Sunday, June 28, 2009

Starvation Averted - For Now

Our hay supply was so low that it had gotten to the point where the woman was driving around the countryside, buying two bales at a time from various humans. Needless to say, I spent my nights fretfully walking the stall mat and the days (between mouthfuls of grass) staring anxiously down our driveway for a glimpse of the food wagon. Finally, around mid-day Friday, we sighted a load rumbling and swaying it's way toward us. We converged on it like Napoleon's troops arriving at a Moscow bakery after a brisk winter walk from France.

Unfortunately, Herself had barred and chained all doors and gates so our initial plan to actually climb aboard the wagon was met with failure. Fortunately, delivery of hay involves a lot of spillage and we waded into that with alacrity. The female offspring of the hay man was quite smitten with Doc who in turn thought she was quite wonderful - they have the same colour hair - red - although she is not a "vitinry". The offspring stood there for ages and when her father asked her why she was rooted to the spot, she said "He's chewing on my shirt" in quite a pleased manner. The woman growled at Doc and that was that. Jack simply refused to go near the girl just in case she had medical intentions.

Jack celebrated the arrival of winter provisions by instigating a vigourous wrestling match as soon as the wagon rattled away. My word, he's an agile old man with a treasure trove of moves accumulated over the decades. Last night he upped the ante even further. He hid in the greenery and ambushed me like a crazed predator. We bolted in and out of the trees and Jack displayed dressage moves not seen outside the Spanish Riding School. He twirled on one hind hoof, he got down on both hocks and leapt into the air, he spun in circles like a cow pony and he got me in a neck vise lock and spun me around til I saw stars. On and on it went, with me vainly suggesting a truce be called. Finally, he gave a series of massive bucks and trotted off with his tail whirling and his head elevated and tilted rakishly, all the while snorting victoriously. I can barely move today - he's as fresh as paint. The woman took photos and put them on my picasa page so the world can see that ancient can also be alarmingly agile.

I received some very exciting gifts lately and have had Herself take photos so you can see them. The first is an admirable sign sent to me by Bouncy Dog via one of his humans. I knew that boy was made of the right stuff when I met him at my party. He is a huge admirer of all things donkey - including Ben and Jerry, whom he guards assiduously. Thoughtful dog that he is, he sent me a token of his affection. Thanks also to Gayle the human who acted as intermediary in facilitating the chain of events.

The other gifts are from my very large friend CindyLouWho. A mysterious box appeared on Friday and the contents are extraordinary. I will tell you about them in my next post and will chivy the woman into creating some images of them. Thank goodness for friends near and far; it makes my state of oppression bearable.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Take This, Jack Frost!

It's getting hot enough that the woman swears both her nose and the paint on the barn will soon start blistering. I say bring it on! She calls this hot? Hah! We donkeys call it comfortably warmish. Everyone else (except the cats, who are really just small donkeys) is panting and perspiring and carrying on as if we live on the surface of Mars. For heaven's sake, Jack still has much of his winter coat and he finds it "jest passin' comfrable".

Herself has been embroiled (almost literally) in cleaning out our hay storage and we take great pleasure in watching her gradually turn a bright shade of crimson under her dust mask. She sweeps and rakes and brushes down cobwebs and trundles load after load of hay leavings out to compost behind the silo. I can assure you, it's all perfectly edible and we spend much energy trying to get at it. She says it's dusty and horrible but this is from someone who has been known to eat fish and other strange things.

All this activity is a pleasant change from last week, when I had a close call while scratching my ears. I was pulled up under one of our old trees giving myself a thorough ear massage when said tree began making the oddest noises. Creeeeeeek, squeeeeeek, grrrrrroan. I listened carefully to see if I could decipher a message. There was a deafening sound, CRRRRRRRRACCCCCK, and the whole thing fell on top of me! I was only saved by my lightning fast reflexes - I dropped slightly and shot out from under like a scalded hare.

I trumpeted loudly and both Doc and the woman responded immediately. The woman had been cleaning Molly's room and had heard the prelimary noises. She rushed to the door just in time to see me assaulted by the rogue tree. Doc bellowed and galloped to meet me. They both checked me over thoroughly and pronounced me in passably good shape, except for my jangled nervous system. I've been accused of having an unusually suspicious mind and overly reactive reflexes - and good thing, too, if nature is going to spring that sort of surprise on me.

