Sunday, January 29, 2017

Losing Sweet Alice

I don't feel very articulate right now.  Sweet Alice died yesterday morning unexpectedly.

I don't use the word "sweet" lightly.  She was a most sweet, gentle donkey.

What am I missing about the girl?
That plaintive foghorn bray telling me it was time to eat.
Her soft-as-a-feather way of taking a treat. Such a light touch.
Her gentle manner in most  ways.  Very rarely was she pushy with the other donkeys and never ever with me or Rick or the farrier or vet. Never.

She had had a hard life before Crossroads Donkey Rescue was able to take her into their care.  The rescue group suggests she might have been a breeding machine for an Amish farmer.  When she was no longer useful, he approached Crossroads to buy her.  (it's a good thing I will never meet that man)

 They scooped her up

 and she  lived on one of the rescue farms before arriving at our place in the fall of 2015.

The most recent vet guess at her age was 25 years.  Not extremely elderly for a donkey but the girl had not had TLC until late in her life.  That took it's toll.

The girl was not a total donkey angel, however,
What will I not miss about sweet Alice?
Getting goosed every morning as I latched the gate.
Trying all the tricks in the book to get Alice out of the hay aisle.
Eating her way through more than one hole in the barn.

But I'd take the girl back in a moment, in spite of her eccentricities.

  You'll be missed Sweet Alice, 
More than you know.
Take care on your new journey.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

No Ice in our Donkey World

This is the sight I've been waiting for...anxiously.

No ice!

I can't tell you what a relief it is to not be tackling the treachery of that frozen stuff.

However, now we have mud.  Just as my blog friend Louise from the UK was describing.
But, I'm not complaining.  Even though it's oozy, boot sticking, and slimy.  I'll take it in place of the i.c.e.

The oozy, slimy donkey yard  

 It's tricky finding a high area that is relatively dry to throw hay and straw.  Today, for the first time in quite a while the donks were allowed in the "compound" -- the fenced area surrounding the house.  Maybe about an acre.  Finally I felt it was safe for 16 little hooves to meander in the vicinity without fear of slipping accidents.

 This is a failed panorama photo of the donkey yard, but its so goofy it makes me smile.

And we cannot forget our friends the cows, whom you met recently.

These are the outraged stares I get when I leave the area without throwing yet more carrots.

To tell the truth, just between you and me, I think they get affronted rather easily.  But mums the word.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Icy Dicey Saga Continues

Icy conditions on the driveway path to the animals worsened yesterday.  Yes, I was fit to be tied. Useless energy, of course.  It was with much trepidation I made the morning trip out to donks and chicks.  I vowed, however, to curb my bad humor.

At lunch I feared for donkey safety as well as my own so made a shavings path from the barn to the gate.

Brilliant!  Worked like a charm.
All of us used it with ease. 


Conditions improved today with the second day of warm temperatures.  Moods improved.  Donkeys had more area to walk around in their yard, with sure footing, and I could maneuver more confidently.  Three cheers for the weather, please.

For some reason, though, donkeys wanted to eat dinner inside tonight.  Fickle beasts.

 Francesca stopped munching long enough to investigate the phone in my hand.  She was certain there was a piece of carrot lurking in the vicinity. Absolutely certain.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bovine Beauties

Meet the current set of characters who live next door.  

My oh my, I love the way they come running for carrot treats.

Cute as those faces are, the impudent group has the gall to yell at me (literally) when the daily carrot supply runs out.  I show them empty pockets, but they are not convinced.

I remind them a new supply will appear as a breakfast treat the next day and all is again right with the world.    

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Icy Conditions in Donkeydom

The technical term for conditions at our teeny farm is "icky".  Monstrously icky.

The most recent snow dump was obliterated by pounding monsoon-like rain.  The rain melted the snow, but not the ice below.  So, old ice was uncovered with new ice joining it.

Not the snow, just the god-forsaken ice.  Which we now have a lot of.  Want some?

Once again, I have to strap on my cleats each and every time I go out to tend to the chickens and donks.


Even these beauties are not fool proof.  But they help.

When you're walking on pure ice, nothing helps.  My balance is bad and my knees are those of a 90-year old so I'm doomed.
As I walk up the driveway I have to zig over here and zag over there to try to find some decent footing.  Tomorrow will be another challenge; as I write this I hear the rain coming again.  Below freezing temps do not bode well for an easy walk. 

 And the donkey yard is not much better.  

It's not easy to discern that the dark area and the white area is ice.  Pretty much everywhere.  There's just a bit of slushy snow along the fence line.  I have followed the donkeys' lead to use that route in getting to the barn.

Trying to find a spot to feed the donkeys where the footing is better is challenging.

But through the snow and the rain and the ice, the best dog in the world simply waits for me to finish chores so we can walk back to the house together.  

Yup, that's my boy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Alice, the Perfect Donkey Patient

This donkey nurse appreciates the perfect donkey patient.  Yup, sweet Alice.

At the end of last week's saga posting, I mentioned Alice was having some difficulties.  The vet's diagnosis was white line, a fungal hoof issue.  Treatment:  hoof soaking followed by farrier care.

The girl could not have been more cooperative.

She endured 45 minutes during the first round, followed immediately by another 30-minute feet-bagged-and taped treatment.  Of course, she got the barn all to herself with lots of hay to keep her amused.  Mellow and content were her middle names.

Not so mellow and not so content were the other three hooligans.

Luigi was banging on the barn gate yelling, "Hey you dirty screws.  Let her out, she ain't done nothin' wrong!"  Or perhaps it was more, "Wait one minute, why does she get all the hay?"  Either way, he was quite persistent in trying to jimmy that steel gate.

All the while, Alice simply observed her fellow donkadonks with an unperturbed eye.  She told me confidentially, foot soaking isn't half bad.