Sunday, June 29, 2008

Language Issues

To say Jack and I are getting on well is a massive understatement but there is one area where confusion reigns. His expressions date from another era, and as much of a student of linguistics as I am, there are times when he might as well be speaking Swahili.

He saw TJ for all of an hour, from the other side of the electric fence but he had no trouble in sizing him up. "That youngun's a mess a trouble", he said "Too big fer his britches, needs his backside warmed." I looked puzzled. "Whut I mean is, he needs to be taken out behind the woodpile ta get his hide tanned some". I grew even more perplexed. "Spare the rod, spoil the child. That boy needs a good whuppin'. If I was younger I'd do it muhself." I gave up trying to decipher his colourful imagery, but I don't see why TJ should benefit from warming and tanning while the rest of us are locked in a cold barn in the winter. I'm still trying to fathom what "whuppin" is, though my best guess is that it's some sort of sport where an older donkey chases a younger one around the paddock and they both holler "whup. whup, whup". Fortunately, just then a load of hay went by and Jack flared his nostrils to take in the sweet smell and said "Them fellas has drawed out a good load there." I gave up. Now I just nod in agreement and smile.

Jack and the dog have worked out a slow-motion game of tag that they both find highly amusing. One of them makes eye contact with the other and then they begin to walk briskly around the tree. They take turns being "it" and after a few circles, they reverse positions. Frankly I don't see the point in burning all those calories in such a juvenile way, but it seems that seniors sometimes revert to childhood. Jack is able to communicate to the dog when he has had enough and she lolls her tongue at him and wags her tail and darts off at high speed, which is her preferred pace. Jack has also spoken politely to the cat who of course said "Pffft", but she allowed him to ruffle her fur before she stalked off. His inter-species communications skills are obviously highly developped.

We were told today that the first potatoes should be harvested in about three weeks. The combine that sweeps through the corn and wheat crops like an avenging fury is my favourite large machine but the potato harvester is a close second. It's the modern version of a Heath-Robinson invention - an amalgam of gears and levers and television screens and on-board computers (that modern curse). It's the size of our sand ring and I lean as far through the fence as possible to get the best view of it's inner workings. I told Jack about it and how I enjoy counting potatoes and he said "Izzat so, well, I might have a gander at the field machine, but I think countin spuds might be a tad like watchin paint dry." I'm sure he'll be pleasantly surprised by the high level of excitement when the time comes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


We barn boys know that when Molly begins looking smug and superior and starts swaning around the paddock that one of her trail adventures is about to unfold. Sure enough, she got all dressed up in her trail outfit and saddlebags and ear covers and other sorts of nonsense and smirked off in the metal box.

When she returned, she was followed by a very large metal box and it parked in the driveway under the big tree. Smokey's woman hopped out of the truck and I had a delerious moment when I thought my grey friend had come for a visit. Unfortunately there was none of the thumping and crashing that usually announces his arrival. Instead, Smokey's woman folded down the windows and two large heads popped out. They stared at us with open curiosity but remained silent and applied themselves earnestly to their hay nets. The herd of human women sat on the porch facing them and I must say the amount of conversation they put forth more than made up for the equine silence. And let me add, there wasn't a scrap of food when they had finished - not even a rind or bit of apple peel for a starving donkey. Pure unadulterated greed.

The foot man came for his regular visit and it worried Jack very deeply till he figured out who he was. Jack is a stickler for routine and when we were put in our rooms several hours earlier than normal, he grew mildly alarmed. When the foot man walked in, Jack assumed the worst - that he had come specifically to whisk him off to parts unknown. Jack had an instant and massive attack of the screaming squitters - took the woman an hour to wash down the walls afterwards. Good exercise for her, though. When he saw the three of us having our feet done, he relaxed somewhat and was very good when it was his turn, inspite of the flies that relentlessly attack donkey legs at this time of year. Best of all, he hasn't foundered as initially was thought, his feet were contorted out of shape from neglect. The trim has improved them vastly and the foot man feels they will be right as rain in a few more trims. Jack tested his improved trotters and announced "Well, I'll be durned, I think muh feet has shed about thirty year in one go." I take it to mean he's quite pleased. His ankles no longer look like those of someone wearing cheap hockey skates and in this part of the world, that's a good thing.

