Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another Page From My Past

I was expecting spring by now, but since it appears to be delayed I thought I would share another chapter from my youth.

I suspect I may have some gypsy blood because I have always had the urge to see the world and follow my nose wherever it might lead me. Before I was a year old, I had hatched a plan to make my way onto the road in front of our paddock. The woman is very crafty and was always able to thwart my attempts to slip out unseen beside one of the horses - till the sunny spring day in my second year when I eluded her and made unerringly for the road at a ground-covering trot.

I hoped the fact that the woman was dressed very much in stay-at-home attire might discourage her from following me. She had just washed her hair and it looked like a half-dried haystack, she was wearing a stained tee shirt with no -ahem - underpinnings, and sported a dusty eyeshade, cut-off track pants and old duck boot with no socks. A frightening sight. Unfortunately she and the dog were on my trail immediately.

I shot out of the driveway and was startled by a large boat-like automobile, driven by a very old male human. It screeched to a halt just inches from my nose and I gave him a frosty glare. He turned an unusual shade of greyish white and the automobile continued bouncing gently up and down while we locked eyes. The woman was closing in, panting and trying to speak to me in reassuring tones, so I turned and made my way down the yellow line leading up the hill. Many other automobiles were rushing past us on all sides - participating in an exciting event called rush hour. An enormous vehicle with a turning drum on it's back came over the hill and was so intimidated by the sight of me that it drove onto the gravel part to give me the right of way. The three of us - donkey, woman, dog - formed a strung out line in the middle of the road. I felt wonderful. The woman was fading fast and I was ready to trot for miles.

THEN, an interfering busybody in a pickup truck came up beside me and gradually pushed me to the side and down a driveway. Honestly. Some people just can't stand to see someone else having fun. I trotted briskly down the driveway and turned into some open fields to my right. Still the woman pursued me. She was very sweaty and red in the face - not something the public wanted to see, I'm sure. I finally ended up in a corner between two fences and stopped to have a snack. I'd forgotten that running away from home should always involve packing a lunch.

I made a couple of token efforts to escape and then allowed her to attach a shank to my halter. My goodness, she was in a state. She was shaking like a leaf and gasping that I had scared her nearly to death and put us all in danger and blahblahblah. I felt a smidgen of guilt but overall was much buoyed up my my unexpected adventure. The trip home was much less eventful and she has never in the last decade let her guard down again. Nevertheless, I live in hope...

I like travelling in our metal box on wheels and she has promised to take me on some forest walks next summer. I plan to hold her to her promise and in the meantime I'm keeping an eye on the gate just in case an opportunity should arise.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day Of Boxes

Apparently that's what today is. I've been keeping a close watch in case some rogue boxes try to sneak up on me, but nothing so far. I have an intense fear and loathing of all boxes. We once had a young female donkey staying with us and when she discovered this deep-seated fear of mine, she went out of her way to find these cardboard demons, sneak up behind me and press them against my person. My heart rate soars just thinking about it.

The woman left a broom within my reach last night so I used the opportunity to give myself a good dental cleaning. First gnawing the wooden handle and then massaging my gums vigorously with the bristles. It felt wonderful but the woman just sighed and said "Oh Sheaffer, not again."
You'd think she'd appreciate my attention to proper dental care.

She also met my secret friend, though that was unintentional on his part. He's a small, brown, furry creature with long back legs, long ears and a very nervous disposition. He reminds me of my great aunt who got caught with the cooking sherry. He likes to come in the run-in and rummage around in the hay but always makes sure to leave when he hears the house door shut. Today he didn't hear it and the woman was almost in the run-in when he noticed her. Well! The excitement! He shot straight up the wall and then out the door, almost colliding with her and the dog. The woman leapt backwards, flailing her arms in the air and the dog shot off after him, yipping and yapping with excitement. Poor creature, I hope he comes back. He's excellent company; quiet, timid and polite - the complete antithesis of TJ.

Gale, I'm not sure about this New Year's thing. The humans said something incomprehensible about TJ wearing a diaper and being the "New" year and me wearing a flowing robe, grey beard and carrying a walking staff and being the "Old" year. I'll let you know when I find out what it all means. They have a primitive and poorly developed sense of humour, which I fear is at play here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Seasonal Greetings!

I feel rather elated (the woman says inflated) and rather giddy so I assume I've been assaulted by the Christmas spirit. Thank you to all blog friends and a very Merry Christmas to gale and completecare and cruiser and alex and elfwood and smokey and everyone else who spends some time reading my musings. My life is much improved by having an outlet for my views and a network of similar minded beings who share them with me.

As usual, the male human showed up with a container of Stud Muffins and a huge bag of peppermint flavoured snacks. I may share them - or may not, depending on how long this state of semi-euphoria lasts. Molly got shampoo and heaven knows she needs it because she's not exactly a girly girl. Doc and TJ got a shank and a container to keep things in. We always get a special hot Christmas dinner with lots of good things in it, so although the sun is absent, there is something to look forward to this afternoon.

Yesterday was worming day, which I feel is not entirely in the festive spirit but the woman says it must be done (she says that about a lot of unpleasant things). Doc cheered us up no end when he snorted and sneezed a mouthful onto the woman's face. She had orange blobs all over her front and stood there making spluttering noises and turning purple. Only fair that she get a taste of her own medicine - this time literally.

Although he's two years old, this is the first Christmas TJ has celebrated and he's alternately bemused and overexcited. I told him all about Santa Horse and the tradition of presents and leaving SH a snack. He got all worked up and said he'd wait up and eat the snack and then jump Santa Horse and extract presents from him. Fortunately he fell asleep or there would have been an unpleasant holiday incident.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Some Early History

I have a lot of time to devote to brooding lately, what with the cold, dark, short days and I was reminiscing about my arrival in the humans' lives on a frigid December evening twelve years ago. I thought I would share the tale with my readers since TJ apparently has something called ADD and thinks anything further back than two years ago happened in biblical times.

As an infant donkey of some six months, I was residing in a field with a shelter, part of a social network that included my mother, aunts and half siblings of various ages. On the above-mentioned evening, the resident human and his friend came into the field, put a halter contraption on my head (it was too large and kept sliding down my neck and off my nose). I was lifted into the back of a motorized box called a van. My travelling compartment was lined with printed paper and the second human sat in the seat in front of me, angled so he could give me reassurance. Kind of him, but I was really quite composed and enjoyed the ride enormously.

