Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snow Delights

Three little donkeys were de-lighted when I opened the pasture gate about three weeks ago.  It had been off limits for some time so we could have some confidence there would actually be a pasture in the spring.  But with the ground frozen and snow covering the grass, I thought it safe.

They apparently were tickled pink -- here's their little trudging trails

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Frozen Poopsicles

The morning trek started out reasonably well.  Pretty chilly out (9 degrees), but I layered up and wasn't feeling any pain taking the hot slop out to the gang.  However, the real fun started when I tried to dump a wheelbarrow full of frozen manure.  I was smart enough to take the pitchfork along (even though its plastic) so it was a process of dump, loosen, dump, loosen, etc.   Finally I just said, enough, and left the rest of the frozen mass.  Phooey!

Then trudged back to clean up.  Watching the antics is always amusing and keeps my mind off the cold. Usually the girls gang up on Luigi and try to push him out of the way to grab the mealtime hay, but this morning he was pushing his weight around keeping the girls out of their feed dishes.  I intervened and gave him a little smack on the rear-end telling him not to be a bully.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pot of Gold

Who would think it.  This little bag of carrots can create a whirling dirvish with not only the dogs and the donks, but with the horses next door.
The saga starts with the cutting of the carrots.  Two black dogs run to the kitchen from whatever location in the house to stand guard in case a errant piece flies to the floor or mom decides to be generous.

Then we go out to give treats to the donks.  Sometimes, we make a pit stop at the fence next door and call the horses.  Often I'm faced with big heads and big lips coming at me across the fence.  And then the dogs start jumping and barking at the horses, because the brutes are getting THEIR carrots.  The injustice of it all.

Donkeys then get their share and those little lips are in constant motion begging for yet another piece. Donkeys are such gentle creatures, one is rarely in danger of getting bit fingers.  One would only get lipped to death.

And then I say "enough" and everyone lets out a collective groan.  Alas, no more golden carrots until the next day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Yummm, Hot Slop

Three little donkeys stand at the gate, insistently telling their tale of starvation.  They haven't yet gotten the hang of changing clocks back and start bellowing at 6:30 am.

It was hot slop day for breakfast.
Yes, I know I've given you the very complicated and exotic recipe before, but in case you didn't jot it down, I'll repeat.  About 12 handfuls of hay cubes, a couple of cups of bran, a little oil in the dead of winter, and a little salt if it's really cold and they're not drinking water like they should.  Of course adding carrots and apples is optional.  This morning it was apples, plucked off the tree at camp, so they were free of chemicals. (I buy boxes of  #2 carrots at the local farmer's market so its usually carrots in the mix.)

The donks will normally sort out, each with their own bowl.  But girls will be girls and today they insisted on sharing.  Not not not with Luigi, though.  Icky boy, maybe he has cooties.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pushy Bee-hinds

There's nothing funnier than a pushy little donkey.  And yes, today I'm naming names.  My sweet and cuddly Francesca can be a food bully. This morning I tossed a nice fat flake of hay to get them started on breakfast while I tended to clean-up chores.  After I had finished with manure madness I got another flake to finish off the morning's meal.  Luigi, who prefers to eat solo, left the girls to wander over to this second flake.Well, little miss Franny comes over, backs up to the flake, and uses her bee-hind to not so graciously remove Luigi from the area.

I had to laugh.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Partee !!

OK, so I walk into the shed this morning to retrieve breakfast hay, and  !!!!
The only thing I can imagine from the big overnight mess is that the donks invited some friends over and things got a bit crazy.  Not to be indelicate, but I'm talkin' poop -- and lot's of it.  Everywhere...

Now come on!  I'm the one to clean up the mess and I wasn't even invited!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Little Destructive Beasts

Because we're closing in on fall, well I guess we're already there, the pasture is a bit sparse.  So today I let the donks out into the driveway grass (with a chaperone of course) and then into the house area, aka "the compound".  Yes, fully fenced.  Alas, look what the little beasts did to my mum.  Yikes.

Not totally decimated,
but a closer haircut than I'd like.

On a side note, I continue to be intrigued with Luigi's role in the herd.  Ever ever  vigilant.
A couple of days ago I heard a noise next door.  Someone was talking loudly.  Thats it.  Nothing earth shattering.  But it was enough to make Luigi stop eating hay and walk over to investigate the noise. The girls, on the other hand, did not stop munching.  

He clearly has a hard-wired directive to protect.  Fascinating.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Miss Congeniality

I've now had the pleasure of living with three donkeys for almost four years --  Labor Day will hit that mark.  And not until this summer has Miss Gabriella been a social girl at all.  Oh contraire,  I often used the "b" word when describing her.  Very touch-me-not, bossy - you get the picture.

For some reason, she has turned into Miss Congeniality this summer and I am loving it!  OK, Franny is still my love-bunny, but Gabby has really turned a corner.

