Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fran Helps Santa

I had no idea she had made the commitment, but Fran told Santa she'd help him out this year.

Apparently Luigi tried to talk her out of it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bored Little Donkeys

What an attractive formation they've hit upon.  Are they practicing for synchronized swimming, planning upon becomming bookends -- the possibilities are limitless...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friend Full Moon

Thank you moon, for so perfectly lighting my way to the donkeys this morning.  You did your job spectacularly.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seasonal Cycles

As I trooped out to the donkeys this morning, in the rain, to muck out the shed, I was thinking about the seasons of donkey care.  Now that I'm throwing straw for bedding, clean-up is not the easy chore of the spring, summer and fall months.  It means not only more time to shovel up, but more trips out to "the pile" with the wheelbarrow.  (I've now shifted to the bigger wheelbarrow to help cut down on the number of those trips.)  It's not a bad shift to a new season, just a shift.

This morning, for instance, the weather convinced the donks to wait for breakfast in the shed.  This would be unheard of in warmer, drier weather.  So I had to do my clean-up avoiding three beasts.  Trying to carry a shovel full of straw and unmentionables from the back of the shed to the wheelbarrow was a feat.  Total blockage by three beasts who were really not concerned about my endeavors.  Munching breakfast was all that was on their minds. I tried to slide past Luigi with just enough room between him and the fence partition and as I gently pushed past him, he "obligingly" pushed right back.  No Luigi!  Let me through!

Anyway, although this morning's routine was more labor intensive it gave me more time to chat to the three about this and that.  I have to admit, thought, I can't find much consolation in the boot-sucking muddy mess at the front of the shed.  Thank goodness I have hole-free boots to slog my way back and forth.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Our pals the garter snakes are finding the donkey shed a spiffy place to take up residence.  Yesterday moved a plastic bag full of grass clippings (lip smackin' good) and, yup, there was a wiggly friend.  Threw a flake a hay out and, yup, a little guy slithered away (probably sulking).  Rick says, well sure, they're looking for mice.

A couple of days ago overturned a feed pan and there was a....... salamander. The shed is definitely not for the critter-phobes!

 I'd hate to peek under the pallets.  Who knows what we'd find.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Mess

I yelled at the donkeys this morning.  Not just a tsk-tsk, but a full-out yellin'.

Just a couple of days ago they had pushed and pulled their way through the fencing that holds/separates the hay in the shed, until they had achieved a full fledged hay mess on their side of the fence. I moved remaining bales away from the fence so they couldn't help themselves again - not an easy task may I add.  Well this morning, they had done the same thing to the straw!  I hadn't bothered to move the straw, because what donkey in their right mind would work so hard to get through to the straw.

Believe me these three are not so deprived that even straw should look good.  If you saw the recent photos, you'd have seen Francesca still has some nice Rubenesque curves.

So, this morning I wagged an index finger in their faces, yelled while I was moving the straw and cleaning up the mess, and threatened them with a real tirade if they did it again.  

I did not see any repenting.  Hrmph!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dirty Screws

The donkeys were banging the front gate over and over just like jailbirds yelling, "Dirty screws, let us out to eat driveway grass!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Lovlies Are Getting Lovlier

Please note how slim and trim Francesca (foreground) has become.  Even Rick has remarked on more than one occasion that they're all looking healthier (read that as not as chubby).  Of course, Gabriella has never been a chubbette and we intend to keep it that way.

When living with her previous owner, Franny used to be borderline obese and was given special injections from the vet.  (diabetes?)  Now, she's looking sleek and fit.  Just lovely.
Biases aside, I surely think these cabooses are some of the cutest around.  I'm always patting donkey behinds affectionately.  Good thing they don't object.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friends Next Door

Sweet Dolly, my favorite neighbor.  When I cajole her to the fence for a treat, that big nose comes toward me followed by a greedy big mouth.  She likes to kick and nip at those audacious enough to also want  a goodie.  I admonish her for being a bully but it appears to fall on deaf ears.

She is in her glory when hitched to the red wagon for a trip to the cider mill.

