Monday, March 31, 2008

At Least It's Not Fish Heads

With all the messiness of spring unfolding around us, it was inevitable that those air bags with baskets of humans hanging underneath should appear in the skies. They're quite silent, except for the odd sighing sound and usually the first noise we hear is distant chatter high above our heads. I find it prudent to stay in the treed area in case they turn out to be some sort of avian predator. Daisy the pony who lived with us long ago used to become infuriated at the sight of them and would chase them as far as the fence line, snorting and grumbling, with her ears pinned. Sometimes the basket humans laughed at her and it made her even more furious.

A few years ago we noticed some activity in one of our back fields and did our best to tell the woman but she thought we were just being silly. This was very early in the morning when she was cleaning our rooms. A man suddenly appeared at the door and said "Err, hello, can you tell me where the owner is?" He spoke very slowly and a bit too loudly, as if he were addressing someone of limited mental capacity (which of course he was). It may have been the woman's appearance, which was that of a pile of rags surmounted by a haystack of hair. She said "I"m the owner, can I help you?" He seemed disinclined to believe her but eventually said "Would you like a glass of champagne?" It seems one of the air bags had crash-landed in our back field and the custom is to offer the property owner a conciliataory glass of bubbly liquid. She declined and gave him permission to drive to our back field to rescue the humans. Meanwhile, we had been greeting him most effusively and asking to try the bubbly liquid. When he offered us nothing, we coated him in green grass slime and walked off in a pointed manner.

We could see a circle of humans standing around the fallen air bag, which was spread out on the furrows like a huge horseblanket, the basket tipped on it's side. Shortly after, they were loaded into their vehicle and driven down the farm lane past the barn. They had the whitest faces I've ever seen and rode by in stunned silence. The man rolled down his window and asked the woman if she would like a coupon for a free air bag ride. For some reason she declined. Doc was devastated as it's always been one of his goals to soar above the masses, bombarding them with various disgusting substances.

I remain highly sceptical about any sort of air travel and will stick to my metal box on wheels. Donkeys were not meant to fly, although the woman does occasionally call me "Pigasus". I can't think why.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Word About My Best Friend

I know I've spoken about him at some length before but I thought you would like to see a picture of my dearest friend.

He's my best friend for many reasons. First of all, he's grey, which is the superior colour for all types of equines. I'm not biased, of course. He has a wonderful sense of humour and is often referred to as "that clown". Although he is my age, 13, he retains a youthful outlook on life and never, ever worries about anything, except dinner being delayed. When he does sustain physical damage, which is fairly often owing to his ultra-relaxed attitude, he refuses to worry about it and simply indicates to his woman that he needs ointment, stitches, poulticing or whatever. Then he has a long nap.

The photo is from last summer when he carried our friend Linda through the Adirondacks and managed to not fall off a precipice or into a chasm or be swept over a waterfall. He did have an occasional stumble over a tree root but didn't actually fall on Linda at any point, which she much appreciated. Like myself, he abhors mud but doesn't mind a sip from a river where he can see the bottom.

It was the first such trip for Molly and Smokey shepherded her along, encouraging her with gentle nudges on the backside when she hesitated at a bridge or river crossing. He quite fancies her but she was taken with the other gelding, Tucker, who is a strapping brown and white lad. Nevertheless, Smokey still yearns for the golden girl.

I only get to see Smokey in the good weather when he is driven over in his metal box on wheels. It's a shame because I'm always cheered up by one of his visits, when he inevitably says "Hey, little dude", and promptly falls out of his conveyance in his excitement at being here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Will Rid Me Of This Turbulent Mule?

I know, I know. Henry the Eighth said it about Thomas More and he said priest and not mule. But I know exactly how he felt. We both suffer(ed) from the same ominous, everpresent, pestilent force that makes every waking moment a struggle.

Our paddock looks like the Mississippi Delta in flood season. If it weren't for the floating blocks of ice, I'm sure we could grow a bumper crop of rice. This means that I must navigate my way around very, very carefully or risk an impromptu soaking. There I was, at the edge of the lake at the barn door, planning a clever route of three steps along the side of the barn, a hop onto a small island and a larger leap into the run-in. I was so engrossed in my calculations that I failed to hear the sound of tiny hoofs approaching at mach3. A shrill voice screamed "Incoming, get outta my way, lard butt" and I was launched violently into the middle of the lake. TJ trampled me underfoot and made it into the run-in, bone-dry, where he did a victory dance.

It didn't stop there. The people-door to our run in is tied back during the day so it doesn't flap around and TJ has taken great joy in pulling on the string and wiggling the door with his nose. Today I was making a hasty run for the barn, with the mule-cockroach on my tail. Imagine my surprise when I attempted to escape into the run-in and encountered a closed door. He had cunningly worked the string off the handle and slammed the door. The results were predictable - my profile is now considerably flatter. The crash was made even worse by his entire weight, combined with high speed, magnifying the overall impact. He said it didn't hurt a bit and why did I appear to have steam coming out of my ears. Gahhhh!