We heard that Jack used to eat a variety of strange human foods in his former life and was especially fond of something called Smarties. We're thoroughly oppressed in our barn and not allowed exotic delicacies like that. Typical. Occasionally the woman puts two mints in our dinner and tonight she put two in Jack's dinner and let them soak with the rest of his meal. When he found them I thought he was about to succumb to an attack of pure ecstasy. He got one soggy mint between what's left of his back teeth and his eyes rolled back in his head. "Mmmmmmmahhhhhhhh", he growled, and began making the most alarming sucking noises. Eventually a line of peppermint scented foam appeared around his lips and he finally opened his eyes. He sighed deeply and said "My stars, that takes me back. There's nothin like a jolt a mint to to make an old donkey feel like a youngster agin." I just discretely crunch mine but maybe I'll try his system next time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The J and S Management Team

I've always felt a responsibility to oversee the running of this place and am pleased to have the mature presence of Jack at my side as co-manager. So far we hold identical views on how and when things should be done, and he is a huge help in keeping the woman on track.

We were waiting for the woman to trudge out to begin her chambermaid duties when Jack suddenly said "Here she comes and she's gotta cup of Joe with her!" I was flabbergasted. I confess, I thought he had had some sort of age-related mental breakdown and was spouting gibberish. She was carrying a mug filled with coffee but there was no one called Joe in sight. Jack became very excited and started huffling and generally carrying on till the woman came over to the fence and let him examine the mug. He stuck his muzzle in and began siphoning up the remaining coffee. When he had extracted every last molecule with the tip of his tongue, he closed his eyes, smacked his lips and said "ahhhhhhhhh!" When he finally opened his eyes I asked him who on earth this Joe is. "Why, coffee, boy, coffee, doncha know. Used to drink it reglar an I was beginnin ta think I'd never taste it again." Next thing he'll tell me he always has a cigarette with his first cup in the morning. I'm very much a tea lover myself but if coffee can make him that happy, I hope the woman continues to share her occasional morning mug.

This afternoon we oversaw the cleaning out of our hay storage area in preparation for delivery of the new supply. The horses were put on the lush side of the paddock (highly discriminatory) and we stayed on the barren side because of her obsession with the "f" word - founder, I mean. She got the wheelbarrow and pitchfork and began overturning the wooden slat things that keep the hay off the floor. Jack hurried over, used his nose to flip open the gate, walked in and began dining on the fallout of hay bits. The woman laughed and told him he could stay if he behaved. That's a fine turn of events - I've always been evicted unceremoniously in the past when I attempted entry. I waited awhile and joined them and she had the good grace to let me stay.

Jack has a highly developped talent for opening and closing doors, which initially took the woman by surprise. His nose is almost prehensile and he can wrap it around the slightest edge of any door or gate that is slightly ajar and have the thing open in a flash. He has figured out the horse-proof latches and is working on the clips that hold my stall guard in place. Today he rapped on the door when the woman was chambermaiding and she let us in to have some hay in the aisle, leaving both end doors open to allow the breeze to blow through. Jack wants her to know how much he likes life in the barn, so he marched over and slammed first one and then the other door. Then he gave a deep sigh of satisfaction and went back to his hay.

We donkeys put in very full days but with Jack onside, I feel there is hope of bringing the woman into line eventually.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mule Terrorist Update

We have news of TJ, and as expected, it's quite alarming. He is one of the youngest residents at the sanctuary, and the smallest by far, but he is creating a tidal wave of chaos and unrest.

