Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On The Brighter Side...

Any day at the end of October that dawns so warm that it produces a heat haze can be nothing but good. The heat was accompanied by those miniscule flies that climb in our ears but it was a small price to pay.

The upward trend began on the weekend when Penny rolled in something so utterly disgusting that it caused the woman to make retching noises as soon as she got a whiff. In keeping with what Jack call the "hollow ian" season, it seems to have been some sort of putrefying, ghastly mass - black, sticky and almost impossible to remove. Three baths later Penny is only somewhat improved and is still looking quite smug. As one of Kipling's canine narrators said "I found a badness in the road. I rolled in it. I smelled good." Jack was so inspired that he found something nearly as revolting and worked it into his mane, causing it to stand up in spikes. He calls it his "hollow ian" costume. The woman, who is particularly sensitive to offensive odours, is beside herself. Tsk tsk.

Today the woman made her way down to the stinging wire fence and, wearing a pair of garish gardening gloves, began to wind it round and round a piece of firewood in preparation for winter storage. Good riddance to the monstrosity, I say. She then pulled out the metal sticks on which it is strung and stored them away, too. While she was in the process of wire rolling, she made her way into a corner we use as a "rest station" and which consequently makes for hazardous navigation. A serendipitous chain of events then unfolded as Penny flushed a rabbit out just a couple of yards away from the woman's feet. The rabbit exploded into the air and nearly flattened the woman, Penny in such hot pursuit that she was later discovered to have some rabbit tail fur in her teeth. The effect of the sudden burst of excitement caused the woman to simultaneously yelp, stumble sideways and sit down abruptly in a patch of unpleasantness. The irony was not lost on Penny who returned, fur in teeth, and grinned down at the now odoriferous woman.

Finally, Sally has had a slight head cold for the last few days but is beginning to feel better. The woman has installed the heated pad in her bed and has been bringing her bowls of chicken broth. Sally, who was a feral cat until last January, thinks this is a good thing indeed. Today she felt well enough to run along the top of the fence as Penny ran beside, swatting at Penny's tail and pretending to be a fierce predator. Then the fierce predator suddenly felt tired and went back to her toasty bed. I'm very fond of that cat and was glad to see her feeling her usual playful self.


Buddy said...

Hay Sheaffer - another exciting day at your house. Love the new pics.

Your fren,

BumbleVee said...

hee hee..... chalk one up for Penny ... I bet she did grin...

aww poor Sally... glad she seems to be a bit better. Maid service, chicken soup.. and a warm bed...man, I know where I'm coming if I get sickly....

billie said...

I think Molly is on a serious mission to win back her boyfriend!! She definitely has that "come hither" look going on!

Sheaffer, what a treat to have a sudden warm-up, even if it did bring back the ear-gnats.

I hope Sally feels better. There is nothing worse than a cat with a head cold. I have gone to the 24-hour vet with one - it sounded and looked so incapacitating. Turned out my putting the shower on hot and sitting in the steam room with kitty helped, but getting him out into the cold air (it was winter) cleared his passages too.

Sally is in excellent hands.

ponymaid said...

Buddy, at Molly's request I added a head shot...As Billie says, she has the "come hither" look down to perfection.

BumbleVee, Penny still has a lingering "je ne said quoi" about her. And a slightly yellow stain on her white collar that just won't fade. Sally is much better today - chasing her cat toys and asking for Seafood Medley snacks. You are welcome here anytime, ill or well. It would be an honour to have you visit.

Billie, the mental picture of you in a sauna-like atmosphere with a sick, cranky cat caused the woman to dribble tea. And more tea was dribbled when she thought of you thrusting the same angry cat out into the cold air for therapeutic reasons. I hope it wasn't Dickens - you could have suffered life-threatening injuries. Sally is on her way to kitty wellness, and even hid under the horsers breakfast hay, causing it to move down the aisle like a ghostly spectre (except for the tiger striped tail sticking out the back).

billie said...

Sheaffer, what is it with cats and piles of hay?

I had an idea this morning that I want to share. I woke up thinking about a "Sheaffer and Friends Pose For Primrose" calendar, via Cafe Press, which would include a photo per month from any of the regulars here who want to contribute photos.

I.e. you and Jack and co., Buddy, Dougie Donk, Ben and Jerry, Willy, Rafer and Redford, Ginger and Fred, etc.

It might be too late for 2010 (although we could maybe do it if we hurried) but I would love a calendar with all of us represented. And of course, proceeds to Primrose!

Anyone game?

