jack after his appointment at the donkey hair styling barn
I'm living the farm experience every day. Wake up this morning, it's raining lightly after all night rain, some of it rough. Put on the jacket, the hat and the barnyard shoes, go out into the weather, whatever it is, pick up some hay, slip and slide over the entrance to the meadow where they like to gather and wait for the barnyard waiter to notice they're waiting. I go out the door and Jack cuts loose with a bray, mouth open, tongue and teeth showing, eyes sparkling. If they're off in the meadow when I go out, he will walk toward me and when his eyes focus on who it is at about fifty feet, his friend, the neck extends forward, his head points straight forward, lip curls up, teeth and gums show and he gives the bray all he's got. It's a donkey joyful noise. He makes a bee-line to me with his nose wanting to smell my hand or clothes first thing to confirm sight and sound with scent. I call, "Donkey Jack," to him to identify myself by sound. I'm thinking it's about fifty feet that Jack's eyesight can see a face clearly enough. That's the point where he sometimes starts running with neck forward, chin close to the ground, his face twisted up in a high whistling inbreath, Hee, followed by a long exhalation of Haaaaaauuw. It's the original horn. The H is definitely there. Hee-Haw is correct phonetic spelling of the sound. It's a comic sound that automatically fills me with delight. Sometimes he brays when a car goes by. Neighbors love hearing Jack bray when they pass on the road. I do too. Sometimes I think he brays just to be singing. I'll hear him during the day sometimes cut loose with a long honk and it cracks me up every time.
jenny sez, hello in there
I have a feeling Jenny cannot bray. I've heard some very poor attempts at making a bray that was not Jack's voice. I've never seen Jenny bray. I think I've only heard her attempt a bray three times. I see her watch Jack closely when he cuts loose with a bray. I don't know if braying might be gender specific, like roosters and crowing. I'll look into that. My guess would be that both jacks and jens are able to bray. Don't know. So much is different between the two characteristic of gender, it puts me in awe to discover their natures as two sides of the same coin. With only Jack to go by, I'd have access to only one half of the full circle that is donkeyness. I suspect size has something to do with their differences too. I feel like Jenny is the Alpha because she's the biggest. She feels to me, too, like she feels an urgency to keep intruders out of their meadow. The protector. She's possessive. She's a jealous woman. She's a little girl who holds her doll close, saying, "Mine!" Jenny eats with her ears back, telling the others to stay away from her mound of hay. She'll munch awhile at her hay, then she'll take a few steps with her ears back to Jack's hay where he's grazing. She noses him out of the way and he walks to another bunch of hay. It strikes me as possibly equine dominance behavior. If Jack were the biggest, he'd be doing it. The privilege of size. This is something else we humans think we have transcended with civilization, but have not.
wet jack's back
Jack lived here about three months or more before Jenny arrived. Jack and I bonded in that time. I can walk around behind him and know he won't kick me. Today I walked around Jenny close behind her believing she would not kick. I watched her legs to see if ever an impulse made a muscle twitch. No. She watches me talk to Jack and rub his legs, drape my arms around his neck. Then she wants me to be familiar with her, too, not so much as to touch her legs, but rub behind her ears where she scratches herself on the dogwood tree and she likes to feel my fingertips run through the hair on her forehead. If she doesn't see me petting on Jack first, she doesn't want me touching her. Jenny and I have not had a chance to bond yet. We're close. I've only recently reached a place where I can sit down or lie down on the ground near her with confidence I won't be stepped on or kicked. Donkeys are like reverse kangaroos. Jenny seems to be settling down a little bit in her kicking Jack. I'm wondering what it means. Yesterday I saw him inadvertently side up too close to her and she went into what would have been a kicking fit. This time it was contained. It amounted to her rear jumping up and down several times and the back legs cocked to kick, but not kicking. Just hopping up and down like a warning. I read it for self control by her own will. Now that she has Jack apprized of the fact that Jenny is the matriarch of the meadow, Alpha Donkey, she doesn't have to be so rough on him. It has been a long struggle by her to take charge of Jack so he's not trying to climb on her back all the time like the serial rapist that he is by nature. I've an idea that a time or two when I've not been around they've had a fight that determined the hierarchy.
jenny after her appointment at the donkey hair styling barn
Jenny has muscled me about a few times, nothing threatening, just taking charge of me. I cannot carry a bowl of grain past her without giving it to her immediately. If I don't, she'll jerk the bowl out of my hands and the grain will fly all over the ground. Rather than struggle against her, I put it down for her and take the one for Jack in my other hand a little ways from Jenny, because Jack will take it away from me too, just not as fast as Jenny will. This is how they would treat each other. It's how I want them to treat me. I don't want to be the Alpha. I'm happy to leave that to Jenny. She's not abusive with it. She is the first to see me when they are at the other end of the meadow. She's wide awake. I don't want to compromise her role in the meadow. I'm in the meadow a brief amount of time per day. I'm the visitor. The meadow is their home. I'm feeling that Jenny is settling into her new life she did not choose for herself, the life of a slave, sold from master to master. She has an intelligent mind. She assesses things closely, she pays close attention. Jenny is up and alert at all times. Jack drifts about, makes no waves. I get the feeling he doesn't like being smaller than Jenny. Though when it comes time to take charge of her, Jack doesn't need any help. Today I gave them carrots side by side. In the past I've had to give them the carrots both arm's reach apart to keep them from kicking. Their mouths were merely a foot apart while I handed them the carrots. No kicking, no grunts, no snorts, just carrot munching. I want them to work out their relationship without interference of human mind saying it hadn't oughta be one way or another. They look up to us human beings in such a big way that I can't abuse such adoration with harm and regret. I'm bonding with them by getting to know them, by talking to them like they have some sense, keeping them knowing I am aware of their consciousness, by communicating with them consciousness to consciousness, by keeping them aware that I am happy to have them for my friends. We don't need language.
jenny sez, y'all come back and see me