Friday, October 14, 2011

a reporte frum jack

i got a lot ta tell ya, i bin so busy i hardly had time fer mi three naps a day. they couldint run this outfit with out me actin as boss donkey an its a good thing i got forty four years of experiunce cos i need all of it mos days.

i'll give ya the bad news first. poor old osullivan donkey had a long fite with the infections in his feet and finally asked sheila ta let him go on account he jest couldnt fite no more. this was the same time helen the sheep was tellin sheila she was ready to go on accounta the years pilin up on her and the arthuritis and what not. so the vitinry helped them both ta lie down for the big sleep. they are together in the groun, botha them got their own qwilt to lie on an helen is lyin smack between osullivans legs so the both a them took the journey together. and then doncha kno cory donkey who had helth problems forever went on the same trip. we were all feelin it pretty hard i kin tell ya.

then sheilas ole cat oliver who had twenny one years on him just slid away one nite. sheila was settin up with him and she felt overcome with a sadness so insteada sleepin, which she couldint anyways, she come out ta the barn jus as the sun was comin up. and there was a serprize waitin fer her.

the serprize come frum a donkey name sally who just got here. sally dont say nothin about it but it seme she bin runnin with some bad boys and got in a family way, she just dont tell nobody when the child is suppose ta come. well, it slipped into this world just as ole oliver cat was slidin out. the baby is a strappin big lad and they called him oliver acourse. that boy hit the groun runnin and we all bin tryin to manage him and edjicate him ever since. simon donkey what got the cripple back end was missin his buddy osullivan real bad and he appoint himselve minder to the baby and spen every minite fussin over him like an ole biddy. i take a turn mindin him and let me tell ya, hes a caution. what with chasin cats and sheeps and goats and runnin like a speed demon he make our heads spin. and i gotta run everthin else on top of babysittin.

i bin doin more electrikals with my human frend brian and he say he dont know how he ever got anythin done without me right there glued to his side. hes a nice human but he sighs a whole lot. i dont kno why. an im still givin tours tho sometime comin bak down the hill i git goin pretty good and cant always stop so a few guests haveta step lively to avoid gettin mowed down. they don seem ta mind too much. im sticking ta the ole sayin that with age come privilege.

my frend laurel passed on some piktures took by shari and susan an im puttin them on here fer ya ta see. you mite wanta admire my blak shiny summer cote. i put a lotta work inta growin it and now my winter layer is comin in good so the blak dont show so much. i loss three more teeth so my five squares a day are all what ya call porrige or gruel but i tell ya, i dont feel a day over twenny an that smart alec vitinry gal kno she bin in a fite when she git done doin my dentals. an i got mi bubbel room fer tha winter and mi blankit so i sa bring it on. thats all fer now but i wil reporte back when i got time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Now Is The Season Of Our Deep Suspicion

Yes. I mean autumn. When the leaves turn all sorts of brilliant shades and waft down from the trees, the grass loses it's ambition to grow and various insects become contemplative as the light and warmth disappears. And of course there are sunny days like these when the voice box in my barn suddenly announces that the first assault by frost will probably occur whilst I slumber this evening. The Woman avows she can see my winter coat growing but I know it still won't be enough to deal with the coming horror. She says I will wear a blanket this year. I say we'll see about that.

In preparation for the coming ssss, ssss, ssss, snow a new door arrived the other day and yesterday an unknown human arrived to install it. We inspected both human and door thoroughly, Molly grunting so loudly in his ear that he jumped a good eight inches off the ground whilst carrying the door. Molly felt that he was interrupting her lunch and carried right on eating as he hammered and sawed away. I supervised from a safe distance.

I have inspected numerous fuzzy tube insects, I believe called caterpillars, and their coats this year appear to be of a medium length. I hope this is an omen of a less abusive winter. The woman brushed against a wasp or hornet-type creature the other day and let out a dreadful shriek when it bit her leg. I don't blame it in the least - I feel the same way about the change of seasons.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Important Political Announcement

Please visit my friend billie's blog at to read the details. A change is afoot my friends and not a moment too soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here I Am!

And I can assure you, it's been quite a struggle getting Herself firmly planted at the keyboard for more than five seconds. I've been following her about for a month, insisting that I have much to say, that my readers must miss me, that the universe is NOT unfolding as it should and what does she answer? She stares at me absentmindedly, looking very much like an even more distracted version of the White Rabbit, and says "yes, yes, I'm getting to it..." So this morning I stood gently but firmly on her left foot, until she agreed to apply herself.

It has been a long, hot and therefore good summer. Molly's ankle is doing very well although her slimming powder seems to have had no effect so far on her generous figure. Chester has moved in with a human called Shannon who has the same energy level as he does and who thinks he is utterly wonderful. Best of all, he now lives at the trainer's place and so sees him every day too. Molly is relieved that he is not here to pinch her bottom on a regular basis. We miss him but he definitely needed a broader canvas on which to paint his daily life. We are shopping for a replacement door for our run-in, to be installed before winter...

I have several incidents of near-abuse to report - I feel this should be in the public record. Whilst filling my drinking vessel one evening, the Woman became so distracted by a large insect that was removing approx. a quarter pound of flesh from her upper arm that she quite suddenly and violently sprayed me directly in the face with a stream of cold water! I have always despised those hose things and now have decided to never allow myself to be within a ten foot radius of one ever again.

Another evening, she forgot entirely to put my bed back together. This came about because she rummages in my room daily, removing any offensive substances, including wet spots. While engaged in this she babbles on and on about the dangers of ammonia and the importance of cleanliness. She then peers nearsightedly at the remaining damp spots on the mat and prodeeds to cover them with a beige powder which apparently exists with the sole purpose of battling the dreaded ammonia foe. I indulge her by listening with half an ear. On one particularly hot day this summer, she became so addled with the heat that she forgot entirely to put my bed back together! The result? I spent the night huddled at the side of my room, surrounded by piles of clean bedding and powdery bare spots on the mat, an uneasy, uncomfortable occupant of my own space. When she came to release us early the next morning, she immediately saw her mistake and apologized profusely but it was too late. I cannot and will not forgive this sort of incompetence.

There are many, many other lesser incidents -who leaves their riding head gear in the aisle in the dusk where a donkey naturally assumes it is a violent predator and knocks over an electric fan in an effort to escape? And who leaves a saddle cloth on the front of a donkey's stall where it can fall on his head when he is eating, making him think he is being taken captive by a band of kidnappers? Well. You take my point, I'm sure.

Thank goodness for my friends, whom I have dearly missed this past month. Jack even wrote to Herself demanding my voice be restored. And Billie (human to Redford and Rafer Donkey) published a link to an all-Haflinger display so Molly and Buddy could see quite literally tons and tons of golden horse flesh. I sincerely hope Herself has been shamed into womaning the keyboard once again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's True - Good Help is Hard To Find

I must apologize for my prolonged absence, which is in fact no fault of mine but of the sub-standard level of "help" available to me. These days, whenever I way lay the Woman and announce that I have something to say, she replies "not now, Sheaffer, I have to mow the grass, weed the garden, run off to some lawn fete, visit with friends, do some "real" writing, harrow the sandy ring etc. etc. ad infinitum. One of these days (maybe after grass season) I will squeeze through the fence and simply disappear. I wonder how long it will take her to notice I'm gone. No doubt until she needs someone to blame for every little misunderstanding ( how was I to know her unattractive riding helmet wasn't a food bowl when I accidentally dribbled some puddle water in it?).

Molly's ankle seems much improved and they went off to the forest the other day and no doubt made tremendous nuisances of themselves. Molly came back very smug and bragged about the legions of admirers she met, her wallow in the pond and the rare vegetation she inhaled. So far her slimming powder has made no difference whatsoever but she inhales that as well. It's all grist to her mill.

Chester continues to "renovate" the place on an ongoing basis. He remains remarkably cheerful about any damage he inflicts on himself in the process. Yesterday he grabbed the handle of a cleaning implement, misjudged the weight, and whacked himself smartly on the side of the head. It bothered him not one whit. He went on to immediately become entangled in a long strip of fly paper, wash both front feet in the water trough and purloin a cannister of fly spray, which very nearly exploded in his face when he squeezed it. His favourite word is "cool!". I find the younger generation quite alarming.

The days are growing noticeably shorter and as a result my new winter coat is growing noticeably longer. One can't be too careful. The worst is yet to come.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Criminal Activity

I want to assure my readers that I was in no way involved with any of the following shady goings-on. My record remains unblemished but the same cannot be said for the young Haflinger element around here. The swath of destruction continues to expand daily.

