Friday, January 31, 2014

Donkeys Like to Party

Three little donkeys have lived with us for four years now.  And I am still surprised at the parties they host in their shed at night.

This morning when I walked in the shed for the big clean-up, they had had a pee party.  Every piece of bedding was soaked.

Other times they've enjoyed:

  • throw-the-feed-bowls-around party   
  • poop party 
  • let's-try-to-eat-all-the-stored-hay party

Some mornings its amusing and I laugh (with them, not at them mind you) and then there are the other mornings.

And yet, I'm never invited.  Three rude little donkeys.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Is NOT Self-Serve

Dear Luigi likes to clamber up into the hay area, every single day while I'm mucking the shed.  On the weekends, when I'm not pressed for time, I'll pull the clasp of the door shut while I'm doing chores, but that slows down my process. On a workday morning, in the dark, in the cold, slowing the process isn't what I'm after so I leave the door open and let him do a little snacking until I'm done.
You can see the fencing that we used to separate off the hay and shavings is getting a little the worse for wear, so Rick tried to stave off the hungry mouths with some plywood.  This spring the separating partition is going to be renovated.

But until then, Mr. Luigi and I have it out each morning.  When I've had enough of him munching, self-serve style, I climb in next to him and say, "Out!" 3 or 4 times until he slowly and carefully backs his way out.

Each and every morning.  Ai-yi-yi...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Product Comparison

I recently read many comments on a horse forum about the wonders of pellets for bedding. Less waste, less dust, good composting, etc.  I was intrigued.  But after viewing a video demo, I wasn't sure they would work in our low-key donkey situation.  You see, we have no running water at the donkey shed.

During the warm months, a hose runs from the house all the way out to the donks.  But in the winter, water gets carted out to the shed using buckets and a sled.

Yes, it is high-tech methodology, but... it works.

So, when the demo illustrated sprinkling the pellets with a hose, I gave pause.  Hmmm...  Talked to Rick about it, and he was immediately pessimistic about the workability.

However, last week I saw Tractor Supply had bags of the pellets on sale and I couldn't resist getting just a couple for test purposes.

I haven't thought it prudent to try my test yet with these dreadfully cold temps still hanging around, but I'm hoping to soon.

My plan is to dump part of the bag into one of the 5-gallon buckets and use the sled to take out another bucket full of water.  I'm assuming a full bag of pellets may be too much volume for the shed, but I could be wrong.
That's why it's called a t-e-s-t.

The shavings are what I've used the past two winters after I gave up on straw.

Three well-fed donkeys apparently couldn't resist eating their straw bedding during the night.  I'd go out in the morning for breakfast feed and all evidence of straw would be gone!  I was worried until I read that's not uncommon.  However, I didn't need Fran and Luigi's already nicely rounded bellies to expand any further.  So, I nixed the straw.

I'll report back in after the pellets vs. shavings test.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Brief Interruption

Dear readers,
I'm finding it necessary to take a (hopefully) brief break from our posted saga with the donks.  Its been too too too cold here in Michigan to take off my gloves to take any photos. I had all these grand ideas for posts but they'll have to wait until things warm up a bit.  As I write this our thermometer says -1 without the wind chill.  Everyone is just hunkering down to wait it out.  

I'm adding a pic of Luigi from a warmer season to brighten the day.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Invaluable, Indispensable and I Can't Live Without Them

Yup, these are them.  Not very fancy looking, but I love them dearly.  My boot cleats.  Life-savers and then some.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our driveway was a river of ice before a little more snow came our way. And I was not navigating that river well.  But I opened our drawer of hats, gloves and all things outdoors and voila, out came the cleats.
This picture makes me laugh -- they look like alien beings with antennas.
But I wanted to show you the simple construction.  Just velcro them around the toes and ankles of your boots and you're good to go.

I don't understand how they work so well.  When you look at the bottoms, you don't see little spikes that would pierce the ice to give you traction, but I guess I can remain ignorant of the physics of their design.  All I know is I can literally walk on pure, glaring ice with these cuties.

They get me to my donkeys and that's all that matters.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Please, Oh Please, We're Starving

Every time, and I mean every time someone drives a vehicle (of any kind) down our driveway, three little donkeys appear insisting its time for a meal.  Any time of the day.  Always...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gross-Out Alert -- graphic images of manure contained within

The Arctic cold has evolved into the Ice Palace in these parts.
Our driveway illustrates that only too well.

There's not a bit of slush there to get a foothold.  Surprised the dogs didn't go skating down the length.  Speaking of which...

Here's half of Team Donkey waiting to get into the gate to...
...gobble down manure as fast as he can.  I mentioned this behavior in another post, but I'm getting more disgusted by the day.  You see the problem is the manure pile within the donkey yard (which doesn't exist in better weather) is a little of out-of-control.

Earlier in the week when we got The Big Dump it was impossible to maneuver a wheelbarrow to take manure to its proper composting location. The result is this "little" pile which started out topping two feet of snow.  Snow melting = a big mess.

But getting back to Team Donkey -- this is heaven for the two idiots. They're quite willing to sift through the dirty shavings to get a taste treat.

See why I'm totally disgusted!  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Big Dump

For those who aren't in Southeast Michigan, we are in the midst of a mighty big snowfall.
Let's see what the snow has brought so far today.

 We have a very long driveway and our trusty tractor is indispensable in clearing snow. 

Rick cleared the accumulation early in the morning, but the inches are piling up again.

One little face peeks out from the shed.

Can you see the path I cleared this morning to the water bowl?

Fran doesn't like the bag I brought my camera in and would rather brave the snow than be around that scary thing.

Three snowy faces ask for more carrots, please.  (I had to take snow-treats out to the group.)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Those Lovely Lips

There's just nothing like donkey lips graciously accepting a treat with a gentleness not exhibited 
in horses or dogs.

Doesn't matter the time of day, whether they're hungry for a meal of tasty hay or not.  Gentleness is always the word of the day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Team Donkey

Here's the crew that comprises Team Donkey.  They faithfully and courageously brave all weather conditions to assist in donkey clean-up morning and night, 365 days a year.
Gunner is on the left and Dudley on the right.   

The problem is, although the job is unpaid, they realize perks in the form of (what they consider to be) golden nuggets.
As you can see, Dudley is vigilant in finding any morsel, albeit frozen.
Actually at times I have to use my gentle mom voice and shoo them gently away.  (read that to really mean yelling over and over "get away from that").  They eat the stuff like candy and when they're simply glued to a particularly chock-full area, I get grossed out.

However, I'm sure they'll stay on the Team until old age relieves them of the duty.