Thursday, December 29, 2016

Glitches On a Teeny Donkey Farm

Where to start.

How about the hay aisle door.

The structure has done a seasonal shift and the door cannot be latched.  Hmmm...what to do.  Exactly a job for the hay twine that isn't tossed.  Tying the door closed tight enough that inquisitive (and strong) noses do not pry it open.

And then we have holes -- in the walls -- again.

Last summer, if you remember, dear little Alice starting eating her way through the barn.  Rick covered the lower exterior with fencing.  Well what do you know, "someone" is now eating away from the inside.  We know at least one hole was Alice's doing because of the height.  The others, well who knows.

Yup, right about Alice height.

May I now call them devil donkeys?

And then there's the natural forces at work.

We had a snow dump, then we had a big thaw and then we had a cool down.  Voila -- ice.

Doesn't look too treacherous, but it's scary to me.  Solid as cement and very slippery.  Out came the cleats.

Thank goodness the driveway from the house to the horse trailer (probably over half the distance to the donkey gate) is ice-free.

Remember at the end of the last post I asked you to cross your toes and fingers for Alice?  Well someone forgot.  The vet was out today and it's not an insurmountable problem -- hopefully.  
But that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Donkey Snow Trails

Usually when I approach the computer to submit a blog post for your approval, I have a plan in mind.  The story is outlined in my head and the photos have been taken.

However, the overriding thought swirling in my head this evening is not the planned outline, but donkey health.  Every day for the past three days, someone has appeared under the weather.  And each time, I tell Rick to help me keep an eye on the bugger and each time the ailment seems to pass.  And now, it's sweet Alice.  Just a bit ago I fed for the evening and her limp was pronounced.  No discernible problems.  So we wait and check in the morning.

But the story I had intended to tell was that of the annual routine of snow trails.  
Usually the donkeys ask me to blaze the trails, but this year they forged perhaps half of them in the yard.

After the first big snowfall, I shoveled out three eating areas.  Clearly you can see one of them above and there's another northwest of the tree.

From this angle you can see another just above Luigi's back.  And I hear you asking about that milk carton hanging from the tree.  Just an attempt to provide a  little something to amuse them.  Although I believe the attempt was probably an abject failure.  But, still it hangs.

And then, there's Alice.  Actually she's been a big pain in the proverbial ass recently.  The trails are only about the width of my shovel, meaning they're only wide enough for one person or one donkey.  And lately Alice has been a master at blocking the paths.  By just standing.  Still.  As donkeys tend to do.

In the picture to the right, she thumbed her nose at the hay in the feeding area and said she was going straight to the source.  Alice is a pistol to remove from the hay aisle.

Cross your toes and fingers that Alice is back to normal tomorrow.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Peaceful Evenings

If you happened to wander by our place tonight and had a chat with the donkeys, I'm tempted to say they would not say it was a peaceful evening feed.

Factors to consider:
*trying to make my way to the donkeys,  I was continually slipping on the packed driveway snow,
*it started snowing again -- we got dumped with at least 10" on Sunday
*four donkeys were crowding in the barn (because it was snowing again) making it impossible to clean up manure for the 500th time today and
*did I mention it was snowing again?
*oh yes, and standing on my head trying to get Alice's blanket on -- in addition to more snow it's going to get mighty chilly tonight.

No one would accuse me of being miss congeniality tonight.  I'll admit it.  I had to apologize to the donks for yelling.  They seemed to take it in stride.

Anyway, I finally got hay thrown, more shavings piled up, and yes, Alice's blanket on. Chickens locked up safe for the night, more chicken treats distributed, heat lamp plugged in.

And as I started back toward the house, I looked up.  Into the snowfall and the sky.  And soaked up the quiet.  It was only 5:30 but felt much later.  And peace and calm appeared.

At that moment, regretfully, I did not have a camera, but grabbed my phone at the house, backtracking just a bit to try to capture the mood.

    If you look closely you'll see one of the cows next door making his way out to the round bale

Did you feel it?   Aahhh...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Chicken's Toy... or not

Some things just don't work out the way you planned.  As it was in this case.

My chicken girls aren't allowed out free-range for more than 2-3 hours per day.  For two reasons. The dogs might be able to work their way through the gate blockade Rick devised, and, we believe we have a fox in the area.  Yes, that fox could attack at any time, but I feel better when their free time is not too extensive.

That means girls are bored, confined to the coop and their outside run.

Which leads me to their new toy.

Yes, a xylophone.

I had seen a video of chickens having a grand time pecking out tunes.

I thought it could be a rather inexpensive means to relieve the boredom.

Yea right.  Don't believe everything you see.

Rick said, you've got to train them to go to it.  So everyday I've been placing treats on the darn thing so they'll catch on to the great fun they could be having.  Yes, they play a cute little ditty while the treats are there,

and then it sits.  

Unless they're having fabulous xylophone parties at night after curfew.  And whale away on it while the donkeys listen in next door.

One just never knows.