Although it makes him equal parts sticky and smelly, the heat has not affected Chester's energy level in the least. When the woman foolishly decided to change our routine so we were outside during the night time, Chester's energy level expanded even further. He spent the first night galloping around, snorting and splattering the barn with mud. The second night he spent digging under the trees - unearthing buried treasure he calls it - and the third night he outdid himself and tore the door off the run-in. I have included photographic evidence. After three nights we were switched back to our usual routine.

Molly's ankle is much better but still has a bit of a stammer when she trots, so she is not going to the trail riding get-together next week at my friend Smokey's establishment. She is furious. I know that somehow I will pay for this. Wait until she finds out she has to go on some sort of slimming drug meant for thyroid cases. Her test results are at the low end of normal and the vet has decided to help her along with a weight loss stimulator. This does not bode well.

I continue to pursue a balanced approach to the growing/shedding of winter hair. I always err on the side of caution - I do not, as some suggest, look like a balding buffalo lap robe. I include a photo of self so you can see exactly what I mean.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Fan Man

It hardly seems possible but yesterday the temperature broke a heat record. It seems it soared to over one hundred degrees, virtually eliminating the possiblilty that it may snow in the next day or so. This is fine with me. I don't care for the accompanying insects, which make a meal of my legs, but what can you do.

The Haflingers are so damp with perspiration they look black much of the time. To that end the woman has installed fans in front of their rooms. Molly is an old hand at the fan routine and stands, lower lip drooping, forelock blowing in the breeze. She is still wearing an ice boot in the evenings and she quite enjoys it.

And then there is Chester. He likes the whole fan idea but regards it as an interactive toy. He moved his pile of hay in front of it so he could enjoy the breeze and then had the brilliant idea of inserting some long strands of hay directly into the machine. The results pleased him immensely. The fan said "braaaap", particles of hay flew everywhere and the woman leapt into action. She moved the fan further back and gave him a lecture on the dangers of electrical devices. She had no sooner turned around than he was bouncing his Jolly Ball, which was tied to the front of his room with a rope, off the front of the fan. The woman removed the ball. Chester had to content himself with allowing the breeze to blow under his upper lip, which he extends upwards, letting his eyes roll back in his head. He has likewise discovered the great joy of turning his posterior to the fan, elevating his tail, and letting the breeze waft over his unmentionables. That boy is a heathen at heart.

Owing to the firey furnace in which we find ourselves, we have been moved to an altered schedule. The last two evenings, we have been brought in, the horses bathed, iced, fanned etc. and then put back out when it is dark. I was so shocked that initially I refused to countenance the change and had to be wheeled outdoors like a trolley. Chester was so excited that he ran around in the dark yelling and Molly just grunted and went off to graze.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hot, Humid, Heavenly

Yes. That describes the weather right now but frankly, I seem to be the only one appreciating it. I have shed half my winter coat, will shed the rest by month's end and will immediately begin growing next year's covering. All around me are wilting but I can be found in the sand ring, soaking up the blistering goodness.

Violet caught a striped tree rodent and set it free in the house. As a result my sunbathing has been disturbed by muffled shrieks and dull thumps for the last three days. Violet says they just don't appreciate the generosity of the gift and refuses to do anything about it. Penny has offered to rout it but the humans say the structural damage would probably be unfixable.

Molly is suffering from washerwoman's ankle and is having the next while off while she takes meds and has her leg soaked. My word she's a tough nut - she had twelve needles in her ankle region and didn't even flinch. Then she had to stand on wooden blocks while they photographed the area. She is taking beef-flavoured meds (apparently the canine version is the same as the equine but one tenth the cost). The medical woman was astonished that Molly inhaled the tablet with great gusto, smacked her lips and grunted out a request for more.

Chester is horribly smug as his lessons are progressing steadily and he receives lavish praise . He is very jealous of the ice boot and stole it off the front of Molly's room when the Woman draped it there. It was retrieved intact, but somewhat frayed. He also wants his ankle photographed but so far has been denied.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jack Rules The Roost

I am pleased to report that Herself finally got over to visit Jack and Company but not pleased that her hostess gift was a bag of vermifuge. Honestly, how embarrassing. Most people would think of a bag of apples or carrots as being a fitting gift but no, my representative takes parasite poison. All I can say is good luck trying to get any of it into Jack.

Jack of course remembered the humans from here and greeted them politely. Then he remembered his busy schedule and tossed the Woman aside so he could get on with things. They met his two lady friends, Molly and Maggie Donkey and they renewed acquaintance with Simon and O'Sullivan and many of the other permanent residents. Poor O'Sullivan isn't doing well and was resting with his head on a pillow provided by Sheila. Russell is feeling his forty six years and for the first time in his life is walking like an old man.

TJ (Virgil) and his mule friend Finnegan fill the role of resident hooligans very well and range far and wide, pestering, thieving and generally causing chaos. The Woman still avers that TJ is the cutest thing on four legs but if she could look inside she would see the black soul of a tiny pirate/brigand.

All is well here. Chester is progressing with his lessons but continues to exhibit a streak of youthful exuberance that is sometimes alarming. This morning he grabbed the hose out of our water trough as it was filling and nearly drowned himself before realizing he needed to drop the thing for the drowning to cease. He ran off to the corner, snorting, dripping and looking puzzled and hurt. Then he approached the trough from another direction and tried to drink with his lips extended as far as possible. Herself says he may need something called a straw with a bend in it. Pshaw. What nonsense. Let the boy sink or swim, I say.

My harness fitter is making extensions for the waist portion of my new outfit. Once those arrive I will be able to progress in a stately fashion through the newly-cut hay fields. I need to be ready in case royalty drops in - some of the younger ones are in the area visiting and after Dennis's brush with them, who knows what could happen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dougie, Dennis and The Queen

My friend Dougie Donkey from Scotland puts in a very full day running his farm but he found time to send me a report on an occurance of great interest to me. His friend, Dennis the Horse, who shares the farm with Dougie, went to an event to raise funds for the British Horse Society, of which the Queen is the patron, and who do you think Dennis met? The Queen! Yes, the real one, HRH Elizabeth II. I am literally green with envy - though the woman says it's actually the same sort of algae that grows on sloths...

Dennis not only met the Queen, who graciously hosted the event at her summer place, Balmoral Castle, but she remarked that he looked terribly "keen". Dougie says this is code for somewhat barmy. Dennis's human wrote "Dennis the Menace" on his blanket to give the Queen an idea of the horse within. Dougie is a homebody and chose not to travel the three hundred miles in what he refers to as a tin box on wheels for a few moments of possible glory. I would endure virtually anything for the chance of a word from HRH, even to the extent of being bathed with water (there, I've admitted it in print).

Dougie, thoughtful lad that he is, sent me some photos of the occasion to admire from afar what I could not experience first hand. We are not to say a word to Dennis as Dougie feels his ego is already the size of the Hindenberg.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Strange Week Indeed

My week began when the Woman rummaged around, found the green cloth bag with my harness in it, opened said bag and pronounced a series of old Anglo Saxon words that made me blanch. It seems that mice had chewed a hole in the bag and made a vast homestead inside, using bits of material and leather to create a multi-family dwelling. The odour was rather overwhelming. She aired out the harness and, in her absent-minded fog, attached me to the cart with it. I felt like a hobo donkey. She said it was perfectly fine, just a bit rough around the edges.

She must have re-thought her rather foolish stance because next day she went off and returned with a quite lovely leather harness, complete with a stylish collar. It belonged to a donkey called Tiddles who regards pulling things with unabashed horror. This horror cause his human to decide that the best policy was to sell it to a donkey who enjoys touring with cart in tow. That donkey is me.

This afternoon they tried the collar on me and Herself opined that it seemed not to fit well. The male human suggested it was upside down. He was quite correct. And he is supposedly the non-equine expert in residence. You see the sort of thing I'm up against. I can only imagine where she will think the mouthpiece goes...

We had a diversion this morning when one of those large land fowls, (brown, small pointy head and rather vacuous look) wandered right up to the gate. I did my best to converse but all I got for my troubles was "guk buk ook". Chester glared at it in a fixed manner, hoping against hope that it would enter, whereupon he could pulverize it. It became distracted by something in the forest and ambled off. Not a very satisfying encounter at all.

Chester is now being ridden in the aisle and run-in, learning to relax and accept the pressures of steering without rushing forward in a panic. He was exemplary and is a tad too smug in my opinion. If he is still relaxed on Sunday he will go out toting saddle and human. Our feet were pedicured this week and Chester's finally look like horse feet and not large, ragged blocks of wood. His thrush is gone and the last of his dry winter coat coming out. Herself performed the bizarre ritual of rifling through his manure and bagging some up - this means the dreaded dewormer is in our future. I will endeavour to channel Jack and seal my lips firmly.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chester's Busy Week

It's been a busy week indeed for young Haflingers around here. Between lessons, exploring the paddock, bossing us around and tooth care, Chester has had hardly any time to terrorize the Jolly Ball.