Anonymous said...

Will we be naked?

Anonymous said...

Adding Insult to Injury

Insult and injury – they seem to be inexplicably linked in the English language and this month, Fred and I have found out why.

First, there was a vicious nocturnal attack on Phyllis Two Two – the fat lady’s favourite hen. Phyllis was declared DOA in the back of the chicken run. Who did it? There was one suspect – the skunk that had been lurking in and out of the hen house for weeks. It refused goodies proffered in the humane trap and preferred eating chicken feed. Was it the culprit? No one knows. However, as Fred and I can attest (having cornered it in the stable alleyway in August with predictable results) it was a rather small skunk and Phyllis was err … rather large. Worse yet, when the fat lady returned to remove the dear departed, she had departed. Given that the chicken run is built like Fort Knox the investigating detectives (F, G + fat lady) had no idea who could have accomplished this feat – or how.

Clearly troubled, the fat lady (with hilarious difficulty) spent the next week herding the hens every night into the stable. Chickens are rather like horses. They would gladly re-enter a burning barn (or, in the case of the chickens, a clearly predator-infested hen house) than be rescued.

And here is where the insult began. The chickens took up residence in a large box stall next to us where they remained for 5 seconds. They then flew over our heads and roosted on the stall dividers, which are (unfortunately) at least six feet up. This left them free to poop into our stall, well out of reach from donkey teeth. (We tried.) They greet the morning with a chorus of cackling, grumbling and humming, making it impossible to sleep in. And I won’t even begin to describe the noise they make when they lay an egg – it sounds like they’re being murdered.
We were briefly vindicated when Annie, who is considerably taller than us, gave one of the orange ladies a sniff and then sampled her ample underfeathers. Much screeching and downy feathers floating through the air. Highly satisfying.

Because the fat lady was worried that the chickens would be shredded, she locked them in the stable – meaning that we could no longer amble in and wreak havoc, poop in the alleyway or trample the halters. The hens took to walking about in our stall in our absence, scratching, pooping and even laying eggs in it.

Then, things got worse.

One day the tiny perfect vet rolled in. The fat lady haltered Annie and proceeded to trot her up and down the barnyard. She was wearing rubber boots and a down vest and, before long, Fred and I were amused to see her puffing and sweating. Every so often, the tiny perfect vet stopped her, bent some equine limb or other and sent her off again. The vet even stuck a needle into Annie’s foot, waited a while and the entertainment started all over again. There was muttering about tendons and this and that.

Then the vet left and the fat lady returned to the barn to apply some red smelly ointment and a matching pair of knee socks to her front legs. We thought this quite fetching but were alarmed with what followed. Annie was bustled into her stall in broad daylight and has not been out since. (to be continued)

Anonymous said...

Adding Insult to Injury (cont.)

All that has changed is the colour of her knee socks and the smell of the various ointments. Annie even rode off in the vanilla horse trailer last Saturday but was promptly incarcerated again with the fat lady muttering about fractured splint bones and shockwave this and that and mounting bills.

But it gets worse.

We are not allowed in the barn with Annie (except at night). She has responded to this savage dictum by walking to the half door of the barn (she is allowed loose inside) and yelling for us to show front and centre so she can count us. She does this at least every hour. She is strolling around in the barn – and IN OUR STALL – which she is using for “you know what” because she doesn’t want HER stall to get dirty. You should see the mess.

Annie has declared that the only thing a prisoner has to look forward to is food, so she is eating as much as possible and far too many carrots and apples than are good for her. She has mused that she is losing her waistline and the fat lady – who is puffing and toiling to keep the place manure-free – says she is in danger of losing her moniker. (Fat chance of that!)

The chickens are now la, la, la, free-range chickens. They come and go as they wish through the back door of the barn so that, muttered the fat lady, they don’t get trampled by the donkeyraptors. So, who could that be?

It is pouring today and we have only the shelter of the barn front porch. It is barely 10x10 feet and far from the comforts of a well-bedded stall on a rainy day.

So you see, Sheaffer, there have been injuries but there have also been insults and it seems that we donkeys are doomed to be the brunt of the latter.

Standing out in the rain (again), Ginger

billie said...

LOL - naked donkeys! And horses! It could be a big seller... :)

South Valley Girl said...

Greetings, Sheaffer!

I'm happy to hear that things are looking up around the barn. Green grass, Sally feeling better, Penny smelling... well... just smelling. Still, with Winter coming on, one must take advantage of every good day one can. I'm always happy to see new pictures - thank heavens The Woman is taking her responsibility as Court Photographer seriously. (And yes, Molly does look quite fetching.)

