Monday, December 27, 2010

This, That and A Happy Donkey Story

I have been somewhat incommunicado, owing to the revolting and ongoing illness of Herself. She has been in the grips of a plague-like flu for over a week and we have had the great pleasure of seeing much more of the male human. He is a very liberal hand with the foodstuffs and of course presented us with a large container of Stud Muffins on Christmas day.

We saw nothing of the Woman for three days and when she appeared it was not a sight for sore eyes but a sight to make eyes sore. She looks overcooked, underwashed and even worse dressed than usual. Her breathing sounds like a wooden sailing ship in full flight before the storm. She crackles and pops and wheezes, often far too close for a donkey's comfort. I am trying to remain civil but the strain is beginning to tell.

Meanwhile, we have heard that Gazelle, who is my assistant here on the blog, has officially become Simon Donkey's sponsor at the sanctuary. Simon is very pleased to have his own person to see to all his needs and his first move was to acquire a tartan blanket. He and O'Sullivan have been honoured with the gift of Tabi's stall for shelter on cold winter nights and they appear to be suitably awed. O'Sullivan has his own tartan blanket and they look like two old Scottish gentlemen imbibing their bowls of haggis when they go in at feed time. Hard to believe where their lives are now compared to a year ago...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sharing Some Christmas Spirit

Presenting some videos to get you into the Christmas Spirit:

First from our good fren Buddy, three equines frolicing in the snow. Why they'd want to do that I do NOT know ... and yet it does look like they're enjoying themselves. How extraordinary !

Next, Sally asked that this one be shared with all her friends.

And finally, not to be accused of speciesism, here's how some other friends celebrate the season:


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alternative Mouse Catching

Herself is adhament that whatever the weather we must go out to receive the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Yes, I know we have a run-in, but nevertheless the temperatures are such that our breath nearly freezes mid-air and falls to the ground before we have taken the next breath. If Dante's Inferno can be frozen, then we are living in it.

We were lined up at the door this afternoon, listening carefully to the sounds of our dinners being cooked within, when a terrible thumping and crashing burst forth. The woman seemed to be moving large pieces of furniture and exhorting Sally on to greater efforts in...well in what undertaking we didn't exactly know. Finally the woman appeared at the door, out of breath and blotchy of visage. Sally was sitting in the doorway of the tack room, doing some heavy breathing herself.

We filed in in the usual order and got down to the serious business of calorie intake. The woman was busy allocating our hay pittance when she suddenly rose straight up in the air and said "Wahhhh yerrrrgh waugggh"! I assumed she had suddenly begun speaking in tongues - something entirely possible around here - and carried on with ferreting out the peppermint and apple bits in my dinner (more molecular size than actual bits, you understand).

Sally was in the process of standing up and this revealed a rather plump mouse, upon which she had been sitting. It was said rodent's tail that the woman had observed moving as it stuck out of Sally's fur on one side. The mouse took a deep breath, shook himself and stalked off in an offended manner, no doubt to continue his predations on whatever he had been working over when he was rudely interrupted by a gigantic, furry posterior squashing him to the floor.

The woman became even more animated, imploring Sally to chase the escaping criminal but Sally merely watched her with great interest, waiting to see what new gyrations might be forthcoming. Sally then yawned, stretched, and went to the shelf where her Kitty Temptation Treats are stored. "Mmmmmm mmmmmeow?" she said. Which means, treats, please, in feline.

This caused the woman to become quite indignant and to trot out her old lecture about her being the only one doing any work around here. Completely unfair, of course, as Sally had caught the mouse just as the woman had demanded. Surely it was up to Herself to take over once he had been released from Sally's ingenius holding technique.

There's simply no pleasing some people. I speak from experience.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And So Begins The Seasonal Insanity

Picture this. A small grey donkey, on an icy grey day, staring into the grey distance, chewing thoughtfully on some insufficient forage. The snow is accumulating, the winter looming long and cold before him. He sighs and retreats to warm thoughts of spring fund raisers and days of lying on the hot sand, baking himself to perfection.

Suddenly, a hideous visage appears not two inches from his and a terrible screeching assaults his sensitive ears: "I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS...ONLY A HIPPOPOTAMUS WILL DOOOOOOOO..." After the initial shock, I fled into the trees, the odious lyrics and caterwauling still ringing through hill and dale. "I DON'T WANT RHINOCEROSES, ALL I WANT'S A HIPPOPOTAMUS". Why? Why would she want a large, river-dwelling denizen of darkest Africa to appear under the festive tree? Why? And why the prejudice against the perfectly inoffensive rhinoceros? It made absolutely no sense, even by her standards.

"That's it",I said to Jack, "the apocalypse is upon us, the harpies are announcing it's immenent arrival. Save yourself if you can." He gave me a strange look and carried on eating. The Woman herself looked somewhat surprised and had the good grace to wonder out loud how the frightful verses had become lodged in her tiny brain. I can only conclude that it is a result of listening to the all-Christmas-all-the-time station on the radio box. She promised not do it again but no more than five minutes later was warbling "Saaaaaanta Claus is comin ta townnnnn"along with some faceless entity called "The Boss". She is posessed. I recommend her immediate removal to what Jack calls "the loony bin". They have the training and skills to deal with this sort of thing.

I don't know. The season is just beginning and my nerves are already in tatters. Next comes the seasonal headgear and red bows everywhere. Then there is the terrible fight with the tree that they insist on dragging into the house. My only faint hope is that the male human remembers our bucket of Stud Muffins. These are hard times indeed, my friends, hard times.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Good News/Bad News Report

It's windy and snowing - that is always bad news. Apart from that I have information on the Foot Sore Five who were rescued and as is often the case, the reports are mixed.

Juliette, the quite charming pony, had her first foot trim and was discovered to have one very twisted back foot and leg. It was thought that with time this could be, if not fixed, at least made to be comfortable. Shortly afterwards, the vet performed a complete physical on her and the news was uniformly both bad and sad. Over the eleven years she had been incarcerated in the weedy paddock, her health had been severely compromised. She suffered from such extreme malnutrition that her teeth had rotted away and, in spite of a misshapen round belly, her health had been damaged beyond repair.

The vet felt that given the coming winter, coupled with Juliette's failing health, the kindest thing to do would be to help her slip off to be with Tabi and the others who reside on the other side. And so, because of one human's arrogance and ignorance, Juliette left us long before her time. I hope she has found peace and comfort. She knew unending love at the sanctuary for a short while and that must count for something...

Now, some good news. Lillian Llama has been adopted into a home that already houses a llama named Cinnamon and the two lady llamas have become inseperable. Lillian had her coat of burrs clipped off and the halter that was growing into her face removed. She is being pampered and cossetted and is loving every minute of her new life. There are some horses and an alpaca there as well and the two ladies can survey the scene and tut-tut to their heart's content while ingesting the best of everything.

Simon and O'Sullivan Donkey have both had dental care and the raw wounds on their tongues and the insides of their mouths (from years of pointy teeth rubbing) have begun to heal. They are both, after some fairly heated discussions, now wearing cozy winter blankets. They reluctantly agree it's much more comfortable than shivering away the calories they need to grow healthy. Simon arrived with a broken tail and spine damage but the vet feels that as he is young it will probably heal within the year. O'Sullivan's shocking feet are beginning to come around and may even approach a reasonable state of normal some day. He is standing and moving about much more these days. And now neither is dropping wads of food as they try to eat. In fact, Simon is doing his best to frolic, in spite of his handicap, and is being soundly told off by the much senior O'Sullivan.

Peter Donkey was found to have two abcesses and a huge crack across his bad foot. The farrier cleaned out the abcesses and allowed them to drain and packed the crevice with some medicinal material. Peter is feeling much more comfortable. Once again, his situation was completely preventable and was due solely to the shocking lack of care at the inhuman human's. I join the llama ladies in tut-tutting at the insanity of parts of the human race. And thank Sheila for trying to balance the damage they do.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Respite Is Over

Yes, it's true. Herself has bustled back into town, undoing all the zen-like goodness that the last week with Jamie has wrought. I can only assume she was unceremoniously escorted over the border after annihilating their food reserves for the next year.

I did hear that she was harassed regarding the importation of a plum pudding (with hard sauce) on her voyage over but of course she had her way and it was finally delivered to the American cousins along with a jar of chutney. I suppose the authorities thought the pudding was some sort of incendiary device disguised as a curling stone. They professed themselves highly perplexed that anyone would consider the object a fit ending to a celebratory meal.

And what, pray tell, did she bring us? Hah! NOT. ONE. THING. I should mention that amongst other activities she visited the Peabody Essex Museum in the venerable town of Salem and returned with various items from the gift shop. I had hoped for a small souvenir of the place - perhaps a replica of a cudgel for striking witches or a copy of the original documents from the famous witch trials of the 1600's - but no. Either would have stood me in good stead in my daily dealings with Herself.

We are most certainly back to what passes for normal around here. We were thrown out into the elements at the crack of dawn, with a few scraps of hay to share amongst ourselves. I made my way into the hay storage area to forage and was soundly told off for my resourcefulness. Ditto for trying to ease my hunger pangs by chewing on the fence. I know how poor old Ivan Denisovich felt out there in the wastes of Siberia.

Monday, November 22, 2010

From The Fog

It's probably best that I'm not able to speak to you live - we wouldn't be able to see each other. The fog and rain are as thick as a winter blanket. Of course the woman keeps lurching up behind me and scaring me half to death. Someone should install a fog horn on her... or she could just use her normal speaking voice.

She and the male human are going off to America for that nation's version of Thanksgiving, where she will no doubt proceed to annihilate their turkey and pie reserves. The good news is that we will have the admirable Jamie catering to our every need. He requires nothing of us except that we eat the delicious food he prepares. No exercise, no nagging and no critiquing of body shape. He also bats Sally's toy mouse around to perfection, allowing her to play the role of a large, predatory feline. The toy mouse contains a pleasant smelling herb that encourages her to ever greater feats of stalking and pouncing. When it's effect wears off, she retreats to her plush igloo to recover.