We soon became part of a huge herd of similar boxes, all flying along in the dark, sometimes nearly stopping and then crawling forward in fits and starts. The entire trip took two and a half hours and by then I had discovered the printed paper contained some shocking left wing views; I tore it into small strips. There seemed to be no bathroom facilities but I found a pocket on the door that served admirably.

On arrival, the door was flung open and I was lifted out onto a snowy driveway. The woman and male human were there to greet me and formed a sort of cradle of arms with the other two to carry me through the drifts to the barn. There was mention of royalty being borne to their palace upon a sedan chair. I ignored their babblings. I didn't let on that I had never actually been in a barn but made a furtive and thorough study of my surroundings. The place appeared empty but the woman was outside bellowing for someone called Daisy. In trotted a hairy creature about the size of my mother - they referred to it as "the pony" and I surmised it to be some sort of equine. It immediately began bossing me around. I was put in a huge room for the night, with a curtain thing in the doorway but I simply crawled under it and slept in the aisle, in front of the hairy equine's room. Daisy was a strange creature but adopted me as her own and I remember her fondly to this day. She now lives with friends of the woman, teaching the miniature humans how to behave around equines.

And that, dear readers, is the abbreviated version of my merger into the lives of my two humans. Since then I have grown somewhat in all directions and have learned much about many things. Mostly, I have learned to be patient with humans because they have limited abilites and respond better to kindness than force. I don't know what they'd do without me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I have my bags packed, now I just need the means to get somewhere much further south. Somewhere near the border (the Mexican one) would be ideal. I quite like the idea of baking in the sun and nibbling on a cactus. TJ of course will stay here.

Our area of operations is limited to a smallish circle around the barn. We have our eating spot thoroughly stomped down but even Doc the adventure horse is staying close to home. TJ goes off on short trips around the paddock, looking like a large dog tunneling in the snow, but unfortunately he always comes back. He still hurls himself at me in a random fashion and I have a cut over my eye from his hijinks and one on my posterior. He simply doesn't comprehend the concept of moderation. The woman lets me come and go as I please in the barn when she is out there, so it gives me a respite from the harassment. TJ's nose appears at the top of the Dutch door but he's too short to actually see anything; I make chewing noises so he thinks I'm eating delicacies non-stop. It drives him to distraction.

The woman had her teeth floated today, and a good thing, too. We have our annual appointment with the gag and rasp, so it's only fitting that she endure the same scraping and grinding. I hope they remembered to remove her wolf teeth.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please Make It Stop!!

This has gone beyond nightmare territory. I can't bear to look at one more snowflake. I'm marooned in the run-in like a shipwreck survivor. TJ plows his way around and even seems to love standing out in the cursed stuff. The woman just shovels and shovels. First to get to the barn, then to get the wheelbarrow to the manure pile, then to get the truck out of the garage - and on it goes. I almost feel sorry for her - almost, but not quite. I've requested to stay in till March but she insists I get fresh air. She knows I prefer stale air and close quarters.

Yesterday, the humans put us in around two o'clock because the storm was so fierce. Then, they came out to our barn with lumber, power tools etc. They made TJ a proper stall at the end of the aisle. They left the door open so he wouldn't feel trapped and when he saw how much we enjoy construction work, he became much more interested. He even chewed the saw they left in the run-in. Doc is obsessed with power tools and managed to stand on the contractor's Makita saw when the barn was being built. The contractor blathered on and on about how sneaky we were because he had only left the door open for thirty seconds. The male human says Doc should do an ad campaign because the case broke but the saw didn't. I myself have a preference for those square yellow carpenters' pencils and sampled quite a few when the contractors left their tool boxes open. Humourless bunch, contractors.

I am so happy to have contact with the outside world through my diaries. It's my only link with sanity in these terrible days of ice and snow. Please lobby for a law that would see all donkeys flown south for the winter.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

This Could have been Predicted

When I saw them drag that tree into the house I thought to myself "This will all end in tears." Sure enough the grey cat who lives in the house tells me there's been a terrible misunderstanding. She thought it was a gift for her; sort of a climbing apparatus/toy dispenser. It's covered in shiny things and yet she is expected to touch nothing. Strangest of all there is some family heirloom that consists of a group of tiny figures in a tiny barn. Apparently, those are highly untouchable and the miniscule people are not to be chased down the heat grate or carried around by their heads. She tried to make amends by leaving her old toys under the tree but the humans aren't interested in an exchange program.

Speaking of toys, I thought it best to give TJ my rubber chewing blob - it's called a Kong - I haven't played with it in years, so I pushed it from the back of my stall and out into the aisle. He beat the thing even more lifeless, keeping us all awake into the small hours. The woman went all maudlin and said "Oh Sheaffer, you do like him afterall!" Amazing how she can leap to such spectacularly wrong conclusions.

She forgot to close the tack room door last night and TJ vandalized the entire room. He ate five pounds of carrots and some mints and tipped over the garbage and went though every item. He tried to operate the pump handle but fortunately couldn't quite manage. All we need is to be frozen to the floor, encased in ice up to our knees when the woman comes out in the morning. He didn't even offer to share the looted carrots - not that I would ever be tempted by stolen property. Molly nearly lost her mind and left dents in the bottom of her door.

The humans keep running off to festive occasions and having mobs of people over here, so many that a donkey can hardly collect his thoughts. To a person, they ask if my New Year's resolution is to lose weight. If only I could talk, there'd be some humans suddenly struck dumb when I began to ask THEM highly personal questions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bah Humbug!!

The weather is targeting me personally. It must be. The woman put me back in my room around 11am so I woudn't become too soggy. It takes me a very long time to dry out. TJ first said he wanted to be in and then he wanted to be out...typical. He stayed out and got soaked. Molly mare came in with snow in her feet and did a spectacular and klutzy version of a horse on skates when she hit the aisle floor. She stopped when she kaboomed into the door at the end of the barn. The woman just stood there shaking her head, mumbling about collateral damage.