I think the idea of a calendar is a splendid project, PROVIDED The Woman doesn't try to dress you up in seasonal costumes for the monthly pictures. You KNOW she'll want to do this - Santa hat for Christmas, pink hearts for Valentine's Day... the horror! the horror!

But a suitably dignified set of pictures would assure a big sale, I'm certain, and the revenue the calendar generates might finance some of the amenities you so desperately lack. A CD player and an assortment of opera CDs springs to mind... something to think about.

much love

Christina / SVG

completecare said...

Hi Sheaffer,

I think the idea of a calendar is wonderful. You could use the picture of me that I sent you a while ago. The morning after the night before. That was when I got into the bottle of EL BURRO wine that one of the visiting donkey ladies left within hoof's reach.
If the calendar was finished before Christmas I could give them out to all my human friends as Christmas presents.

Your Fan,


ponymaid said...

Billie, I will have Her Bossiness look into the calendar idea. I can see it now - dignified, donkified, decorous. Absolutely no nudity and certainly no costumes (that sounds a bit contradictory but you know what I mean).

Ginger, I was so out of breath after reading your lengthy report that I needed a gummi worm to recover my faculties. A chicken murder, Annie injuring what Jack calls one of her "shapely gams", horses confined, donkeys cast out into the cold, cold world - gadzooks, your universe is collapsing around your ears. I hope Annie's prognosis is good? She won't like being locked up one bit. Look for more flying chicken feathers.

South Valley Girl, I trust you and the opera cape are well? I most certainly need a stronger classical music presence in my barn. I am not familiar with these cd things - are they similar to the wax cylinders Jack remembers from his youth? If I could, I would have a string quartet on standby at all times to drown out the cacophany Herself seems to enjoy.

Willy, I think your photo of "the morning after the night before" would ensure a sell out of the calendar...Was it a very bad headache?

robert5721 said...

you BETTER pay attention to Molly;s "Come Hither" look, or Sheaffer and Mr Jack will end up paying the price.... it appears to more demand than request there big guy....PAY ATTENTION !!!!
Mr Gale

South Valley Girl said...

Good morning Sheaffer:

The opera cape and I are doing well, thank you - better than some of the other posters here, that's for sure! Who knew that donkeys' lives could be so perilous?!?!?

Yes, CDs are the modern version of Jack's remembered wax cylinders, and contain all the music a genteel, sophisticated donkey like yourself could wish for. Let's hope Herself takes pity on your soul and provides you with the musical background you deserve.


Buddy said...

Hay Sheaffer - you Rock Dude - Molly looks amazingly beautiful. I think I will have to dump the others for her.

Love the calendar idea - post the email and my mom will send you my sexiest pose. And she will purchase a couple of calendars for Christmas presents.

Your fren

ponymaid said...

Mr. Gale, we have all suffered the wrath of Molly when she is thwarted in either food or love. We have learned to lie very low indeed. Maybe she needs one of those special drinks you recommended...or maybe not.

Thank you, SVG (may I take the liberty of calling you that?). I'm afraid my artistic side is very much malnourished at this madhouse that passes for a barn. I dare not say this to the woman because it inevitably results in unpleasant comments about my state of physical nourishment, which she declares to be more than ample. Billie works in the field and knows I am actually burying a bruised soul in foodstuffs because I have no other choice.

Buddy, all I can say is "phew". Your kind words have spared us physical abuse from the golden girl herself. Molly has requested that your calender photo feature a bear skin rug. Having seen the footprints of our local bear, I wish you best of luck in depriving him of his rug or anything else...

South Valley Girl said...

Greetings Sheaffer:

Yes indeed, you may call me SVG, or Christina, my given name. It's a pleasure to correspond with such a learned, literate donkey.

We had snow here in Albuquerque yesterday and the night before - the Sandias are dusted with snow still and quite beautiful to behold. I imagine it will be your turn soon - although I probably shouldn't remind you of this, as I know you suffer from the cold. I was thinking, though, of how fetching a picture of you in the snow might be for the intended calendar.

Are you aware of the 7MSN Ranch? The woman who works for the animals there (donkeys, horses, assorted cats, a lovely dog, and an extremely large pig) puts out a calendar of her two donkeys, Alan and George - your woman might look to her for advice on how to proceed with this project. Her calendar is quite popular and raises money for a local donkey rescue shelter.