To the United States of America, I send you my heartfelt sympathies, but rest assured, it's only for five days. However, I also thank you for this respite from a tongue "sharper than a serpent's tooth" (at least on the subject of random wood chewing). Our rail fencing may be prove to be surprisingly remodelled when she returns.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Foot Sore Five Update

What a difference a few days make. The four assorted equines who were rescued by Sheila from their wretched, footsore existence are now looking like shipwrecked sailors who have washed up on a magical isle. They can't quite believe it and they fervently hope it isn't all an illusion.

Timothy, the mule with the elf slipper feet, has had a first trim done and is considerably more comfortable. The farrier is confident he will make a full recovery. He desperately wants to be sociable and though he has a few misgivings about the intentions of the human race, he has let the volunteers deburr his tail and legs, which were a solid mass of itching, scratching misery. His resemblance to the much larger Russell Mule is startling.

Stuart Donkey attaches himself firmly to anyone who will let him and is proving to be an affectionate and loving soul. He believes himself to be a donkey version of one of those lap dogs. His feet are looking, if not exactly normal after the first trim, then at least like underpinnings which have a bright future.

Paula Donkey gave Sheila a bit of a surprise shortly after her arrival. She demonstrated a stance whilst, uhhhm, micturating, that indicated clearly that SHE is a HE! A long and tangled winter coat, coupled with a low, shuffling gait brought on by aching feet kept the detail of gender a mystery. Now renamed Peter, his feet have not fared so well. One back foot is so contorted that an x-ray will be done to determine the level of damage. He is receiving pain relief until the vet can assess his condition further.

Juliette Pony likewise has one back hoof and leg that are permanently twisted as a result of years of neglect. Unlike Peter, she seems to have developed moves to compensate for the handicap and although her leg will never be right, she is not in pain.

And poor Lillian Llama - what of her? Well, progress is being made. She is taking her meals in the trailer and recently began to sleep in there as well. A kind vet tech delivers her warm meals twice a day. It has been decided that she will be happiest with her colleagues at the sanctuary and her move will take place very, very soon.

Shadow the goat, now renamed VanaRose, made clear to Laurel the volunteer that her ears were feeling the chill and so Laurel has made her several sets of ear covers, in varying thicknesses so she can weather the winter chill in comfort. They match her tartan winter blanket, giving her a stylish air not usually seen outside the larger fashion houses.

Billie, human to Rafer and Redford, has declared November 18th to be International Donkey Day. What a wise and considerate woman and what an excellent idea! I have yet, however, to receive gifts or even lavish praise from Herself. The status quo is obviously alive and well around here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quadriplegic Donkey Walks Again

Buddy in Nevada has sent this along so everyone can enjoy the happy ending. It's a long read but well worth it. Thank you Buddy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ssssss, ssssn, sssssno....It's Coming

I can't bring myself to say the whole word; it's simply too traumatic. I prefer to picture my nephews, Rafer and Redford Donkey, frolicking through a southern autumn. How civilized, how warm, how snow-free.

It has been quite bearable here lately but even as I write, the weather gurus are predicting a light dusting of sn...., well, you know. We had a surprise ambush of the wet stuff a week ago and Jack was so incensed that he had a massive attack of the screaming squitters and refused to leave the run-in all day. Very messy both inside and out. Whenever he saw the woman, he expressed himself loudly. He would prefer to live in the house but given his bathroom habits I believe it to be unlikely.

He liked last week better because the sun, weak and unmotivated as it is in November, made an appearance nearly everyday. He was able to bake himself in front of the barn, where he dozed and mumbled in his sleep and sucked on his loose front tooth. Doc has been very busy decorating his person with the bounty of fall, mainly mud, burrs and sticks. Molly has grown a sasquatch-like coat and is eating anything remotely chewable. I am brooding on the coming insanity of winter.

We are still awaiting news of Lillian Llama.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More About Feet

I have been very busy this last week gleaning information where I can - mostly by sidling up behind the woman and monitoring her conversations with Sheila of the PrimRose Sanctuary. The discussions revolved around a group mysteriously referred to as "The Foot Sore Five". I thought it might be some sort of secret hiking and tour group, hence my intense interest but in fact it is a group of five assorted individuals who have existed in a horrible sort of Limbo for over a decade.

The setting is a gated property with two mansions on it. It has a weed and burdock infested paddock which cannot be seen from the road and in which two donkeys, a small mule, a pony and a llama have been incarcerated for eleven years. The incarceration came about when the "owner" of the animals, declaring himself to be destitute, asked his friend the mansion owner if he could park the group of five in the paddock. The paddock is large enough that the five were able to forage for food but there has been no health or foot care for the duration. The mansion owner seemed to feel that as these were not his animals, he should not expend any sort of energy or money on their well-being.

His sister, upon her return a short while ago, tried to take some action on the foot front and was banished from the family home by her brother, who was infuriated at her interference. The sister, many donkey blessings be upon her head, called Sheila. The brother was even more furious - it seems that even though he doesn't care for animals in general and these in particular, he felt no one should intervene on their behalf. The dust has settled, the four equines are at the sanctuary but the llama, who in her previous life was quite sociable, cannot be caught yet.

I have instructed the woman to post some photos of the shocking state of the collective feet. Paula the female donkey has one back hoof that will never completely recover, as does Timothy the small mule. Stuart, the male donkey, has a better foot outlook as does Juliette the pony. Sheila tells us that their comfort level with humans has soared since arriving at the sanctuary and she has hopes that all will eventually be well enought to find loving homes.

Sheila has llama expert friends, including a vet, socializing the llama, who is called Lillian. She is being fed a warm meal twice a day and is coming around to the idea of entering a trailer. I just hope the angry man who owns the property lets the process move forward. Lillian is missing her charges and needs a home that will care for her properly. I might add that all five, but especially Lillian, are liberally coated in burrs from nose to tail.

Jack and I have had intense discussions as to why so many angry and volatile humans become entangled with the unfortunate members of other species. I know it has something to do with control and power but still...I would have thought this one angry man would have welcomed the chance to empty his paddock. I will give llama news when I have some.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Autumn Sneaks In On Little Skunk Feet

We believe the feet were attached to a fully-loaded skunk. We drew that conclusion from the highly fragrant state of our paddock yesterday morning. Evidently they like the idea of approaching winter as much as we donkeys. They're just better at expressing their feelings.

Jack and I have been snacking on a selection of nicely dried leaves but the horses insist on grazing over the spent pasture. They have very little imagination and a woefully primitive palate. Molly did debark a tree but that was in a fit of pique because the Woman was working with Doc. It garnered her some attention, even if it was in the form of bellowed threats.

The foot man came yesterday and thankfully pulled off Molly's steel shoes for the winter. It lessens her stomping ability by about fifty percent which chagrins her to no end. We had our usual hoof trims and although Jack had a passing bout of projectile manure expulsion, this time he missed the foot man's shoes. This caused the foot man to become even more cheerful than usual.

The corn in our front field is being processed by the huge machine, the observing of which is one of my favourite pastimes. Last night was even more exciting. We experienced a "weather event" which I believe to have been a small tornadic activity. There was a tremendous wind which sounded like a train, accompanied by intense rain and then the air pressure and temperature changed instantly and dramatically. We could see the lights on the front of the corn mangling machine and quite suddenly the corn whipped from side to side and then ascended directly up in the air, as if pulled by a violent, unseen hand. It was of great interest for someone who studies weather patterns as avidly as I.

The woman sank to her usual low level, repeating the facile "witticism" she always finds so amusing. "Sheaffer, if we have a tornado, we'll all hide under you and hang onto a leg." Ha. Ha. Ha.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

a blak beeste

this here is jack and i wanta give ya the true story of what happin here lass week.

sum visiters come over and when they git outta their veehickle out jumps this big blak dog thing that starts runnin aroun and barkin and yippin and carryin on like a maneiack. hes a good five-six hans tall with black curlee hair and beedy eyes and a haf a tale. well sir, i tak one look and gallup over all the while brayin and honkin ta beet the band and sonnys rite there behine me. the humins are quite amuse but that beeste knows what im sayin - come here boy, i wanta cleen yer clock fer ya. they tie him bak on his rope.

THEN they come in the padduck and mak for the barn. i tale the blak beeste right over, offerin ta kill him and leave no trace. he takes mi point and hides behin the humins. they think im jus proteckin penny dog an its true - he plays too rough fer her but i juss don like no canine strangers anywheres neer my place ATall. doc helps out by tryin ta reech him over the door and dern nere sukseeds but the humins bust up his plan.

one of tha humins which is call gazelle on here and which is auntie to bouncy dog which is the blak beeste visiter took movin piksures and they decide on account of its cold and windee and im fit ta be tied they will tak sonny out for a walk without me. kin ya believe it? no, me neether. i pitch a fit thet billie prolly kin here in them carolineas. doc an molly get rite in on it and we have quite a time runnin and screamin and tarryhootin aroun. sonny dont say nothin - he never do. hes what ya call a solitaire at hart tho i stik ta him like glue at all time.

anyways if ya go ta yourTube - what? oh. go to uTube - what? oh fer petes sake! go to that youTube thing and write in sheaffer donkey and you mite see me runnin aroun like a reel angry wild man. i look pritty good if i do say so miself. thers some picksures of the others runnin too excep sonnys climin a hill with whatsername. you dont gotta look at those. you could juss look at mee if you want.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leon Moves On

The first thing I must tell you is that Leon, the throwaway donkey that the Woman bought at auction, is now in his new home. He had his "brain surgery" and whilst recovering, he met the human of his dreams.

Unseen forces must be at work here because the thread that pulled his human to him was a thin but strong one. Sheila, who runs the sanctuary under PrimRose Donkey's guidance, found an injured Cooper's Hawk in the middle of the road one day. She bundled him up and took him to a nearby sanctuary that helps wildlife recover from various traumas. Helping out that day was a veterinarian who donates time whenever she can to giving medical assistance to the patients. There are two donkeys who live at the sanctuary and of whom this medical woman had grown most fond. Sheila arrived, bearing the towel-encased hawk, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The vet woman visited the sanctuary and was introduced to the residents. Her eyes met Leon's across the recovery paddock and that was that. The normally quite shy Leon rushed to her side and they proceeded to stare deeply into each other's eyes and to breathe deeply up each other's nostrils. They were mutually besotted. Plans were made for Leon to move to her house.