We had a long driveway at our former place and as a mere stripling I used to gallop up and down it at high speed. If it was icy, I could attain cruising speed and then lock my legs and slide for miles. I also perfected a sitting-on-my-bottom-sliding stunt on particularly icy occasions. Unfortunately, my bottom is somewhat larger these days and doesn't lend itself to sliding. Ahhh, the heady days of youth. I've been regaling TJ with tales of my younger days and he's most unappreicative and says "Shut it, Grampaw", and runs off doing what he considers daring moves in the snow. Pathetic, really.

I hope to melt the snow overnight through sheer willpower but I have doubts...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tree in House Day

We had our hay in the sun in front of the barn again and it's really the only thing that makes these dark days of winter worthwhile. The snow is as high as a donkey's kneecaps. TJ doesn't care, just charges around all over like a tiny, demonic snow plow. He and Doc staged a Wrestlemania match and Doc ended up licking his face so thoroughly afterwards that it looks like he's wearing glue.

The humans drove off after lunch, clutching various saws, and sure enough, they returned with a tree trussed up on the roof of the car. Every year they go through this ritual - I assume it's so they have something to snack on. Molly was very excited when they returned and ran to meet them while whinnying - of course she thought it was a snack for her. That horse could stay fat in a lunar landscape.

GALE, I would love to see the pictures of your donkeys. I showed TJ how a civilized equine stands for their foot care but he simply can't take it in. Maybe an image of other donkeys being equally composed would help. Can you include it with your comment? I feel the more donkey-influence in his life the better. Just between us, Doc isn't always the best role model - he's inclined toward immaturity himself, even though he's 13 years old.

I will try to post images of the others. The woman took some this morning before the camera froze. You can see for yourself just how intimidating TJ really is. Quite massive and brawny.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hoof Care Day

We were put back in our stalls around noon because the foot man was coming for his regular visit. I much prefer him to the medical types who show up in the spring and stick needles in us and peer at our teeth while making clucking sounds. The sounds are followed by a medievial procedure called floating. It involves rasps and gags and lots of noise echoing around the cranium.

The foot man is a pleasant youth of some five decades and he's done my feet since I was an infant donkey. We understand each other perfectly. We were in our stalls and TJ was in the aisle and although the man was calm and quiet and wasn't anywhere near him, TJ had a panic attack and threw himself over my stallguard, landing upside down and very nearly bowling me over. He says the man is an evil entity whose goal in life is to torture mini mules. He then proceeded to have several massive attacks of what my grandmother called the "screaming squitters" all over my clean stall. Very smelly and unfestive. Sigh.

He's now letting the woman rub his withers with her hand but he stands there rigid and ready to flee the whole time. I think it's a cunning ruse because the woman hands him a steady stream of treats. Occasionally he fumbles and a treat bounces into my stall and even though it has mule spit on it, I manage to choke it down.

I am so pleased to have other donkeys amongst my readers; it makes me feel I'm not alone in this strange world of other species.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Was that the SUN??

We were quite surprised this afternoon when the clouds parted and the sun burst forth. The woman put our hay out in front of the barn and we thawed out and soaked up the warmth. I find the best way to take advantage of these moments is to press myself against the side of the barn as flat as possible - though it does tend to make my midriff bulge out further on one side.

TJ is finally settling down somewhat. The woman explained to him that he can harass Doc as much as he likes but that I don't appreciate his highly physical sense of humour. Molly lets me hide behind her so that gives me another avenue of escape. You'd need a bulldozer to move Molly when she decides to stay put and she makes such savage faces at him that he pretends he has something else to do.

The seasonal paraphanalia is appearing - but we don't get any at the barn because we feel the need to - ummm - rearrange it. At our other place, Doc and I were allowed to roam on the property and we discovered a huge mass of greenery tied to a porch light. Doc pulled it down and we were so disappointed to find it a fake that we tore it to shreds and trampled the remains. We moved on to a string of coloured lights around the door and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly popping each one and sampling the broken bits. Along comes herself and goes stark staring bonkers. Calls us idiots and vandals and a few other things. I'm not sure how she knew it was us because we were quietly standing by the gate but maybe the hoofprints had something to do with it. We did get a hot bran mash to help the bits get through the system, so that was an upside.

We always get some of the seasonal mints as treats - they're called candycanes - and the male human delivers a bucket of stud muffins on December 25th, but that's as festive as we're allowed to get. The woman says if we get too festive, she'll have to be locked up...hmmmm.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

I had to borrow from a seasonal tune to even begin to describe the weather we're having. Everything a donkey hates with a passion. The woman let me stay in most of the day - the others preferred to be out for some reason. She closed the tack room door and left the stall doors open and just let me potter around and eat my hay in the aisle.

I did go out for a few hours and was fortunate to witness Doc and TJ wrestling under the barn eaves when a huge sheet of snow let loose and nearly buried them both. Much sneezing and snorting from both and TJ looked like the Abominable Mini-Mule (how appropriate). I also witnessed the woman hanging onto Molly mare's tail and being towed across the ice to the run-in. That horse must be part ATV. She certainly walks as if she has snow tires on all four. Her ancestors are from the Tyrol so she is rather smug about all things winter-y.

I very much appreciate all the nice things people have said about my parade experience. I take my role as a donkey ambassador very seriously and hope to do more meet and greet events in the future. They're talking about training TJ to be my sidekick but I fear there could be lawsuits arising from personal injury and collatoral damage. Maybe if they drugged him senseless and just propped him up...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Resounding Success

The day dawned bitterly cold but it didn't hamper our festive spirit and we arrived at the parade assembly area in good time. This was only my second public event and there was lots of commotion, noisy vehicles and excited children before we even got started. The humans were hampered in their hitching by blue frozen fingers but I stood like a statue, even when they put first antlers, then a Santa hat, on my head, and silver rope reins on my bridle.

Our place in the parade was between a float depicting something called a Ratatouille Movie and behind, an enormous green gravel truck decorated with what appeared to be comatose midgets - I'm told they were actually "elves", strapped to the front. As we progressed, the crowd grew larger and whenever we approached we heard "Ooooooo, look, it's a ....donkey/burro/errr, what is it"? The footing was rather greasy and given my refined foot size, I had to pick my way carefully through the slush.