He finds his lessons hard because he was told as a very young horse that he must pull things no matter how hard they might resist and the consequences for not doing so were dire. He has done something called logging as a two and three year old and says one must move said logs or suffer verbal abuse and physical assault. It all sounds barbaric to me. Thus, when the humans put him on the spinning rope, he pulls and keeps pulling, retreating into some place where he feels he can't be reached or hurt. They are teaching him to relax and bend his neck when he feels pressure and have finally convinced him that he will not be punished. He was quite hot and sweaty again but seems most pleased with himself. He receives lavish praise for his efforts.

Now that he is nicely settled in his true personality is beginning to show. He is obviously part terrier because he loves to dig and explore with his feet. I have spoken of the delight he takes in stomping on and otherwise abusing the bedding bags. Now, our paddock has been the dumping ground for household discards from the mid-eighteen hundreds until my own humans bought it. After the winter or a heavy rain, many wonderous things make their way to the surface. Shards of very old blue and white pottery, green and blue glass from medicine bottles, bits of crockery and more recently, automotive bits and pieces. The woman does a daily scan for rubbish and whisks it away.

The trees under which this debris surfaces are Chester's favourite playground. Yesterday morning he found a small piece of the dreaded plastic material embedded in a root. He dug and pulled and worked away for hours. When he had finished, there was a large sheet of very old crinkly plastic spread out under the tree. It looked like he was having a picnic. The woman was highly startled when she beheld his handiwork and beetled off to get a shovel to fill in the excavation.

Yesterday afternoon Chester's dental appointment took place. The medical woman arrived with her assistant and they set up a wonderous array of objects on a table. Chester, an innocent in the world of dentistry, was readily caught and led into the barn. He was given a needle, which bothered him not one whit, and quickly grew quite inebriated. His first dental tune-up revealed many points on his teeth, a tiny, deformed wolf tooth, which was extracted, and a canine tooth so sharp it had cut his tongue. Canine tooth? I have felt from the beginning he was part Golden Retriever (in addition to the terrier blood) and this would seem to prove my theory.

I stayed well away from the proceedings but Molly kept sticking her head in the barn, checking to see he wasn't getting treats. He wasn't. He was helped to his stall and told he had to stay there for two hours. Within a few minutes we could hear pitiful wailing and crying coming from within - no gnashing of teeth though, thank goodness.

He was back to his usual self in no time, running around the paddock in straight lines and generally making a nuisance of himself. Who know what he'll dig up next or what creative pastime he'll invent for his newly perfect teeth.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jack Bulletin

Jack is so busy running the entire "sandcherry" that he communicates infrequently but yesterday he sent me a bulletin.

i tooke miselve a tour of the big padduck yestirday when sheila wernt lookin mi way and i had i gud visit with the big pack a donkeys. i say hello howdedo to em and we get to eatin grass and i got molly donkey eatin there alongside me and a good time is bein had by all. then sheila notice im gone from my area and she hav a near heart attak. so she come rushin up the fiel and i decide i can put miselve bak in so we pass each other and i meet her bak at mi place. she come bak and say jack what the hek you doin scarin me haf to deaf.

she caint do nothin witout me and let me tell ya i put in a full day. chekin feed and personnnel and takin inventery and a billion other stuff. then if them piggs is in the isle i gotta roun em up and put em bak in there area - piggs should stay outta mi area at all time. then i get the sheeps and goat and herde em outside with simon an osullyvan and we wurk on some hay. then if visiteurs come i gotta tour em aroun and a course the voluntteers need watchin so by afternoone i need a shuteye. an before ya know it time for dinner and i start all over againe. sheila give me a big hugg and say she dont know how she ever manage without me. i dont know why shes laffin tho.

gotta go run off them pigges but i will rite soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Who Gave Chester This Infernal Sphere?

The other night the woman was in Chester's room, shaking out one of those dreadful plastic containers of bedding. Chester, rather than being sensibly frightened, was delighted. He seized one corner of the bag and began waving it up and down, he held it with a foot and tore holes in it, he offered it to the woman to play tug-of-war. In short, he gave every indication of having a great need for childish amusements.

Yesterday the woman went off on a mission and reappeared with something called a Jolly Ball. This one is a pale green, enhanced with apple scent. Frankly, it is hideous and an affront to the senses. It was put in Chester's room where he discovered it when we were let in for our starvation diet. He was delighted and tested it with both foot and tooth. Then he got on with eating dinner.

I was jolted from a deep sleep by a series of thuds, snorts, stomps and the repeated crashing of a solid object into vertical surfaces. There was a loud splash, followed by a soggy squelching sound. I whuffled the alarm - armageddon had arrived. I've been expecting it for ages. An aggrieved and sleepy voice came from next door. "Geez, will you clam up and kid, will you stop playing with that damn ball!" Molly got right to the point, demanding peace and quiet.

It seems that no sooner had we all settled into the arms of Morpheus than the racket broke out anew. Dawn was breaking and a delighted Chester had rediscovered his new outlet for creative play. Honestly, who gives a four year old a ball? I cannot remain sane and healthy with absolutely no REM sleep. I am quite sure this constitutes psychological abuse, or possibly warfare. Chester says he feels fit as the proverbial fiddle.

Herself finds this all very amusing and was still chuckling when she removed the no longer-so-Jolly-Ball to give it a good wash this morning. It was scraped and dented and covered in filth. I will say this - I've never actually seen kryptonite but this ball may well be made of that very substance.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Penny Publishes a Post, Chester the Mud Man

You may notice the previous post has very slim content - in fact none. It came about when Penny leaned her chin on the typing machine and published her very first work. I think it may be a silent protest against her Friday visit to the veterinarian. It is part of an annual health protocol wherein various needles are stuck in her person and various parts of her anatomy poked and prodded. She feels about needles as I do - she loathes them. I will leave the post as is to show my solidarity with her protest. Down with needles.

Meanwhile Chester's teeth await filing as the medical man is swamped with (what else) requests to stick needles in other hapless equines, emergencies etc. In true Haflinger fashion, pointy teeth haven't slowed down his caloric intake one iota. He has gained about one hundred pounds since arrival and is looking quite the prosperous young man.

In his four years of life he has learned various things but his ability to connect them remains understandably sketchy. Thus, a young human called Justin who specializes in horse education and tutoring has been called in. He worked with Chester in his stall last week, teaching him to turn when pressure is put on his side and not to prop himself, giraffe-like against the request. It's a very simple exercise, which Molly and I both learned at an early age, but one which Chester found difficult because it has never been explained to him properly. He became quite hot with trying but by the end had his head neck lowered and his hind end moving away fluidly. One can never overstate the importance of learning the abc's of communication before trying to write a novel. Chester and the Woman have been doing homework in this basic exercise in preparation for next week's lesson.

On the grooming front, Chester is a firm believer in mud baths, which he takes often, layering one coating of ooze over another. He looks and smells like a swamp creature. His sleep habits are equally as messy. He lies down and performs what look to be olympic swimming exercises in his bed before falling asleep. He usually picks a newly minted mound of manure as a pillow, and given the plenitude of green, grassy foodstuffs, his head is permanently dyed on one side. The Woman scrubs at him in vain but she avers that he looks the spitting image of someone called Braveheart who apparently went about with a blue face.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For the Love of Donkeys

Our friends at Morning Bray Farm have posted another happy Donkey story. This one is about how one lucky Iraqi Donkey left his old life in a war zone and found a new home in the USA as a Therapy Donkey for stressed and injured soldiers.

Here's the link: (which I can't seem to get to behave like a link, but if you copy it into your browser you'll get to the right page ... Sorry :-( )

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chester Is Given a Reprieve

We awaited Chester's dental appointment with great interest - especially those of us not due for the gag and rasp treatment this year. Then the medical man called and said that owing to things like emergencies etc. the appointment must be delayed a week. Never having had his teeth filed, Chester is rather blase about the whole thing. He'll find out soon enought...

Finally, the grass has found some ambition and is growing with vigour. Of course that means the stinging wire went up. Chester was not familiar with the concept and somehow had an electrifying experience to the end of his nose that caused an out-of-body event. This resulted in his instantaneous transfer to the other side of the wire. It seems he's quite an accomplished high jumper because nothing was touched in the incident. He wasn't too fussed and carried on with power grazing. The humans arrived, scratched their heads, and took down a section of the wire so he could be reunited with us. Molly used the opportunity to try to barge through and was soundly reprimanded.