He is now a member of the uneasy herd, and although he has accepted that he cannot terrorize everyone else all the time, he has worked out a cunning strategy that lets him launch random attacks on the herd members. He has appointed Wilson (very much without Wilson's consent) as the replacement for Doc in his life. He uses him as playground equipment, mimics his every move and generally invades Wilson's personal space and his every waking moment. Now he uses Wilson as a screen to conceal himself as he ambushes unwary donkeys. Said donkey is left stunned and bewildered by the guerrila attack and then TJ quickly ducks back behind Wilson. Predictably, Wilson is being treated as a beligerant stalker and is developping a collection of nervous tics. Poor Wilson is only two and TJ has turned him into a poster child for mental health.

Even dinner hour, the high point of the day for a donkey, has been sabotaged by TJ. There is a long barn with open doors at either end and in it is a tall table where the donkeys' dinners are prepared. The donkeys wait patiently, including Goliath who has his own flock of sheep that he guards. Now Tj has discovered that if he works himself up to overdrive, he can zoom into the barn, scattering sheep and donkeys before him. Then the tips of his ears appear at the edge of the table as he tries to work out how to abscond with all the dinners while avoiding contact with the humans doing the "cooking".

Meanwhile, Jack and I are letting our friendship develop slowly and carefully. It turns out Jack's lifelong friend, a miniature donkey called Huleo, died a few years ago in their paddock and Jack stood and guarded him till the humans arrived. Owing to this and a variety of other reasons, he has been in a state of decline ever since. He picked up considerably at Sheila's sanctuary but was left out of herd activities. When he met me he was so pleased to see what he took to be a copy of his old friend that he wouldn't let me out of his sight. We are settling into a comfortable routine and he is finally starting to believe that he can stay here as long as he likes. And I am enjoying the new and rewarding role of fearless leader and stalwart companion.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jack vs The Health Care System

We have found out some more about Jack - notably that he is closer to 40 years of age rather than thirty. He assures me he doesn't feel a day over twenty. He is becoming more and more spry and shows off his paces in the paddock when he is feeling particularly skittish. Exhausts me just watching him. All that running can't be good for anyone.

Yesterday the vet came to check out his skin condition and he rushed to the gate to greet her - he's very much a people person. When she got up next to him he got a whiff of vet smell and high-tailed it into the trees. He was lured out with Stud Muffins and she had a close look at his patchy, scaly skin. He has a cream the woman is to put on every day and may have pills to take if that doesn't work. Getting pills into him may prove interesting. The vet suggested he be wormed again and cleverly gave him a whole stud muffin before trying to sneak the syringe into his mouth. He grabbed the treat but then galloped off, the woman waterskiing behind him until she had to let go because he had achieved such high speed. A forty year old donkey knows something about people shedding tactics. He was captured with the bribe of another treat and this time the wormer actually made it into his mouth. Now he had both treat and dreaded wormer in there at once. What to do, what to do. He stood, thinking hard, lips pursed. while he weighed the options. Unable to eject such a tasty morsel (it contravenes his food policies), he manfully swallowed the lot. Then he galloped off, kicking up his heels.

"My boy", he said, "always check what's in their hands. If it's sharp or tubular, it's time to get out of Dodge. Vets is nothin but a passel of trouble. One whiff of em and you gotta hit the dusty trail. Jest remember to grab the food first." He makes a lot of sense.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Where Will I Keep It?

Imagine my utter amazement when the woman rushed out to the paddock this morning to inform me that I had won an award! When I saw her coming I quickly hid behind a tree in case she had any lunatic ideas about bathing my person - she had a crazed look about her. But no, it was to tell me that the tall woman and I have been given a trophy for "Most Enthusiastic Parade Participant". It must be due to my colourful costume, as I am averse to any displays of overt emotion and always conduct myself with dignity and restraint. In any event, I am extremely pleased to be acknowledged for my role as a pillar of the local community. As soon as the trophy is delivered, I will have the woman take numerous photos of self and tall woman posing with it.

