Sunday, August 30, 2009

How (Not) To Dig A Ditch

I am well acquainted with the need for humans to rearrange the landscape and generally rummage about, creating chaos. I had an exhausting few days last winter with the Flat Man and his crew, who came and dug up the side of the road and then put it back the way it was originally. I don't understand it but I know it's best to keep a close watch over them when they are so possessed.

When the male human and Jamie, our sometimes minder, appeared at the edge of our paddock with digging implements, all four of us rushed over to give advice and offer opinions. We chewed on the handles of said implements to ensure they were safe to use and licked the metal digging surface just to be sure. As each mound of earth grew, we climbed into the resulting trench and tried to paw the dirt back in. We stood as close to them as possible just in case they should require even more help and rolled in the dirt piles to flatten them. We were so helpful they declared us ready for employment at the Health and Safety Board. Actually, they said Un-Safety Board but I'm sure they mis-spoke.

For ages now a plastic conduit snake has lain at the edge of our paddock and although we have often used it as exercise equipment and to polish our teeth, we never knew what exactly it was meant to do. It seems it conceals various coloured wires that are somehow able to illuminate a glass orb atop a wooden post. I ascertained this as I oversaw every step of the male human constructing these post thingies. Oddly, he has built them just out of donkey reach or my report would be more detailed. Jack says they're candle holders but I somehow doubt it. In any case, our snake is now dwelling underground.

After thoroughly inspecting the posts, we caused the woman a good deal of stress today by returning to the barn covered in burrs. She has worked diligently for years to eradicate these irritants from our paddock but a few holdouts remain. She removed all of my burr collection and put it in a neat pile ready to go in the fire. Jack lined up for his turn. Meanwhile, I discovered she had put the burr pile directly on a patch of prime rolling dust and proceeded to indulge in a thorough cleansing. The entire pile stuck to my topside like a bristly blanket. My, how she carried on! She removed the burrs for a second time and - you can probably guess what happened next. Jack was so inspired by my creativity that he tried to roll as well but Herself dragged us both away with many muttered threats.

Today we helped her with weeding the sand area where she spins the horses on a rope and where they have "schooling" in something or other. The things she makes them practice look covoluted and undignified so Jack and I prefer to simply look away - or to lie on the main track where she is practicing this nonsense. We like the weeding exercise the best and were able to follow her every move, spreading the piles of weeds she had collected and distributing them evenly. She got the weeds collected again and Jack and I were possessed of a tremendous urge to do some high-speed "rasslin" and somehow the weed piles were spread around once more. I won't repeat what she said - Jack said in his day she would have had her mouth washed out with soap. What an excellent idea. She could do with some verbal cleansing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A PrimRose Update

The woman has been saying for weeks now that a visit to the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary was in the offing - I assumed, of course, that I was to be among those making the visit. The visit took place but sadly I was left behind and the woman was accompanied by Mosby Horse's human. Herself is the perfect example of someone afflicted by speciesism. The loss is hers: I am a perfect travelling companion.

I debriefed her and have the following to report. TJ is part of a small gang of small equine ruffians who tear about the place, creating chaos, until someone older and bolder "cleans their clock" as Jack puts it. TJ is training a human called Lauren to ring a bell and then dispense a treat. By this means she is gradually increasing the amount of time he will spend with her and he is letting her scritch him on his itchy spots. The woman says he is looking much more relaxed and less wary - very nice for him, I'm sure, as long as he stays out of my orbit.

Tabby (Tabolinski) the mammoth donkey is looking quite splendid. He's shiny and his feet, which caused him horrible pain and suffering, are vastly improved. Russel the mule who was at my birthday party has gained another hundred or so pounds and is feeling positively Jack-like in his outlook. PrimRose herself has shed out to a wonderous sheen and she doesn't look a day over twenty. Goliath the mini donkey keeps close tabs on his two sheep and Blue and Lollipop are still anxiously awaiting new homes. So are Bert and Ernie, who are now a year old and in need of a family of their own. Lucy and Charlie also wait patiently -we donkeys know how to be patient and PrimRose is a haven but they are looking forward to meeting their new humans.

