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Sunday, January 19, 2014


donkey jack in the snow
A little bit of snowfall after dark last night delivered a second half inch. A couple days ago we received a half inch in the night. It was gone by end of  next day, except for in shadows. I understand in some places this morning the road was ice. Not long after dark last night, white headlights went down the road followed by red taillights giving enough light to see several red snowflakes following the car. This morning the ground was white again, and snow lined the bigger tree branches. It was not a wet snow that sticks where it lands, but more like a dry snow, except the flakes stuck together too much to drift. It was slick to walk on. It made a thin film of ice underfoot, though was easy to walk on in the meadow. The donkeys left prints like it was beach sand. They don't seem concerned by the cold. Their coat is full. I suppose they keep each other warm in the night. They appear to be acclimatized. I like that they look comfortable at home by now. Jack and Jenny look to be comfortable with each other. Jenny still gets antsy with him when he's too close. She's the same with the calf. She starts hopping up and down in back, kicking light jabs, not serious, just to say, Outta my space, in body language. I've noticed in the last few days Jenny keeps her ears back much of the time. Even when she's alone. It's not for me the ears are back. I can walk beside her carrying hay out into the meadow, her ears are back. She doesn't have a problem with me being too close to her hay. My feeling is she's keeping Jack informed to stay back.
calf 21 and jenny
The calf has taken up with Jenny for its friend. Jenny appears to have some feeling for the calf. I see them together fairly often. The calf's loneliness seems to have cleared up by now. It has taken to Jenny and Jack in its grief losing its friend. The donkeys know 21 lost its friend. They lost their friend too. The calf appears to be showing a little bit of awareness, like it is waking out of the daze I've only known it to be in. I feel like Jenny has something to do with this. It looks like the calf is drawn to her as something like an older cousin. Jenny's attitude toward the calf is it's ok if the calf wants to hang around her, just respect her space, don't be bumping her or pressing her. Sometimes I see the calf at the big round bale of hay by itself and notice it doesn't have the heavy air of loneliness about it. It snuggles with Jenny and Jack in the night. I have the feeling Jenny feels some compassion for the lonesome calf. The calf is going into a new growth phase, becoming more aware, paying attention. It's more alert since it's been subject to Jenny's care. I'm glad to see Jenny is extending herself to the calf. Their closeness might salve Jenny's loss of her goat friend, too. I enjoy watching their interactions. Jenny is Alpha donkey in the meadow and keeps the calf and Jack aware of her status. The calf gets tamer from watching Jack and Jenny interact with me. I include the calf when I take carrots to Jack and Jenny, and give the calf grain with the donkeys. The three individuals in the meadow give the appearance that they are independent individuals and they identify with each other as meadow partners, a herd.  
jack and jenny yin yang
Justin pointed out yesterday that Jenny might be what is called a mammoth donkey. I googled it and found Jenny does indeed have mammoth donkey in her. Mammoths are huge donkeys with longer hair. They are the size of a horse, and are ridden like horses. Jenny looks like she might have half or quarter mammoth in her. Jack seems more like donkey donkey. Jack's forehead is broader than Jenny's. Jenny's whole head is narrower than Jack's and favors a horse's head. You can see the silhouette of her equine head below, in the shadow on her shoulder. Jenny and Jack have confirmed for me what I learned from dogs and cats, that love is the best form of training. I've made no effort to "train" either of the donkeys in any conscious way. I break carrots into three pieces and hold them for the donkeys without apprehension anymore that a finger or thumb may get bit. I never even feel their lips with my fingers. They take the carrot with their teeth that don't touch fingertips. Today, after putting hay down for Jenny, I walked around behind her up close to see what she'd do. Nothing. She seems as  comfortable with me now as Jack is. Earlier, carrying an armload of hay into the meadow, Jack walked up between Jenny and me. Jenny started hopping up and down behind, ears back, grunting at him to get out of her space. I did not move out of the way this time. I stayed where I was to see how aware she was of not kicking me. She didn't even show a suggestion she might kick me. She sent Jack on his way and kept her place beside me, ears back telling Jack it's Alpha Donkey's place next to the ice cream man.
jenny mammoth donkey mix
I know the affection I receive from my donkey friends is for being the ice cream man. I feed them and give them treats. The old saying I remember from childhood, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, works with the four-leggeds, too. I feed them, they appreciate it. I treat them with respect and they treat me with respect. I regard them with a loving feeling and they regard me the same. I saw a video on one of the fail compilations on YouTube of a man whipping a big goat. He turned to walk away and the goat charged him with the force it would use to hit another goat. It knocked him on his face in the dirt. Somebody might say animals can't love, but I say that somebody has a different notion of the soul from mine. In my view of the soul, its very nature is love. Love responds to love. Soul responds to soul. I have one hundred percent confidence neither Jenny nor Jack would charge me and knock me down. I don't question that they might knock me down in fun, except that by now they know my weight, my vulnerabilities, that I am not as hardy as they are. I don't talk much about the donkeys where love is concerned. A lot of people don't believe animals are souls because of a preacher whose head is still in colonial times when only white humans had souls. I speak into Jenny's nostrils, "I love you darlin Jen," and her eye gives me a look that says she understood my meaning and feels the same toward me. If she were a cat, she would be purring. The meadow has become a love arena for me. I make eye contact every day with both of them, and every day our hearts touch. I don't want to train them to jump through rings of fire. I show them that they can trust me and voila: I can trust them. I do unto them as I would have them do unto me, and wha'd'ya know, they do as I would want them to.

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