To round out an already exemplary day, the young lad with mowers came to attack the tall grass in our paddocks. Completely unnecessary of course, but the woman is obsessed with our overconsumption and the general untidiness of chewed-over greenery. To get to the sylvan glades on the other side of the electric fence, the lad has to take down one section of wire. Molly shot through the narrow gap between tractor and post and the rest of us soon followed. We spent a lovely afternoon gorging on the best Mother Nature has to offer. The woman left us for awhile and then, looking stern and carrying the lunge whip, she herded us back to the barren side. We waddled into the barn, breathing heavily, and didn't even complain when she fore-went our usual flake of hay (except for Jack, who demanded, and got, a full haynet).

Jack now has his own fly mask and is inordinately pleased. He has been without so many things, including food, for so long, that he is overcome by the abundance of attention he is receiving. He has discovered that if he raps politely on the door when the woman is cleaning our rooms, she will let him in and groom him while he has a snack. In the evenings, he has taken to braying at us at exactly seven o'clock to let us know it's time to go in. He was a bit nervous at being confined to his room in the beginning, as it's his first indoor accomodation, but now he can't wait to get in and attack his hay net. "Young man", he said to me today, "I find my situation in life vastly improved. I have a notion this is a good locale for just settin and thinkin - and eatin, ev course."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Update On TJ The Terror

The sanctuary seems to be on recovery mode and TJ has worked out a pact with the donkey residents. Actually, he realized that except for Wilson whom he had comandeered as his reluctant best friend, every other resident feared and despised him. The larger and older members of the group had a meeting and decided on a plan of action. TJ was put in a paddock with two of the elders and this time they were ready. "hey ya fosils, im gonna lay anothr beatin on yer ole bones", he said. With that, the two elders sandwiched him between them and while one picked him up by the scruff of the neck, the other soundly thrashed him. "hey, no fair, no fair, pickin on the smal and helples", he squawked. Then Jed was let back in the paddock and, drawing courage from the example of the other two, was able to make TJ back down. The attitude adjustment seems to have taken and he is now in the mixed herd, minding his, p's and q's - not that he actually knows his alphabet.

Jack is gaining weight at a great rate and no wonder, he gets a huge bowl of gruel and all the hay he can eat. Grazes all day and has lots of specially chopped up treats, spends lots of time at the salt block - well, you get the picture. His coat is still a strange patch-work affair but he dreams of the day he will be as sleek as a harbour seal. He had a long lie-down in the sand ring today and on arising said "Ahhh, that did my old bones a world of good - now for some vittles." He has a quaint and old-fashioned way of expressing himself.

My own coat is starting to fill in, though TJ has depleted large areas. Our herd of four is a model of peaceful co-existence. There are no small bodies hurtling through the air or outbursts of raucous pseudo-braying or trees being dismembered - hard to believe Jack has only been here a week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Renovation of Jack

Life continues on calmly and peacefully here - makes for a nice change for me from just a week ago. Jack has quickly figured out the daily routine and is first at the barn door to go into his stall and have his bowl of gruel and full hay net. He lay down in his stall for the first time the night before last and snored up a storm. He makes odd tooth sucking noises when he dreams but that seems to come with his advanced age.

Two days ago the woman and her tall friend decided it was too hot for Jack to go around in his mouldering fur coat and that they would clip him. He was really quite good, especially since it was probably his first time with the noisy machines being run all over his person. He emerged with bare patches but is also showing signs of a shiny black coat here and there. Right now he looks a lot like a hearth rug that has bald spots from flying embers.