Fortunately the route is only four blocks long with just one gentle hill, so the spectators didn't hear too much heavy breathing from self. Including my driving partner, Alex the Elk's mother, I had an entourage of six people, the two younger ones passing out candy canes to the public. I realize from today's tour that I quite like the idea of city living and would be content in a second floor flat with central heating and lots of windows with heavy draperies where I could hide and watch street-level activity. Living in a barn pales by comparison. I'm an urban soul forced to live in a rural setting.

Speaking of "rural", young TJ was amazed to see me hop in the dreaded metal box with aplomb and return victorious a few hours later. He expressed his amazement by leaping on me - it seems to be his one reaction to everything in his life. Sigh.

I received many treats and much adulation, so the venture ended on a high note. I will post a couple of photos - the camera froze, so there will be more later from more robust photographic units.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Parade Day Minus One

The hideous weather was somewhat mitigated by my being able to supervise the decoration of my cart. The woman's friend who will be my driving partner arrived with a whole box of shiny rope-like things (they looked quite tasty) and the two of them proceeded to transform my red and green cart into a splendid looking chariot. There are more decorations for my person but those will be attached once I am wearing my black harness - I hope they don't use staples.

TJ, the delinquent mule, demonstrated his street moves today when he suddenly sprinted after a flock of crows in our paddock and came so close to catching one that feathers flew all over. The crows sat in the tree and squawked about it for ages. I've noticed that even the swaggering squirrel is lying low since TJ's arrival. He's 31inches of pure terror.

I must get my beauty rest - it wouldn't do to be seen in public with bags under my eyes. I will compose a tell-all post tomorrow evening.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An ILL Wind

The wind today was savage - much like little TJ -hahahaha! That's the name they've settled on after reading GALE's comment. His ears are only half as impressive as mine, so the wind can't blow in there and rattle around. I spent most of the day in the run-in and he ran back and forth between Doc, who was digging grass out of the snow, and myself, offering to wrestle with us both.

The woman seems to be concerned about the level of trauma he's endured - frankly, I'm the one being traumatized by HIM. She called Kyle at the Donkey Sanctuary and discussed how to help him relax and trust people. He gave her some ideas and I certainly hope it doesn't involve me being a father figure to him. I had hoped Kyle would suggest he be taken away in a small van and locked in a home for delinquents, but NO, it involves all of us being kind and patient and understanding...I just hope I still have time for my ruminations.

My cart will be decorated tomorrow - I plan to supervise the operation closely. Numerous cameras will be taken to the parade and I hope by Saturday evening to have some images on here. If the fire trucks are too loud, they may be more in the line of "action" shots.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Creature Abides

Though I strongly encouraged the creature to crawl through the fence and make it's own way in the world, it just laughed and body checked me. He has an absolute mania for any sort of wrestling match and ambushed me when I was napping in the run-in. He said "Eeeeyaaah!" and launched himself at me, exclaiming "Ok, Grampa, lets see ya bust a move, hahahaha". I tried to pummel him but my substantial girth limits my range of moves. THEN, he began to mimic me, huffing and puffing and affecting a strange rolling walk. I gave chase but had to stop when I couldn't get air into my lungs.

Doc still thinks he's wonderful and even let him grab his hind leg above the hock and pretend to rip it off. Doc just lifted his leg clear of the ground to make it easier for him to play, and kept on eating his hay. This modern approach to child-rearing is responsible for the herds of similar delinquents out there.

The humans have decided to name him Jakob, his full name being Texas Jake because that's his place of origin. I still think Little Damien suits him to a tee. My parade is coming up on Saturday so I am trying to stay focussed on that. The audience expects a stellar performance from me and I can't arrive looking frazzled, with clumps of hair missing. My friend Alex the Elk will be there with his family - his mother is to be my partner - so I know I'll have at least a couple of hours respite from the monster child. I hope he's so jealous his hoofs turn green with envy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's STILL Here

The woman did not put the new arrival out with the recycling as I suggested. Doc is still guarding him and Molly is still making hideous faces at him and I am still keeping my distance. He told me a bit about his life and it hardly seems credible. He hates being touched by humans because he says it always hurts and he says they can't be trusted, ever, so it's best to keep a good distance. I told him about the woman, that she's quite bossy but does watch over us very carefully. We love being brushed, going in the trailer and having visitors. He was shocked. We always have thick, clean beds and lots of food. He says he'll watch and see for himself if this is possible.

We had horrible, sticky snow all night and the footing is soggy and muddy underneath. The new arrival doesn't care, which I find odd because his feet are even smaller than mine. I stood in the run-in today, glaring at the snow and willing it to melt. No luck so far.

When we came into the barn the woman spent a lot of time just standing to one side and talking to the new arrival. He listened carefully and got a little closer but still says she's one of "them". GALE advises that I reserve judgement on this new equine personage, so I will pursue that course of action for now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's Here

First of all, I want to stress that if my faithful reader GALE were running the world, she would bring order out of chaos and would never allow an alien creature, the likes of which appeared in our paddock today, anywhere near civilized equines. But of course she doesn't and the mad woman who runs this place appeared with said creature and told us to make it welcome.

It's a strange, 31inch tall thing called a mule and it has a voice that sounds like it's been gargling with gravel since birth. Only two years old, and has a vocabulary that would make a guttersnipe blush. It addressed me as "Yo, Grampa". Then it asked me if I wanted to rassle. Good God. Doc is absolutely smitten with the thing and acts as though he's just given birth. Molly mare hates it because she only arrived in June and feels it's a threat to the social order. I feel it's a threat to the entire civilized world. She and I stood under the trees and glared daggers at it while Doc simpered around. The dog made an effort to chase it but hastily exited at high speed with the mini demon hot on her heels.

Tonight the woman has made a bed for it in the aisle so it can settle in and none of us will hurt it. Pahhh! The thing could take on a street gang and come out with not a hair ruffled. She spent a long time talking to all of us and explaining it's life story. It came here from Texas in the summer and has had five homes in the last few months . It was on it's way to a meat auction so of course she felt it should come here...It has not been christened yet but I suggested Little Damien. It's terrified of people and the woman spent ages getting it calm enough that she could take it's halter off. Maybe she'll come to her senses and stick it out at the curb with the blue boxes. She says I'm jealous but in fact I'm just being the voice of reason.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

She's Back...