In preparation for the move, Sheila put the metal box on wheels in his paddock for a few days and placed food inside. Leon's three trailering experiences in his short life have not been happy ones and he firmly declined to enter. Sheila warned his new human that he might object strenuously to being moved. Enter the new Leon human with her rather posh wheels. Repeat deep breathing and mutual admiration exercise and cue Leon happily skipping up the ramp beside his new soul mate. Love apparently does conquer all.

He is blissfully ensconsed in his new home with three large draft horses who have become his boon companions. The new human took a week off work to strengthen their bond even further and Leon is feeling like a young emperor surveying his empire. I do like a happy ending.

A mere three months ago Leon was running loose beside a major highway, having been thrown out like so much trash by his worthless humans. He was captured, held at a livestock valuator's facility for several weeks and then put through the stress of a busy meat auction. No wonder he wasn't overly optimistic. With the help of an injured avian he found the path to the person and place he needs. Long may he rule over his new kingdom.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Gifts

It's been a peculiar week. Jack and I each received a completely unexpected gift and our reactions were mixed, to say the least.

On Monday, Jack had just finished his shredded cubes and was beginning to sort through his hay. Suddenly, he snorted, flew to the back of his room and began trying to exit through his locked door. The woman looked suitably alarmed and rushed to his side. She examined his hay pile and found nothing. He remained adhament that something was terribly wrong. She sighed and rifled through the hay once more. "Oh", she said, "I see", and casually shot the object under the divider and right onto my hay! I trumpeted and retreated up the back wall of my room.

She picked up said object and waved it in my direction, laughing like a mad person. I refused to look. She climbed over my stall guard and continued waving the thing in my face. I opened one eye and beheld - Sally's toy mouse. Honestly, I appreciate Sally's generosity but I fear Jack and I can't stand much more of her thoughtfulness.

On a happier note, it transpired that while the Woman and male human were in Chicago, they did indeed buy me a gift. It is a small but tasteful poster bearing the motto "Keep Calm and Carry On". I believe it to be a British saying from the Second World War and very apropos in our barn. My understanding is that although it is displayed on the wall where I can see it, it is really a directive for the others. I pride myself on my sangfroide in stressful situations - unless a fake mouse is involved.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Need Help...

Well, that's what SHE says. SHE says I have a problem with "oral fixation" because I enjoy exploring the textures of anything mouth-sized.

I admit, there was that fine English leather bridle - it was exquisite on the palate. The soft, buttery feel, the essence of leathery goodness and the satisfying recoil off the back molars. My, how she carried on. Then there was the rubber currycomb and the wooden mounting block and the glove with the raised pattern and the book about horse ailments and the cord for the heater thing and the plush animal belonging to a small visitor...each unique and deeply enjoyable in it's own way.

The issue reared it's ugly head again (actually SHE, reared her ugly head again) when she had finished spinning Doc around on the long rope today and cast it aside on the ground. They rode off to practice their - whatever it is they do - so I naturally assumed she had no further use for the rope. I sidled over to assess the target - I mean to casually inspect the object. It was of cotton/leather construction and had a pleasingly pliable feel. In no time I had it clenched firmly between the back molars and was working away with a sawing motion. A feeling of complete and utter bliss swept over me.

SHEAFFERRRRRRR!!! It felt like a bomb had gone off in my ear. She glared down at me from her perch atop Doc. "Youmiserablelittlesneakyungratefuldonkeycriminal". I fled in terror, rope stuck firmly between my clenched teeth. I galloped around, trailing yards of rope until I finally remembered to unclench my teeth. Upon retrieval, it was discovered the rope had substantial - ahem - alterations, but had not been severed completely. She stormed off, muttering threats over which I am sure I could take legal action.

She is particularly peevish because she has purchased "toys" solely for our use and destruction. I simply do not care for them. They are either of an infantile nature or inferior design. The browbeating will continue, I know, but I will soldier on in pursuit of the finer things in life to masticate. As long as this remains a democratic nation, I shall exercise my right to chew freely.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

You're All Invited!

Gazelle, one of my faithful readers and a good friend as well, made an excursion to the sanctuary last weekend and fortunately took her photographic equipment with her. She has invited us to view the photos at her virtual picture gallery.

She apologizes if the album is a tad Leon and Annabelle heavy. Since she, as Jack says, "sprung fer the dough ta spring em" from the auction ring, we feel it's quite understandable.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Willy...

Thank you for sending two of your humans over yesterday on a mission to improve our so-called lifestyle. You, and they, did your best but Herself is as immoveable as the Great Wall of China when it comes to our dreary, Dickensian, Gulag-like existence.

They walked us down the path, they brought us a whole tub of gummi worms (they thoughtfully brought the Woman flowers but she didn't even taste them). And then, in the most arrogant display of raw power yet, Herself forced our friend Jamie to assault Jack with the dreaded vermifuge while they looked on, distraught and helpless.

As soon as Jack was secured to a fence post, he twigged to the cruel deception and began rearing and body slamming Jamie into the fence. He pursed his lips and flicked the tube on the ground with his tongue. When it was done, he dragged Jamie down the lane in a fit of rage, adding in some impressive bucking and head tossing whilst continuing to body slam him. The guests offered gummi worms as solace and he spat them out with contempt.

Now, I have never minded the dreaded vermifuge and in fact have never even worn a halter for the event, but having seen Jack's violent display, when the woman came at me, as a show of solidarity I shied and backed up at tremendous speed. She pronounced it to be nonsense and before I could blink, I had swallowed the lot. I also spat out my gummi worm. Molly ate the rejected worms with no hesitation whatsoever and pronounced them delicious.

So, Willy, your efforts are appreciated and we very much hope your humans return often, but please don't hold out hope for improvements around here any time soon. She is forcing me to mention that we each got a few gummi worms in our hot dinners tonight but I mention it under duress. It was not any sort of thawing of the ice in her veins, I'm sure, just a moment of absentmindedness. The worm has not turned.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Facelift and Fruititarians

You probably thought the facelift pertained to Herself - which is certainly understandable when you've seen her first thing in the morning but no, our barn is being spruced up before winter. A personable young woman and her dog, Abby, have been hard at work, scraping and painting away, with lots of supervision and advice from us, of course.

When we saw them arrive we rushed over and greeted them (the Woman says swarmed) and tried in every way possible to help out. Jack arranged her hair, I stared deep into her ear and Doc and Molly made off with her coat and gloves. Molly offered to drink the paint and Jack and I offered to kill Abby - nothing personal, you understand, we just operate that way. We two donkeys then spent the morning running the fence line with Abby on the other side keeping pace. When the Woman arrived and patted Abby, Jack burst into a chorus of outraged bellows, accusing her of fraternising with the enemy.

On the coyote front, the male human discovered the fearless duo from last week, this time at midday Saturday, tucking into the fallen and fermenting pears on the lawn like so many prime oysters. They regarded him with mild interest and stepped behind the tree in the belief he could no longer see them. He ran to get the noxious spray but when he returned, they were too far for him to take action. I don't know...when did the world become a place where carnivores round out their diet with fruit? It might explain why the rabbit population around here is still so high. Or maybe the coyotes, like the crows, have discovered the inebriating powers of decaying fruit. Yes. That sounds more likely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Under Siege!

Our adventures with wildlife continue unabated. These days it's nearly impossible to catch a wink of sleep around here.

The humans have returned from Chicago and no, it was not windy but was in fact sunny and warm. Ideal conditions for a donkey to stroll the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue, taking in all the fine, late 19 century buildings. However, there were no donkeys present, including self. SHE knows how I feel about this so when there was a close encounter with coyotes the night after her return, I was rooting heavily for the coyotes, hoping they could find the strength to haul her off to their den. Unless they rent heavy equipment, I doubt it will happen.

Herself and Penny had just gone off to the house after installing us in our rooms with meagre portions of food. Darkness was falling quickly, as is it's wont at this time of year, when we heard the most awful roaring and shrieking coming from the front porch. Doc flew to his window and reported back.

"Holeeeee theres two kyotes chasin the dog on the porch and now dog is hiding behin the womin and them kyotes is just standin there starin at her. Shes yellin and screamin and wavin her armses at em and jumpin on one foot (it transpired that Penny had carried off one of her shoes as security when the coyotes were first spotted from an upstairs window). Kyotes look to be laughin and jest keep standin on the porch. Now shes trying to make em run and they wont and now shes real close. Here come the male humin and now the kyotes is starin at him and now they startin to walk away slow. Woman looks purpil in this lite and is hoppin after em but theyre still walkin slow down the driveway. Penny is yellin at em from behin the woman and her hair is standin up - aktully both has their hair standin up.

The racket was deafening and the next morning the woman had a grating and hideous tone as a result of the sore throat caused by her banshee behaviour. She went off somewhere yesterday and got a flashlight device capable of illuminating the Parliament buildings and a can of some spray substance. Also a whistle. So far she has deafened us by trying out the whistle and nearly blinded me when she came out for ten o'clock feed last night. Next she will undoubtedly see a shadow and blast all of us with the spray. The coyotes may simply die laughing or move away because they consider the area unfit for raising offspring.

This isn't over yet. Herself says the next step is for the coyotes to move into the house and take control of the remote (remote what, she didn't say).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm Hurt - Not Surprised - Just Hurt

Why, you ask? Just as my budding career as a naturalist was well launched, off go the humans to that cottage place where they saw what? - all sorts of nature, that's what. On her return the Woman babbled on and on about how I would have loved every minute of it. A cottage made entirely of wood - inside and out (imagine the snack possibilities!), an indoor fire burning device, a lake with no motorized watercraft and six hundred acres of nature in the raw. She is a cruel, cruel woman.