Hope all is well in the barn -

SVG / Christina

billie said...

Re: the calendar - unless I am brutally deceived by cafe press, it is a simple matter of uploading photos to the site and they do the rest.

I am assuming they have some suggested requirements for the digital files. (which I'm not all that savvy about but dear husband is, so I feel sure we can nail the technical part if we decide to do this)

I am relieved that Buddy and Molly have reconciled, and just in time for winter. Can you imagine the chaos in Sheaffer's barn should the break-up extend into those long days and nights when there is no turnout?

Buddy, you may need TWO photos. One for public consumption and the other for Molly's Eyes Only.

Anonymous said...

Billie and all

The fat lady and the big guy own a design company and they have done lovely calendars for charitable organizations. I am sure that with the combined talents of all the donkeys and humans in the Sheaffer universe (and possibly with associated felines and canines), we can do something that will raise lots of money for PrimRose.

It is latish in the season for calendar production though not impossible.

Herself - would Cafe Press still handle it if we produced the product?

Fred 'n Ginger (still in the rain, still tormented by chickens)

Buddy said...

Hay Sheaffer - mom sent some photos to your woman to use. I'm naked in one of them but not on a bear skin rug - not sure I want to go after a bear for his rug - they kinda scare me even though I have never seen one. The other photo is a fun one. Maybe your woman could post the pic of me in my 4th of July costume.

Tell Molly I send my love.

Your fren,

CindyLouWho said...


So glad that Sally is feeling better. Fred n Ginger, sorry about you being locked out of your barn. But I also identify with Annie... always poop in others' stalls first - because we (alpha mares) CAN!!!

I think the calendar idea is terrific. I will have my woman send you one of my shots... don't know if I can find any good naked ones... she loved to shoot me naked while I was pregnant, but my waistline wasn't all it should have been during that time.

ponymaid said...

Christina (SVG)- I like the sound of that - somewhat like having OBE after your name, you are very brave to speak so poetically of the abominable covering of white chez vous. The horror, the horror. I can smell the stuff in the air these days and it smells like doom and gloom to me. I enjoy visiting George and Alan's blog and will indeed seek their advice if need be - they look like jovial, helpful lads.

Billie, it seems I may be able to coerce Fred and Ginger's human into the calendar scheme. Thank you for your kind offer of help - I will keep you posted. I am most relieved at the raprochement between the two golden equines - I have enough trials in my life without Molly kicking the walls and grinding her teeth in her sleep.

Buddy, we received your photos and they are everything you promised. The one of you in your Captain America suit is spectacular. In answer to your question, we do not celebrate July 4th in this country, rather we celebrate Canada Day on July 1. I always do my bit by eating a few maple leaves. The shot of your au naturel has left Molly's heart rate in the stratosphere. I will ask that it be put in my calendar, if said calendar ever materializes.

Cindy Lou Who, the photo you sent me of yourself in the magnificent hat would be ideal for a calendar. I envision the Queen receiving her copy and turning green with envy at the sheer scale and scope of your headgear.

Buddy said...

Hay Sheaffer - yes you can use my photo in your calendar. WHOO HOO.

Your fren,

Bouncy Dog said...

Hey Sheaffer,
Wow ... 23 Comments and counting ! Must be a record. Lets make it 24.

This Calendar idea sure seems like a winner, and why not!? I myself am already (one of) the star(s) of an annual "Four-legged Friends" Calendar, but vain Poodle that I am, I wouldn't mind being included in your calendar too.

My Auntie Gazelle says you can choose any picture you like from her Picasa album. I'm kinda partial to any of the the ones taken at your B'day Party where I'm meeting you for the first time. Oops you've got a "costume" on. But it's quite a nice dignified crown and sash affair. Is that OK with you ?


ponymaid said...

Buddy, consider it done.

Bouncy Dog, I understand Herself is trying to strong-arm your auntie into helping with the project - you are a shoe-in...

completecare said...

Hi Sheaffer,
We had snow last night - enough to cover the ground. It is gone now but it certainly is enough to cause serious depression.
My human and our Girl Friday were discussing your possible calendar the other evening and had a good suggestion. If it is too rushed to get the calendar out in time for the Christmas shoppers maybe doing a 16 month calendar that goes from mid 2010 to December 2011. That way you will have more room for pictures as I have instructed my human to sort through my photo shoots and select several pictures showing me at my best and of course, I might agree to include one or two of my mom, Bert as well as Marble and Molly.
You could sell the calendars at your Garden Party.

Your fan,