Last Wednesday the woman went on at great length, explaining how she and the male human were going away to eat yet more turkey, this time in a whole other country. These people are positive gluttons - they've eaten all the turkey and pie in this country and have now moved their operations to another nation.

We had a peaceful interlude with our friend Jamie taking care of our needs and generally fulfilling our every wish. No snarky comments about body shape or allusions to sneaky behaviour. Well, tonight the woman is back. I cut her dead when she came to the paddock to put us in for the night. Does her good and lets her know we can't be taken for granted. She did give us all sorts of treats and much patting so when she came out to give us our night hay I told her she could rub my ears and elaborate on how glad she was to see me.

Rather disturbingly, she told us we will have a new herd member tomorrow. It's something called a "mule" which is apparantly at least half proper equine, the other half being miniature horse. It's in dire straits and she feels compelled to help it, which of course infringes on my space since it will share my room. I plan to be very strict with it. I look forward to it's arrival with suspicion and apprehension. I will keep my readers informed of it's every move...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's always MY fault...

Imagine my delight when the woman tied a huge haynet to a beam in our run-in this morning. The only flaw was that it was too high for me to reach. That's when she explained that she had actually done it on purpose so I could only have access to the bits that fell on the ground. She said that, furthermore, it was part of an ongoing scheme to control my weight! The unmitigated gall of the woman.

I pondered deeply for a while and realized that the haynet is made of some sort of cotton rope, which lends itself to easy chewing. I applied myself to the task and in no time had a gaping hole in the bottom of the evil thing and a huge cascade of hay engulfed my head. My victory was shortlived. In came the woman and called me a calculating saboteur and said I looked like I was wearing a very bad wig. Never a moment's peace around here - you think she would have congratulated me on my ingenuity.

While she was trying to knot the haynet back together she brought up numerous other instances where my creativity has been met with her disapproval. The wheelbarrow handles that I chewed down to toothpicks, the bridle that I remodelled, the doortrim that I removed - blahblahblah. She even bought a "Best Friends" anti-grazing muzzle that she uses occasionally. It's a hideous basket-like contraption that keeps me from enjoying the best of the spring grass - and any other tasty morsels (like leather tack).

I'm in negotiations with Cruiser to move to her house- I'll do a bit of light housework in exchange for a life free from nagging and recriminations. I'll update as plans evolve.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Best Friend - Hah!

I was standing in the run-in door today, thinking deeply, though I'm told there was the odd snore emanating from self (how they all lie). There was a terrible rustling and rattling behind me and without a moment's hesitation, I leapt a good eight feet in the air and did a standing broad jump of approx. thirty feet. I hit the ground running but the terrible "thing" kept close on my heels. When I was on the verge of expiring, I managed to turn slightly and saw the "thing" was Doc with a shavings bag in his mouth.

Now, Doc knows I have a particular fear and loathing of these things and he finds it incredibly amusing to torment me with them. I've told him repeatedly that these bag things can cover your head and suffocate you or become entangled in your legs and devour you alive. He's just too thick to process the concept. It says right on each and every one of the bag-monsters that human children are prone to put them over their heads and expire. Maybe one day Doc will put the warning to the test - and I won't be the one to pull it off his thick-as-cement-head...

He claims he's "bombproofing" me for the parade. I sincerely hope there aren't any bag-monsters lurking in the crowd. I'm prepared for the eventuality and will exit the parade route at high speed if need be. I'm sorry to say the woman finds Doc's sense of humour most entertaining and the idiot laughed so hard she had to sit down in the middle of the paddock. Fortunately, it's quite muddy right now, so I had the last laugh after all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My First Parade

The woman tells me that my services are required at something called the "Santa Claus Parade" in two weeks time. I am to pull a friend of hers in my red and green two-wheeled cart. I would prefer to ride IN the cart, but am never given a say in this. I quite like meeting the public and just hope the human offspring are well behaved. There have been mumblings about decorating my person in various bows, scarfs, antlers etc. - we'll see about that...I am a low-key individual who prefers to wear muted greys accented with black.

Weather permitting, I may practice my driving skills this weekend. I pride myself on the smoothness and accuracy of my moves in harness. I can complete a course comprised of pairs of cones without touching one - unless the human driver interferes. I was once entered in a driving competition but the other competitors, all horses, withdrew at the last minute. It was suggested that they couldn't stand the thought of losing to a donkey. They were obviously quaking in their horse shoes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Donkey "ownership"

Although I was brought to live with these people at the age of six months, I have never felt myself to be a piece of property owned by them. Quite the opposite. I have agreed to stay with them because they are simply too idiotic to be left to their own devices. When I hear someone refer to donkey "ownership", I simply roll my eyes heavenwards and say a silent "tsk,tsk".

A friend recently sent me this news clipping which perfectly illustrates my point.

ABU DHABI - A donkey at an Algerian market ate the money of a man who came to buy him. Now the would-be buyer and the would-be seller wonder whom the animal belongs to, reported Al Shuruk al Yawmi, a newspaper published in the Algerian town of Tizi Ouzou. It said the vendor and purchaser were haggling over the price and failed to notice the donkey consuming the stack of banknotes meant as payment for him. The case has been referred to the Algerian Supreme Court.

The donkey had no other choice. He ate the banknotes to express his displeasure at the entire concept of someone "owning" a being who is in every way their superior. Also, banknotes make a nice, dry snack.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Immortalized in Watercolour

The woman human has been very busy entertaining other humans during something called "The Royal". They all get very excited and disappear for hours and return babbling about their "purchases" and different entertainments put on by horses. Finally, things seem back to what passes for normal around here.

The woman has been speaking of having my portrait done but I feared it was all empty words - much like the "treat" that turned out to be wormer followed by a microscopic cocktail carrot. However, she returned on Saturday with a black and white portrait of self that I feel captures my complex personality and rugged good looks. I had envisioned something in oil, measuring about 4ft. by by 6ft. that would hang in the National Gallery but am very pleased to be immortalized on paper. The artist is a talented young woman called Elise Genest and I am honoured to be her first donkey subject.

I assume they will hang my portrait on the back wall of my room, where I can gaze on it as I recline and contemplate my next diary entry. Given a choice, I would remain in my room until next May, but the woman is a fresh air fanatic and bustles us out the door at the crack of dawn. Insanity, of course, but I try to bear up under the strain.