I suppose I should get the subject of THE HAT out of the way. It seems that although generally overcast, the sun made a brief appearance and, having left her headgear behind, the woman decided to craft her own out of the local vegetation. Frankly, I would have been mortified to have been seen with her in that outlandish head-salad. I would have been compelled to consume the whole thing and that would have led to "words". But I digress.

She showed me the photos she took and I must confess, the unhatched loon eggs are my favourite. I don't know why they didn't hatch but surely she could have brought them back for my collectibles shelf. They saw the parent loons and just missed seeing a whole rumble? riot?assembly? of otters. And a beaver. They viewed assorted vegetation, including pitcher plants, which I would have liked to try out as a flask. We're not speaking for now but I have allowed her to post her photos. I mean, why should you be deprived as well? And I need all of you to bear witness to her unmitigated cruelty.

Today she told me they are off to Chicago for the weekend. I'm waiting for my invitation. I have long wished to do the architectural tour and to ascertain for myself if it truly is the windy city. She may not like elevators but I embrace the idea of a vertically moving box that saves all that calorie burning. I know I would adapt to hotel living without hesitation. Jack says that if we are invited he will take the stairs.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Wilder Side

It's been a busy week here on the farm. What with basking in the record-breaking hot temperatures, chiding Herself into womaning the keyboard and taking turns with Jack in removing each others fly masks, I'm on the go from dawn to dusk. Not too busy, however, to notice the other entities whose activities cross over into our lives.

The first is a young bear. I have not met him personally, yet, but our paths may cross as he roams the area in search of room and board. He ran into, almost literally, a friend of ours when said friend was driving to work a block away from here. The young bear ran up out of a ditch, clutching a fish in his mouth. Human and bear veered frantically in different directions as they tried to avoid each other. The fish was dropped and each of them staggered off, rattled by the near miss. I feel very badly for the bear. He's new to the concept of making a living in the wilds and who knows how long he had to work at it before he caught dinner. I hope this doesn't discourage him and drive him into the arms of the local garbage cans (wait, do garbage cans have arms?). One more thing for me to brood about.

Next we have a frog. We know it is a lady frog because she had her four or five thousand children in our water trough. Of course Herself discovered this as, without her spectacles, she was emptying the water preparatory to scrubbing the trough. OoooooooNooooooo she wailed in her usual grating tones. As she stared at the puddle on the ground, a handsome frog hopped out from under the tilted trough. Although I was a distance away, I spotted it immediately and made my way over. Meanwhile, Herself was apologizing to the frog for the misunderstanding about her extensive family and offering her a light misting with the hose. The frog looked unconvinced and lay flat on the ground but as she felt the water droplets she sat bolt upright, blinking slowly and gulping.

I eased over carefully so as not to scare her and sloooooowly lowered my nose. Imagine my surprise when she suddenly sprang upwards with a mightly leap, nearly lodging herself in my left nostril. I leapt backwards, sitting down with an abrupt thud. The woman made strangled gasping noises which might have been a crude attempt at laughter. I stalked off, my dignity in tatters. Since then, the frog comes out every day for a shower and the woman makes a large puddle in front of the trough for her to lie in. Herself has strict instructions to move any further tadpoles into a safer setting. I will keep watch.

The third new player is an arachnid with argyle-patterned hairy legs who has spun a web of such engineering genius in the run-in door that it will soon be blocked entirely. Of course, it's an ideal place to snare a fat fly or moth and the spider is growing stouter by the day. When an insect lands, the spider rushes over and snips the victim out of the web, folding it neatly and carrying it away. Later the holes are darned over and the integrity of the web restored. Now he/she is spinning out long guy wires that anchor the web even further afield.

Between the frog and the spider, my days are overflowing with scientific field work. I don't mind. Soon enough the landscape will be white and frozen, with nothing stirring but the wind. Jack and I have at least half our winter coats grown in in anticipation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Now, Where was I...?

Oh yes, I was going to tell you about a new arrival at PrimRose.

It happened this way. The woman saw a notice on some sort of bulletin board in the ether and it said a lonely donkey was looking for a home. She made contact with a very concerned woman who said the farmer next to her had received a herd of steers and there cowering in the back of the trailer was a bedraggled donkey with deformed feet. The farmer was surprised and far from pleased as he had no desire to be a donkey caretaker. It transpired that this was quite a large donkey who was in decent body weight but whose feet had collapsed and grown freakishly long from years of neglect. The donkey had survived by eating the very rich cattle food but it had taken a toll on his teeth.

Herself put Sheila in touch with the kind neighbour of the farmer and a pickup of the donkey was arranged for the next day. On arrival, it transpired that the farmer had locked the gate to the paddock and gone away for the day. Thus, the poor footsore creature was made to walk a long way around the back and down a rocky hill filled with holes. He was exhausted and in pain when he made it to the trailer. He was in such agony that Sheila, who has seen many sad cases, just hoped and prayed he could make it to the sanctuary.

He did, and was greeted by a bevy of volunteers who descended on him, handfeeding him treats, which were a novelty to him, and combing out some of his long matted coat, whilst allowing him time to look around and take his bearings. He was helped to a paddock with a run-in but as he had never been indoors in any sort of structure, he preferred to lie under a large, shady tree. His food and water was transferred over to him and he tucked into the hay and then lay down for a long rest. An emergency call from the farrier confirmed that his feet were indeed in wretched shape but she does feel he can be made comfortable. He has been named O'Sullivan after the quite wonderful human who facilitated his rescue. She deserves a big thank you for taking time out of her hectic schedule to improve the lot of a throwaway donkey that wasn't even her responsibility. I have researched the concept of karma and I devoutly hope a vast quantity of it is on the way to her.

O'Sullivan is improving daily, especially in his overall outlook on life. He is being pampered and loved by everyone around him and his coat is now free of mats and is the snowy white it should be. His feet have had their first trim and the vet estimates his age as mid-twenties. He is on pain meds for his feet for now but hopefully time will prove to be the best healer and allow him to lead the life he deserves.

Meanwhile, another rescue donkey, Simon, was taken to the sanctuary last week. He comes from a household where the male human detested him so much he threatened to kill him if the woman there didn't get rid of him immediately. Though equally bullied herself, the woman called Sheila and begged her to come and get Simon. Simon is quiet and shy - in no way a being who should provoke rage and hatred from a human, but there you have it. His tail has been broken and no longer works to swish flies away or to express donkey thoughts. Twisting tails and hoisting reluctant donkeys into the trailer is the preferred loading method of some and the results speak for themselves.

There are photos and I will chivvy the woman into posting them - they had to be scanned or scoped or serigraphed or something and so are somewhat harder to get onto the blog.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The "Ladies" Return

Well. The two would-be mountain climbers are back, no doubt leaving the Adirondacks pulverized into gravel and all those cold mountain rivers drained dry. I can only wonder at the judgement of the authorities that let them return year after year.

Our in-house help was quite satisfactory and Sally had her convinced that her food bowl must be filled to brimming at all times. This woman is unfortunately a seasoned horse person and never let down her guard enough for us to slide into the barn or tack room unnoticed. Other than that, she was most pleasant. She did pronounce my body shape to be"astounding", which I choose to take as a great compliment.

The pears are now so over-ripe that the legions of crows - I believe it is rightly called a "murder" of crows - spend their days becoming inebriated and falling from the branches. Once on the ground the most terrible brawls break out, lowering the tone of the entire neighbourhood. Tsk tsk tsk. Where is the Ladies Temperance League when you need them.

PS I almost forgot to mention that our food supply for the year is being prepared, right here in our own fields, even as I write. Acres and acres of the finest hay, I assume all for me (I mean us). It is being packaged in small squares and large rolls and Jack and I have inspected each and every unit. The woman was quick to assure me that the large rolls are destined for cattle feed but we shall see, we shall see. I think one of those units would make for a sensibly-sized donkey breakfast.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I May Have To Fire Her

Enough is enough. My transcription services have been shoddy this summer, to say the least. I thought I had things back under control, but no. Herself and Molly are off to stomp around the mountains again - hah, I doubt the mountains will ever be the same.

I have a story to tell you about another donkey rescue that has ended with the donkey in question now being safe at PrimRose. But of course it must wait...

Oh well, at least Doc is home to keep us well guarded while the female element hits the road. We have a new woman coming in to do our housekeeping. We met her today and so far she has my seal of approval. I will report on that as well.

I'm off to brood under the trees; I may take legal action against the Woman and need to build a solid case.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

iam bak!!!!!

this is doc speekin and i am bak home now i had a reeeely good time at camp once i remembereded to stop screemin at everybody. its hard keepin trak of some fortey horses instead of only threee so after day one i give up and just relaxed and chilled. i had my own padduck with some grass and lotsa buddies in the nex padducks. some trees for shade and some hay and water in there. i had a big room an regulur meels. woman came over nearly every day and when it wasnt tooo hot we rode a bit. when i got bak today my peeps were waitin and we did some yellin and runnin around and then i got down to some grass and rollin in the sand. i plan to visit the other place regular so they dont forget me though the woman say once i met anyone they never forget me.

Russian Donkey Now In England

Thanks to Buddy in Nevada for the update on the poor, parasailing donkey in southern Russia. There was certainly no justice done in that country but at least the tormented soul has a lifetime of good care before her now. Heaven help the other hapless creatures who have the misfortune to dwell in that nation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sanctuary News

My faithful correspondent, Laurel, she who is devoted to the mini-dervish TJ/Virgil, has sent us some news of the sanctuary happenings. The news is good.

First of all, it seems that little Annabelle is not with child after all, much to the relief of everyone. Sheila was correct in assuming the beachball effect was caused by an enormous load of internal parasites. Annabelle is blossoming under all the care and attention she is receiving and is following close on the heels of PrimRose in operating as a sanctuary PR donkey. In fact, so people-oriented is she that there is talk of her travelling along with PrimRose and assuming at least a corner of the mantle of office.

ChristinaRose, the lamb, has doubled in size and quadrupled in energy and has become the resident ovine clown/entertainer. All traces of shyness have disappeared and she has developed a talent for climbing - she can hoist herself up into the food cupboard so efficiently that I wouldn't be surprised if she transfers her stall sign onto that door and sets up office in there.