Will wonders never cease...

 Gabby comes in for a close-up

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hot, hot babies

Even though the pasture is looking the best it has in three years (although there's plenty of room for improvement -- fewer weeds please), we're limiting donkey time to 4-5 hours a day.  That means the buggers still get to chew on a flake of hay at breakfast and dinner.

So, tonight after I got home from work, I rode my bike out to the donk yard (with 2 dogs in tow) to drag them in from the pasture and throw their hay.  And, spray those poor beleaguered little fly-bitten legs.  I cranked up the fan we have in the shed to "high" and placed the hay in front of it.  Luigi was hogging the full blast of air so Fran calmly found a spot to share and just stood there enjoying the breeze.  Ahhh, a little relief...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

After All the Hard Work...

Could it be?  Could it actually be... that we'll have a decent pasture.  Holy moly, who woulda thought.
Those who have been following the "start the pasture all over again" exploits know how much labor and money we're put into this gol' darn donkey pasture -- all to no avail.  Last last fall, Rick sprayed an herbicide on the broad-leaf weeds and we re-seeded (again!) in early spring of this year.  It's not perfect, but we're thinking with some more effort over the next couple of years it could be what we've been striving for.  (oops, that was a preposition)
We're keeping the donks off the pasture for another few days and then we'll be letting them roam.  Already Rick has had to mow it twice to keep the weeds from seeding.  (just ignore the bare patches you see)

Here is Gunner sampling the product.

Having absolutely nothing to do with the donks, but our lilacs are glorious this year.  And we've never had such a luscious perfume from them.  There's a second bush, but didn't want to bedazzle you too much.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Three Little Ingrates

Just under eight weeks ago, I marched into a local hospital and got a new hip.  Yup, brand spanking new.  I believe the cause of my hip-decline stemmed from a horse fall 9 years ago, but that's purely my own theory.
Anyway, my less-than-perfect- condition meant husband, Rick, had complete donkey duty for several weeks; my only contact with the beasts was waving from the car as Rick drove me to and from physical therapy.

However, there was instances when dinner was being fed, the devils escaped from the donkey yard and wandered down the driveway toward the garage.  On one occasion I heard plastic tubs being overturned and hobbled at my fastest through the house and out the back steps to see my babies.  When they saw I had no cookies, they were completely uninterested in a visit and wandered off to chew at some ivy.  I was heartbroken.  I had been their (almost) sole caretaker for three years and they were flipping me off.

Well, I am still using a cane so everyday care is still around the corner.  But when I do get back into the daily routine, there is going to be a very very long conversation with those three long-ears.  You betcha me.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thaw and Freeze... a Vicious Cycle

Before I tell you the treacherous weather fallout, let me describe how donkeys react to their new cookies.
They are so ga-ga over these things they practically knock me down to get at my pockets.  Curiously, Fran (my favorite gentle girl) is the most ferocious pocket-checker.  No, I don't feed treats everyday, but they are right at those coat pockets everyday checking, checking, checking.

The thaw and freeze routine around here caused a two-inch flood in the shed one day and a skating rink the next.  Had to feed donks outside so they wouldn't have to lace up their skates to get to the hay.  So, we now have manure frozen to the shed floor, three food dishes frozen to the floor and who knows what else.  We're supposed to have another one of those brief warm-ups again today.  Donks better get the galoshes ready.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Silly Little Donkeys

I wish, I wish, I wish I had had a camera with me this morning.  Silly donkeys amused me yet again.
When I left the house to go to morning feed, we had a nice crusty layer of ice topping the recent snowfall.  Walking up the driveway was an effort; you had to actually lift your foot and plant it with a crunch to move through the snow.

When I arrived at the donkey gate three little donks were slowly moving toward me, (single file of course).  They stopped a few feet short (instead of rushing the gate bellowing for breakfast) and stood there all prissyfied lifting little feet off the ground, as though to say "this is icky, I don't like it".

They stood there with at least one foot off the ground until I announced I had cookies.  Well, that changed the whole situation in a flash.  Suddenly they were actually able to crunch down through the icy snow to stretch out necks and neatly attack the equine treats.

How could anyone resist their irresistible ways...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Shavings vs Straw

We've been in the deep freeze in SE Michigan the past few days so there are NO photos to accompany this post.  You'll have to put up with my description only.

I'm trying a test -- shavings for bedding instead of straw.  Donkeys eat straw!  I'd pile more straw on at night and voila, in the morning, gone.  Thought this was pretty peculiar until I did some more reading.  Apparently they'll eat quite a wide range of materials.  So I turned off the panic button.

Now when I go to feed breakfast, little backs are covered with shavings.

Yes, shavings are a bit pricier.  But I can control their food consumption better now.  Pros and cons.  Looks I'm sticking with the shavings for the time being.

I have to think this is a good thing.  Although Fran did ask me the other day -- where'd dessert go...