My artist friend can be reached at Elise Genest 418-878-5006 or 418-204-4946. Her web site is and e-mail is elisegenest@hotmail.c0m I highly recommend her.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Good Friend Smokey

It was so good to hear from my old friend Smokey in the comments section of my last post. How I miss the big gallumph! I'm not surprised he needed a chiropractor. He doesn't ever worry about bodily harm, which makes him a very relaxed individual but which sometimes leads to - ahem - mishaps.

In the week he stayed with us he accumulated an impressive number of scars. He was rushing to the barn for his grain feed (approx. four oats - he's an easy keeper), when he stubbed his toe on the hill going down to the barn. He rolled over and over like a huge rubber ball and crashed into the side of the barn with the most amazing sound effects. The woman went a very pale shade of greenish-white, but up he sprang, shaking off the dirt, and continued into the barn for his feed. Then he got the bucket stuck on his foot when he exited his stall and the woman had to pry it off. Then there was the unfortunate incident of my tooth marks somehow ending up on his jugular...but I, ahhh, forget the details of that one.

The day before he was to go home, Doc chased him right through our rail fence. Smokey said he was just fine but the woman called the vet because he had a gash on his shoulder. I supervised the whole suturing procedure and can tell you that it doesn't take much sedative to turn Smokey into a stumbling, pie-eyed drunk. Highly amusing from my side of the stall guard. The woman and the vet had to nearly carry him back to his stall, where he slept it off, snoring contentedly.

He's had numerous other adventures but probably the best was when he fell flat on his face while he was strolling in the forest. His human was projected into a healthy patch of poison ivy and apparantly Smokey stayed on his knees for awhile to take in the spectacle. The human was very itchy for a long time after but fortunately Smokey emerged unscathed with not an itch of his own to scratch.

I'll update my readers as the further adventures of Smokey unfold. He actually fell off his trailer the last time he visited so I know he remains in a a state of permanent non-stress.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Explorer Donkey

Last Sunday the human woman had a visitor. They appeared in my paddock, notepad in hand and the dog on her leash. They put on my travelling halter and we set off -I'm very keen on travel adventures. There was the usual sarcasm "Sheaffer, if you walk any slower you'll grow moss" sort of thing. I prefer to keep my steps slow and measured; I enjoy nature's buffet and sampling cannot be done at high speed.

We walked for awhile and came to the small green wooden bridge. I know perfectly well how to walk over it but prefer to push my toes against the edge, focus intently, and suddenly leap upwards, becoming airborne, then landing nimbly on the other side. The visitor exclaimed on the extraordinary view of my substantial abdominal area as I achieved mid-leap. They said I cast a shadow as large as the GoodYear blimp. I'm not sure what that is but I felt quite flattered.

Turned out our destination was the Pioneer Cemetery on our property. The humans were very keen on recording the information on some stone slabs for "posterity". The dog fussed and fidgeted but I took the opportunity to graze respectfully off to one side. We did get some rather overt stares from passing motorists but of course my appearance always draws attention.

On the way home, I stumbled slightly going down the steep hill (I was sampling some plant life) but fortunately the woman broke my potential fall. She was rather grumpy afterwards and made me walk beside her.

I have hopes of being included in future historical outings, though I sometimes find it embarrassing to be seen in the company of the woman. Her manners are shocking and her appearance disheveled but I try to take the high road and pretend not to notice.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Private Property?

It all started when Doc and I found a coat on the fence this morning. We were checking the pockets for ID - all we found were gum wrappers and scrunched up kleenex -that should have been enough to identify it as the woman's. Of course, she misinterpreted our actions and snatched it away while glaring at us suspiciously.

The suspicion stems from an incident a few weeks ago. She and Molly mare had returned from a trail ride and left their sweaty saddle pad to dry on the grass. I studied it for quite some time and then calculated that by stretching my neck to it's maximum while standing on my toes, I could get a tooth-hold and drag it into the paddock. It has pockets on the sides and they had an intriguing oaty smell - buried under the sweaty horse smell, but discernible to my surperior olfactory senses. There were human snacks in bar form in there and by inserting my finely chiseled muzzle between the buckles, I was able to unwrap and sample them. Doc stood on one end of the pad and I on the other and he cleaned up all the bits that were spread around.

Out came the woman and as she got closer she began to run and shriek at us. We swallowed as fast as we could and when she got close, Doc grabbed the pad and ran away! Heh, heh. He and the woman circled the barn a few times but when it blew over his eyes he panicked and dropped it. A huge lecture on private property ensued (once she had caught her breath). My argument is that if you stumble across something it immediately becomes yours. Of course you-know-who doesn't agree. And on it goes...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sad Time at our place

Thank you, Elfwood. I haven't written in a few days because we're all in shock over losing our white cat. Someone was speeding on the road near our farm and killed her. She is buried near the fence she used to love to sit on. We miss her so much. She was a great friend of mine and used to play in my half flake of hay at dinner time. I was careful to eat around her and even though she would pretend to strike my nose, it was always done very gently and without claws. She also like to drink out of my water bucket.

When she was buried we all stood very quietly in a line by the fence and said our goodbyes. The human woman is very upset and doesn't like being in the barn, especially in the morning when she cleans our rooms. The cat always supervised and spent a lot of time purring and being patted by the woman. I suppose now we'll be over-run by herds of mice.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Icy Sunday

First, let me say that the appearance of that odious rap song at the top of my blog was done without consulting me. The male human still insists on calling me "Twenny Cent" at all opportunities in the mistaken belief that it has some comic value. Harumph.

Yes, as the title says, some form of solid water fell on my person around one o'clock. I was slowly making my way to the front of the paddock when a huge black cloud targeted me, expelling beads of a white icy substance in my general direction. I reversed course, but by the time I reached the run-in, the sun had reappeared. Typical.

