Saturday, November 29, 2008

She's Trying to Scare Me To Death

I strongly suspect the woman of having succumbed to the equine fad of "desensitizing' . Not only is it not working, it's putting a terrible strain on my inherently sensitive self. She claims it's all coincidence. I ask my readers to decide.

This morning dawned somewhat warmer, a mixed blessing, as the higher temperature caused the large snow load on the barn roof to become water-logged. The result when this occurs is that large slabs of snow suddenly break loose and thunder onto the ground. There was a particularly large slab hanging precariously over the front door and unbeknownst to me, the woman decided to prod it with a shovel . I was standing, back to the door, eating my morning hay ration and thinking deeply about all sorts of important issues. Next thing I knew, there was a thunderous roar and I was all but engulfed in a soggy avalanche. She says I was the only one who reacted at all and in fact it barely covered my ankles. I certainly did react, I snorted, did a spectacular forward jette and galloped away, giving off loud blasts from my distended nostrils. And what did she do? Laughed at me and told me to "hire a hall and take my histrionics public"!

THEN, not an hour later, Jack and I were rummaging for bits of hay in the run-in when she callously threw three empty shavings bags over the half-door. She calls them shavings bags but I know in my heart they are the devil's handiwork and are possessed of supernatural powers that can kill a donkey. One blew in front of the big door, another in front of the smaller door and the third came to rest against Jack's front leg. I was nearly hysterical. Here were two innocent donkeys in a death trap and she just carried on chambermaiding our rooms. Jack continued eating and eventually used his nose to flip the offending object off his leg. Poor old man - he doesn't know the forces of evil when he sees them. Then he casually walked out, actually stepping on one of the offending objects. Now I was alone with the murderous, crackling plastic demons. I began honking and braying at the top of my lungs. The woman appeared, summed up the situation, and unblocked the doors, chuckling to herself. Do you see what I mean? It was obviously a cunning plan on her part.

The final insult occured when we were quietly eating our warm dinner and there was a horrible swishing. dragging noise. It was obviously a creature from the nether world come to steal our souls. The others just glanced up and carried on eating, oblivious to the threat. It was the terrible wooden board with a string attached and she had two lumpy shapes piled on it. How was I to know there was food in there? I mean, it could have been anything. I can't help it if I have a finely tuned nervous system. The woman's advice to "take a pill" may be my only option of remaining sane around this loony bin.

What do you think? Were her actions premeditated or simply coincidental, as she claims? Dear readers, I think you know the answer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's All Very November-ish Around Here

By that I mean, damp, dark, cold and generally not what a donkey looks for in ideal weather. The woman says I'm prone to seasonal affective disorder and should use Jack as a role model, since he has so many more autumns under his belt, so to speak. Jack is his usual cheerful self and tells me I'm a product of this "modren" age and gives broad hints that I am a tad "soft". I suppose someone as ancient as he has earned the right to hold strong opinions, but I have trouble believing he spent his youth in an igloo.

The cat holds the same opinion as myself, but at least she gets to hold it in the warmth and comfort of the house. She made a trip to the barn this morning, labouriously trying to avoid the wet spots but she arrived at the run-in with her undercarriage soaked right through. She was furious, and made a long, angry speech which we didn't understand fully but the gist is that she is taking this weather as a personal affront and wants something done about it. Then she stalked back to the house, leaving us more convinced than ever that she is one of those mad aristocrats one hears about. I'd even say barking mad, if she weren't a cat.

The woman found all this very amusing. I just carried on with looking glum - I've got it down to a fine art. To cheer me up she said we should start thinking about what we want for the festive season. She knows what I want. A waistcoat, a watch and chain and a first edition of "The Great Philosophers" - one printed on very old paper that tastes like bran mash. It should be bound in leather, which is also an excellent snacking material (I've sampled many halters through the years). Will I receive those items? No. I will receive the usual equine snacks and probably a new brush. Sigh. Jack only wants one thing - a new set of teeth - but this time he would like them in blue or green so they can be easily found if they pop out. I told him not to get his hopes up.

By sticking my head through the fence I have managed to amass an enormous collection of burrs all the way back to my shoulders. I do this every day so the woman will spend as much time as possible removing them. I think it's good for her fine motor skills.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Just Don't Understand

Yesterday started out pleasantly enough - barring the cold, windy, snowy weather of course. The foot man showed up and having my feet done is one of my favourite things. I excel at standing still. Jack is much less worried each time and only had a minor attack of squitters just as the foot man finished his last back hoof. The foot man did mention that the timing was a little close for comfort. He was most complimentary about Jack's condition and said he was shinier and plumper than six weeks ago.

The woman put us in around four o'clock, just before it starts getting dark these days and we settled in to our warm appetizer followed by the hay course. Lights appeared at the end of the driveway and stayed put for awhile and then slowly crept toward the house. A male human knocked on the door and consulted with our humans. He seemed quite upset. When he left our humans rushed out to the end of the driveway and began searching all through the ditch and tall thickets of weeds. After a long time they returned to the house, the woman holding something very small.