In addition to limited grazing we ran out of our winter hay and a top-up load was delivered. We don't care for it. It is wispy and bland. We pointed this out to Herself and were dismissed summarily. She says it is diet hay and good for our waistlines. We say it is a disgrace to subject us to starvation. Herself laughed raucously and said our waistlines remain visible from outer space. And on it goes...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The VET Was Here Today

Yes, the "vitinrey" himself, that needle-packing, mouth probing, finger poking busybody. I should have known when we were dragged back in at 9am that nothing good would follow. I adopted a policy of trying to blend into the back wall of my room but unfortunately in addition to being an officious busybody he's also quite observant.

Chester went first, and being new to this operation, he didn't recognize the mad medical man for what he truly is. The veterinarian lavished him with praise and offered him a handful of treats. Next thing he had his hand is Chester's mouth, announced a veritable mountain range of sharp peaks on many of his teeth and pointed out some baby teeth that are still loitering about in there. Chester is not five years old, but four it seems. The appointment for filing will take place in a week's time.

Molly went next and her full figure drew a warning about the perils of overeating. She blew a raspberry in the vet's direction and rolled her eyes. She didn't even notice when he stuck the needles in her muscular neck. She gulped down the treats offered and lumbered back to her stall where she searched her bedding in vain for hay wisps.

That left only adrenaline surged, my nerves jangled and every sense told me that the next few minutes would be tense indeed. I reared slightly a couple of times to indicate my willingness to set passive resistence aside, I snorted and stamped a foot and then I buried my head in the back corner. "Now, now," said the madman and offered me a treat. I snatched the treat and went back into ostrich mode. He patted my neck and paid me outlandish compliments and next thing it was all over and he was handing me more treats. To my amazement I survived unscathed but I'm still trying to figure out what sleight-of-hand was used. I must brood on this further. At least Molly and I don't need our teeth done this year.

I'm pleased to report that although Jack was attacked with the dreaded vermifuge he gave better than he got. It took three people to hold him and I hear they are still in recovery after he towed them around like so many rubber dinghys. Jack is fine fettle but highly indignant and is still muttering about "maniacks what attak a frale old man with poisin".

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Various and Sundry

First of all, I wish to state that a census form appeared in the mail box and the filling out of said form led to rather a lot of confusion. Amongst other things, it asked if there was a visitor from another country staying here, and if so which country. Then it asked if the visitor was a person of diplomatic stature. It was speculated that I was undoubtedly of foreign origin and probably of a diplomatic leaning, possibly even a spy. I am saying nothing. Let them speculate at their leisure, they'll get nothing out of me, including the nature of my mission here.

Chester will have his teeth checked on Saturday to see if he is harbouring something called caps or wolf teeth (how would one ever get close enough to relieve a wolf of his dentition, I don't know). I fear needles may follow. Chester was left outside whilst the Woman rode Molly today and he seemed quite relieved to see this was normal practice around here. He trotted over in a straight line, examined them both, and trotted back in a straight line to where I was grazing. "Seems fine, carry on", he said. He's a stickler for having everything unfold as it should. He even plays in straight lines, leaving ruler-like tracks in the grass. He does not believe in roughhousing but I have hopes of inducing him to frolic some day.

Molly looks like an orange yak. There is no other way to put it. Owing to a long, cold spring, she is relinquishing her coat very slowly. I am hanging on to my own coat until at least July. One simply never knows what horrors Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Speaking of horrors, the wretched blackflies are out so we are forced to wear our masks. The ends of my ear covers are mysteriously masticated - the woman says I did it last summer after rubbing the mask off on the fence. I have no recollection of the event.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jack's Diploma

Sheila sent me a photo of Jack receiving his diploma from his friend/mentor and one of the diploma itself. As the writing appears rather miniscule on the blog (or "blob" as Jack will have it) I thought I should fill you in on the actual wording. It says:

Jack has earned his "Jack of all Trades" Degree on April 27th, 2011

Apprentice Electrician; Sous-Chef; Feed Co-ordinator; Inventory Manager; Gate Keeper; Tour Guide; Goat Herd; Shepherd; Pig Wrangler; Dog Trainer; Major Overseer of all things barnyard.

My dear friend is quite a Renaissance Donkey. And a ladies' man, as you can see from the two lovely and astonishingly hirsute female donkeys he has drawn into his circle. Long may he reign over the sanctuary.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Much News - Some Of It Good

The not-so-good-news is that owing to a perfect storm of chaos in the life of Emi (human to Mosby Horse), my birthday party/sanctuary fundraiser is postponed for the near future. Emi is in the throes of house demolition and rebuilding which is to my mind a thrilling and exciting undertaking but to humans apparently it represents a source of stress. Mosby says he isn't bothered at all by the impending excitement. My firefighter's hat, given to me by Dougie Donkey of Scotland, waits at the ready for when a new date is set.

The sanctuary news is good, except for the typhoon-like winds blowing three run-in shelters to smithereens. I will say no more about the current weather - it is cold, wet and unspeakable. Jack continues to thrive, running the sanctuary with a small iron hoof. In addition to his two bubble neighbours, Simon and O'Sullivan, and the goat and sheep, he has inducted two large donkey ladies into his herd. Their names are Molly and Maggie, the former described by Sheila as "big, bold and brassy". Jack is besotted. Molly comes from a Scottish family and Jack tells me she is vocal but incomprehensible. She refers to him as either "Jocko" or "the wee lad" and he spends a lot of time saying "eh?" and "what?" in response to her orders and observations.

Jack has spent the last weeks glued to the human electrical expert and has finally received his certificate. Unfortunately he thought it was vet-related and fled in horror at the sight of it but they hope to coax him around, possibly by coating it with molasses. I don't know how Jack finds the hours in the day to do all he does but if he keeps adding to his activities he will need to appoint an assistant manager.

Chester is nicely settled here and we are starting to see that at age five he really is still a young horse and somewhat innocent of the ways of the world. He is of a military nature and likes thing to be orderly at all times. His habit of guarding us all day leaves him exhausted and after dinner he begins yawning lavishly and soon keels over into a deep, flat-out sleep. This is quickly followed by rhythmic snoring noises. He has an infestion of songbirds in his feet, specifically thrush, and that is being dealt with daily. He had a saddle fitting the other day and the fitter warned the woman that he was still growing and filling out at a great rate. In fact, the hind end has risen like an elevator in the last month and is awaiting the arrival of the front end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dottie & Stanley

I thought you would enjoy this rather remarkable tale of inter-species friendship. Dottie is a most attractive lady donkey who saw a savage dog attack her friend, Stanley the Sheep. She sprang into action, pinning the dog to the ground until he released his hold on Stanley's face. Stanley was badly wounded but after intensive veterinary care, has made a full recovery. I'm pleased to see a donkey receiving recognition for a selfless act of bravery, especially when there are still humans out there who perceive us as unfeeling and stubborn beings. I also approve of the way humans and other species in this short film mill about together quite amicably. Very civilized, although I'm not sure why the reporter person seems so shocked and amazed at Dottie's actions...obviously a fish fancier or beetle trainer or something, with no experience of the world of donkeys.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life In The Arctic

I dictate this as I huddle in my room, windows rattling and snow pellets bouncing off the roof. Yes, it's a snowstorm, doing it's best to assassinate the budding greenery. Welcome to the innermost circle of hell, which has frozen over. We have been working at mowing the emerging grass, a task which Chester finds particularly appealing as he didn't previously have access to a salad selection. He has appointed himself our guardian and caretaker and fortunately is beginning to relax somewhat on that front. He still watches me like the proverbial hawk, standing over me whilst I doze in the sand ring, but at least he isn't within nose reach at all times any more. As you may have seen, my annual fundraiser is approaching and invitations are being sent out in various forms. I live in hope that the Royal family will send at least a junior representative but this year some sort of wedding event is taking place so no doubt they are preoccupied. In their absence I will do my best to preside in a royal fashion. Maybe by then it will have stopped snowing. Maybe...

Friday, April 15, 2011


The 2011 Sheaffer's Birthday Party Fundraiser for PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary will be held on Saturday, May 28th from 12PM to 4PM, rain or shine.

Location is Serendipity Stables, home of Mosby Horse, located at 15488 McCowan Rd., Whitchurch/Stouffville.

There will of course be food for humans, games for the younger set, and cake for all.