The 4-H calves on the left with multiple hens scratching around.

Good thing none of these critters are calling to me.  Two years ago I saw three little donkeys in this very yard next door and fell in love.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Adornments Begin

I have recently begun adding ornamentation to the donkey shed and nearby area. Of course, I wanted to share these new looks with you.

The two pictures above showcase "the lady" I garage-saled from Denise & Jamie.  In hindsight I think the arrangement overshadows her a bit, but we worked so hard to get them to stay, I'm not rearranging at this point!  Think I should name her??

And if you look to the left of Gabriella's cute little behind, you'll see St. Francis.  Dorene and I found him at a resale shop, although it took me a few weeks to decide whether he wanted to help safeguard the donkeys.

Next to come is a large scrolled hanging which will go on the end wall of the shed.

I'm sure the donks appreciate all the fall-der-all.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yes, You Can Call Me a Daisy Killer

I just had to do it yesterday - mow the wild daisies in the donkey yard.  I had procrastinated enjoying the sight, but the yard was becoming a jungle, albeit a pretty jungle.  So the mower was called into action.  I do admit though, I was compelled to leave a few daisy oases.
Now, we have to turn our attention soon to the pasture above.  Yes, it is beautiful but if we don't brush hog it soon, the grass won't have a chance.  Already, the donks are turning up their noses, instead bellowing to be let out on the driveway or in "the compound".  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Little Wraps for Little Legs

It's a fact of summer life -- little donkey legs get ferociously bitten by flies in the warm weather.  Last summer we tried all manner of prevention.  Naturally we started with traditional fly spray and when that didn't work moved to smearing legs with vaseline.  That just ended up oozing in the heat.  Hmmm, what to try next.  Aha!  Vet wraps, which for the non-horsey folks are self-sticking bandage like strips.  Well, those didn't stay on, even with duct tape.

At the end of last summer, poking around on horse supply sites, I found pony leg wraps.  Bought 12 and we just started trying them out about a week ago.
 Here Franny models her purple pairs.  No, they don't stay up all day and we have to go looking for those that are MIA in the pasture, BUT, it's the best of all the solutions tried so far.  This morning farrier, Koren, suggested SWAT.  I may be headed for the store soon...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shedding Out Is Hard To Do (sung to "Making Up Is Hard To Do")

Almost June, hot days, and little donkeys are holding on to their winter coats.

Fran is playing peek-a-boo under that blanket of hair.

Monday, May 23, 2011

At long last

Finally, the days have arrived.  I can stroll down the driveway in the mornings in my pj's and flip flops to feed the donks.  A morning delight.
Stroll = casual amble, as it were.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Newfound freedom

So, here's the scoop.  A new rescue dog (Gunner) joined the family about two months ago and when he recovered from his heartworm treatment, was charging like a bullet out of the house and right down the driveway to places unknown.  And, he started taking our other dog, Dudley with him.  Not good.  Not good at all.

So handy Rick put in 600' of fencing to come off the donkey yard and surround our house with plenty of room for two black dogs to run like maniacs. That also meant a gate had to go across the driveway.  Not so convenient, but necessary.

When the donkey yard gate is open and the driveway gate is closed, three donkeys, in addition to two black dogs, are enclosed.  They are delighted to be able to wander over another acre of land, but it's a devil to chase them through the woods when it's time to come back in!

We've had a wet, cold spring which translates into a mediocre pasture.  We don't dare let them out yet for fear it will be eaten down to nubs in no time flat.  So, as we did last year at the end of the summer season, we're letting them out on the nice long grass along the driveway.  And they are loving it.
 Here three little donkeys say, "May we please got out and much that sweet grass?"  I obliged.  About 30 minutes later I went to corral them back in and Fran (far right), being the sweetie she is, led everyone straight back into the donkey yard.  I told them what good donkeys they are, but promptly closed all gates!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Pied Piper's Got Nothing On Me

Oh, how I wish someone had been around to video tape the donkeys at dinner feed.