What, you may ask, did the woman deliver to the PrimRose donkeys? Why, dewormers of course! I understand some humans take wine or flowers, but not Herself, oh no, it just has to be vermifuge. They also took bags of things from my correspondent completecare, which I'm pleased to say, did not include dewormers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Wonderful Visit, A Thwarted Escape

As promised, Willy and Roberta Donkey sent over their delegation of humans yesterday in a brave but vain attempt to release me from servitude at the hands of Herself. And what superior humans they are! They arrived bearing gifts for us and for the donkeys of the PrimRose Sanctuary and were full of compliments for all - not a mention of donkey cellulite or a snide remark about donkey waistlines. Note to woman - good breeding is either present, or in her case, conspicuously absent.

These superior beings rushed from their vehicle to our paddock and immediately presented us with hostess gifts of gummi worms and Stud Muffins. Herself confiscated the gifts and stowed them in the tack room, rationing the amount the visitors were allowed to feed us. Philistine. We were in the midst of a lovely visit when she comandeered them and dragged them off to lunch on the lawn. I was deep in conversation with Uncle Ed and was not pleased to be rudely interrupted by yet another of her whims.

They managed to break free eventually and back they all came to take us for a donkey stroll. By now they had been joined by Mosby's human, whom I have known since the age of a few months. She brought us her usual thoughtful gift of Tic Tac mints. Again, good breeding... I'll say no more. Jack and I donned our strolling halters, we passed through the gate and all of us assembled on the lawn. I'm sure you can guess what happened next? Oh yes. Herself had hatched a fiendish plan which wreaked havoc and created utter chaos for the next half hour or so. I should mention that summer has finally arrived with a wallop and the temperature is hovering near ninety, with such humidity that the air is nearly liquid.

Her plan was as follows. Jack despises all things veterinary and that includes the ritual of deworming, which rolls around every three months. He regards it as an attack on his person, a ritual poisoning and something to be fought with all his strength. Herself had enlisted the reluctant visitors in an underhanded campaign to bribe Jack with bits of Stud Muffins and while he was thus preoccupied, she slid the plastic tube into the side of his mouth and shot the dewormer down his throat. It appeared to have worked very well until Jack realized what had happened and flew into a rage.

He stamped his feet, he shook his ears, he made terrible faces and he spun around in circles, until he eventually shot off down the farm lane, towing Mosby's human in his wake like a water skier. She hung on gamely until a tree came between them. She returned rope burned and panting but otherwise fine. Jack barged through the trees into a field and charged past us at approximately 93 miles per hour, still looking every inch the outraged victim of a murderous plot. The humans galloped off to the next field to arrest his progress. They engaged in a standoff until Jack agreed that Uncle Ed could catch him, but he forbade the traitorous women to even come near him.

We carried on with the walk but Jack was still boiling internally - outwardly he hadn't even broken a sweat. The humans, however, were looking distinctly dampish. Jack remained hostile to the woman until this evening when he began to thaw slightly. I'm quite impressed. I thought I was a champion grudge-holder but he outperforms me in both severity and duration when it comes to maintaining a state of the highest dudgeon. There's no angrier donkey than an ancient donkey.

The humans retired back to the lawn to take on gallons of liquid in an attempt to stave off dehydration. I know the visitors were more than willing to grant me passage out of this madhouse but Herself wouldn't hear of it. I am doomed to remain an indentured serf.

On a happier note, Penny was initially quite nervous and distant when my visitors arrived - she is a rescue dog who had a rough start in life and she feels humans must be assessed from a distance before they can safely be approached. By the time they came to our paddock she had decided they were quite acceptable and even deserving of some entertainment. To that end she put on a show of water sports in our trough that left it full of sand and dog hair. She dove in and out at high speed, she lay down in it and bit the surface, she spun in circles and she emerged like a very small black and white killer whale, water cascading off in all directions. The visitors were highly amused and even better, the woman was left muttering about having to scrub and refill the tub.

