Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Back in the Saddle, Kind Of

For about a week now, I've taken over mid-day duties of four silly donkeys and four silly chickens.  I feel a little embarrassed revealing I drive out to the donkey gate -- with a brand new knee, slipping and falling is not an option -- and then rely on my handy cane for support on the uneven ground of packed down snow. (I have no need of the cane elsewhere)

The first day I went out, I joyously greeted those little faces and asked, "Did you miss me???"
The response: "Do you have any treats?"

Little buggers.

No, Luigi does not feel emasculated in his pink blanket, although it may be handed off to Sugar or Spice when theirs arrive.

After a couple of days of getting my chore legs back, I ventured to shovel out new feeding places to throw hay.

Gabby discovered the off-the-beaten-track pile first and Spice and Sugar queued up.  Spice's patience was short-lived and Sugar moved up in line.

After a minute she joined Spice and Luigi and Gabby feasted alone.  She is a little diva!

I do so love seeing my babies, but I do not have nerves of steel and sometimes the jostling makes me anxious.  They may be "miniature" donkeys but there's still a good 300-400 lbs available to tip your balance.  Putting our their supplements is the hardest part; they
l-o-v-e it and clamor to be first.  I have to hustle my bustle out of the way.

And now for the BIG news.

We welcomed three new hens into the fold.  Pardon the photo quality.  As we've done before, they are segregated in a dog kennel until we're more sure everyone can co-mingle.

 The black is an australorp while the white girls are white amberlinks.
I'm mulling over names.  Considering Lily Marlena staying within the singer theme (Ruby Dee, Emmy Lou) and white = lily, Blanche (French word for white is blanc), and Audrey for the australorp.  But those are only mullings.  I also had Lulu in the back of my mind, germane to nothing.

If you check back to the November 19 entry you can see how cute the girls were early in their lives.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

From the Inside Looking Out

The good news is I've started driving again, but the bad news is I still am not tending to critters yet.  Talked to the physical therapist today and he's guessing I'll be stable enough on these snowy conditions in a couple of weeks. 
Everyone will get a big sloppy kiss on that day, donkeys AND chickens.

In the meantime, the holidays were quite nice, although Dudley was in my heart and missed.  He loved opening Christmas presents and would get as excited as a kid.
Miss you Duds.

However, Gunner got into the Christmas spirit with a new toy.

And has been helping Rick with donkey chores.  With a snappy coat, of course.

Yes, we're cold and snowy, and getting colder in the next few days.

Rick is most likely getting tired of my interrogations ensuring he's doing things "properly" for the donks and clucks.  I've been preparing hay cubes every morning for the equines to put a little warmth in their bellies (soak 'em in hot water for at least an hour to hydrate the cubes, and then add a bit more hot water just before Rick goes out to feed).  I have to feel like I'm helping my babies in some way.

 Lastly, the two Christmas cacti have been going strong since Thanksgiving.  A bright note.

Whoops, almost forget my newest Christmas acquisition this year.  The Christmas gnome.
I'm purely smitten with him.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas From the Archives

Two weeks to the day with this new knee.  Definitely some ups and downs and days of thinking, "when will this get easier".  But I'm inching forward with mobility.  Nights are not restful; side sleeping, even with a pillow shielding that new knee, is tricky.  I have a machine that bends my knee, and invariably when using it during the day I fall asleep in the thing.

Probably the worse part is I haven't seen my donks or clucks for two weeks, except in passing on the way to the doctor or physical therapy.  I'm missing my hugs and kisses and perhaps even Ruby Dee's pecks on the ankle.  But with snow and a bit of ice on the driveway now is definitely not the time to be brave and wander forth, cane in hand. 

Because I have no news or photos for you, I'm pulling some pics out of the archives.  Christmasy, winter scenes that make me smile.

Here's a classic.  Santa, Natural, and me.  Several years ago. 
I think I will miss that boy to my dying day.

I remember this day distinctly.  A snowstorm kept me from going to work, so I grabbed my Nikon and trekked out to the donks.  
Luigi, Gabby and Fran

Fran reluctantly getting into the Christmas spirit


Dudley (whom we lost two months ago)

There you have it.  A few snippets of years past.

I'll try to return on a regular basis, although I'm not sure what stories I can bring to the table before I venture out to the critters.  But I'll give it my best shot.

And no, you're not allowed photos of this glorious knee!

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Brief Break

Dear Readers, Friends, and Chonkey (donkey + chicken) lovers,

News from the non-animal world is this:  I'm getting a new knee tomorrow and will be unable to compose the witty and engaging stories from this little world of donkeys.  When I am able to sit comfortably at the computer, I will return.

Just so as not to leave you empty-handed, however, I'd like to re-introduce you to the hooligans who live next door.  You've met them before, but since they are making their voices/demands heard more now than in the summer, you need to mark these faces carefully in case they hooliganize your neighborhood.