On a brighter note, I think I can safely predict the arrival of a load of sweet smelling new hay in the near future.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Birthday Party/Fundraiser Pictures

With the help of Bouncy Dog I was able today to finally post the pictures of my party taken by the woman. They can be seen at

Now, if they just let us so-called "animals" run the world, it would be a much better organized place. The things with which I must put up. Honestly.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Doc Days of Summer

The last few days have been filled with extremely Doc-centric activities so I felt I should bring my readers up to speed before he pops up in the headlines of a national newspaper. Unlike Jack and self, Doc likes his days to be filled with lots of excitement and he doesn't really care how or why it arrives in his orbit. His favourite criticism of quiet times is "Borrrrrring". Not original or insightful in any way, but definintely Doc at his pithiest.

He does not care for the sort of trail riding the woman and Molly pursue but he does love something called "showing". Showing consists of large numbers of horses and humans congregating in one spot so the humans can have nervous breakdowns and the horses can show off their paces. Doc and the woman did this sort of nonsense years ago and lately he has been hinting strongly that he would like to do this again. Herself agreed most reluctantly and the two of them have been practicing various movements for weeks now. She even got out the clothing she wore years ago and with the liberal use of axel grease and a shoehorn, managed to get them on her person. Both sets of Doc's apparel, which is called tack, were scrubbed and polished and she even got out his halter with the silver bits on it.

Doc had an absolutely wonderful time and had lots of adventures, all of which he enjoyed. He saw two vehicles with flashing lights and sirens that hauled away injured humans, he met an infant human who invited him to play on the slide and swing set (he was all for it but was unceremoniously dragged away) and he tried various food groups, including something called pretzels. The woman came back looking like an over-ripe aubergine and Doc returned sweaty and tired but very pleased with some bits of ribbon he won. He would like to do this every weekend but the woman said something about hades being iced over first.

Doc was feeling a little melancholy by today and just generally finding home life tedious when a most amazing thing happened. The young lad who delivers our bedding left the gate open! Doc found it first and of course the woman noticed and closed it before we other three could escape. She ran off after him armed with halter, shank and a bag of carrot bribes. Doc travelled through the wheat field in front of the house and made a bee line for the road. The woman was trotting along parallel to him at a distance and swears her legs turned to jelly when he ran up the embankment and between two cars coming from opposite directions. Both managed to miss him.

Doc checked out the new corn at the neighbour's and crossed back to our side when he heard the carrot bag rustling. He was haltered and led back to join us. We gave all sorts of loud comments and advice as the event unfolded and welcomed him back with a chorus of whinnies and brays. The woman looked strangely greyish and sweaty. Quite unattractive. Doc was his usual cheerful self and vows to try to escape again as soon as possible and this time to try the pool of swimming water at the neighbour's. The lad who was responsible for all this excitement has been notified and swears to never let it happen again. We'll see, we'll see. Jack says if he ever escapes it will take more than a bag of carrots to get him out of ninety three acres of wheat. Molly says she'll head for the bright lights of town and I would weigh my options carefully, capture not being one of them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

World's Largest Vacuum on Wheels

We were foraging weakly for sustenance on our barren side of the stinging wire this morning when an amazing conveyance began beeping it's way down the driveway backwards. It was enormous and had an array of pipes and hoses draped all over it. It also had an intriguing aroma wafting from it's very core. We were enthralled and flocked to the fence to see (and smell) what would happen next.

Two male humans jumped down and began conversing with the woman. Then they went around the back of the house and began sticking a metal rod in the ground at about one foot intervals. We rushed to that area of the fence and leaned closer. They must have found what they were looking for because then they began to dig like two very efficient badgers. They dragged out a slab of something rock-like and peered into the depths.

By now I was nearly beside myself with curiosity and began to call to them plaintively to let me out so I could peer into the abyss. They misunderstood completely and simply laughed in an amused fashion. "Are you sure you're a donkey, little buddy, you look more like a beer keg on sticks!" they said. The nerve! And then Jack said something absolutely incredible. "Don't worry, it's just them guys what vacuums out the skeptic tank" The sceptics? They're kept in underground chambers? How utterly confusing - and disturbing. Why have I never heard of this bizarre practice?

They then dragged over an enormous hose which they stuck in the underground chamber and the vehicle began panting and roaring heavily. The air was redolent of - I'm not sure what, but it was certainly powerful and pungent enough to make our eyes water. When satisfied with their work, they replaced the slab and covered it back up with earth.

The woman seemed quite pleased with all of this and actually remunerated them for their services. I simply don't know what to make of it. Just one more thing to worry about, I suppose.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Criminal Activity at Our Barn

My writing machine has been repaired but I find it a tad jumpy since it's fit of the vapours or whatever it was it had. We had a wonderful typewriting machine that dated from before the second great war - the kind that requires massive amounts of force to print a letter on the page. It was a solid, no-nonsense machine that never broke down. Of course herself had to give it to one of the younger relatives as a family heirloom.