Leon has been put in a paddock with some other boys, having gotten to know them over the fence, and he, and they, are all pleased with the arrangement. His "brain surgery" is on hold until the cooler weather. He is a sensitive and intelligent soul who is beginning to emerge from his state of cautionary fear. One day he will go home with just the right human, someone who has been waiting for exactly such a donkey as Leon.

The newest arrival at the sanctuary is a three year old female goat who was raised on the bottle (Jack assumed that meant the liquor bottle but I imagine it was milk...). Her name is as yet undecided but the debate rages on, with Dorothy being one of the names put forward. She is still a bit timid and shy but ChristinaRose is showing her the road to becoming a newer, bolder goat. Poor Helen, the venerable and ancient ovine, is now outnumbered two to one. Her rate of "tsk tak tsking" has soared.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm Back - Finally

I haven't exactly been away, except down the farm lane with visitors, but Herself has been so distracted by various things that I haven't been able to chivvy her into doing my transcribing. I obviously need more than one secretary.

We have had visitors from all geographic directions and every last one proved to be a donkeyphile. I have advised the Woman to keep a list of those who are coolish toward Jack and self and to subtlely allow them to slide off the bottom of the list. My plan must be working.

The first group of visitors was Sheila with volunteers Laurel and Christine and Margaret who ran the bake sale at my birthday party. As you can imagine, that was a most satisfactory visit. The only real downside was that we were not invited to dine "at table" with them. Our next group of donkey visitors consisted of two adult humans and Erin, my lifetime friend and her colleague, Alice. Erin is still the only human to have sat upon my back many years ago. They devoted their entire visit to us and when they weren't grooming us, feeding us tasty morsels or walking us down the path, they simply sat in the shade closeby and admired our sheer donkeyness. The Woman dubbed them the Donkey Handmaidens. How we wish they lived nearby. I do have one serious complaint about their visit - they went to Stratford to see "The Tempest", with Christopher Plummer as Prospero. I am bitterly disappointed to have been left behind - she knows I have committed all of Shakespeare's works to memory and I am outraged at the slight.

The next group of humans are some sort of relations to the woman - same breeding on the dam's side, I gather. These were micro-humans and what they lacked in donkey wisdom they made up for with enthusiasm. I should note that under a certain size, human offspring have quite sticky hands and are disposed to share any food substance in their possession - some of it is even edible. Most recently, Annie the Glamour Horse appeared with her human to accompany Molly and Herself on the 25km ride to battle cancer. I'm afraid Jack still has "feelings" for the beauteous one and am afraid they continue unreciprocated. On the brighter side, Susan, one of my human friends, designed shirts of a royal purple hue with my photo on the back (in my crown and sash) and those were the official "Team Sheaffer" apparel for the ride.

We have a few more herds of humans due before end of summer and although I enjoy the diversion, I could wish for better transcription service for the duration. I'm off to continue basking in the heat and humidity. Herself is off to lie like a beached Orca in front of the fan. Plus ca change...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Let Your Outrage be Known

I checked the calendar and yes, apparently it is 2010 but somewhere in Russia they feel that animal torture and cruelty is not only highly amusing but a fine idea for promoting a business enterprise that depends on attracting tourists.

Here is what happened. Some emotionally and morally deficient humans thought it would be a grand idea to attach a terrified donkey to a giant wing/sail affair and to launch him out over the ocean. The shaking, crying, terrified animal was thus sent aloft where his cries could be heard by all who thought they were at the beach to have a relaxing day in the sun. The humans who perpetrated this "prank" were highly pleased with the result, not caring where the donkey might land or even if he would survive the landing. Miraculously, he did.

The film clip of this shameful event can be seen at:
Please be warned, it is not for the faint of heart or for anyone who knows and loves donkeys.

In this country the Russian Ambassador can be reached at
By all means, let him know your thoughts on this act of animal cruelty and how it reflects on the country as a whole. If you live in another country, please direct your thoughts to the Russian Embassy there. We can't turn back time but we can let it be known that in this age of omnipresent cameras, this sort of idiocy will most likely be seen by a world-wide audience.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doc Is Gone! (For a Month)

And it was all very spur of the moment, I must say. The woman came out to the paddock to fetch Molly for a forest ride and Molly, being quite naughty, demured and skipped around just out of reach. Given the heat and humidity, after a few rounds the woman began to have second thoughts. She looked like a boiled, frustrated tomato.

Throughout this drama, Doc had been shadowing the woman, pleading to be the one to be taken somewhere, anywhere. He does love his play days. So the woman snapped the lead onto his halter, groomed him, tacked him up and off they went in the metal box on wheels. Molly was dumbstruck. Served her right, too.

Doc and Herself went to Mosby's place and he was very excited indeed. So excited that he bellowed and cavorted and generally acted like a madman. He was so distracted that when Emi (Mosby's human) tried to ride him past Ben and Jerry Donkey's paddock, he spun and bolted - twice! The woman was utterly disgusted and embarrassed and dragged him back to the fence, whereupon his brain finally began to function and he said "Hey, donkeys, cool!" and tried to pull them through the rails.

The woman made an on-the-spot decision, asking if Doc could stay for a month to help him get over his lack of exposure to outside influences. He has stayed at Mosby's barn over many a winter in the past and it was felt he would soon be comfortable there. So. He has now settled in nicely and the woman is referring to it as his month at summer camp. I suppose he will come home with various crafts, including macramed pot holders, birch bark keychains and a name plaque with his name spelled out in sticks. Sigh. We'll never hear the end of it.

Molly is one very contrite Haflinger and is begging to be caught every time she sees the woman. I think she knows she was the initial cause of all this uproar. Jack and I are looking on the bright side - maybe she'll be sent to summer camp and we'll have the place to ourselves.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dental Assault, But at Least It's Warm for a Change

Jack and I feel that we have been having wonderful weather - 102 degrees last week. The others are moaning and staggering about and disolving into puddles as the day wears on. We donkeys have not even broken into so much as a light perspiration. Honestly, what a fuss. Herself has purchased an industrial fan for the run-in and a mesh style gate for Molly's stall front so she has more air circulation from the fan in the aisle. Just grazing in the field last week Molly was soaked from mane to hoof and even had some lather on her sides. These alpine types just can't take anything resembling decent warm weather.

I feel I should share my dental encounter with my readers so you can see how obsessed the woman is with causing me discomfort. My teeth are perfectly fine but every year she has the medical types look in there and decide if anything needs maintenance. Fortunately Doc and Molly went first so I had some time to strategize. They both behaved disgracefully, succumbing to the stupefying agent immediately - Doc even leaned his whole body on the wall like some boozy barfly on a bender. Molly lolled her tongue and could barely keep her feet under her.

By the time the veterinarian got to me, I was ready. I declined the needle in the neck quite forcefully but still got jabbed. He apologized but I detected an whiff of incincerity. I fought the damnable potion and managed to remain fairly alert. Jack was greatly distressed and hammered on the door whilst making a series of wild and dreadful noises. When he threatened to climb over the door to rescue me, the humans decided my teeth should be attacked in the run-in where he could see me but leave if he wished. He hovered like an anxious and ancient nanny throughout.

I confess, once the procedure was underway it proved to be not too terrible. Some filing here , some rasping there and it was done. The vet declared that I had the whitest, hardest, smallest teeth he had seen in ages. He doesn't know that I floss daily with a variety of twigs and never eat immediately before bed. Jack said the man was a hired asassin and wasn't getting anywhere near his teeth or in fact any part of his anatomy. Jack's dental plan remains flexible, with his remaining teeth left unmolested unless he shows signs of dental distress. He says they'll learn a thing or two about distress if they try to pry his jaws apart...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Further News on the Auction Three and A Half

Sheila and the donkeys were interviewed by one of the major newspapers yesterday so hopefully even more humans can read about the good work she is doing at PrimRose. Many photos were taken and much written down and I look forward to perusing the finished work. When I discover the publication date I will let my blog friends know.

The three and a half newcomers are generally doing quite well. Little Annabelle has had a bath with Tea Tree oil after her delousing with powder and she quite enjoyed it's soothing properties. Jack had those things living on him when he got to Sheila's and he said they made him not only itchy but sapped his strength, which was already low. Annabelle will have a needle stuck in her person to ascertain if she truly is pregnant - good grief, can't they just ask her instead of treating her like a pincushion?? If she proves to be "with child" she will then have an ultrasound (which sounds much more civilized) to determine date of arrival.

Unseen forces may be at work because, as Annabelle was a complete surprise to the woman when she got to the auction, poor Elvira Donkey who has lived at PrimRose for awhile now, was diagnosed with a nasty abdominal tumour. She did very well for a time but is now withdrawn and disinterested in her surroundings. The veterinarian explained that Elvira is in increasing pain and would prefer to slip off quietly with her friends near. Carol, her personal volunteer, is understandably devastated but has pledged to help Annabelle through her troubles. It seems they will need each other for moral support and perhaps there is a serendipitous note about all this...

KristinaRose, the baby sheep, is settling in just fine. Sheila bought her special lamb food and she is taking meds for the cold-like symptoms she picked up at the auction. If Helen is the sheep equivalent of a one hundred and nine year old great granny, then the lamb is a fractious two year old who wants to be with Helen non-stop. Helen spends much time being scandalized by the infantile behaviour but KristinaRose cares not and simply does her best to be a mini-Helen.

Leon is quite well physically, except for his feet, but those will come round with time. He would very much like to interact with humans but his past encounters have left him nervous and wary. He has a strong fear that he will be struck forcibly about the head. The poor lad slowly makes his way over for a piece of apple or carrot (both completely unknown in his former life) but the stress becomes too much and he flees before the humans can touch him. His "brain surgery" will take place as soon as the vet has time and after that he can mix in with William, one of the other boys, for company. Maybe he will learn from William that he is in a safe place and can let down his guard.

So, all is progressing as it should and one day hopefully Annabelle will have a bouncing baby equine (father unknown as yet), Leon will finally learn to trust humans and KristinaRose will achieve her goal and grow up to be just like great granny Helen.

