigorous dust bathing. We donkeys are experts in this field and can spend ages in our dust baths, cleverly working the material through our coats in a series of complicated rolling procedures. When done, we lie there for awhile to let the dust settle and then get to our feet slowly to ensure thorough covereage and minimum dust loss. The key, however, which the horses just can't comprehend, is to never, ever shake. That ruins the whole therapeutic effect. It also means that when the woman grooms us in the evening, she herself emerges looking like a grumbling grey ghost, which we very much enjoy.