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.