Gayle, who posts here as Gazelle, acts as my official photographer but she is also a life-long friend to all animals. She most generously offered to pay the cost of freeing the Three and a Half from the auction and even now a cheque for their purchase price is winging it's way to Sheila (well, not winging so much as trudging through the system). Thank you Gayle for quietly making a difference.

PS - If anyone knows a non-toxic way to get the last of those dreadful auction number stickers off the newcomers, please let us know!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Update and Some Explanation of The Auction Photos

First of all, thank you Gayle for making them viewable on the blog - Herself is not quite - well, she means well, but you know ummmm...nevermind, I'll say no more.

The jack donkey is now called Leon and is thriving at Sheila's. Turns out he's a real people person when overtures are friendly and no one offers to strike him about the head. His feet are terribly long but will come back with care. He is to have what I have heard referred to as "brain surgery" on his nether regions. Humans - just don't know their donkey anatomy. He has a festering sore under his chin, possibly from the too-tight halter he has been wearing for who knows how long and several warty growths. He is young, just six, and is rapidly coming out of his state of guardedness.

The small pregnant jenny is now called Annabelle and after a rough first night, she is settling in well. The farrier made an emergency call on Monday and best of all, though the jenny is horribly foundered, it is a "mechanical" founder (this does not mean her feet are mechanized in any way) but that it is strictly from neglect and none of the internal foot structures are harmed. The humans who consigned her sawed off the front of her hoofs in an attempt no doubt to spruce her up for the auction. She has been dusted with louse powder, has been wormed and will have a vet check this week. She is being doted on by a volunteer called Carol and spends much time with her head buried in Carol's arms.

Annabelle had a bay pony stallion friend in her pen (possibly the father of her unborn baby?), consigned by the same humans, and he too was foundered but no longer lame and had also had his halter taken away. He was extremely courteous with the jenny and the humans alike and knew how to pull a cart and carry children. He was only about ten or eleven hands high so you can see in the photos that Annabelle is truly tiny. The pony was sold for twenty five dollars - fate unknown.

The lamb is now called Kristina-Rose, after the young lady who helped load the trailer and who lent a pony halter to Annabelle (knotted twice at the crown) so she could be led. The lamb is still confused (she is only four months old but was one of the largest at the auction) and sometimes seeks the security of the carrier in which she was transported but Helen, the ancient sheep, is behaving like a great granny and bossing her around so all will be well shortly. Goliath, the small donkey who is self-appointed sheep guardian, is hovering like an expectant father outside their pen, making whuffling noises of assurance.

Laurel, the saintly volunteer who works with TJ/Virgil has offered to take some photos of the crew and send them tomorrow so we shall all be able to see them in the safety and comfort of their new digs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Three And A Half Now Safe at PrimRose

About two weeks ago my highly-tuned senses began to pick up news of an abandoned donkey in our vicinity. The woman's brow grew more furrowed and she had many telephonic consultations with Sheila. I knew something was afoot and kept my highly receptive ears tuned for more information.

In brief, a young male donkey had been caught in the middle of a nasty family fracas and had been unceremoniously turned loose to fend for himself, near a highway, for two weeks. Finally, he was caught and turned over to someone who holds such foundlings for the town for thirty days until they are claimed or sold at auction. Sheila and the woman desperately tried to speak with the powers that be, offering to buy the foundling so he wouldn't have to endure another traumatic experience and would be assured of a happy future. No response was forthcoming and the wall of silence remained unbreached so the poor lad went off to a livestock/meat auction last Saturday.

Sheila was embroiled in a fundraiser at the same time and so Herself volunteered to go to the auction, on Sheila's behalf, in an attempt to purchase said donkey. She was joined by some other donkey rescue troops who formed a determined cadre, bent on emerging with donkey in tow. The weather behaved disgracefully, with the skies opening in a tap-like fashion and refusing to shut off all day. The auction site was a horror of mud and mire and crying animals.

And there they found the soaking wet donkey, along with four horses, in the only outdoor pens at the place. A short time later, a small, bedraggled female donkey was thrust into another pen. She was lice-ridden, pregnant and foundered and her consignors thought so little of her that they took her halter away with them. The group determined that she must somehow be taken to PrimRose as well.

The day wore on and it became evident that the donkeys would be the very last to be auctioned . The rain came down in buckets and the donkeys, without food for the duration and probably since the night before, stood forlornly in their pens. Finally, they were chased into the auction ring and the woman set to with some furious bidding. She said she only began breathing again when the hammer went down and the man wielding it said SOLD! in her direction.

Then began the process of getting the donkeys from the pens to the PrimRose trailer. Geographically, these are as far removed from the busy loading docks as possible. There was a moment of great concern when it was discovered the little jenny had lain down in exhaustion and defeat and didn't have the energy to stand. She was finally coaxed up and followed the young donkey lad to the trailer, reluctant to walk on the concrete because of her deformed and aching feet.

I must mention that a lamb had also been purchased by the woman as company for the ancient rescue sheep, Helen, whose equally ancient sheep friend died recently. It was felt that Helen would come out of her deep depression if another ovine companion was found. And that is how, at a meat auction, three and one half creatures out of thousands, found their way to the safety of PrimRose and not to ...well, somewhere else.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Magnificent Gift from Scotland

Thank goodness for friends near and far. My bitter disappointment at being excluded from last weekend's visit to Willy Donkey's place has been tempered by the generosity and thoughtfulness of Dougie Donk in Scotland. He sent me a large, mysterious box all way across the Atlantic Ocean. And what a gift there was inside!

We received a notice in our mailbox that a parcel had arrived at the local post office and the woman duly set off at her snail's pace to retrieve it. I watched her embarking in her vehicle and she said casually over her shoulder "Sheaffer, the notice has your name on it." My name on it? I felt that in that case her pace could have been a tad brisker. I waited by the fence with bated breath. Ages later she came trundling back and showed me a large box wrapped in brown paper. The excitement was almost unbearable.

After fumbling first with a kitchen knife and then a pair of ancient scissors, she prised the thing open and there in protective wrapping was the most magnificent hat I have ever beheld. A Fire Fighter's hat to be precise. It is made of the finest dark blue wool, with a peak and a band of black patent leather on the front. And...I could hardly contain my official badge that says "Strathclyde Fire Brigade". I felt quite weak in the knees. Then the woman showed me the inside and it says "Bates Hatter, 21 Jermyn St., St. James S., London". I had to lean on the fence to recover my sense of equilibrium. I have long dreamt of having an offcial hat but to have one made by the finest hatters in London - well - words fail me.

Thank you Dougie. You understood my unease with year after year having plastic nonsense foisted on me as novelty headgear. My problem is solved. From now on I will have a most official and dignified presence at all public affairs. I understand you made a pact with the resident fire fighter at your place to not drag him about the paddock for at least a week in exchange for his hat. Please thank that kind soul as well. I hope he isn't put in a dungeon or sent to the Orkneys on a training course as punishment for donating his hat to me so selflessly. You are a good donkey and he is a gallant human.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Gracious Invitation...And I Was Left Behind

I've wrestled back control of what Jack insists on calling my "blob", and just in time, too. You won't believe what has happened. Actually, if you are a regular visitor here you won't be surprised in the least.

Saturday morning the woman came out to chambermaid our rooms and announced that she and the male human and Jamie (our minder when they are away) and Mosby's human, Emi, had been invited to Willy donkey's house for the day. Then she casually mentioned that I was also invited but that there was no room in the vehicle. Preposterous - I have a metal box on wheels parked right outside the paddock, and I prefer to travel solo in any case. She is simply mean-spirited and intent on keeping me away from any sort of situation that might provide a donkey with a pleasureable few hours.

Of course THEY had a wonderful time and were toured about and wined and dined and generally treated like honoured guests - of which I should have been one. Willy's place is called "The Moose's Roost" and is a superlative retirement facility for a small number of lucky horses. It is also home to Willy and his mother Roberta (Bert) and to Molly and Marble donkey. They toured the humans around their paddock and summer house and gave a rousing and sometimes physical display of how to extract treats from a many-sided ball thing called a Nose-It. Willy has it down to a fine art and forces the thing to expel treats in all directions. He is not terribly keen on sharing said treats. Occasionally his mother or one of the other donkey ladies fires off a hind hoof in his direction, Willy bellows and it begins all over.

Willy's human, Joan, and her friend Marlene were responsible for arising at the crack of dawn, motoring over to Mosby's and Emi's place on the day of my party/fundraiser and extracting considerable monies for the 50/50 draw. They were key to the success of the venture and I commend them for their stellar effort in helping the PrimRose donkeys.

I know THEY wanted me to be included in the visiting party. The blame must be laid in it's usual place - directly at the grotty feet of Herself, who wouldn't know a breach of etiquette if it bit her on the ankle.

Friday, June 11, 2010

a jack flash

sonny is still thinkin about his partee and gatherin material fer his memoroars and what not so i thot i would get ya up ta date. i kinda hi-Jacked his writin, so ta speek. also the g 7 or 8 or 9 or sumthin is takin place in the citee soon and hes expectin them to ast him to speak at it and adress all them world leeders. i dunno...its like the queen showin up to his partee - mebbee it could happin and mebbee not. all i kno is i ain't goin to no citee.

anyways i'm doin reel good, sheddin plenty and mopping up my eight squares a day. i put a good run on sonny mornin and evenin juss ta keep him movin. he puts in toooo much brain work and not enough runnin. vitinary is comin to flile teeth nex week but i don have ta get mine done on account they ain't growin no more and i got no abcisses. i'll stay to a good distance and put the stink eye on him.

molly horse is clear cutting the paddock and is reeel mad at the electrik wire that keeps us off a the long stuff. she keeps testin it and goin OW, dammit. she's gettin a wide body saddle cos her reglar one is too tight in her sholders since she been climbin mountins. she feels superieur on account she gits to go with the woman to the foress all teh time an shes always sayin no boys allowd juss girls and then she flounce off on the metal box, all struck up like.

doc went on another play date and had hissefl a wunderful time stompin on fake briges and fake watter and i dont know what all. woman has ta do that stuf otherwise hes reel jealos and pitches a fit when molly goes out to the foress. woman call is qualitee time but i think hes juss spoilt gettin driven all over creation juss to go play with other horses.

cats is good too but violet cat keeps on ketchin baby bunnnnies and leavin the boddies at the house door - she keep the head for herself. sally couldn ketch nothin if she sat on it by akkcitent. she once find a drownded mouse and give it ta sonny but he dont appreciate it so much bein on his hay.

penny dog is good too and puttin in lots a runnin and jumpin an then bathin in our water tank which aint so good. that dog shed somethin fierce unner water and i dont got no teeth to strain dog hair with.

thass it fer now i jusst wanted to ketch ya up to date. goin back to chasin sonny now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Party - Some Further Thoughts

It has seemed awfully quiet the last few days and we are all beginning to lose that glazed look. I have thought deeply on the events of the big day and have some observations to share.