The women stood back and, heads on one side, eyes squinting, they examined Jack's new self - I could have told him about that look; it never bodes well. "He needs a bath," they said. I simply shuddered and slid off behind the barn. They decided to use the water in the trough because it's quite warm owing to the heat wave. They began with a bucket of soapy water and, all three of them describing rapid circles, the humans quickly became soaked - Jack less so. Jack became so annoyed that at one point he stepped into the water trough on his own, slipped, and sat down abruptly. He and the tall woman stared at each other and I'm not sure who looked more surprised. Summoning the remains of his dignity, Jack stepped out. This incident caused the women to become nearly hysterical with laughter and as all three spun around during the rinse cycle, they became quite dizzy with heat and giddiness. The whole thing was a shocking spectacle. Once released, Jack departed for the riding ring, where he quickly covered all signs of his spa treatment with sand.

He is a generally quiet fellow, being more of an observer. Today he confided "I think the woman may be a bit touched but I like the set-up. I think I'll stay". Exhausted with the effort of so much speechifying, he went back to his hay net.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reign of Terror in Roseneath

We have reports back from the donkey sanctuary and they are quite alarming. TJ has cut a path of destruction through there that has left both humans and donkeys in a state of shock.

The only donkey he has accepted somewhat is Wilson the two year old and even Wilson can't quite believe the creature who has been put in his care. TJ was systematically introduced to each donkey and quickly laid down the law as to who was boss. As always, they were initially decieived by his "cute" appearance and innocent demeanor. Then he sent them flying in all directions with orders "not ta git in mi face if ya wanna live." His crowning victory came yesterday when he routed Jed, the very much alpha donkey. Jed prepared to put the upstart in his place and quickly found himself a victim of gaping wounds, a ripped nostril and small, round hoof dents. Sheila heard the volunteers screaming and ran out to see them trying to pull TJ off Jed's person. As TJ is uncatchable, and quite deaf when in the process of annihilating someone, they had to chase the two of them to the barn with TJ hanging off Jed like a leech.

We are in the midst of a nasty heat wave and Jed was both bleeding and wringing wet, whilst shaking like a leaf. They draped cold towels over him and doctored his wounds and he gradually stopped shaking. TJ was merely somewhat out of breath. Our woman was most distraught at hearing this, and feels she has unleashed "Little Damien" on a once-peaceful sanctuary. Sheila will try to find TJ a home with large horses only, as he seems to despise all donkeys. I feel both horrified that another donkey (and a large one at that) had to suffer at the hoofs of the psychopath, but also somewhat vindicated that I survived several months in his company.

Jack is very happy to find himself here. He has his own stall, full haynet at night, mushy dinner for the elderly, grooming and lots of attention. Sheila did a wonderful job at bringing him back from the brink and we are now helping with the next stage. He will get what is left of his very long coat clipped this afternoon - he has been treated for anything that might be inhabiting his hair but just seems itchy from the layer of thick fur. We both get horribly bitten on the legs by blackflies and the woman applies a wonderous ointment called SWAT to foil the demons. We like to stand under the trees where there is a light breeze and a donkey's tail doesn't have to work so hard.

Jack is an excellent neighbour - polite and quiet and not given to tossing the metal gate on my person when I am sleeping or sticking his head through and pinching me hard while asking if I'm awake. He says little and seems to be in a bit of a time warp - he asked me the other day if I thought the Kaiser could ever be defeated. I am growing quite fond of him and hope his health allows him many more years with us.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Return Triumphant

What a grand day it was. The sun shone, a light breeze kept the humidity in check and all went remarkably well with my parade appearance. I still harbour grave doubts about the dignity of the costume, but am willing to graciously overlook that point. I would have much preferred vintage cricket garb, or a golfing costume from the1920's. Oh well.

The tall woman arrived with her metal box on wheels and off we went, my woman riding in the back with me. She was a bit selfish about letting me stand on her toes, but I managed. I can't see out of the damn thing and had to content myself with checking the wiring and pawing moodily. As we arrived a Bagpipe band suddenly burst forth with "The Maple Leaf Forever". I was touched by the welcome, though the woman suggested it was just coincidence. Possibly, since they would probably have used the more appropriate "Hail to the Chief". A team of the largest equines I have ever seen were parked across from us and I became very excited and made wheezing noises boredering on braying until I was taken to meet them. At first they didn't see me down at knee-level but when they did one of them gave me a stimulating scalp massage. I wanted to stay with them but was unceremoniously dragged away to be harnessed and"costumed".