Now I understand the saying "Mad as a March hare", they're referring to TJ.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Neglected Donkey Update

Well, we can't really give you an update, because although the woman spoke to Mindy Hall, Chief Inspector for the OSPCA this morning, she was unable to give us any information. She is displeased with the number of us who have called to inquire and has asked that it stop. They are also not in need of any assistance on this case in any way. They can't tell us the state of the donkey and other animals, or even if they are dealing with the same donkey the woman and her friends saw. There is an issue of confidentiality involved, which means that we will not get any feedback, ever. I'm sorry we can't fill you in, but that is their policy.

If you wish to donate to organizations involved in animal rescue which are able to give you feedback on rescued animals, be sure you ask before donating monies, time, or any type of help, what their policies are in this regard.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Damnable "Cute" Factor

Another six weeks has trampled us underfoot and left us dazed and winter-weary in the snow. That means the return of our foot man. We had visitors so they came and stood quietly in the aisle while he went in to confront the mule-terrorist.

He's a very calm and quiet person who spent a lot of time reassuring TJ and speaking to him softly. TJ did all the usual moves, including climbing the walls. The foot man was able to snap the shank on his halter and TJ tried to knock him off his feet for awhile and slammed him into the wall as best he could but the man just kept on being calm. Eventually, he got TJ calm enough that he could pick up a front foot and he even dropped the shank so TJ can learn to "ground tie". I must reluctantly admit, TJ was much better than the last time, which was also his first time. TJ has asked me to let him tell his version of events and I suppose I must let him because I can't afford to have any more hair pulled out. It's a tissue of lies, of course. Be warned.

"A guy come over an clumb inna my room so I tole him ta beat it. I go snork,snork real loud an mak faces at him an when he touch me I go blam,boom,crash and throw him arond. He don rassle good so then I think, if I let him play on my foot, he ma go away. He go 'blahblahblah,TJ goodboy'. An then he clumb out. So I win anuther battul. TJ rool!!!!"

You see what I mean. I made the mistake of telling him about the Tooth Fairy and how if he hides the tooth Dr. Maggie took out, he might get a pleasant surprise under his bedding in the morning. He said "I hate ole fairy broads, I'm gonna jump her an tak all the surprises." It's the Santa Claus thing all over again.

I was last to have my feet done and was absolutely horrified to hear the man say TJ is at the top of his list of favourites because he is highly intelligent and is trying very hard! What?! I have been at the top of his list for years and years and now this?? I was so shocked that I nearly fell over sideways. I sighed deeply and lowered my head to the floor and the woman intervened and said "How could you say that in front of him??" and he hastily said I was still at the top but am now sharing the spot with TJ. The traitor. Something young and cute comes along and I'm demoted. I feel like a middle-aged executive wife, with TJ obviously playing the role of "Trophy Wife". I'm crushed by the very idea. Thank goodness the visitors gave me lots of attention - though they do blather on about TJ's incredible cuteness.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waiting for News...

We're all very preoccupied with the state of the neglected donkey that I spoke of in an earlier post. The OSPCA has been but because the owners refused to let them see any of the animals, they had to leave and try to get something called a warrant. We can't get any information from them and so can't give an update, or even say if the donkey is still alive. We're very worried and afraid for him. I would even let him share my stall - but mules are still not allowed.

Speaking of which, I have a call in to Dr. Maggie to see if she can put TJ's baby tooth back in. Without a toothache to keep him busy, his energy level has shot into the stratosphere. He exits the barn in the morning like one of those rockets with sparks shooting out of it's backside. Next time he has to have a tooth out, I plan to tie a string around it and tie the other end to Molly's tail just as the woman approaches with food. That will take care of all the nonsense and expense.

The woman bought me a container of a liquid called Bitter Orange, which acts as a mule repellent. She spread it liberally on my person and waited for TJ to attack. Sneaky little devil, he smelled it before he touched me and just ran off cackling to himself. Molly came over to see what the fuss was, brushed her muzzle over my back and went "gakk blehh yechh" and tried to wipe it off on her knee. The best laid plans once again fall victim to his coniving mule-idity.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Such Goings On

The woman has not been at my disposal for typing because she's been busy with various things. Very annoying and inconsiderate of her. I may have to approach a typing agency to hire someone more reliable.

There has been much going on around the rescue of the neglected donkey. The story of how they finally got to see him is so convoluted that I can't remember it all. See him they did on Wednesday and it must have been bad because they all came back looking very pale and not saying much. It seems he may be past the point of saving. They tried every way they knew to buy him but the owners wanted to keep him for no apparant reason. He was lying in a pool of manure/ice water, covered in an armoured layer of filth, is terribly thin, has no hair on his neck from lice, and his feet...I didn't know a donkey's feet could grow right round till they merged into his pasterns. He is almost unable to stand and walk and his pupils are dilated with the pain of it all. I waited to hear that this was a made-up tale they told us just to scare us into good behaviour, but it's not. The SPCA have now taken over his case and I will keep you updated.