The Silent Auction will begin at 1 o'clock and end at 3 o'clock. I'm told there will be many marvellous items on which to bid. I have my eye on the Donkey Marionette.

Please join us, wearing your most magnificent headgear - the competition will be fierce.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chester Settles In

It seems that after much debate, that is our new friend's name. His previous name was the same as the male human's so of course you know who had to change their moniker. Not the human. Chester says he doesn't mind as long as the meals are regular and the room service prompt. It turns out he was previously best friends with a small donkey and they were separated when he (Chester) was sent to a notorious meat auction at the age of four. Thankfully he was purchased by Tabitha, his previous owner, who really didn't have room for another equine but who made the trip there and came home with Chester. It explains his rather obsessive behaviour when he saw me and announced "Mine, all Mine!" and proceeded to do an excellent impersonation of a mother hen. Molly was horrified and the two ended up arguing so much that I was forced to intervene and bellow at both of them to settle down. Herself went off to the Affaire thing and left the male human in charge, which is always an improvement. The male human is not nearly as calculating and suspicious as the Woman and we were able to express ourselves quite freely. Chester upset the wheelbarrow and I sidled into the tack room, Molly scarfed extra hay and Sally's friend came back and chewed a hole in the cat food bag. It was a good week. Herself returned, showed us a bag of peppermint snacks that she had gotten us, gave us one each and promptly put it away. Typical. Chester is a very serious young man who is studying our living arrangements and adapting himself accordingly. He still refuses to do any wrestling but I have hopes of reforming him soon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Breaking News

Sunday the humans went racing off at an ungodly hour and were away all day. Fortunately they left us well supplied with food and the sun was out, so it was acceptable. They returned eleven hours later, and what do you think? Yes! They brought us a horse and he's the correct gender. He is five years old and from the same strain as Molly but approximately half her width. And he loves donkeys. I will have to wait to tell you more because Herself is back on the road tomorrow, off to the annual Equine Affaire thingy and she won't return til Saturday. I hope she finds the Stud Muffin booth and spends freely. How intensely annoying of her to flee the country just when I have so much to tell you. I will attach an image of his first few minutes Chez Sheaffer.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm Exhausted

We haven't had a minute's peace lately. Herself is on a ridiculous spring cleaning binge and is frantically raking and sweeping and hauling and generally shoving us out of the way every two minutes so she can clean under our feet. She refers to this annual ritual as "Cleaning the Augean Stables". Both cats, the dog and Molly and I are supervising every move, but is she grateful? Hah! She merely glares and asks why it is that one species out of five is doing all the work. When we try to help she "throws a connipshun" (Jack's words) and tells us not to chew on implement handles. Penny skulked off and ate something disgusting that she found in the ditch and Sally fell out of a tree chasing a beige, striped rodent but other than that things are rather quiet today. Jack has become the Renaissance donkey at the sanctuary, lending a hoof in all matters and acquiring all sorts of useful skill sets. He has helped the electrical man so diligently that he is making him a certificate that reads "Jack of All Trades". We have been promised photographic evidence of the presentation. Jack got his blue winter coat off yesterday and had himself such a vigourous roll in the dust that he looked like a dervish flipping from side to side. Then he went off to instigate some rasslin with the much younger Simon and O'Sullivan.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Strange and Unpleasant Visitor

Imagine our excitement yesterday when, as we were supervising the woman's paddock cleaning, a large brown box on wheels drove up and the side door flew open. The writing on the side said u p s - obviously some sort of code. There may be a counter-company somewhere called d o w n s, such are the mysterious ways of the world of commerce. Molly and I were delighted, assuming that a new equine friend waited inside. Molly galloped over through the mud, bellowing and gronking loudly. I followed at a more stately pace, making small huffing sounds of welcome.

A human, clad from head to toe in brown, leapt back onto the step of the vehicle. He somehow assumed that we had no braking ability and would crash through the fence, annihilating him in the process. The woman told him that we almost always got ourselves stopped in time. He sidled over, holding out a small cardboard box and a strange pad and pen device. Molly seized the side of the box and the woman had to wrestle it away from her. The woman used the pen-like device to scratch on the virtual pad and Molly seized that, the result being that the woman's signature came out looking like hieroglyphics.

I examined the brown-clad human's kneecaps through the fence. "Hey", he said, "is this some kinda donkey or goat thing? It has a weird shape." I was stunned. I didn't even know the creature and he was casting aspersions on my appearance and species?! Frankly, he was no conformation-winning specimen himself - toed-in, pig-eyed and a bad mover, amongst other flaws. Another of his plastic devices made ringing noises and Molly tried to grab that. As she gave him her classic Molly-lip-curl expression , he used it to take her photo "to show the guys back at the plant."

With that, he reinserted himself in the u p s conveyance and sped off. Such a disappointment on all levels. No new equine friend, no gifts for us, and a snarky stranger suddenly thrust into our sphere. How utterly typical. I wish we HAD crashed through the fence and trampled him underfoot.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feline Doppelganger

Things are begining to dry out somewhat but there is still a bite of frost in the air. Molly and I are trawling through the paddock in search of any hint of green. Nothing much yet so we are topping up our fibre intake with fence rails and the odd piece of leather that we can lay our teeth on.

Yesterday morning the Woman came into the barn to the sight of Sally's food container turned upside down on the floor, her bowls moved across the room and Kitty Temptation treats scattered everywhere. Sally's igloo bed had been squashed down and slept upon. The suspicion immediately fell on Violet.

Last evening we were witness to something resembling a Restoration Comedy, where the plot hinges on mistaken identity, one long lost twin and the ability of the cast to shift around unseen. Herself let us into our rooms and I began the tedious task of winnowing out the revolting supplement from the rest of my dinner. Sally was fed and woman pottered out into the run-in. We heard her talking to someone, asking why they weren't attending to their dinner and how they had materialized on the hay bales without her seeing them. She pottered back into the barn, saw Sally working away at her dish and ran back out to the run-in. An identical but somewhat larger Sally stared back at her with amusement.

He (we assume he is a he from his large size and broad face) calmly regarded Herself from atop the hay. He appears well-fed and heavily coated in plush fur so we assume he just dropped for a visit and is in fact not homeless. I find him very pleasant and hope he comes by often. Sally is delighted with the idea of a cat friend who doesn't attack in her in sneaky and underhanded ways. Violet is looking affronted and is attempting to work the false accusations from all angles.
Herself still looks baffled, so I am quite pleased with the outcome.

An early spring snow storm is expected on Wednesday, so this pleasant interlude will be rudely cast aside.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Insanity Prevails

It's taken me a few days to absorb this latest information and it still strikes me as absurd. Doc has gone to live with a human called Janis and her donkey Tequila. This human lost her thirty one year old horse last month to the decrepitudes of old age. Both she and the donkey have been in mourning and came to the realization that another equine was needed to balance their lives. Doc does not care for all the gadding about on trails and in forests that the Woman is determined to do and Janis wishes to ride only in her own backyard, so I suppose the idea makes sense on that level. But good grief, why am I never consulted? The Woman can go and see him anytime but what about me?

First Jack and now Doc gone. I don't care for this one bit. And mud and ice everywhere. I am angry, indignant, outraged and soggy up to my ankles. The Woman has tried to plead her case - that Doc will be happier once he settles in there, that it wasn't fair for him to run and cry and scream the whole time she and Molly were away. That he can do all the fancy footwork he likes within sight of his own barn - blahblahblah. If she and Molly could just stay home like normal people none of this would have been necessary.

Jack, meanwhile, is putting in very full days. Other than perambulating about with his goat satellite, he has now taken charge of the rewiring of the barn. A human who is versed in the mysteries of all things electrical is working away at the sanctuary and Jack is right beside him, giving advice and impeding his progress at all turns. The human is rather bemused but Jack has acquired so much knowledge he's thinking of writing his exam and hanging out his shingle.

Herself did a massive spring cleaning of my room today and took down the divider that we had when Jack was here. I don't care how many overtures she makes, my fury will not be abating any time soon. You can't just ruin someone's dinner with gritty supplements and remove their best friends one at a time without consequences.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I looked out the door this morning and beheld a desert paradise. There was sand as far as the eye could see, trees with Stud Muffins suspended from every branch, and low tables with all sorts of edibles. There was a small pond of cool water for drinking and a platoon of quiet, service-oriented humans to see to our every need. Handel's Water Music gently wafted through the air (I know - an ironic choice for a desert-loving donkey, but there you have it). I sighed deeply with the greatest pleasure and set my foot out the door...

