Sunday, May 20, 2018

Donkey Heaven

Last Sunday marked the spring day in May, our donkeys always yearn for.  The day the gate to the pasture swings open and they can graze contentedly -- for a bit of time at least.


You can just hear that contented sigh.  And all is right with the world.  Until they are asked to come in off that luscious greenery after 90 minutes or so.  Balderdash!

The famous crabapple in the corner of the pasture is abloom.

Famous, you say.  Why so?
It's the very tree I mentioned in the last post where those four loosey goosey chickens were "nesting" and would not leave.  And where two years ago a fox caught Golda off guard and she met her demise.  My little rambunctious Golda.  She was always finding trouble.

Now that the donkeys have time to squabble about this and that, instead of concentrating on eating and keeping warm, it's most interesting to observe the dynamics.  There are times Sugar is certain she is the boss.  She'll run off anyone, except her sister, who interferes with her meal.  The next day I'll see Luigi give her the high sign to scram and he means business.  And the next day I'll see Sugar and Luigi sharing a treat in one of their bowls. 

There's just no knowing with those four hooligans.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Chicken Scare And A Boo-boo For Fay

A short aside before the post as it was meant...

I normally call "girls" in the chicken voice I've used since day 1 (or maybe it was day 2) when I need to gather everyone and usually they come a'runnin'.  Because they are well aware that they will get treats.  Well, when I called this afternoon, I only got two hens -- Lily and Lulu (whom I now call Lou most of the time).  Checked the barn -- no girls.  Checked the pasture -- no girls.  Now panic was setting in very nicely.  Please don't tell me I've lost four hens. 

Finally I saw one girl under the tree in a corner of the pasture.  I was thinking oh no, is there only one girl left of the four who should be out there??  Walking nearer, I see four little birds sitting quietly under the tree sheltered by branches, simply enjoying a spring afternoon.  And they were darned if they were going to go back to the coop.
But they were safe.
Whew, it was a huge relief.

But now on to the "real" tale for the day.

Two puppies are bonding nicely.  I use the term puppy loosely --  one is 10 and one is four.  But certainly puppies at heart.

Little Fay

Faith and Gunner strolling companionably, as they often do

Faith managed an owwie on her foot and some good ole vet wrap secured the bandage.
It's vet wrap normally reserved for donkeys 
and the pink is so much nicer on Faith than Luigi.

But then the girl chewed our clever wrap to bits 
so we started anew and put a sock over the whole thing. 
(it's the bottom leg wrapped in white sock) 

One of those handy juvenile socks from the dollar store 
I started using a year or two ago on donkey legs during fly season.  
So handy to have donkey related first aid goodies around!  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Little of This, A Little of That

What a beautiful spring day in our little corner of Michigan.  Just perfect.

The donkeys enjoyed a little walkabout.

Ditto for the hens.

 Although their heightened sense of danger in every corner is still evident.

The sky chair was put up for a little Sunday reading and relaxing.

Which meant I felt compelled to make some iced tea.

Yes, I "cheated" and used my years-old brewer.  It's just too darned easy.  Along with some decaf leaf tea from Simpson and Vail.  Yes, I highly recommend this family-owned business.  They have a wonderful selection of just about any tea imaginable, including organic teas.  And their customer service is just what you'd want.  I've called and described (in my non-fancy terms) the kind of green tea I like; they made suggestions which hit the mark.  

Now it's time to start some asparagus soup for tonight's repast.

We'll talk again soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Traumatized Chickens

The girls are acting pretty kooky.

Peggy Sue died on Easter, that's 10 days ago.  And the girls are still displaying traumatized behavior.  They rarely come out into their pen (see below) which faces north bordering the pasture),

but will come out of their coop, through the donkey barn and out into the donkey yard (facing south).  While someone is there.

Today was spring clean-up of the coop, well partially at least.  The cobweb vacuuming will wait until its a tad warmer. 

Normally the girls will wander around outside the coop while I'm cleaning, occasionally inspecting my work.  Not today.  They preferred to poke around in the barn until I enticed them out into the sunshine with treats.

Last year we lost Dottie to a hawk.  In March, same spot in the pasture.  That "coincidence" has me grasping for a connection  Took the girls less than a week and they were back to normal behavior.  Things are very different this time.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Damn the Hawks

We lost Peggy Sue this afternoon between 1:30 and 3:00.

Rick and I were doing some "vet work" (and I use that term loosely) on Ruby Dee in the donkey yard around 1:00, leaving the area with chickens running loose roughly a half an hour later.  I went out at 3:00 to corral everyone and I knew immediately something was wrong.  The neighbor's guinea hens were squawking like crazy in a bush next to the donkey pasture.

No, it can't be.  Deja vu with the scene from last year and Dottie.  Same place. 
Her body there with feathers strewn.  Had to be a hawk.  Damn it!

Lily and Lulu (Peggy Sue's chick mates) were wandering a bit looking dazed.  Calling the rest of the girls, I peered into the far pasture, checked the coop, my stomach turning with each minute of no girls.  I found them huddled in the donkey shed, Ruby Dee with her head under a hay pallet.

I'm sure I posed the same question last year when we lost Dottie.
Free range (even for a short time) vs safety.
Safest times for free range.  I moved their free time up to early afternoon to try and avoid foxes.  There just doesn't seem to be any safe zone.

Damn it!

Peggy Sue on top with Lulu.
She could not be kept away from the hay aisle.

Lily on the left
Peggy Sue in the middle
Lulu on the right

Friday, March 30, 2018

Back at SASHA Farm

Wednesday of last week was a good day.  I mean a good day.
It was the first time since surgery that I gave the new knee a test run at SASHA Farm Sanctuary.  For  newcomers to the blog - a friend and I volunteer twice monthly to feed, water and clean.  Its a gift of love to the many rescued residents at the Farm.

And I made it through the whole shift.  That in itself was a reason to celebrate.
Of course, I also got to see my human buddies and all my non-human favorites.
Yes, it was a good day.

Let me introduce you to some of those who allowed a quick pic.

I am partial to the equines and in the middle of this threesome is Walker the mule.  
At my first visit to the Farm as a guest, I donated to help support this gorgeous boy.  
He has remained one of my favorites. 

His counterpart, Angel
Also a beauty, but a little more aloof

Daisy Belle, the belle of the ball

We cannot forget the Jersey Five who preceded Daisy
My, how they've grown since I was there last

The regal Dave Ramsey

And two cuties I cannot introduce by name - oh dear

Last we have little Puck, who clearly had enjoyed the proverbial roll in the hay

It's impossible not to love them all.