I needed to empty the wheelbarrow before cleaning up, so let them out, and started trudging down the driveway through the snow to "the pile".  Fran had come up to me first, as she always does, to say hi.  She decided to join me in my little walk, and when I looked behind, there were all three following along in a single file line.  At the point I stopped, we were maybe 50 feet from the road and I was putting together a strategy to shoo them the other way.  No such strategy needed.  They waited for me (Fran right on my backside) and started back with me.  Gabs and Luigi decided to stop and catch a quick bite of weed sticking through, so had to issue a strong "Git!" to get them back on track.  They politely trotted right back into their yard.

What a team!


The farrier came out Friday, skated across the ice, and took a look at everybody's feet.  No one needed trimming.  If my records are correct, the last she was here was late September.  That's 5 months!  Now Natural's hooves keep growing over the winter.  A mystery indeed.

We've gone from a sheet of ice up the driveway and in front of the donkey gate to a few inches of snow.  So tired of slogging through the mess.  One minute the inside of the shed is part lake and the next it's frozen pockets of uneven dirt. So, so difficult to clean.

Our newest addition to the family, Gunner, is not appreciated by the donkeys.  A 3-year old rescue dog (part Rottweiler, part Bermese Mt. dog) he's a little too rambunctious for their taste.  However, they've put up with Dudley's shenanigans from the beginning.  Although there was a bit of posturing between Luigi and Dudley at one time, it was never serious.  Last week Gunner charged the donkeys and they took off down the driveway vocalizing like I've never heard before.  I think it was a red flag distress call.  I stood there trying to decide what action to take, when Gunner comes high-tailing back down the driveway with the donkeys in hot pursuit.  Took a bit of clucking and soothing to get them calmed down.  Later, I was able to get Gunner to gently make nose contact with Luigi through the gate.  The relationship has smoothed out a bit, thank goodness.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh My, Oh My, The Gate is Closed

The three amigos put on quite a display tonight at dinner time.  I let them out to wander the driveway while I rolled the wheelbarrow to the dumping site.  They followed, but then kept going toward the road so I herded them back in the opposite direction.  They took off at a run down the driveway toward the gate to their yard, then turned around and were flying back toward me, bellowing in voices I've never heard before.  Back and forth, back and forth, running and kicking.  As I got closer to the melee I discovered the source of the crisis -- the wind had blown the gate closed and they were shut out!  For the three donks it truly was a horrific situation.

I could only shake my head in amusement at their antics.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Those Silly Donks -- It's Not Myrtle Beach!

We're experiencing a deep cold snap here in SE Michigan and I've been worried about my 26-yr old horse, Natural, and to a lesser extent the donks.  Well, worry no more.  On my way back to the house from the post office today about noon I stopped to throw some extra hay for the donks.  I put it in the shed assuming they'd want to huddle inside while eating.  Ha!

Fran and Gabby went in, broke off a mouthful and went to stand outside in the snow to eat it.  Luigi didn't seem at all interested in this mid-day snack.  He was busy following me to the gate to see if I'd let him out to nibble on bushes.

These Mediterranean beasts don't know they're supposed to be miserable in this weather.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Bad Habit

I've developed a bad habit lately of allowing the three donks to leave the gated area and wander the driveway while I clean up their yard at mealtime.  They wander the snow-covered area for a few minutes, checking out the lower branches of the pine trees and making sure there are no tasty plants available through the snow.  Usually all it takes is a couple calls of "come on donkeys" after I've thrown out the hay and Francesca wanders back in  followed by her daughter Gabriella.  Luigi always is last, sometimes having a face off through the fence with the horses next door (what that's about I don't know).

Well, this morning was a little different.  With our 50 degree thaw, there was lots and lots of grass to root around in.  I called and called and no one paid the slightest attention.  I walked out, picked up the whip I had left by a nearby bench and gave Luigi a little smack on the butt and told him to scoot.  He whipped around the horse trailer with Fran by his side and headed for the open gate.  Gabby, startled by the commotion, looked up to see what was going on and decided she'd better follow them in.

An easy fix this morning but I think I've learned my lesson.