I came to with a terrible jolt. Herself was peering at me over the stall guard and asking if I was feeling quite sane and telling me to get myself out the door. Tragically, it had all been but a dream. By mid-morning a raw day had turned into a hideous spring blizzard, complete with flying ice pellets and slushy snow. I huddled in a corner of the run-in for the day. Molly stomped in and out, never quite settling but managing to rouse me whenever I slipped into a reverie of escape.

Herself gave us extra tidbits in our dinners but we do not care for the new vitamin/mineral supplement she has put us on. She tries to disguise but it remains the elephant in the room. It is brown, gritty and odoriferous. I carefully seperate the powder and leave it discarded in the bottom of the bowl. It is causing the Woman considerable consternation so at least that is a bright spot in a bleak season. I want sugary, oaty, molassesy food, not something that came out of an abandoned mine shaft.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

About March...

It really isn't much different from February so far. Early days, I know, but still...

This month is only two days old but it has already: exfoliated the fur off my face with blizzard-driven ice pellets, blown my hay down to the lower forty eight states, caused my lower lip to stick firmly to the handle of the water bucket and scoured out the insides of my ears with beads of swirling ice. Molly hasn't noticed a thing.

Herself has put Sally on a spring diet and it has not been well-accepted by the victim. Sally makes pitiful mewing sounds whenever she spies a human and leads them to her food bowl. She peers earnestly into the empty interior and looks up at them, head on one side. It does no good, of course. Then she follows them out into the run-in where she collapses dramatically on the floor. The routine would work better if she didn't suddenly start chasing bits of hay around. To date there has been no appreciable weight loss. Like myself, Sally is an easy keeper.

On a bright note, I have discovered that the McNasty spray the Woman has been using liberally on the fences is actually quite tasty. It's an acquired taste, granted, but quite addictive once acquired. This has not gone over well with Herself. I won't tell you what she said because the censor would be sure to shut down my entire blog. I can assure you it wasn't ladylike in the least. She said much the same thing when we ate an entire pound of cayenne pepper mixed with oil which she had carefully applied to the fence with a brush...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review - Jane's Transformation, The Magical Pony School

My friend Billie Hinton, human to Rafer Johnson and Redford Donkey is a prolific and accomplished writer/author. She has done me the great honour of asking me to review her lastest novel and I feel confident in saying I am the first donkey in history upon whom this honour has been bestowed.

The novel, Jane's Transformation - The Magical Pony School, is directed at the nine-twelve year age range of human offspring but having said that, it has an appeal that will be felt by any reader. As the tale unfolds we become acquainted with the four main characters, all of whom have come to the school for various personal reasons. Jane, the central character of the four, who is trying to deal with the loss of her father, soon discovers she has the ability to channel (or shapeshift) her form into that of a pony - and that's when the tale really becomes a hoof biter.

Billie has the knowledge of all things horse that allow the book to be more than just another thinly disguised coming-of-age tale. She also draws on her skill with using natural healing agents as well as her uncanny talent of making settings come alive. The winter solstice is pivotal to the tale and I'm told that she plans other books to take place in the other three seasons. Personally, I can't wait.

I must also add that Billie's own equines, Salina, and of course the donkey lads, make an appearance but you'll have to read for yourself to see what role they play.

The book is available at but I suggest you go to and click on the cover of the book for more information. I am told it is a "virtual" book for now but will soon be coming out in a tangible paper variety. I plan on keeping mine with my trophy collection and will resist the urge to use it as a light snack.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Nasty Surprise

We are in the dim and drear dying days of February, which, like Lord Byron, is "nasty, brutish and short". The sun is finally shaking off some of it's torpor and at least now trying to make an occasional appearance. Molly and I must amuse ourselves as best we can - in her case, her need to launder me remains firmly entrenched.

This week we rediscovered the rather delightful sunning spot in the front paddock that is protected by a large wall of cedar. It has been inaccessible for months owing to drifts of snow and sheets of ice. Last week's thaw demolished most of that. Equally delightful is the collection of nicely dried wood rails that make up the paddock fence. We settled in for the afternoon, Molly gnawing on the top rail, self on the bottom. It's astonishing (and most satisfying) just how much wood can be shredded in a short time.

Of course we were noticed by the resident commander of this police state in which we are forced to dwell. She bustled over, tsk tsking all the while. Having examined the damage - I mean our handiwork - she bustled off to the barn. "Good", said Molly, "old bats gone". And she continued using her alarmingly strong and rodent-like Haflinger dentition on the rail thinning project. I wasn't convinced and sure enough, back came Herself, carrying a large black container with some sort of spraying device. The contents were labelled "McNasty". I didn't like the sound of it at all.

She went to work coating the rails with the spray: I sidled over to observe more closely. One whiff of the noxious fumes, let alone the liquid itself, sent me reeling sideways. Herself suddenly spun around and said "Sssssss, sssssss, shhhhhh, shaaaaa", very loudly in my face. I stared at her in utter disbelief. Her face was turning a rich shade of magenta. "SHEAFFER GET OFF MY FOOT", she bellowed. I glanced down. What I had taken to be a lump of ice under my left front hoof was in fact her right foot. A perfectly innocent and honest mistake, in my view. I stepped aside politely but she took the low road, as usual, and was rather short-tempered and peevish for the next while. She limped off to the house, mumbling questionable remarks about those of us with, and I quote, "feet like tiny tent pegs".

So, although our woodworking was cut short, the day was not without it's amusement - and a quite satisfactory and speedy karmic intervention. One takes one's satisfaction where one can find it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jack In Charge

Jack is putting in long hours as sanctuary overlord (by his own choice, of course) and is working hard in the field of operations and at his headquarters (the Donkey Bubble). He wields a firm but fair hoof over all species, human, donkey and other.

Sheila sent us some photos, one of which shows Jack washing the resident goat. The goat seems slightly unsure about the prodedure but Jack is adhament. I wonder where he got the idea of washing another species...? He likes the sheep as well but finds their coats impossible to launder properly. As for the pigs - he does not care for those at all and does an abrupt about turn when they waddle into his sphere of operations. He marches off at high speed, looking neither to the left nor right, until he is well clear of any porcine influence. He considers them unspeakable and unwashable.

Jack has also stepped up his supervisory role in the feed room. He glues himself to Sheila while she prepares seventeen different breakfasts and dinners, sticking so close that she can barely move her arms. He inspects and samples all foodstuffs, both before and after cooking. When everyone has breakfasted and gone on their way, he patrols the aisles and checks each stall and food bowl. Then he goes to the various gates in the barn to ensure he knows the whereabouts of every resident. He is a very busy old donkey. He takes his breaks from his self-imposed career with Simon and O'Sullivan, where they stand and munch hay in the sun. They think he is as mad as a hatter.

He continues to astonish and astound, and sometimes even alarm. He has no intention of slowing down and regards retirement as something suitable for the elderly, which he is convinced he is not. Long live the King, I say, and long may he rule.

Buddy sent along this link for Jack to peruse. Jack has completed his perusal and has announced that he plans to beat this record by several decades. I don't doubt it.

I have included some images of Molly and Sally, who have declared themselves BFFs, whatever that is. As long as Molly is washing Sally, she isn't washing me. Somewhere in the Carolinas donkeys are crafting this year's dust baths and lounging in the warm sun. Sigh.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buddy, Buddy, What Have You Done??

As if being constantly laundered by the mad Haflinger Washing Machine weren't bad enough, yesterday an envelope with Molly's name on it arrived in our mailbox. This is not good.

It proved to be a valentine from her beau, Buddy in Nevada, and it has completely gone to her hard-as-granite pony head. She is opinionated and bossy to start with but now that she has received valentines from Buddy two years in a row, she is beyond insufferable.

The front of the card says "For Someone SPECIAL". Inside the verse reads "Today is a day for celebrating the people who make our hearts happy like you! Happy Valentine's Day." It is signed "Love, Buddy."

Buddy, I want you to know that this has resulted in Molly bellowing at me "You have to stand still while I'm washing you because I'm SPESHUL!" Or "Give me that carrot - I'm SPESHUL..." or "Let me roll on your lunch hay - I'm SPESHUL..." I think you get the picture. This has not been good for an ego that is already bursting at the seams.

Last year she began to forget about THE CARD by the time early spring grass distracted her. Given our unusually harsh winter, with no hint of spring in sight, my only goal is to survive the terrible onslaught of being Haflingered. It's not easy living with a pony who is worshipped by a long-distance boyfriend.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Parasailing Donkey Update And Donkey-nomics

You may remember the tale of the poor, frightened jenny who was sent aloft by idiots in Russia last year. It seems she had some peace in her final months, especially once they figured out she needed donkey company to be truly happy. She may be gone but we will not forget her - or the cretins who perpetrated the cruel and unpunished "prank". From the St Petersburg Times

To balance this news, I have a story told to me by Sheila, which perfectly illustrates the inate sensible and intelligent nature of donkeys. It seems that in Switzerland there are (or were) donkeys who worked on the farms high up in the Alps. On Saturday, market day, they were loaded with all sorts of produce, cheeses etc. and sent on their own, down to the market square. They went to the same spot every week and shoppers would choose items to buy, putting the money in a container carried by the donkey.