The crime spree began yesterday when all the mats in our run-in disappeared. The woman did a preliminary search but failed to turn up anything mat-like. She sighed and carried on with cleaning our rooms. After lunch she returned and discovered the electric water boiling device and the radio box with the voices in it had also disappeared. She began to become quite alarmed and wondered out loud if we had had burglers with a fixation on small appliances.

She questioned the male human but he claimed to be unaware of the strange goings-on. Back to the paddock she came, scratching her dishevelled coiffure. She began exploring further afield in the paddock and discovered the mats piled up against the fence, out of view. The water boiling device was discovered in the shrubbery and the box of voices was dangling from a low tree branch. Herself was utterly perplexed.

She trudged back to the barn to top up our bedding and to replace the devices on the tack room window sill. There was a rustling sound and there was Molly, pushing up the window so she could access the newly repositioned devices. "Ahaaa!" said the woman, "I should have known! " With that she slammed the window shut and engaged the locking mechanism. Of course we equines knew all about the mysterious crime spree but remained silent in a show of solidarity.

What the woman doesn't know is that Molly is so resentful of having the stinging wire cutting us off from the lushest grass that she has launched a campaign of sabotage against Herself. She plans to have the woman completely unhinged by midsummer. So far so good. The battle rages on, with Molly claiming to be proud of her new title of "Pony Kleptomaniac" or "Ponyiac" for short. You simply can't shame someone who is shameless. I await the next installment with greatest interest. Guerrilla warfare has a bright side after all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sally Steps Out Of Her Shell

It's been a busy week around here for the resident felines. Of course, when it isn't raining the weather is conducive to all sorts of activities - Jack and I have been sun and dust bathing and sampling anything new and green that pops up. The two cats, on the other paw, have been busy with more nefarious pursuits.

Some poor, deluded thrush or finch or something or other has built a nest in the corner of the porch, only to have become a source of never-ending scrutiny and entertainment for Violet. Though she pretends her interest is of the friendly, scientific variety, her eyes are narrow and her tail quivery. She is shut in the house for periods of time so the bird can sit on the eggs but we can hear the outraged howls and yowls all the way out in our paddock. This does not auger well.

Sally and Penny have become great friends, in fact Sally is so impressed by Penny that she has decided she too is a dog. When the woman takes Penny for her morning constitutional down the farm lane, Sally trots behind, staring in wonder at her surroundings. Just to be on the safe side, and to appear large and fierce, she raises a mohawk of hair along her back and puffs out her tail for the whole trip. The other day the woman took the path that goes into the woods. Sally stopped at the entrance and stared in all directions, her mouth open in a perfect "O" shape. Then she carefully raised every hair on her small person, even the fur on the top of her head. Thus enlarged, she proceeded into the woods.

When Penny lies in the sun, Sally stretches out beside her, back to back, and when Penny has a snack from the tack room cupboard, Sally sits beside her and has one too. They both supervise all the gardening and Sally has become a keen participant. She football tackles plants and shrubs and has reduced some of the greenery to rubble. She particlularly likes a grassy-looking plant that smells of onions. Today the woman told her she smells of falafel - it should be spelled fal-awful, given the fumes emanating from Sally's beige coat. Being a very busy cat, her ablutions are more of a lick and a promise so it's a good thing she is mainly shades of dirt.

Today the woman climbed on Doc and then Molly and piloted them around the sand area. Strange, I know, but they all seem to enjoy it. The woman was working on some manoeuvre that involves stopping and then backing Molly up. Sally rushed up, threw herself upside down directly in front of Molly and grabbed her ankle, pretending to chew on it like a sabre toothed tiger. Molly, good natured soul that she is, waited patiently and finally reached down and nuzzled Sally. Sally rushed off in pursuit of an insect so the crisis was averted. Jack and I decided that the bits of grass growing in the sand area were highly desirable and the woman kept getting Doc and Molly to chase us out. I finally just lay down on what she calls the track and forced her to go around me while I napped. She keeps saying all the inhabitants of the forest put together aren't as disruptive as we are. I take that as a great compliment.

The wretched writing machine is still hospitalized so I can't show you any pictures but someone at my party took a video and apparently you may view it on something called YouTube if you type the words Sheaffer Donkey in the box marked search. I don't understand the musical accompaniment but it's pleasant nonetheless.