I have pieced together the story and though it seems incomprehensible to me, it is sadly true. Sometime while we were safe and warm in our rooms, eating our dinners, a human slowed down their vehicle at the end of our driveway and threw two infant felines in the ditch. It was well below zero and snowing sideways. I simply don't understand what this person hoped to achieve through their actions. Those infants would have quickly frozen to death or been hit by a speeding vehicle. Is that what the human wanted? Why? There is another world out there of which I know nothing, apparently, and I don't wish to make it's aquaintance.

It seems the person who knocked on the door saw the two throw-aways by the lights attached to his vehicle. He leapt out and caught one feline but the other eluded him by tunneling into thick brush. When they finally located it, the humans rushed the tiny feline into the house, causing the resident Princess Violet cat to have what Jack calls "a hairy conniption fit". The micro-feline was soaking wet and shivering and was calling pitifully for his mother and sibling. He had had only one experience with a human and it had made him rather skeptical being of touched by other humans but they got him thawed out and dried and gave him some quite odoriferous fish paste type cat dinner and he began to come around. The woman put him in a furry blanket so he would feel at home and he slept in her arms all night.

And amazingly, the story took a very positive twist. Violet was due for her annual needle sticking, nail trimming, poking and prodding today and the woman told the humans at the vet clinic about our feline foundling. Alison, who helps run the Sharon Veterinary Clinic, is a very great friend of all animals, and said to bring him in and he would be transferred to her friend who helps needy cats and dogs. And so, the tiny scrap of fur went into Violet's travelling crate and was delivered. Dr Maya examined him and declared him in good health apart from fleas and ear mites and probably worms (good heavens - that's a lot of freeloaders for a tiny being!). He is thin and his coat is quite dry but they say that's because his mother was probably struggling to keep her children alive. He is at most six weeks old.

The humans debated long and hard about trying to include him in our animal family and decided that Violet being a fairly recent rescue herself, and her being so upset at his presence, that another home for him would be best. Violet's level of outrage, nervous hysteria and worry about being replaced has evaporated. Very good news, as none of us cares to live with an agitated Violet. Now the woman is washing everything the visitor touched in case we all come down with fleas.

We are all relieved that the saga of the throwaways has ended so well but try as we might, none of us can understand what motivated this callous behaviour. A friend of ours always says that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. He must be right - otherwise how could one explain the neglected donkeys at PrimRose Sanctuary or kittens thrown in a ditch or the myriad of other animals tossed aside with casual indifference. From now on I'll keep an eye on all the ditches I can just in case there is someone who needs saving in there. The woman took some blurry shots of our rescue and I have instructed her to post them. My mind is still quite boggled though Jack, having lived much longer and not always in ideal circumstances, didn't seem nearly as surprised.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mud Donkeys of The Great White North

The woman returned yesterday and true to her word, she was heavily laden with various dewormers. Molly got a new bit and Jack got a raincoat and Doc and I got a new hoof pick. You can tell who she prefers. The woman is still "coming down" from her time away, eating sugary foodstuffs and rushing around acres of equine shopping. Twenty four hours of driving have made her appear even more crazed than usual. She's already talking about Ohio in the spring and purchasing more dewormers. I'm afraid she's developed a strange version of obsessive-compulsive disorder, focussed entirely on internal equine parasites.

It has rained virtually non-stop for the last four days and last night the absolute worst happened. It turned into snow. When we went out this morning it was almost up to my knees. The woman let Jack and self have our hay in the aisle because it was still snowing heavily but mid-morning she ushered us out into the run-in. Molly and Doc were running around outside, snorting and shouting like idiot children about how exciting it all was but we wisely stayed put and watched from just inside the run-in door. Jack just keeps saying "Tsk tsk tsk, oh lordy, it's just not right an ole donkey hasta walk in that stuff". My sentiments exactly. He has gained some more weight since his two loose teeth came out so I hope he has a good head start on battling the coming winter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She's Gadding About Again...

She's just shaken off her heaves and settled back into our usual routine and now she tells us she is off to a massive equine affaire in the state of Massachusetts. I believe that's the place where, long ago, they threw all their tea in a harbour. She will either have to drink coffee or pack some tea bags. She is not a very pleasant individual when deprived of tea. She is travelling with a herd of like-minded females and they will take the brunt of her tea-less state if she goes without for a few hours. Just think of a human pinning their ears and wringing their tail and you get the general idea. She says I exaggerate wildly but we all know the truth.

The main goal of this trip is to buy supplies for the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. She will use the monies from my Cafe Press line of merchandise and she is leaning heavily on the male human to extract even more funds. I applaud (figuratively, of course) her efforts but was stunned to learn her main purchases will be wormers! Apparently, in her mind, nothing says she cares like the gift of vermifuge. Not snacks, not playthings - wormers. She means well but her taste in festive gifts is wanting.