When all was sold, the donkeys made their way back home, delivering the money to their humans, who trusted them to do the same highly competent job every week. Now this, to my mind, is an eminently sensible arrangement. Humans who treat their donkeys as trusted equals and family members and donkeys who play a pivotal role in running the farm finances. How civilized and how unusual.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Power To The (Old) Donkeys!

Well, Jack has undergone dental treatment at the sanctuary and as he predicted, he gave as good as he got. It took four humans, three rounds of stupefactants and a pitched battle but he is three teeth lighter and tartar-free. I'm relieved I wasn't there to witness the event.

As he has gained strength and condition over the last three years his vendetta against all "vitinries" has likewise gained strength, so when the sanctuary vet showed up it took him only a short time to realize that all her flatteries and kind words hid the heart of a dental demon. He fought her, he fought the assistants, he fought the anaesthetic and he came to early and in a state of outraged fury. His murmer-y heart survived the battle and he has vowed to fight on in his war against the medical profession.

Jack has taken his role as sanctuary overseer very seriously and has gathered the sheep, goat and pigs under his umbrella of animal husbandry. He manages Sheila and the volunteers most carefully and nothing they do goes unseen by Jack. When he feels the need for attention he simply plants himself in front of a convenient human and exacts the correct toll. Though sometimes exasperated, they always ante up.

And here in the wasteland of winter? Life is tedious at best, what with the snow storms, sharp winds and permanent state of dampness caused by Molly's non-stop bathing of my person. Someone remarked that I look like a cat who has been forced into doll clothes by an evil little girl - resigned and hopeless. The days are slowly growing longer but winter isn't done with us yet. By the time spring arrives I will be nearly denuded of all my winter coat and Molly will have an enormous fur ball in her stomach.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Micro View of Winter

Being thirty six inches tall limits the overall view of things within my orbit. I thought this would be a good time, given the idiocy of the weather, to show you some of these things and let you try to figure out what they might be.

On another note, Jack is doing very well and seems to have taken over running the sanctuary. He involves himself in all activities, from food preparation to visitor tours. He dislikes being on one side of a closed door so the humans have learned to leave all doors open where possible. Sheila holds his breakfast bowl for him and she tells us that by the time he has finished smearing it on her and then licking it off, her coat looks like a plaster cast.

She has been working on trying to get him to eat soaked cubes, an effort the Woman laboured at without success. Jack saw Russell Mule eating his dinner of soaked cubes and indicated he would like some of that. So. Sheila made him up his own bowl and - that was unacceptable. He only wants cubes that have been scooped directly from Russell's bowl into his own. For someone with compromised vision, he oversees all with an eagle eye, missing nothing.

This week has had brutally cold temps, the lowest being -29 degrees. Jack, who has the run of the barn with O'Sullivan and Simon, told Sheila that he was cold and she escorted him back to his room, which is now called the "donkey bubble". He had his lunch in there, bedded up to his knees in fresh straw. The temperature in the bubble remains toasty and warm, even on the coldest days, and Jack has quickly figured that out.

For all this we are most grateful. I simply cannot imagine how he would have coped with this cold snap in our much chillier barn. I know he misses me and I miss him sorely but he is where he needs to be. I am glad he has such a hectic social schedule at the sanctuary to keep him busy. Meanwhile, I can only count the days til spring and show you my world from a donkey's eye view.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We Are Not Amused

The woman stumbled across this supposedly humourous photo and was appalled, as am I. We fail to see the mirth to be derived from a large, young, male human riding a small donkey and wielding a broom.

This sort of thing plays to the notion that donkeys are inherently funny, deserve to be ridiculed and can be used and abused at will because, well, because we are only donkeys. The public buys into it because most have never met an actual donkey. They can't be expected to do otherwise until images like this are considered to be a testament to the gruelling and often short life led by many working donkeys - not some sort of clever joke.

The link to this image can be found here:

Please note that there is an option at the top of the photo to vote on whether or not your find the offering amusing. The Woman has already voted a resounding "no" on my behalf. If you feel as I do, please join me in letting them know what you think by using the"thumbs down" option - unfortunately there is no "hoofs down" choice.

I know this would have been better delivered from a soap box but Herself says soap boxes no longer exist. Pity.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Award Softens A Savage Season

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my new readers, Calm, Forward, Straight at , saw fit to recognize my scribblings with an award. It is called a "Stylish Blogger Award" and is a particularly civilized award because I in turn am invited to pass it on to my favourite blog authors.

The first stipulation is that I must share seven things with my readers which they may not know about me. These are as follows:

1) I would like to visit each and every corner of the world that houses donkeys and to report back on their situation. The interviews could take years, especially those in the warmer climes.

2) I would dearly love to visit each and every one of my readers and linger over a cup of Orange Pekoe and a plate of Stud Muffins, while we get caught up on each other's news.

3) Don't laugh, but I think I would like to try those things called hair extensions. I have always fancied myself sporting a long and luxuriant tail, not the least because I feel it would have a slimming effect.

4) I would like to experience the wonder of having opposable thumbs, even if only for a day.

5) I would like to make Jack young again.

6) It seems quite unbelievable, I know, but I sometimes wake myself up with loud snoring! I always manage to blame Molly, however, as her snoring is legendary.

7) I have amassed a collection of rather impressive expletives which I may one day unleash on Herself. For now I bide my time and never use anything stronger than "pshaw" or "gadzooks". The time will come...

As far as passing on this delightful award, my first candidate of course must be cameraobscura, the creation of donkey admirer billie , followed by the wonderful morningbrayfarm with its special "For the Love of Donkeys" page , Fenway Bartholomule who holds forth at braysofourlives , the7msn blog which whisks me out of Siberia to the donkey paradise of New Mexico, and of course my favourite non-equine blog, bumblebearies , where my friend Vee gets up to all sorts of crafty magic.

Thank you very much to Calm, Forward, Straight for providing a bright spot in a dark season.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Era Begins

And by new I don't necessarily mean better. I have not spoken to the Woman nor let her touch my person since Jack was whisked away before my very eyes. AND, oh the infamy! They used the beauteous PrimRose as a femme fatale, her mere presence distracting both Jack and self so we couldn't think straight.

Herself has felt his absence keenly as well but there will be no detente any time soon. It's all very well going around looking downcast and sniffling occasionally but honestly, I'm the one who has suffered the greatest loss and she knows it. In protest, I refuse to even look at my hot dinner until she has vacated the barn. I am certainly not accepting bribes in any form even if fed by hand.

Last night I nearly softened my stance - nearly - but managed to remain aloof. She stood next to me in my room and draped her arms around my neck. She launched into a long speech about how wonderful I have been with Jack and what a good friend and how caring etc. I felt compelled to bend one ear to her ramblings. And she may be right. I knew when Jack was cold so I would press my side close into his to keep him warm through his blanket, I know he sometimes gets confused so I would lead him into his room and show him his hot dinner and, not touching it, quietly slide into my own room. I know he has trouble seeing sometimes so I always went ahead and told him what to expect. I went first with the foot man so he would understand that it was not an unpleasant experience. And I always let him win our "rasslin" matches. I had no idea that Herself had noticed any of this. She is not known for her powers of observation (she once tried to put a young masked bandit in the motor vehicle, mistaking it for our tabby cat).

She told me his needs have grown greater recently and that it will take more than one set of human hands to see to them. Honestly, couldn't she just have hired a team of Jack minders? I admit, the idea of him being in a toasty warm room last night when the temperature plunged off the bottom of the thermometer gives me a warm feeling deep inside (not my exterior - the barn could be an ice storage facility these days). But why couldn't we have both simply moved into the house here? She's incapable of seeing the obvious solution.

She reiterated that I was a stellar donkey and begged my forgiveness. It's a start but I am still debating accepting a Stud Muffin directly from her traitorous hand. Meanwhile, Molly's reaction has been to smother me with even more slobbery affection. She insists on pinning me against a wall and washing me thoroughly. Needless to say, like Sally, I have frozen spikes down my back that Herself refers to as the donkey/dinosaur look. Women. Pahh.