I don't think the neighbor names her bovine babies, so I do it for her.  Naturally, the names speak volumes for my creativity.

From left to right above:  Old Blackie, little Blaze (Big Blaze was moved to another property last year) and New Blackie.

Here you have Whitie and Mama Cow, with little black baby nestled in between.

Sadly Whitie left the property next door in November and I don't know whether he was sold or moved to the neighbor's other property just a couple of miles away.  I miss him.

These cuties have me well trained.  They bellow at me for carrot treats and let me know when they've run out of the round hay bale she provides to ensure I throw some hay over the fence for them.  They'll just stand at the fence, stare at me while I'm with the chonkeys and bellow.  So far they've run about a 50% success rate.

Although in this picture Mama Cow looks to be the epitome of a good mother, I questioned her maternal care.  At maybe the two to three month point, Mama Cow would be at the fence waiting anxiously for a handout and Baby would be nowhere in sight.  But, Baby seems to be thriving so I could be casting aspersions without correct data.

All for now, I must finish my list of chores before tomorrow arrives.
'Til later.

Monday, November 27, 2017

OK Donkeys, I Hear You!

This morning at roughly 7:30 a.m., there appeared a cacophony of noise coming from 250 feet down the driveway.  Yes, four donkeys were demanding breakfast.  Loudly.  I could hear them quite clearly with the windows closed. 

It's not always a delight.

I trudged out.

Here you stinkers, just be quiet.

Luigi and Gabby settle down to some serious eating

Sugar and Spice enjoy the deluxe pool accomodations.

Peace now reigns.

Since the hens are allowed to frolic in the donkey yard during morning clean-up, Jo enjoys the solitude of the coop.

But the moment I mention mealworm treats, she's johnny-on-the-spot.  And it's butts to you.


Round two for the girls -- morning banana and seed treat

Ahhh,  serenity.  But wait...  Is that the evil eye?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Teeny Tiny Farm Expansion Continues

We've doubled our donkey herd.  And now on to the chickens.
Friend and chicken mentor, Debbie, is raising a dozen mixed breed chicks.  Three have been earmarked mine.  These cuties will be joining us in January.  Ooh-la-la.

Here's a peek at their growth:

September 2 
Only a few days old and cute enough to melt any heart

September 8 
A wee bit bigger and stronger

And, November 11 
Hey, what happened to October!

We tagged this cutie as one of my three; she's an Amberlink, a new breed to us.  Two Amberlinks and one Australorp (black) will be joining our current crew of four. I'll have to have a talk with our girls to make sure they understand the agenda - no fighting.  Of course I did that with Luigi and Gabs and a lot of good that did.  There is still donkey posturing all the time, but all four will now eat together and they'll congregate in the barn without too much strife. 


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sugar and Spice Join the Party

It's time to bust out with the big news.
Two more donks have joined the teeny tiny farm.  

Moments after their arrival.

Meet Sugar (foreground) and Spice.

I was in contact with Crossroads Donkey Rescue in Michigan (same rescue through which I adopted Alice) and was told of Sugar and Spice, who needed to be rehomed.  The girls arrived October 29 and the integration with Luigi and Gabariella has been excrutiatingly slow.  I know I know, it's only been two weeks, but I was spoiled by Alice's almost immediate acceptance.  Thankfully we're seeing inch by inch daily improvement.

The girls had never been exposed to other donkeys previously, so it's been an interesting dynamic on all sides.  

First day scenario above:  S&S (far right) were wary, Gabs (far left) a little indifferent, and Luigi has his ears back.  

Luigi accepted Alice with open arms, but this has been different.  Particularly around food.
Often the comedian, Luigi photo bombs the eating scene.

  For about the first week, they had to be fed separately.  It was easier to bring Luigi and Gabs into the barn and keep S&S outside.  Try mucking out a barn through gate bars!

We didn't think Gabby and Luigi were allowing the two newbies into the barn (or Sugar and Spice were too wary to even attempt going in).  So, within a few days of their arrival, Rick and I were out in the dark, trying to blanket Sugar and Spice.  The forecast for the night was cold and rain.  We couldn't let them stand outside and get wet and cold.  Clearly the girls had never been blanketed.  What should have taken 10 minutes took over an hour.

Slowly they are settling in now.  It's common to see Sugar, Spice and Gabby eating together.
And, more importantly, it appears all four will settle into the barn at night.  A huge relief!

Interestingly, the two girls accepted the chickens immediately, but are a little skittish around the wheelbarrow as I go around the yard cleaning up, and find a moving bicycle quite alarming.  Thankfully, they have accepted Gunner the dog.

Overall, they are sweet, mild-tempered donks with Spice being a little more reticent.  She definitely follows Sugar's lead.  Oh my, I forgot to mention they are sisters!