Jack and I received a warning about our enthusiastic level of play - she called us "wild men". This is all because the other day she saw us stand on our hind legs and lock our front legs together, like two stallions of the plains. She is afraid Jack will fall and break something but the truth is I would probably be the one in traction. Then yesterday we had a wild chase through the trees, reaching approx. mach 3. Jack was dodging and snaking around like a bronco and then he broke into his best elevated dressage trot. I thundered around, making dragon-like noises, flicking my ears and hoofs in all directions. I think that fine British phrase 'gob-smacked" pretty much sums up her reaction. Hehhehheh...

I will let you know when she returns, laden down with vast quantities of wormers. We have given her a list of the things we want but she snorted and said something about hades and snap freezes. I just know we'll all be getting wormers in our stockings this year.

For those of you who requested my e-store address, it's. I'm exhausted by the hustle-bustle of the world of commerce and public appearances (well, three so far) but am unswerving in my dedication to Jack, and therefore other donkeys like him. The woman called me a "plucky little soldier" but my ears are large enough to filter out sarcasm when I hear it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Having the cat plummet out of the rafters and nearly onto my head the other day got me to mulling over the great number of visitors our run-in has hosted. Some are just passing through and others wish to take up permanent residence. The woman wants to rename it the Beatrix Potter Hostel for Wayward Wildlife, she's always being possessed by strange ideas - the woman, I mean, not B. Potter, whoever she may be.

We have had an endless stream of wandering cats, often just after the festive season. They come in all shapes and sizes and take refuge in the hay when the weather is especially nasty. One made himself at home in a bin filled with used baler twine and another tunnelled into a bale, where we could just make out two large, saucer-like eyes when we got up close. Most simply move on when the spirit takes them and some are captured in a box thing, whereupon the woman takes them to a cat rescue league.

In springtime we have all sorts of birds scouting out nesting sites in the rafters but Violet, the house feline/princess, stretches out along a rafter and scares the bejeebers out of them when they try to land. Any squirrels or those small striped tree rodents know better than to forage around in the run-in when Violet lurks nearby.

The strangest visitor dropped in a few years ago. We were eating our breakfast hay in the run-in when there was a tremendous racket in the cat-catching box. When we looked closer, it was a greyish, cat-sized entity with a furless tail, pointy ears and feet with huge claws. We kept an eye on it but went back to eating breakfast.

In comes herself and says " Ooooo, another kitty". And with that she went into the hay section. She blathered on in reassuring tones, peering nearsightedly at the creature in the morning gloom. It had curled itself into a ball but as she lifted the container, it unfurled itself and let loose a flood of hissing and growling, accompanied by an impressive outburst from it's hind end. The stench was horrific and the woman staggered backwards, holding a gloved hand over her nose.

She said "Aughhbluhhgargg, you're a possum!" and that's how we found out what the creature was. They are newcomers this far north and it was a first encounter for all of us. Frankly, I was intrigued. The woman backed up the vehicle, having lined the back with newspapers, and proceeded to carry the box through the run-in at arm's length. I slipped up behind her and put my nose to the bars "Good morning, sir or madam," I said. My goal was to make acquaintance with the thing and then question it closely. Instead the lunatic spat at me, showing an extensive collection of pointy teeth. I stalked off in a marked manner - I refuse to make an effort in the face of that sort of ignorance.

The woman says the vehicle never smelled the same afterwards and I don't doubt. A rendering plant in the tropics couldn't come close to the stench produced by that creature. Our canine at the time was very elderly and stayed in the house most of the time but I'm sure Penny the black and white speed demon who now resides with us could have had the thing routed in no time.

I live in hope that the bear who lounges around in our valley may come up to the barn and surprise the woman one of these mornings. She never wears her glasses first thing and I'm sure she'd think it was a dog and would try to wrestle it into the back seat of her vehicle, where she would force it into a seatbelt. Jack and I could sell tickets and go south on the proceeds.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Indian Summer

I'm told that's what we are currently experiencing and I for one am all for it. Jack and I have been sunbathing and having leisurely dust baths, with the occasional snack of dry leaves. Ahhhh. Jack likes the leaves so much that he wads them up in his cheek and the woman then has to fish around and remove them. He says they're "near as good as chewin' baccy".

The extraordinary weather has brought the cat back into our orbit. When it's the least bit cool she lounges in the house in whatever spot takes her fancy. These days she's been prowling in the barn, searching for small rodents to demolish in a long drawn out ritual. It always ends with tiny body parts strewn throughout the place. Even by cat standards she is eccentric and Jack and I both behave very respectfully in her presence. TJ found out that taunting her results in painful lacerations to the visage. Jack always says "Mornin' ma'am, jest on muh way", and scurries off without looking her in the eye. She has the ability to suddenly materialize out of thin air ( she once dropped down out of the rafters into a flake of hay we were eating ) so we must be on our guard at all times. We think she slipped and fell out of the rafters but would never dare suggest it because any of you who know cats know they will never, ever admit to a mistake.

Arctic weather is supposed to return by Sunday so we are making the most of these few short days. With the cold weather, the cat will vanish back into the house and the vast number of tiny spleens and tails and who knows what else that she lavishes upon us will dry up until spring.