I have studied those porta-potties and I don't trust them. They are the size of a small standing stall turned on end, which is to say quite compact. Humans go in and seem to simply disappear. Perhaps I glanced away at a crucial moment but maybe they are just dematerialized. I have no scientific evidence to the contrary so for now I will avoid them. The woman calls them the "Tardis" - she is as mad as a hatter.

Russell Mule doesn't trust them either. Last year he had a terrible time convincing the humans that he had to answer the call of nature -they obtusely guessed at everything else until he practically dragged them into a stall. This year he was much more comfortable being at the party because he had good memories from last year. He discretely concealed himself behind a large shurb and used it instead of a stall. He says he wouldn't give those porta-potties the time of day. That is how a young mule gets to be an old mule.

PrimRose's new hat is the height of millinery elegance. I admired her from afar but didn't dare approach the distinguished lady herself. Last year I tried and she made a snorking noise and twitched her tail, so I must admire in secret and hide my unrequited love. Who knew that a middle-aged donkey bachelor could suffer such a "crise de coeur".

Speaking of hats, a young lady named Sabrina attended my party sporting the most magnificent salad-like creation on her head. She graciously presented me with a bag of donkey treats, hugged me gently and gallantly removed some small carrots from her hat and offered them as a snack. Too bad Queen Elizabeth 2 could not make it - I feel sure she would have rewarded such good breeding with a title -" Keeper of The Royal Hat", perhaps.

Carrot cake is an abomination. It has very little to do with carrots and appears to be coated with white vermifuge. The two large birthday cakes skulked on a table under an awning contraption and even though this year they did not arrange flames on the top (thanks to a brisk wind) I refused to approach too closely.

Those monkey cupcakes are the demon offspring of the carrot cakes.

The bake sale table contained no Stud Muffins.

Mosby does not feel thirty-five years of age and thinks a sign saying "Green, Rank Stud Inside!" was long overdue for the front of his stall. Emi, his human, agrees. Maybe if I had one of those PrimRose would give me a second look...

I was more than pleased to lend a hoof to such a worthy cause but relieved to finally retire to the quiet of my room. I confess, I was so tired that while the woman was cooking our dinner, one minute I was leaning over the stall guard giving her instructions and the next minute my nose began to brush the floor and my knees to buckle. I have a year in which to ruminate over all I have experienced and observed - I may have to write a book.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

THE PARTY - Phase One

I hardly know where to begin. My head is spinning, my hoofs are aching and I have indentations from my crown but we emerged victorious at the end of the day. The sun shone, meat tubes were barbequed, baking was sold by the tonne and the silent auction drew them in like moths to a candle. Tickets were sold for various contests and my army of volunteers kept smiling throughout. I think the woman may have been grimacing from a touch of navicular in both her trotters, but I will graciously call it smiling. And Primrose has such a fetching new hat creation that she won the hat contest!

Short of flogging Herself, I can extract no further typing from her palsied hands today but I just want to say we made $4,000. 00 for Sheila, so the PrimRose donkeys will be assured of hay for the next year. That is more than double what the humans were aiming to raise. The first pictures are rolling in, thanks to Gazelle, who tirelessly shot photo after photo for hours on end. She has graciously given us a link so I may share them with you:

I have known Emi (human to Mosby horse) all my life and I cannot tell you how much time and effort she put into this event. She is a small person with a huge spirit and an even greater love of donkeys. Thank you Emi, for holding the fundraiser at your beautiful property, for all the organizing you did, all the money you spent, and for giving and giving and giving on all levels, always with a cheerful smile. You are much loved by your many friends and family of all species and greatly admired by this small donkey.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two Reasons Why

The woman and I are asked quite often how Sheila, who runs the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary, keeps going day after day. She has seen every possible negative aspect of human nature at work in the guise of the neglected and abused donkeys who make their way to her farm. Still she smiles, never raises her voice and one by one, tries to help the sanctuary residents and educate humans on how to properly care for donkeys in general.

I know some of you have heard me speak of Tabi (Tabolinski), the mammoth donkey who luckily found himself in Sheila's care. He had worked tirelessly pulling logs from the forest, without benefit of footcare for ages. When he was sold, his new owner decided to "fix" his feet all in one go, and the bony structure inside dropped down to his soles, leaving him in agony. Sheila and her vet and farrier and the volunteers nursed him back to health and he was looking shiny and standing comfortably, soaking up the sun and finally leading a wonderful life. One day last week Sheila went out to prepare donkey breakfasts and Tabi had died in the night. She is devastated. We have no details as yet but I know there are many of us, human and donkey, who know how much Sheila's heart is aching right now. I hope she remembers that even though his life was short - he was only in his mid-teens - she gave a great soul the chance to know what loving care is all about. He will be greatly missed.

On a happier note, Theodore, the "dumpster donkey" is thriving in his new home. After having been nearly beaten to death with a shovel by a lunatic who tied him to a dumpster and left him there to die, Sheila was called and he was taken to the sanctuary. To say he had trust issues is a massive understatement. Sheila felt his nightmarish experiences would make him a liftetime resident. One day a teenage human and her mother went to visit the sanctuary. Theodore marched up to the girl and declared she was "the one".

He went to live at her home and from being virturally untouchable, he is now calmly having his feet done by the foot man, being brushed, haltered and led everywhere. Last winter, he and his group of horses came into the barn during a bad storm. Theodore and the humans realized at the same time that one horse was missing. Back out went Theodore, up a steep hill, in the blinding snow, where he moved in close to the horse and led him back down the hill with the horse's muzzle pressed into his furry back. His day wasn't done yet. The teenage human's father found a chicken out in the roadway in the same blizzard and brought it home, fearing it wouldn't last the night. The chicken was put into the warm barn. In the morning the chicken was found fully recovered, nestled on Theodore's warm back. Theodore does not take his new home for granted. He knows how truly terrible humans can be but has the judgement to recognize the good ones when he meets them. That farm is in good hooves with Theodore in charge.

Those are just two of the many reasons we want to make the "Big Day" a very big success. Thank you to all who are working so hard to help my donkey friends and thank you to Sheila for doing, day in and day out, what most of us cannot even imagine. She's a woman on a mission and I gladly lend my name to anything that will help her to keep PrimRose up and running.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Party Approacheth

I don't know how socialites do it. This party planning is exhausting. I have a team of humans labouring practically round the clock and still I'm worn to a frazzle. Just hearing about the preparations saps my strength.

They have rented some fascinating boxes called porta-potties for the guests, which seem to be a sort of equivalent to the box Violet uses as her washroom facilities. I must look into this further - but not too closely, if you take my meaning. The woman has told me not to stare at users as they come and go because it makes them uncomfortable. So many things for an inquiring donkey to remember. Especially as I like to stare for long periods of time.

Auction items are pouring in - art work of various schools, prints, jewellery, garden ornaments, books, food (for various species), gift cards, the two small, rare bears, purses, and many other wonderful things. The line-up of tables laden down with donated items should stretch nearly to the border at this rate.

There was a bit of a fracas between Ben and Jerry, which has resulted in part of Jerry's mane going missing. It remains to be seen how their humans will handle the situation. The boys aren't really too bothered - their party spirit is unquenchable. The woman has been combing away at my coat, to no avail so far. I refuse to shed a hair until the summer solstice arrives and that is that. Can't be too careful. If it can snow in May, anything can happen.

Herself may attempt some baking at the end of the week. This should prove interesting. She is famous for her misshapen cakes and geometrically challenged squares. I will report on her failings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Crown Has Arrived

You may remember that at my last year's party I was forced to wear a tiara, though the woman protested mightily that it was really a small crown. Prevarication, of course, but I knew the truth. This year I insisted on a proper crown - gold, with rubies and emeralds.

It has arrived and on Sunday she and her crafty friend Brenda appeared in the paddock to fit the thing properly. Now, I'm not a jeweller by trade but frankly this object looks suspicious to me. Herself assured me it was pure gold with rare gems but I have my doubts. For one thing, it shouldn't be quite so floppy and for another I think those gems are fakes. AND, would a real crown have something called velcro fastenings? I think not. She wouldn't let me examine it closely so it's hard to say.

It has been whisked off to Brenda's workshop to be made a smaller size and I just wonder, can real crowns be sewn and stapled into shape? I think not. As with last year, I have invited the Queen to drop in for tea if she's in the area on the day and if she does, I'm rubbing this faux crown off on a shrub as soon as her carriage hoves into view.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Brazen Thief and a Secret Tippler

I've been robbed and assaulted. Jack and I were dozing in the front paddock, enjoying the sun after a weekend of snow and high winds. It's still quite cool out so there are no flies yet - in other words, a perfect situation in which to catch up on my rest in preparation for the big event. We dozed on for a while and Jack eventually got up and went to stand beside the fence.

I had my eyes closed, running through the speech I've prepared in case I'm asked to address the throngs, when I became aware of a certain disturbance in my tail. It felt as if it was moving on it's own, followed by a sensation like a pin being jabbed into it. I would turn around and - nothing, Just some birds fooling about in the distance.