I hear that Jack is adjusting very well which makes me happy but it will be a good long while before I stop sensing his presence beside me. I fervently hope they aren't thinking of sending that young hooligan TJ back here...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

mi new advenchures an kareer

this here is jack speekin an i got some storee for ya this time. ya wont beleeve it but i move bak ta the sandcherry with sheila.

i bin reel cold all this wintur on account of the tempirature don't never fully get motivatid ta move up anywhere near warm. some days i been shiverin pretty good tryin ta keep miself heated sufficient. the woman got the blankut on me a while bak and lef it on and she give me a big deep bed and some heatid water but lansakes, the cold just dont wanta quit. sonnys ok on account hes young and got a good layer a blubber on im. but that jus fer your ears cos he dont like bein called fat.

there also bin a lota talk about mi teeth and i got the young vitinry so skeerd a touchin me he gets the shakes jus thinkin about it. i got a thing call a hart stutter or murmer or somethin that i don feel until i gotta clim a hill but it sure as shootin skeer him pretty good. also i got a good ripe smell comin outta mi mouth these days - i dont mine at all at all but it makes the humins bak up pritty quick i kin tell ya.

anyways it seem the woman bin talkin ta sheila and they decide between em that its time fer me ta have what they call more intense care. so yestirday sheila show up with that metal box a hers an a bunch a humans i seen before and who do ya think was in tha box? onlee the best looking lady donkey in the histry a the donkey world is all! an holee jumpin criminy shes a looker! sonnys descripshun dont do her justice. its primrose herselve and she sashay out in her pink blankut and announce to the world she have arrive jus like the qweene. me an sonny go nuts and tear up the padduck callin her over. molly goes to yellin and hollerin cos she want to go in the metal box. no surprize there she jus a joy ridin fool.

nex thing i kno i follow the primrose inta the box an thats ok cause i got her ta look at all ta miself. she mosly ignore me tho bein royaltiy an all. we stop once fer the humans ta take on food and drink and i git to pawin and kiking and hammerin on that metal box til mi ears ring. i tell ya they know jack has hit town! primrose jus look disgustd.

we arrive soon an mi word sheila got a whole room for me all insulate up cozy and a heatir if i need it. the laurel woman made me mi own ear warmers fer reel cold days and i look pritty slick in em. i got the run a the barn so i don got ta go out in the bad weather and i got three other guys with me that need speshul care. we got a big roun thing a hay the size a small automobile. the woman send mi bukit feed pan food snaks and a course that stoopit wormer stuff with me. she evin cook my evenin meal an sen it so i feel at right at home. an this mornin i git another hot meal which i lik jus fine. sheila is trying to get me ta eat soaked alfalfer cube but i tole the woman and i tole her no sir i onlee like em broke up real fine by hand.

sheila tole the woman that i wok in my new room las night like i own it and thats exakly how i feel. onlee bad thing is sheila got the sandcherry vit comin nex week an she aint skeerd ta look in mi mouth. well we see who wins that one - im 44 year old which is a few more than her an i gotta life time a tricks up mi sleeve.

mi stars i miss sonny tho. hes the one what got me bak in good shape and he bin a true and loyal fren to me. i wil think on him every day and i will nevir fergit what all he done fer me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In The Nick(olas) of Time - Another Happy Ending From PrimRose

The PrimRose Sanctuary is the scene of many, many donkey tales; some involve humour, some sadness and some evolve from sad to happy over the course of time. The tale of Nicholas Donkey - who arrived with the rather unattractive appelation of Nipper, is one that began with abuse and neglect and ended with the happiest of circumstances.

Nipper was acquired as a very young donkey by some extraordinarily ignorant humans who thought they could protect their poultry by locking him in a stall while said poultry ranged around loose in the barn. I can only presume they thought his mere presence would prove a deterrent to invaders. For two and a half years the poor donkey literally did not set foot outside.

A neighbour heard of Nipper's existence and somehow managed to convince his jailers to sell him to her. The rescuers had to shovel their way into the stall to free him, as the jailers did not believe any sort of cleaning was necessary. Nipper had "brain surgery" and had his feet done, probably for the first time. He was a wild man. He was angry and confused and tried to kick and bite anyone who came near. And for that we cannot blame him one iota.

His rescuer realized he needed the sort of help and facilities only Sheila could provide and so he moved to the sanctuary. He was sadly lacking in social skills, with all species, and remained rather short-tempered with the world in general. Enter a young lady volunteer named Stephanie, who made it her job to convince Nipper, now named Nicholas, that life really wasn't that threatening. He reluctantly and slowly came around to realizing that humans were not only excellent scratchers of donkey itches but reliable dispensers of treats and affection. He vowed loyalty to his new friend for life. And her mother, being a kind and sensible woman, said of course he must come and live on their farm, where they have two horses, sheep, another donkey and various types of poultry.

Nicholas was amazed and pleased with his new home but rather confused about where he should spend his time so he made his way to the sound he had known his whole life - the reassuring clucking and bokking of the chickens. His human, Stephanie, wished he could form a bond with the other equines but he remained apart and on the periphery.

One blizzardy day last month, Stephanie returned home in a conveyance called a school bus. On disembarking, she could make out the shape of Nicholas in the middle of the field, standing over a small black form. Puzzled, she rushed over and discovered a newborn lamb whose mother had gone off to seek shelter and food and left him alone in the storm. Nicholas had taken charge and was carefully standing over the lamb, licking him constantly to keep him warm and reassured. We donkeys do not care for this sort of weather at all, so this was rather a large commitment on his part.

Both were taken back to the barn, the lamb reunited with his rather casual mother, with Nicholas hovering in worried attendance. He has appointed himself official uncle and minder of the lamb and they are as close as two brothers. We have no idea how he figured out the lamb was in trouble and how he decided what needed to be done. He certainly had no experiences in his former life that prepared him for anything like altruism toward another species. And yet he did just the right thing.

There are many lessons to be learned from the short life of Nicholas but I think the most important is that of forgiveness and openness to new beginnings. It is remarkable to see someone deprived of any sort of life from such an early age become a happy and well-adjustred individual, capable of a great act of kindness and caring to another species. Blessings upon young Nicholas and all the humans who helped him find happiness.
Photo: Nicholas at PrimRose Sanctuary

Friday, January 7, 2011

Doc At Winter Camp

He has now been there a week and is having a thoroughly good time. He loves the activity of a large barn and, given his sociable nature, was greeted warmly by old friends and is making lots of new ones, human and other. The first day in the large indoor riding room he put on a display of leaping and air boxing when the Woman put him on the spinning rope. She said he looked like an orange salmon trying to spawn. Since then he has settled down and is hauling Herself around in there almost daily.

Meanwhile, Molly remains peevish because she knows exactly where Doc is and would like to be there herself. She spends her days commandeering whatever hay pile Jack and I are are working on. She has grown a goat-like beard this year and, coupled with her habit of grunting, she is looking and sounding like a Sasquatch pony. We are all dreading shedding season, when it finally comes.

Jack is struggling with the cold this year, in spite of his heavy winter blanket. The woman has plans to install a fleece lining in it. Given her seamstressing skills, which are nil, and her complete lack of fine motor skills, we can assume she will do as usual and sew it to herself.

Sally is almost permanently in her heated bed, and owing to virtually no exercise, she has grown to fill the whole thing. Getting in and out requires much concentration on her part or the whole bed becomes wedged on her hips. She is a simple soul and requires only sustenance and regular patting to remain perfectly happy. Molly grooms her daily so her fur is arranged in spikes all down her back.

And I? I persevere. That's all I can say. My mind is in warmer climes but my body remains resolutely stuck in the snow drifts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year One and All

Well, here we are, another year having whistled by like the proverbial bullet. Odd how the winter months trudge and the summer ones travel at the speed of light. I have a few news items to report on this first day of 2011.

First of all, my dear friend Mosby Horse (senior equine to Emi Human) turns 36 years old today. He is in fine fettle, still leaping and frolicing about his paddock and still very much in charge of his harem of older horse ladies. He is receiving lots of congratulatory cards; ours features a fortune-telling ape of some sort and was chosen by Doc. Doc was driven over there yesterday to use their large indoor riding room for two months and he was chanting "Partaaaay, partaaaay, wooooo!" as he drove away so I can only hope Mosby is prepared.

Our friend Laurel, who volunteers at PrimRose, took some photographic imprints of O'Sullivan and Simon in their new and colourful coats so you could see just how stylish they look. We believe Simon's to be a Black Watch pattern and O'Sullivan's to be a window pane design. They are both inordinately pleased.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy year to come, with lots of empty calories and warm sunshine, free of burrs and full of Stud Muffins.