Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some Updates On My Party - The Wheels are In Motion!

Last evening the organizing committee for my Birthday/Garden/Fund Raising party descended en masse and began the scheming and plotting necessary for such a huge event. Of course, they came to call on us in the paddock first and I was pleased to discover that they are donkey-lovers and admirers to the core. We were complimented and snacked and patted and one of them even gave me a deep-down ear massage that left me weak in the knees. Jack was suspicious that they might be vets but eventually he came around.

I overheard some of the planning and my other ears, Ben donkey, has filled me in on the rest. I had the woman photograph the actual invitation but as it is so small an image, here is the gist of it.

Serendipity Stables is Thrilled to Host
Sheaffer's Birthday Party, May 24th, 2009
In Support of PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary

The Social Event of The Year!
Donkeys! Cake! Tea! Lemon Squash! Frivolity! (in moderation, of course)

Come and Hob Nob with some High Class Asses! (They made me write this part)
Special Guests Sheila and PrimRose!

Ladies are Requested to wear straw hats with edible floral trim, to be
consumed by the donkeys later.

No Ear Pullers!!

Come and Meet His Sheafferness!

In the event of rain the arena will be closed to riding and the party will be held inside.

Address: Serendipity Stables
15488 McCowan Road
(500 meters north of Aurora Road)

They have added a bake sale - for humans, of course... And a silent auction, which frightens me slightly as herself is always threatening to sell me to the highest bidder if I don't behave. There is also to be a "Most Splendid Hat" contest which will be judged by young Jack the human. I hear rumours of a game called "Pin the Posterior on The Human" and I can't wait to see that unfold - I've volunteered the woman as a generously-sized target. Even the visually impaired couldn't miss the mark. Sheila will bring some items from the sanctuary shop and there will also be a bin for those who wish to donate used tack etc. Our goal is to raise $700.00, which is what it costs to keep one donkey at the sanctuary for a year.

My head is spinning with all the activity but I will keep you updated as the news trickles down to miniature donkey level. The humans attached to Ben and Jerry gifted me with a magnificent photo of the donkey brothers and I have had it copied so you may admire their handsome demeanors and extreme cleverness. They will be assisting me in my public duties at the party and are working themselves into a frenzy of excitement. They guarantee a few "surprises" for the humans.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I've Been Sprung Upon by Spring

This morning the sun was barely up as I lay in my duvet-like bed, thinking deep thoughts - not snoring heavily as Jack claims. I was practicing my birthday party speech and had just reached the three hour mark. The gate rattled and I opened my eyes fully, anticipating the meagre repast the woman calls breakfast. I received a shock that sent my heart racing and had me on my feet, pinned against the back wall in the space of a micro-second.

A hideous face - well just a head, really, was staring directly at me. It's fangs were bared, it's muzzle bloodied and it's eyes crazed. "Begone, sirrah!", I trumpeted at it. It's evil gaze remained unwavering . The woman rushed in, ready to intervene, and began snickering uncontrollably. "Sheaffer, get a grip", she said, " it's a mouse head - Sally gave you a gift". With that she swept it up and shot it into the rubbish bin. I insisted she clean the bloody smears off my floor mat before I would consent to exit the building. Jack meanwhile rattled the gate that separates our rooms, as he was house-bound until I moved out to the aisle. "Sonny, it's a rodint fer crying out loud - if ya quit thinkin so hard ya wouldn't git these frights. Lansakes, I never seen such a egghead". I'm afraid Jack undervalues the importance of donkey education.

These days Jack is full to the brim with the sheer joy of living and my nerves are beginning to show the strain. Many times a day he instigates "rasslin" matches and I can assure you, age has not diminished his skill in this department. One of his favourite moves is to stand up on his hind legs and paw the air like a wild stallion. When he lands, he gallops off "cuttin the didoes" as he like to say. I think he means capers but the expression is from another era. I just stand and watch as he completes a series of fast circles around me.

Today the woman asked the male human if she should intervene and stop the antics, for fear of possible injury. 'No, if he goes while doing this, he'll be a happy donkey", he said. I thought they must mean me because I can hardly catch my breath after one of these sessions. It turns out they meant Jack! Jack is going nowhere except around the paddock at record breaking speeds. I, however, could do with some time at a spa/clinic that specializes in nervous disorders.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jack Revisits His Youth

My friend Willy has promised me that his humans are hard at work building an ark for Jack and self and we very nearly needed it yesterday. I say we had a hurricane/monsoon/tropical snow storm but the woman says I am exaggerating, if only slightly. Jack and I stayed in and listened to the wind trying to pry the roof off and the rain machine-gunning the windows. Doc and Molly stayed in the run-in until three o'clock, when they decided they'd had enough and came inside. The only plus is that a lot of large, old branches are lying around the paddock and they make for excellent snack and woodworking material .