Eventually Herself, who had been watching from the house, bustled up with her camera and said, "Sheaffer, does your tail feel...a bit odd?" How did she know? She pointed to a black avian with a sheen like oil on a puddle (one of those lower-class hoodlums who travel in gangs and steal things). It was in the very act of sidling up to my tail to pull out yet another hair! It seems the blasted thing was in search of house building material and decided I was some sort of renovation depot. Honestly. I'm not overly blessed in the tail department and here it was being removed a hair at a time. Can't even close my eyes these days without some sort of trauma.

On a happier note, I believe Jack and I have discovered that Herself is a secret drinker! I've always suspected her of having a weakness despite her protestations that half a glass of wine with Christmas dinner is her limit for the year. She was babbling away in the barn this morning, asking us what sort of champagne she should purchase for one of the baskets she is making up for the auction. It was a cover. She returned mid-morning with a bag containing a spirits bottle that may or may not have been empty, clasped firmly in hand. Jack and I peered through the fence and there she was, staggering toward the house. "Pie -eyed", said Jack gleefully. "Sloshed", I said. "Drunk as a skunk!"he said! " "Snockered! I said.

She noticed us and said "What are YOU TWO looking at?" She had obviously sped through the jovial and melancholy stages of inebriation and entered the beligerent phase. Either that or the large bag of Penny food and container of Violet washroom material, in addition to the suspicious spirits bag, was weighing her down and causing her to be testy and unbalanced. Jack and I are firmly on the side of inebriation rather than preoccupation with party planning and pet supplies. Jack wants to stage what he calls an "interference" (I believe he means intervention). Good luck, I say. Right now I'm just busy protecting what's left of my tail.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Fundraiser/Auction Bulletin

Such hustle. Such bustle. With the grand day only two and a half weeks away, things are beginning to pick up pace. There are many intriguing and interesting items for the silent auction and I thought it was time I told you about three quite special ones.

First up are two small and valuable bears. Last year Tuffy, a creation of the very talented artist Veronica Philion, took part in the auction. This year she is sending TWO bears, Otis and Sage. Otis is a veritable giant at three inches and Sage is a more petite two and a half inches, befitting a delicate and refined girl bear. Otis is crafted from natural, needle-felted Alberta Romney wool and Sage from New Zealand Romney wool of the palest green. AND, there is such interest in these two rare bears that there will be off-site collectors bidding as well. How exciting - my very own version of Sotheby's! Veronica's talent and award-winning figures can be viewed at

Next up is Brighty of the Grand Canyon himself, in the shape of a rare and now-discontinued Breyer figurine. He is a much-beloved character who was introduced in the book of the same name many years ago. He comes complete with his own film. It should be noted that he is sculpted in a sitting position, reminiscent of a tiny terrorist mini-mule who lived here for awhile. However, it is clear from his open and pleasant visage that he in no way resembles you-know-who. Thank you Gazelle for sending him to help raise funds for PrimRose.

I also hear rumours of a gigantic stuffed donkey that the woman says is a somewhat smaller version of myself. She says nothing equine is quite as well stuffed as I am; I will be the judge of that when I meet the plush donkey in question. Thank you to North York Farmers, who are purveyors of feeds and grains for equines, including my own family. It's not their fault that the woman chooses to follow in the footsteps of the unreformed Scrooge when it comes to actually doling the stuff out. Their fine emporium of all things farm and equine may be viewed at

I would also like to send a mammoth donkey-sized thank you to Gale and Mr. Gale of Olde Towne Farm in Mineral, Virginia for a most generous cheque. They have been blog followers and correspondents from the beginning and I consider it a privilege to call them my friends.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Attacked by A Sasquatch in My Own Room!

This is how it came to pass. The woman was grooming Doc in the aisle one evening this week just after we finished our hot meal and what with his contented sighing and the sound of brushing in the background I must have slipped into a light doze. Next was Molly's turn but I knew from the sounds that a transfer in the crossties has taken place and didn't even bother to open my eyes to check. More sighing, more brushing, more dozing. A drowsy peacefulness settled over the barn.

There was some clunking and clomping and thumping as Molly made her way back into her room and I slowly opened one eye to survey the aisle. Well! Making it's way toward me on invisible feet was an enormous, hairy mass, approximately three times the size of Penny. It skulked sideways in an evil and stealth-like manner. Then it paused when it saw me looking at it and pretended to subside to the floor. I gave the alarm and Jack awoke, bumping his head on his gate, Doc rushed to his front window to scan the horizon and Molly smacked her lips and went back to sleep.

As usual the woman instantly questioned my sanity, Doc said he didn't see "nothin", and Jack demanded to know what in tarnation I was playin' at. The woman saw the source of my consternation and began to giggle in her inane way. "Sheaff, look, it's the mass of hair I combed out of Molly", she said. She prodded it with her toe and it collapsed. It seems that, ahem, it's levitation was a result of a breeze blowing through the back door. Honestly, I close my eyes for a nano second and the world goes mad. And by the way, what normal horse can shed that amount of hair every night for weeks on end? I need a holiday, especially as my party plans are gaining momentum. I don't want dark circles under my eyes on the big day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Donkey's Guide to Living Off the Land

Jack and I have been walking the woman around the property, attempting to get her conditioned for the upcoming riding season. Uphill work, both literally and figuratively, and she still tends to puff and snort like a steam engine, but we nevertheless soldier on. It also gives us a chance to sample nature's bountiful buffet, which is now bursting forth on all fronts. I have compiled a guide to some of the basic florals and greenery should any of my donkey friends care to to imbibe.

I have included handy illustrations and also whatever information I could gather from the woman's babblings. I can tell you that the tri-part white flower is entirely off limits because the woman pulled me away violently as I tried to sniff it and said " Nooooo, don't touch that, it's a Trillium and you'll end up in jail if you damage it!" Good lord, she gave me such a fright that I'll never so much as glance at the things again! Now, those cheerful yellow flowers pop up everywhere in such quantities that she strongly encourages us to eat our fill. Both flower and greenery are delicious and we regard them as a spring tonic. Best eaten before the flowers turn to fluff and clog one's nasal passages. They seem to be called Dandy Lions or those ^%$*&^# weeds, depending on who is describing them.

We sampled two mauve flowers, one is quite fragrant and grows on a shrub, It actually has a sort of mauve-y taste and is slightly reminiscent of the soap the Herself uses to wash down our walls. The other is a darker purple and grows close to the ground in the shade. Very tasty and we consumed quite a few before she noticed and told us to leave the "violets" alone. They provide a light, aromatic finish to a full course of dried twigs or fence rail.

The last plant I cannot recommend, though Jack found it quite interesting. It cleverly disguises itself as grass but on further examination it proves to have a strong, herbal taste that the humans describe as "oniony". Jack sampled a few strands and then ejected them onto the woman's shoe. I took one sniff of the deceitful poseur and that was quite enough. Sally loves it and not only chews the wretched thing but also rolls in it. Cats obviously crave a whole other menu.

And so my donkey friends, and any humans who care to graze along with me, these are my horticultural findings for this week.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Orbs - Large and Small

Molly's eye, the small orb, is progressing but not yet one hundred percent. She is back in work and thank goodness because she was downright testy about Doc being the only one to be ridden. She hammered on the door when he was being groomed, chased us, slammed the door to the run-in (breaking the string) and took the woman's jacket away when she put it on the ground next to the riding ring. There is nothing repressed about Molly.

The large orb is a gigantic, inflatable ball that resides at a friend's house. Doc went off in the metal box on wheels to have a workout session with said ball. On the way he encountered a work crew at roadside and gave them a loud and hearty greeting. They responded in kind, all eight or ten of them, giving a hearty "HEYYYYYY" in reply. Doc says the Flat Man was with them, off to one side, but he didn't utter a peep. And (I find this highly suspicious) he was in exactly the same position as when he was on the road in front of our place over a year ago! I just don't trust him.

Doc tells us the giant ball resides in one of those indoor riding rooms and that there is also an entire collection of objects called a "trail course". He tried them all but liked the ball best because he can herd it around and generally pretend to be a cowpony without having to deal with cows. He has a deathly fear of all things bovine.

He is invited back next week and I fear we will be the objects of the Wrath of Molly.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Week Thus Far

I am pleased to report that Molly's recalcitrant eye wound is finally consenting to heal. She is still having eye cream put in three times daily and is on some powdery pain killer but she is making a magnificent effort at keeping her caloric intake high. Hasn't lost an ounce and in fact is expanding due to spring greenery. Buddy sent her a get well card all the way from Nevada and she has it displayed next to her valentine, though she would prefer to wear it as a stylish eye patch. Molly the Pony Pirate - the mind boggles.

The woman saddled Doc up yesterday and they went for their first ride in the sand ring. She fastened him on the long rope to spin him around a bit before riding, in case he was full of what Jack calls the "heebie jeebies". He wasn't, but a few minutes in he began making truly alarming noises - a cross between gulping, sighing and gargling. The woman was highly alarmed until she realized he had the hiccups. She plunked herself down in the saddle and off they went - Doc making ungodly "hhhhuuuuunhhh" sounds that could be heard across the county and herself beset by a fit of the giggles every time he did so. It was such a shameful spectacle that I withdrew for fear of encouraging them.

I've been busy supervising those humans on the two-wheeled pedal machines that travel in packs down our road. I can't say why but I find them highly irritating. Maybe it's the infernal buzzing the machines make or maybe it's garish clothing that appears to have been painted onto their persons - I honestly don't know. I simply don't understand anything that travels at such a high speed with such a sense of haste. I stick my head through the fence and glare at them sternly, occasionally giving voice to my disapproval. That usually consolidates the pack and causes it to veer into the middle of the road.

That leads me to another important topic. The woman and I are reading a book called "Wisdom of Donkeys" by Andy Merrifield. It's about the Andy human walking through an area of France, accompanied by a tremendously dignified donkey called Gribouille. Of course, they travel at sensible donkey speed. No rusing about with the wind whistling through their ears, no wearing of shiny, skin-tight garments but lots of time to examine the miniscule details that make up everyday life.

I have asked my good friend Billie who writes the blog to share her thoughts on this book and she has graciously assented. I can't wait to hear her views! Thank you Billie.