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...
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Sheaffer, I LOVE the photo with the synchronized donkey tails and the donkey handmaidens. What a life you are living!!
I must tell you I spent hours on end last weekend perusing the entire internet looking for small but attractive baskets for you and Rafer to wear and use on your cross-country sampling tour. I cannot find anything of the sort! I did find donkey saddle packs with bags but they did not look anything like the image I have in mind. This is the story of my life. I have an image of a thing, but can't find it.
Anyway. I have been wondering where you have been, so it's a relief to read your post and to get as an added treat all those photos too!
Sheaffer really ? You didn't try the Black Raspberries ?? There's such a bumper crop this year and they're bigger, juicier, and sweeter than ever before ... just scrumptious ! You don't know what you're missing.
But then you didn't eat the Carrot Cake at your party either. Are you feeling OK ?
Sheaffer, I am glad to hear that you have been receiving appropriate levels of devotion from your handmaiden and other little people.
The image of your woman as a beached Orca makes me wonder if she would like to visit the poor captive fellow that Billie has written about - sounds like he could do with some female company. Although that would rob you of her paltry attentions... perhaps not?
Billie - have a look at this website :
I think it may be the type of panniers you have in mind?
Yes, exactly, Dougie - thank you for the link!
Now, would I attach them to the saddle pack? It's a wooden contraption that sits on a wool pad and buckles around the donkey's girth in two places. Somehow I was just thinking of two baskets with something comfortable (a piece of wool with sheepskin backing) sewn either to the baskets or such that the baskets would attach to it.
I hadn't even thought of a cinch-like girth.
But in my mind the baskets are not going to carry anything heavy - I'm thinking snacks and flowers and interesting items found along the way of a good walk.
The saddle packs I found are actually custom-made to measurements of the equine that will be wearing the pack, so the angles are correct and thus comfortable. But they do look odd!
Billie, baskets for us to wear? Are you sure? I thought Rafer and I would have a team of Sherpas following behind us. I suppose we could wear something light and fashionable but just large enough to carry,say, a handkerchief or Stud Muffin. We have been so awash in social activities here that my correspondence has fallen off badly. I resolve to post something, even if it is a short bulletin. How else will you know of her transgressions?
Gazelle, I tell you, those berries have a definite soap component. Now, the large Blackberries are much superior but do not grow here on our lane. Nor, sadly, do watermelons. As to carrot cake - I'm with Marie Antoinette on that subject - let the peasants have it all.
Dougie, the company has been quite satisfactory so far. We did not enjoy being herded like so many ovines by the Glamourous Annie but she soon followed Molly's example and had her head down, denuding the paddock. I have considered loaning the woman out as an Orca minder but frankly, I think the poor creature has enough problems. Next thing she'd be fussing at him and tidying his tank and limiting his fish snacks and just generally being a nuisance. She is my burden to bear and I must not be tempted into pawning (or prawning?) her off on some unsuspecting soul.
Billie, stop! Cinches, saddle packs? Surely you jest! No, no, no, something the size of a binoculars case is adequate - the rest can be fastened onto Herself. We don't want her envisioning us in full pack gear, hauling ore out of a mine...I must alert Rafer to this potential enslavement.
Oh dear, my eyes are watering now. (tears of contrition or laughter, I will let you figure it out!)
Okay, I take it all back. Nothing for the donkeys' backs. I guess we will have to hire some humans to pack the gear needed.
I am glad I did not consult you about donkey driving equipment! I was looking at that too!
Rafer thinks I'm on the up and up with all this but I'd better act fast before he gets your missive!
Sorry for the deletions - I was so overcome I must have hit the publish key 3 times in a row!
Billie, Rafer is but a young lad and has a trusting and innocent nature. Mind you, your motives are always pure - unlike some I could mention. I was forced into harness at an early age and discovered to my amazement that I quite like it; but don't bandy that about. I can't do much work between the shafts lately because it upsets Jack terribly. I had a fleeting plan to include that poor prisoner Orca in our cross-country trek but the logistics might prove challenging and what he really needs is company of his own kind.
I have an image of a grand whale-napping scheme - you and Rafer (and you'll probably need the wily brains of Jack and Redford for this one - you and Rafer are intellectuals of the highest sort, but I suspect Jack and Redford can add the subterfuge necessary to pull this hoist off) entering Sea World under the dark of night, leading Tilikum to the sea in some manner or other, and the final scene: you and Rafer borne aloft the waves, standing proudly on Tilikum's back. (clearly he will have to do a ride off into the sunset for theatrical effect, but I insist he bring you both back to shore safely - then he can go join his new pod)
This is another of those moments when you just know - if Hollywood had any sense, they would be on the phone begging for movie rights.
Billie, Jack says he's game for "ridin a big fish" but his grasp of the situation may be tenuous...One wonders, would the Hollywood types consider filming the release of the Orca prisoner if the bottom line seemed promising? Think of the merchandising! I think a lot of viewers would pay for the closing shot of him speeding off into the wide expanse of the ocean.
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