Jack's energy level has been escalating by leaps and bounds since his ingestion of the dreaded vermifuge and today he reverted to a sprightly age four and a half. He credits his new vigour to the bucket of alfalfa cubes he eats daily. Whatever it is, he very nearly ran me into a state of vertigo just before dinner. He ambushed me from behind a shrub, saying "Ahah, ya yaller varmint, I'm gonna run ya clear outta town!" he proceeded to make a flying leap onto my back. I grabbed his front leg, he seized me by the neck, I shook his hock vigourously - well, you get the idea. Then he proceeded to gallop around the trees and fallen branches at approximately mach three. He jumped in the air, he spun around, he kicked up his heels. Then he broke into an extended trot, nose in the air and head turning from side to side while his tail performed helicopter motions of it's own accord. Penny tried to join in, going so far as to retrieve her rubber hot dog, squeaking it as she followed in our wake. I'm still recovering but Jack says it was just a warm-up. I wonder what's in those alfalfa cubes...

I should mention that Jack absolutely and positively refuses to eat the cubes if they are the least bit damp so the woman has had to improvise. She got a large metal mallet and, after wrapping the cubes in a grain bag, smashes them to smithereens. Then she shakes them into Jack's bucket and breaks up the rest by hand. We are all somewhat paranoid about him getting choke so I have strongly encouraged this impersonation of a troll mining for gold nuggets with a hammer. Jack hangs over his stall-front, sounding like a fog horn gone mad and demanding that she swing the hammer with greater energy. She insists on humming a tuneless version of "The Anvil Chorus" or worse, "I've been Working on the Railroad". Fortunately, Jack is usually able to drown her out. What with the pounding and humming and braying, I might as well live in the Tower of Babel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Doc Explores His Creative Side

These are truly the halcyon days of spring. Sun, light breezes, new grass pusing up through the dirt and lots of time to loll around in our dust bowl, recovering from winter. Best of all, there are no flies yet but that will change soon enough. They make their appearance just as the last of the snow is slinking away from the shady spots.

The woman is once again climbing aboard Doc and Molly but sometimes, depending on their level of liveliness, she spins them around on the long rope first. She is so hobbit-like in stature that she uses a plastic box to ascend the lofty heights and she also uses it to conceal her hard-shell head covering while she is doing her horse spinning. Today she glanced left and right, and assuming there were no donkeys in the vicinity, she stashed the headgear in the box. Foolish woman, I spied her every move.

Soon she was busy chivvying Molly around in circles. I made a stealthy approach to the box and examined the head cover. It had the promising look of a food bowl but in fact is simply an empty vessel, much like her head. It did have an unpleasant musty hair smell so I carried it off by one of it's straps, meaning to drop it in a hole or possibly a manure pile. Too late, her shifty eyes spotted me.

"For the love of *&^%$% ", she screeched, "how old do you think you are, you bloody lunatic?" You see- when I say she's becoming positively addled, this is the sort of thing I mean. She knows perfectly well I'll be 14 on May 10th. She's the one planning the party and now she's forgotten my age?? She pursued me, towing Molly behind her like an unwilling barge. She finally threatened me with the long whip and I dropped the unattractive head covering. I withdrew in a dignified manner, leaving her to bemoan the slight scratches on the offending object.

Now on to the Doc news. Yesterday the foot man came and herself always has the camera ready just in case there are any memorable moments she feels should be inflicted on an unsuspecting public. She took a few shots of Sally playing with sticks in the sun and then put the camera on the windowsill while she picked up some litter. Silly baggage had left it in operational mode. Doc strolled over and pushed it around for a bit and then tried to pick it up. As he explored further, it made some clicking sounds which he found appealing but as he was walking off with it, she materialized out of nowhere and snatched it from him in an abrupt and frankly peevish manner. After a good cleaning, it seems the device is still operational but somehow Doc managed to capture some images. He SAYS they're images but we're not sure if they're complete random rubbish or the work of a brilliant artist who has discovered his medium. I'll let you be the judge.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Our Team of Service Advisors

I think it best if I don't mention the weather event that happened over a 48 hour period at the beginning of this week. The residue is melting but we are still awash in the vile stuff and once more it is creating a muddy aftermath. The pictures speak for themselves. I am a spent force on the subject of winter - there are no words left to explain the grinding awfulness of the season.