More incomprehensible behaviour from the woman. She puts all sorts of stuff (she calls it recycling) into the wheelbarrow, to be put out with our, ahem, soiled bedding. She was busy scrubbing our buckets outside, so I examined the things in the wheelbarrow and found several of them quite delicious. I ate a piece of Potato Rosemary bread and a tea bag (orange pekoe) before she returned and began the usual carrying on. I find all her claims about recycling dubious - she's just selfish and doesn't want to share the finer things with the equines. I plan to continue my own recycling program out of her view.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sheaffer Rap

Yo, yo, in da' barn...
My name is Mista Sheaffer
I stand all of three foot three
My crib's a cozy barn at night

During da' day it's under a tree
The horses are my main peeps
We all live in da' rural hood
Naturally, grey is my gang colour
That is just the way it should

(Scratch, scratch)

We eat lots of hay and grass
Watch the traffic on the road
Count all the rails on the fence
If I get it right, I'll explode

Don't need to carry a gat
Got protection from Big Doc
You don't ever dis' Mista Shaeff
He gonna' clean yo' clock

Well, it's time to go now
It is sad, don't flip your wig
Peace out there Bros and Sistas
Gotta' go stare at a twig

Sheaffer the Sheriff

My paddock has been invaded by a hairy, black rodent with a huge furry tail (show off). I was standing, meditating, under a tree and there was a sudden outburst of abusive invective from somewhere overhead. A small, hideous face appeared, with a corn cob clutched in it's pointy yellow teeth. It shrieked at me in a foreign language and threatened me with a clenched paw. We spent the day sparring back and forth. Unfortunately he has the unfair advantage of being able to climb.

My own tail is growing so full that I inadvertently swished it through a burr patch today. It now has at least ten hairs at the bottom, two of which the human woman clumsily broke when removing the burrs. I need a stylist. And "product", to avoid these mishaps.

Elfwood, I will bear your offer in mind - I've met the curvaceous Annie and wouldn't mind sharing a paddock with her. Herb Massey-Ferguson sounds quite intriguing as well. I like anyone who stands quietly in a shed all day. And my "Elk" friend, I like your thinking - my new motto is "All Carrots All The Time".

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Soul Sisters

This afternoon the human female took the horse female, Molly, away in a metal box on wheels that attaches to the truck. I've been in it once and it has rubber walls and windows high up so I can't see out. Our old metal horse container had exposed wiring, which made for a much more interesting trip. I spent an enjoyable evening dismantling the entire system. while on our way to and from an evening of driving practice (I didn't drive the truck, unfortunately, I was driven in a cart). Apparantly it was a terrible thing, driving home at night without lights...seems silly, I could see just fine in there. Anyway, the next time they went to use the container, there were bits of wire and colourful plastic caps everywhere. Such a fuss over my having an enquiring mind.

I'm not sure exactly what those two females get up to when they go away- something called trail riding - but they come back hot and tired and looking quite smug. It sounds horrible, all that traipsing over hill and dale to no good purpose. I should mention that although they're of two different species, they look like peas in a pod. Both are about 13.2hh, stout of leg, broad of bottom and sporting a shocking amount of out-of-control mane. They could both do with a good old-fashioned corset in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Well, everything is much better without rain. They're now plowing the field next to our paddock, and I love the sheer geometry of it all. An enormous tractor with a huge set of discs roars by right next to me, leaving line after line of perfect furrows. So far I've counted two hundred and fifty.

Best of all, I may be moving to England! My friend Cruiser has invited me to go and live with her. As she advised, I've acquired a gold plastic rectangle that will cover all my expenses - the human woman has too many of those plastic rectangles anyway and won't miss one. I plan to fly first class, in an extra-wide seat to accomodate my generous girth. I'll order a carrot juice beverage followed by the vegetarian twig platter. I'm looking forward to touring many National Trust sights and sampling the woodwork. What a relief that at least one person understands my inner donkey.

To underline just how ill-treated and misunderstood I am, I hid behind the barn when it was time to go in our rooms. The woman called and called and then started searching the paddock for me. Probably thought I'd been donkey-napped. While she was out there in the dusk, I slid into the barn and was standing there when she came back all out of breath. I pretended I'd been there all the time. I think it's good to force the humans to question their sanity, especially after the whole unpleasant rap incident.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The weather today can only be described by a four letter word. Rain. I hate to resort to profanity, but there you have it. Rain is a donkey's worst nightmare (along with plastic shavings bags, of course). We breakfasted in the run-in and then the silly horses insisted on going outside. Five minutes and I was waterlogged. Then a wind came up and all sorts of blowing leaves stuck to me. By the time it cleared in the afternoon the human female kindly assured me that I looked like part of a Halloween exhibit - I chose to take the higher road and pointedly turned my back on her.

I used to think the human male was fairly normal but since the "Rap" incident, I've changed my mind. He's posted it under "comments" for the whole world to read! Now he's taken to calling me Twenny Cent. I'm devising something equally awful to call him - possibly Plugged Nickle...

We were let in early tonight to dry out and the human female tried to towel me off. The effort is appreciated but frankly, once I'm this saturated it can take days to fully recover. She remarked that I resembled a compost heap and immediately negated all her good intentions. She tried to make amends by giving us an apple and an English mint with our dinner. I was going to boycott the obvious bribe but when I looked, both items had mysteriously disappeared. I blame the cat.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What a bizarre and confusing day. During the night the white cat brought me a gift mouse (I know it was a gift because no parts were missing) and left it in the dining area at the front of my room. When the female human came in to let us out, I was absentmindedly pushing it around on the stall mat. Well! You'd have thought it was radioactive the way she carried on. It was snatched away and buried without my being consulted. Infuriating. Wait till someone gives her a book or something... Ha, then we'll see.

Then, more ructions when she was cleaning our rooms. I made my way, stealth like, into the barn by the back door. She was busy toiling away, so I made my way into the tack room and found a dish of cat food. Quite tasty - dry and with a nice after-taste on the palate. I was evicted quite rudely and then told off for knocking over a bucket of water on my way out. The woman is obviously a lunatic.

Now, here is the really confusing bit. The male human promised to write me my own personal piece of music. Ahhh, I thought, something Gregorian, possibly a Madrigal or even a little light opera. Imagine my amazement when I scanned the piece and found it completely incomprehensible. Cribs? Peeps? Bros? What on earth is he talking about?? Then tonight he told me he's getting me some oversized trousers that I must wear around my hips and a pair of mirrored sunglasses. I don't even like the large dog blanket they tried to make me wear. He's obviously as mad as she is. I'm thinking of packing my trunks and moving in with my friend Cruiser. Quiet, sensible woman who kneels down so she can speak to you one on one and who doesn't gibber nonsense in my sensitive ears. Best of all, she lives on another continent.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Breakfasted on some corn leaves. The horses stuck to the more familar flakes of hay. No sense of adventure.