The assembly and departure of the parade was a wonderful study in chaos and confusion, with everyone shouting happily and visiting and ignoring the many organizers who kept contradicting each other with the order of start. We ended up behind my large friends and followed by a locomotive type thing on wheels. My large friends had their own clean-up crew with shovels and a shopping cart with a large orange garbage bag. By the end of the parade, they had filled the entire thing! I was awestruck with their output.

The town looked very much like a set from long ago. Old houses with large trees on the lawns, gardens overflowing with flowers and people waving and cheering us on. Some of them inexplicably yelled "Hey Donkehhhhh!" in my directon but I politely ignored their breach of etiquette. On Centre St., a mob of attractive young ladies who work at the trendy "Banana Cafe" all rushed into the street to fuss over me. Unfortunately, they were food-less.

We wound up at the park where Sports Day is held. It had some odd and torturous contraptions that fling people in all directions, causing them to scream and turn green but they actually pay for the priviledge. There was a large beer tent and many of the parade watchers and some of the actual parade members marched right over to it in a purposeful manner. The entire band looked like it might veer in that direction but they bravely carried on to the bitter end.

By then I was quite tired and my costume had become disarranged, with both socks and knee pads around my ankles. They unhitched me and the humans pulled the cart back to the starting point. Did my heart good to see them between the shafts. I met a policeman in a car along the way and stopped to have a word with him. He refused to arrest the woman on charges of negligence in my care and nurturing. Ridiculous. He could see how wasted and frail I am.

And so home, triumphant and tired, to be greeted by Jack who acted as if I had been away on a world tour. I quite like having a "follower" and he seems happy to leave all the responsibility of leadership to me. It makes a change from the TJ reign of terror. The sanctuary is still in a state of shock and awe as a result of his arrival. More on that later.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Many Changes In Sheaffer World

I have so much to tell you. Yesterday the woman's tall friend who will accompany me in the parade came over with her giant clippers and they proceeded to style my fur coat. I would just like to go on record as saying I stood patiently for two hours while they buzzed the device all over me and said things like "Whoops!" and "Oh, oh, I'm sure we can camouflage that." Not very reassuring, I can tell you. As they proceeded, the full extent of the TJ damage become evident and they were suitably appalled. This resulted in many treats and much guilt.

They have left my undercarriage, or everything below the Plimsoll line, au naturel. This gives the effect that I am wearing a grass skirt or a sporran or some sort of fur fringe. The woman got out the camera but it had a fit of weakness and must be revived before she can take my photo. When it is revived I will get her to take a likeness of me and see what you think. She feels it will give me more bug protection but I hope it doesn't make me look like Queen Victoria in a bustle and four layers of long skirts.

At noon today a box on wheels showed up and there was much angry banging and clanging coming from inside. I must confess, I felt some trepidation. Out stepped an elderly and somewhat dilapidated donkey gentleman. Once out he became quite calm and stood quietly taking everything in. He was led to the front paddock section and was allowed to view us across the electrified wire. He stared for a very long time and eventually said "Good day." Then he went off on his own for awhile.

TJ had been given a lovely little leather halter with brass fittings two weeks ago and he and Doc have been systematically destroying it. This morning Doc pulled it off and they "lost" it in the paddock. How convenient - just an hour before his "ride" showed up. The humans put Doc in his stall and TJ in his and they had an interesting time thrusting him back into his tatty blue nylon halter. They had backed the metal box up to the gate and once caught, TJ charged out and leapt into it. I was astounded. His parting words were "hey fosil, i'll be bak so you betta watch out." It's as if a fuzzy, brown, 200lb. weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Doc is bereft. He hid TJ under his tail and behind him when the humans wanted to catch him and was generally most distraught. For reasons unknown, he adopted TJ as his own and felt he was doing an excellent job raising him. HA! He was like the doting parent who watches their child set fire to the sofa, climb up the drapes and smash all the crystal and says "He's so creative." It is quite sad to see him so despondent but I'm sure he'll adjust.

