Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cookies and a bell

Knowing we'd be wanting to let the donkeys out in the pasture for only short periods of time early in the season, Rick and I had put our minds at work to figure out an easy way to herd them back in.  He suggested training them to come to us at the ringing of a bell.  So, every night at dinner time I've taken my little bell out with a few donkey cookies. While they're eating hay, I ring the bell and call them by name.  If they venture over to me (standing  few yards away), they're rewarded .  I didn't put much faith in our Pavlovian method, cuz ringing the bell this week while letting them browse grass along the driveway didn't seem to have much effect.

Well, we let them out in the pasture for the first time today for an hour.  I brought my bell and cookies out and gave it a shot.  Would you believe - it worked!  Gabriella (who I've mentioned before is our rebellious girl) came trotting over to me.  Not a casual amble -- a trot.  Got her whisked out, then it was Luigi's turn.  He came right over, eager for his treat.

Who woulda thunk...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Shots -- A First

The vet came out on Friday to surprise the donks with spring shots.  Although everyone was fairly well behaved, it did take some brute strength to stop the twirling with a needle sticking out of a (back) cheek.  Of course the best-behaved was favorite Francesca.  She is my sweetheart (trying hard not to be too mushy).

Dr. Gertsen also checked their teeth -- an interesting maneuver on donkeys who are already a little ticked off.  And he confirmed what we already knew - Fran is a little portly.  We think she's lost some weight since last September when they came to our home, but the girl needs some exercise.  Lungeing a donkey?... hmmmm....

A side note:
While we let the pasture grass get well established, we've let the beasts out on driveway grass the last couple of days.  Ooooh, do they love it.  If Dudley did his job right, he'd help herd them back into the fence, but he falls short every time!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Routine Hay Run -- Think Again

Whew!  What started out as an ordinary hay run this morning, turned into something a little more complicated.

First we drive over and load the bales into the truck.  We have that routine down pat.

Back home, I suggested to Rick that before we haul the hay into the shed, we remove the remaining bales of straw so I could retrieve a pair of clippers that had been misplaced.  So, out came the straw.  Rick pulled up the pallets to look for the clippers and we found bazoodles of hay buried under there.  Now off to get another wheelbarrow to load the loose hay. Since we had all the straw out, it was a good time for Rick to put a platform of plywood atop the pallets so I would no longer get a foot stuck in the gap between the slats.  I did some other clean-up duties while he went down to the house to get a saw.

Now, from the time we got home with the hay the donkeys were put out in the pasture -- the first time for the season.  They're just too nosey to keep them in the yard with us.

Platform down (it'll be a lifesaver -- literally).  Straw loaded back in.  Hay now pulled off the truck and dragged into the shed.

Now, off to coerce three reluctant donkeys out of  the pasture.  It's still too early to let them stay out or we'll end up with a bedraggled pasture early in the season.

Finally, are we done?
Never did find the clippers!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Morning Rhythms

There's a certain rhythm to mornings with the donkeys.  It's a seasonal rhythm.  Winter mornings require  cleaning out the shed where they spend much of their day.  Spring brought a quicker, less thorough morning clean-up.  No straw bedding meant most of the "piles" could be relegated to evening duties.  I was just getting used to the new rhythm when Mother Nature pulled a fast one.  This morning, the winter coat went back on and the morning involved cleaning out the shed and laying straw.  I'll take spring back please.  

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Sentinel

Even though both of the girls can, and do, push Luigi around at times (particularly at mealtime, of course), he is vigilant in checking out strange noises, critters, or other activities in their vicinity. Here you'll see all three paying close attention while Rick was making some adjustments to a trailer hitched to his truck.
After a couple of minutes, the girls lost interest and walked over to see what I was doing a few feet away.  But Luigi stayed vigilant, continuing to check things out.
I'm glad to see he takes his job as protector of the herd seriously.