I had three gummi worms in my dinner and Jack had a Stud Muffin crumbled on top of his gruel. They are the sole evidence of the wonderful visitors who appeared and, too soon, were gone. We can only hope that one day they will make their way back to us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What More Can I Say..?

Things have fallen to a whole new level of shoddiness and neglect around here. Herself just gets back from gallivanting and off she goes again. This time she returned with some human friend she has know since her childhood or "the year dot" as Jack calls it. Our chores were done and we were fed, yes, but the level of attention was not even the minimum of what we have come to expect. I just don't know where to turn.

Said human friend hails from somewhere called the West Coast, where life is a round of balmy weather and fruit drinks and where my friend Red the horse shares her life. I spied on her, or rather, observered her closely from behind a fence post while she was trying to read on the lawn but she said she could see the tips of my ears and my waistline on either side of the post. These days nothing seems to go as planned.

This human also expressed a desire for an earth-shattering thunder storm, with light show, as she has not seem one in years. She must have powerful connections because not five minutes after her arrival, the skies opened, we were blinded by laser bolts and the rain came down in sheets. Very gothic and quite satisfying to watch from the comfort of our rooms. There was a loud kerrrrrack mid-storm and daylight revealed half of a large tree sprawled in the front paddock, the fence and a dish thing on a pole taken down in the fury. For two days all that lay between us and complete freedom was the stinging wire in the middle of the paddock. Molly gamely tried to take it down but even her well-insulated muzzle wasn't up to the task. Her whiskers are somewhat charred but she's already busy growing new ones.

Today some officious humans arrived and carved up the tree and unfortunately also replaced the broken post and rails. We supervised as best we could but proper hoofs-on supervision is difficult from the wrong side of the dastardly wire. The woman took photos of the after-storm carnage but of course now her pea brain has misplaced the camera. I may have to draw what I saw.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Report on Team Sheaffer's Fund Raising

One is always hesitant to lend one's name to any sort of venture lest the behaviour of the participants is less than stellar. However, I am pleased to report that the Team Sheaffer group comported themselves in an impeccable manner on yesterday's Al Humphrey Memorial Ride, which is a fundraiser to battle cancer. I was especially worried about the woman in case she suddenly took to drink or started some sort of brawl but fortunately she limited herself to a low-key breakfast of pancakes and sausage provided before the ride.

Molly went off in the box on wheels to meet up with five other human and horse duos who had pledged to raise money for the cause. They navigated several forests and journeyed a total of 25 kms to complete the course. Molly wore a pink bonnet/fly deterrent headpiece, designed and sewn by Brenda the human, that caused her to receive many compliments, which is always bad for her ego. It was made especially for the ride and if Molly likes anything, it's being the centre of attention while sporting a one-off fashion statement. My team raised just under one thousand dollars and the only difficulty was in convincing Molly it wasn't hers to spend on snacks and entertainment.

Jack and I went for another brisk walk today - the woman declaring sarcastically (as is her wont) that only one donkey managed to walk briskly, and it wasn't the young one. Could she mean me? Jack was walking the male human who said he thought Jack wanted to go into the woods to have a look around. I would have preferred to stay in the meadow, snacking lightly, but Jack marched into the woods like an explorer and had himself a fine time choosing which paths he preferred. I trudged behind and had to stop for breath on one particularly steep hill he had chosen. Then we walked the humans home and we were invited up on the porch. Jack acted as if he has tea on the porch every Sunday but I put my foot down and refused to go up there. I rolled my eyes and curled my lip and groaned and the woman said "Sheaffer, why don't you just hire a hall?' What's that supposed to mean?

It was most unfortunate that the beauteous Miss Annie could not travel over for the event yesterday - her human was swamped by various things such as hay deliveries and something called office work. Humans can be so fickle. We boys have been quite downcast since we heard the news. Food would help.