The human woman and the female horse went off in the cornfields, leaving us two boys locked in our stalls. The human says it's because if she leaves us out, we run up and down the fence bellowing and upsetting the female horse. Of course we do. Why shouldn't we all go out together? Fortunately I have enough volume and staying power that I was able to make myself heard through the walls and across the fields, causing the female horse to want to rush back to see what was wrong. Quite satisfying. I'm told my vocalizations sound like bagpipes inflating. There is much droning and air intake and then the most unearthly and amazing sounds break forth. Due to my never having smoked, I'm able to maintain a high decibel level for quite some time. Female human said "Thanks a lot!" when they returned, so I know my efforts were appreciated.

More coping with gale force winds. I'm surprised my ears are still intact. I do like the spell of unseasonably warm weather we're having. I'm able to bake myself against the side of the barn and retain so much heat that the humans can barely touch me. I think it's safe to say it's never too hot for a donkey.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I feel a bit melancholy. As a seasoned blogger of some three days standing, I had hoped to hear more from my many far flung friends and acquaintances. Oh well, I'll carry on, ears held high. I'm sure Samuel Pepys had days like this.

Yet another windy day. I find , given the generous length of my ears, that there is a distinct roaring noise the whole time I'm outside. I find it safer to back into a thicket so I can observe unseen and not be ambushed by anything sneaking up on me under cover of wind noise. The black and white canine is often guilty of this particularly low crime. When not in residence in the thicket, I spend time in the run-in, gazing at the horizon. Some lovely, dry corn leaves have blown in and they make an excellent crunchy snack. I've put some aside for future use.

I had quite a turn this evening. There I was in my thicket, deep in thought, and when I looked up, the field was empty - not a horse in sight. I raised an alarm call (I have a deep voice that carries well) and there were answering whinnies from the barn. Traitorous equines had gone in to dinner without so much as mentioning it to me. I hastened to my room, out of breath and feeling betrayed. And then...that ridiculous human female said "Sheaffer, stop that racket, you'll have the police here investigating crimes against donkeys."!! An excellent example of the sort of attitude I must endure. Racket indeed. Pahhh!

I'll stop for today. I feel a fit of pique coming on.

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 19th (again)

Imagine my surprise when I stepped outside this morning and the wind nearly tied my ears in knots! Very unpleasant. Not to mention that my tail is somewhat lacking in volume owing to a baby donkey chewing it off years ago (I know, I know, taste of my own medicine etc.) and the wind plays havoc with my nether regions.

Got in a good bout of Greco-Roman wrestling with my friend Doc (the Jock) He's quite a bright orange colour and is built like a fireplug. He's taught me all the important stallion fight moves - including the behind the knee bite and the rear and strike ploy. I've added a donkey specialty; the both barrels with hind feet to the chest. He retaliates by chomping clumps of hair off my hindquarters, which makes me appear rather moth-eaten by spring. The female horse, Molly, is useless at the martial arts and just tosses her mane and goes off to eat some more grass.

Spent a satisfying afternoon watching the farm across the road. They grow acres of potatoes, so I keep an inventory of truck loads being hauled in. I conceal myself behind a shrub so I can make my observations unobserved. I've tried a stray potato and frankly, they just don't compare to a section of rail fence or leather halter for taste and texture.

The humans were out at a community dinner with friends, gorging themselves on turkey and pie. We were let into our rooms at least two hours late. I plan to file a formal complaint.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 19th

All in all, an excellent day for donkeys. I have received two comments so far from close friends. Smokey is a strapping 16hh grey lad and Maggie is one of my human friends from the Nation's Capital. Smokey once stayed with us while a horse infant was being weaned and he and I had a wonderful time wrestling each other. There was an unfortunate incident involving donkey tooth marks on his jugular region. These things happen when your friend is twice your height and suddenly raises his head, suspending you in mid-air. The marks are now gone and we remain best of friends.

It didn't rain today, as it was supposed to, and that is always a plus for donkeys. My personal foot care specialist came this morning to tend to my hoofs. Oh, and he also does the horses while he's here. I must mention, that after my rather impressive ears, my feet are a point of pride with me. They are small, cylindrical and black and leave a hoofprint the size of a Toonie (aristocrats are know for their refined feet). They have been described as "black patent leather" and "hardened blue steel". My foot man often remarks on their superior quality.

As a bonus, the corn that grows up against our paddock was combined today. The horses are somewhat wary of the gigantic combine but I enjoy putting my head through the fence so the machine can pass within inches of my nose. There's a huge cloud of dust (I do love dust in all it's many forms} and a deafening roar and the operator and I nod to each other and then it's over for the year. Sigh.

When the female human put us in our rooms at 6pm we each got a carrot with our dinner. She gave me the daily grooming and pulled some burrs out of my tail and discovered a small section of bird's nest entangled in the burrs. I examined it thoroughly and determined that the builder was probably a thrush.

Now it's starting to rain, but I'm warm and snug in my plumphy bed of fresh shavings, staring at the back wall of my room, thinking deep thoughts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The trials and tribulations of one small donkey

Although lacking opposable thumbs and standing only 8 hands tall, I feel it is important to share the daily trials I must endure as the smallest, but most intellectually most gifted equine of our group of three.

As you will see. I am a rather handsome, somewhat portly, distinguished donkey-about-town. I must confess, my ears are quite spectacular, especially compared to those of the other two. They have been compared to highly calibrated parabolic dishes, and I take that as a great compliment. Critics have compared my fur coat to steel wool but in fact it is like durable Harris tweed. I am a young twelve years and strive to maintain an air of dignified aloofness at all times. I do have a fondness for chewing wood and sometimes absentmindedly the tails of my horse friends. THEY don't mind but it causes the humans to shriek and flail their arms so I limit the activity to times when the humans are elsewhere.

As a keen observer of all that surrounds me and as one who forgets nothing that has happened within my world, I plan to share my musings, complaints and opinions. I would be pleased if you decide to join the select group of "Sheaffer-philes" who await my "bons mots" and the tales of my daily adventures.