Fortunately, this morning a box-like rectangular vehicle appeared in front of the barn and a male human disembarked and began dragging the green tractors out and conducting vet checks. He was most pleasant and we lined up to show our encouragement and support of his efforts. He was quite an accomplished scritcher and we were in the throes of becoming a mutual admiration society when you-know-who showed up. The one-woman propaganda machine sprang into action.

The visiting tractor vet said we looked like a fine group and were making him feel most welcome. "Hah!", said the resident wet blanket, "they're friendly enough but don't let yourself be fooled. What they really want is to relieve you of your tools and lunch while behaving like a bunch of sidewalk supervisors. You can't trust them for a minute - if you need to go through the gate, make sure to close it right away or you'll have those two donkeys squeezing through a six inch gap. The little one is particularly conniving. The male human laughed. "He looks like he hasn't missed any meals!" The woman assured him I was capable of squeezing through an opening the size of a mouse hole. I was both highly insulted and somewhat pleased. I am quite agile for someone of substantial girth.

The tractor vet did all sorts of interesting things and I was frustrated no end at having to watch from the wrong side of the fence. The woman knows how I love any sort of machinery. The tractors were dormant after a long winter of sitting idle and the tractor vet hooked them up to a life support system. Soon they were coughing and hacking and beginning to come to life. He adjusted pulleys and levers and changed their bodily fluids and just generally had himself a good time. He had the good grace to assure us that he wanted to share his food with us but was only following instructions. Tchhhah! We all know how well that approach has worked historically. We pleaded and begged and looked so pitiful that he finally had to go around the other side of his vehicle to finish his lunch.

We haven't seen those green tractors since October so I have faint hope that more clement weather is on the way. Large avians are migrating north and Sally crouches down, watching them longingly, making faint squeaking noises like a rusty hinge. They are much bigger than she is but she likes to dream of hauling one down from the sky.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Return of Herself

It's been a wonderful four days. Marianne has waited on us hand and hoof, indulging our every whim and dispensing apples and carrots freely. The male human came home in the evening and took up the torch, loading our stalls with hay. We were nicely settled in for a good sleep last night when we saw lights coming down the driveway. Minutes later the barn lights seared our retinas and a horribly familiar voice said "It's me, I'm back, did you miss me?" The other three said polite hellos but I reeled back and wouldn't let her lay a hand on me. "Do I know you? I said. " What are your intentions? Have you made an appointment? She rolled her eyes and left.

You are probably wondering what she brought us from the equine thingy and you probably already have a good idea. It took her forever to unload the bags of dewormers that she purchased. There may be no dewormers left in the entire United States of America. She got us one bag of miniscule horse treats which she doles out like the overseer in the workhouse/orphanage patronized by Oliver Twist. Molly and Doc got a new girth and reins and that's it. She's nearly bankrupted herself in her manic quest for dewormer. We feel she needs some professional help on that front.

Today the tall woman showed up with kind words and treats in her pockets and a worming syringe behind her back. Our woman thinks we won't notice if someone else is weilding the weapon. We noticed. I know there is no point in resisting when these women have made up their minds to do something and bravely swallowed my dose and gritted my teeth. Jack was furious and made sure he dragged the tall woman around the aisle before she cunningly slipped the syringe in the side of his mouth.

Dr. Maggie phoned this evening to check on him and we all have high hopes that the worm poison will do it's work and help Jack derive full benefit from his food once more. The woman is to collect more evidence from his toilet area in two weeks and present it to Dr. Maggie. Typical of the sort of gift herself deems appropriate.

On the brighter side, the woman took many photos while she was away, including some of Willie the mule who won an extreme trail challenge there last year, a mammoth mule called Bess and several handsome mini donkeys. These donkeys take part in mock chariot races, which sounds interesting but not quite something in which I would partake. I'm a stickler for historical accuracy and feel a plastic rubbish bin with the back cut out to create a chariot is unseemly. As are grown men wearing the brush part of a push-broom on their head. It amused the humans but I'm not surprised.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Herself Hits the Road

She's a woman obsessed. For the next four days she will be at one of those Equine Affaire things - and you've probably guessed why. Yes! She's off in search of dewormers again. Vast quantities of them for us and for the sanctuary donkeys. No keychains or paperweights for us, just vermifuge by the gallon.

This means I cannot communicate with my readers ,which I find highly inconsiderate of her. She doesn't even offer to hire a temporary replacement. I've asked Penny and Violet if they'd like to try and was turned down in a most cavalier and offensive way. On the bright side, the woman Marianne is coming to see to our needs and we like her very much indeed. SHE never stints on the carrots and apples and ensures we are well supplied with water and bedding and hay. I've invited her to my party.