Two days ago, TJ stopped eating and last night he stopped drinking, so our personal physician, Dr. Maggie Turner, appeared today to examine the patient. Good thing SHE'Ss patient, because he tried every wrestling move on her and did some airs-above-the-ground and slammed her into the boards till they were both quite red in the face. She even stuck a thermometer up his posterior to see what the weather conditions were in there. Holding steady according to the read-out. He was given a large amount of tranquilizer which made him just groggy enough that they could put a metal device in his mouth and pry his jaws apart. It took three of them but he finally got his teeth rasped and a large tooth-top came out. It must have been what was bothering him because as soon as he was let go, he was ravenous. His story is that he was savagely attacked by three mad women, he overcame them all and emerged triumphant with only a broken tooth. He lies like a hearth rug.

Of course, they really wanted to spend all their time with me. While waiting for TJ to sink into near oblivion, they both gave me ear massages and said how handsome I am and took my picture. Doc is deeply in love with Dr. Maggie (they both have red hair)and insists on snogging with her and licking her coat and breathing deeply in her face. He makes quite a spectacle of himself - and she lets him. Molly just grunts and flaps her lips and asks for food.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Signs of Spring

We're engulfed in what the weather gurus are calling "the storm of the season" but there are signs that sometime, eventually, spring may sidle into the picture. There is now enough light for a donkey to see his own feet at almost 7pm.

One sure sign is the return of the shiny black birds with red epaulets on their wings. They suddenly appeared in our trees on Tuesday and immediately began a pitched and noisy battle over territory. There's much avian profanity and posturing and then they all stop and groom their feathers until it starts over again. TJ is planning to kill them all.

Another sign is that the cat actually sets paw outside the house and, shaking the dampness from her feet with each step, she condescends to pay us a visit. She informs us regularly that she is not just a garden variety cat but a Russian Blue, and as such must be treated as royalty. We are not allowed to mention that she came to us through a rescue place. I think she may be part monkey because she is built very much on the length and swings around casually in the trees like a small grey ape. She's very haughty and addresses us as "You serfs". Her response to anything that annoys her is "Pffffttt". TJ is planning to kill her.

The black and white cat-sized creature with the gas cannisters on his hind end is beginning to stir. We stay clear of him because the dog bowled him over when she first arrived and for days afterwards the stench was incredible. She had to sleep in the horse trailer overnight. He's a very strange character, giving to absentmindedly digging small holes while mumbling to himself. Even the owl ignores him. TJ is planning to kill him.

Tonight the idiot mule charged up behind me so fast that his head and shoulders got wedged between my hind legs and he lifted me clear off the ground. I was propelled forward at high speed while he tried to figure out how to extricate himself. Of course it didn't occur to him to stop and backup. He finally ran me up a snow bank, dislodging himself with a violent crash. The woman laughed and said "Are you two playing wheelbarrow?" She really is quite thick. I suspect it was another form of the atomic wedgie she mentioned.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sidewalk Supervisors

That's what the woman called us today. I've decided to take it as a compliment. We're quite tired tonight because we had an unusually busy day, but when there's supervising to be done, we are unstinting in our duties.

First a big truck backed down our driveway to fill up a large metal cylindrical holding tank with a gassy substance that heats the house. Pah, they could just back Doc up to the filler pipe after a day of grazing and have it full to bursting in minutes. The man stands there for awhile with a hose connected to the top and while he's standing there he tries to make friends with us. We like to vary our routine and sometimes rush to the fence and frisk him all over and ask to see what's in the hose. Today we used our other routine where we pretend he's a dangerous predator. We rummaged in the snow at a distance and snorted and gawked at him when he spoke to us. Most gratifying because it makes him very frustrated and he says "C'mon you guys, don't you remember me?" We roll our eyes and snort louder and when he's finished and is walking back to the truck we say "Wait come back, it was all a joke!" And then we gallop down the fenceline after the truck to show there are no hard feelings.

Then things got even more exciting. We had a thaw today (the humans refer to it as the calm before the atomic wedgie nature will spring on us tonight). I assume they mean the freezing rain. A road crew came along with all sorts of large machines and began doing things to the sides of the road. These machines make loud, gratifying beeping noises whenever they back up, which is often. We hung over the fence and tried to give the humans advice but they ignored us. They communicate solely by shouting to each other. Things like "Backupbackupbackup, WHOA Dougie, you're gonna put 'er in the ditch!" and "Put the boots to 'er Jimmy, you're losin' the a** end." Obviously some sort of code. Doc was very nearly green with envy because it's just the sort of career he dreams about. Then they saw TJ and said "What the hell is THAT?" I was just savouring the moment when they saw me and said "Lookit old Eeyore, hey Eeyore, you been puttin' away the 24's pretty good!" I gave them a withering stare and departed for the barn, their raucous laughter following me. I will ignore all future road crews and focus entirely on the gas man.