Jack is in my half of the stall and I'm in TJ's because Jack is larger than we expected. He's quite fussy and upset but the woman gave him a lovely mushy dinner and he scarfed the lot. It seems that, like George Washington, he has four actual teeth and the rest are probably carved ivory or wood. He must be ancient because he asked me if I had participated in the Boer War. He makes me feel quite spry and youthful by comparison.

I'm making faces at him for now just to let him know I'm the "Big Kahuna" around here. He merely sighs and turns his back. I feel like a whole new donkey this evening.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Somewhat Better Day

TJ is being kept out of my orbit and my general state of shock is starting to subside. The woman has been showering me with treats and words of concern, which of course is as it should be. She began clipping my winter coat in preparation for my Saturday parade but we both had severe sneezing fits as a result of flying donkey hair, so she will continue tomorrow. The clippers tend to become overheated and buzzzy owing to my lush insulation. This year there are many bald areas and she is trying to blend those in with creative clipping. What I really need is a stylist.

She continued with the spring cleaning of our barn and now it smells of a detergent called "Citrus Fusion Blast" or some such nonsense. I tasted the bubbles in the bucket and it was most unappealing - not food-like at all. The barn is quite shiny and clean but the dirt has transferred itself to the woman's person and she is a revolting sight.

I await the arrival of Jack with interest but some trepidation. He seems to have a food obsession owing to having been starved and I worry that he might appropriate all the edibles. What if I were to lose weight? That simply wouldn't do, though the woman speaks of it with longing and frets about a thing called "founder". I assume he's not spry enough to chew pieces out of my person...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Personnel Changes

The high point of our week was watching the woman duck under the electrified fence and get soundly stung on the bottom. I wish we had it on tape so we could watch it over and over. The casual walk up to the fence, the semi-ducking motion, then a loud squawk as she sprang into a series of Nijinski-like moves. Well, an extremely ungraceful version of the great dancer. Mostly she just ran in circles clutching her posterior and yelping. I love it when the planets unfold as they should.

On a different note, I received a series of severe bites from TJ this week, one of them under my eye swelled to an impressive balloon size. What happens is that when the woman and Molly go off on their expeditions, I have no protection from TJ. Doc just lets him do as he wants and I can find no place to hide from his aggressions. The whole business of separating us has become so complicated, what with the lush, founder-provoking grass, that the woman phoned her friend Sheila Burns who runs the Primrose Donkey Sanctuary. They have decided that, as TJ's energy level knows no bounds, and Sheila has a two year old donkey called Wilson who is a carbon copy of TJ, that TJ will go to Sheila's for now and we will take in a thirty-something year old donkey called Jack who needs to escape the younger generation. This exchange is supposed to take place on Thursday and frankly I can't wait. The humans are quite teary about the whole thing but I have tried to assure them it is for the best. After all, how can I be put on public display in parades and things if I look like I've been savagely attacked by an axe murderer.

Yesterday we had a visit from the human offspring and their parental unit who used to live with Molly. The woman will post some photos. Of course TJ wouldn't let them near him but he also managed to keep me well away. Doc glued himself to the seven year old male human and washed him from head to foot. Molly accepted several stud muffins and then went off to graze. The girl human tried to sit on Molly but she was having none of it and gave a little buck and grunt and exited the area. The male human offspring sat on Doc and then lay down on him and Doc was thrilled with the whole thing. Strange because there are no young humans around here and he's never interacted much with them before. The woman said "I suppose now I'll have to get him his own kid." Those words strike terror to my heart - what if it were a human version of TJ? I'd rather stick to the two doddering humans we have, flawed though they are.