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Friday, May 8, 2015

DONKEY SHENANIGANS

zhou huang

Adventures with the donkeys the last few days. The grass is growing fast. They've shaved their one acre meadow. They will not cross the creek to the other acre of meadow. I found I can open the gate to the suburban meadow, go back to the gate to their home meadow, prop it open and walk the donkeys across the yard next to the house, around the car to the other gate. They will not step onto the road, so I have no concerns about them meandering into the woods across the road. My rock walkway makes a good trail for them to follow. I've decided to move them to the suburban meadow, give them a chance to chew down the good grass waiting there for them fresh and tasty. Home meadow's grass needs a chance to grow and fulfill its potential. It has been nibbled since it came up out of the ground not many weeks ago. Thursday morning I thought I'd see if they would follow me from one gate to the other, like the time we made the walk in the winter when they walked out the gate behind my back. They were immediately curious about everything around them, the world the other side of the fence. I walked behind Jack, let him lead me, walking with him. Thought it a better way to direct them by joining them rather than struggling, yelling, hitting. I walked them to the other gate, they walked in behind me. I walked around a bit, to show them where they are. They liked it. Jack remembered it from his first two months living there before Jenny entered his life. He took Jenny to his favorite places, showed her good sleeping places, good hiding places, the walkway through the rhododendron where they become invisible. I let them graze all day and in the evening they were waiting at the gate to return home. I opened the gate and they followed me through the other gate to home. 

vincent van gogh

I realized this was the key to getting them to graze the meadow across the creek they will not cross. They will walk from one gate to the other and think it a wonderful thing to do. Thursday morning I decided was a good time to walk them over there. I had not taken into consideration that then it was winter, no growth on the ground to eat. This time, full-bloom spring, green long-leaved things everywhere. Jack stepped out of the gate and walked the trail I roll haybales down, up to the grass growing beside the road. He found a good grazing place. Jenny walked around the birdfeeder, chewing ferns, daffodil leaves, tasting these new leaves she'd never experienced. She was having a good time. My only concern was cars, the donkeys bolting from fright, but remembered they see cars go by every day. The mail carrier drove by and I stepped to the road and waved, just to get her attention so she'd see a donkey in the grass beside the road. She went on by and Jack didn't budge. I was glad to see him so relaxed with a car going by a few feet from him. He knows they are pods humans ride around in. Jenny's explorations were looking a little too independent of paying attention to me. There I stood with a donkey grazing beside the road and a donkey exploring among the rhododendron, wanting to see what was behind the house. They were past control by my will. I went into the house, put some grain in the grain bucket, took it outside, shook it like a big rattle. Donkey ears went up and here they came, excited. I have a reason for giving them the grain over the fence. They get awfully excited, kick, dance around biting and pushing. I learned not to go out into the meadow with the grain. 

father frans claerhout

They're like two little kids jumping up and down and clapping, so excited they bump each other and kick. It's play and it's the opposite of table manners. It's mostly Jenny's aggression and Jack's self-defense. God blessed him with a woman bigger than him who can kick his ass. He defers to her, allows her to be first, though he's so excited he doesn't want to wait, but Jenny will nudge his nose with her nose, grunting, snorting and Jack backs away. It's not that he's afraid of her. It's that he loves her. He can kick her ass, too. He can take her down to the ground when he wants to. They are each other's martial arts sparring partners. Jack does not kick Jenny to hurt, but Jenny will smack Jack in the ribs with both back hooves, a broadside, and he stands there and takes it. Doesn't even show on his face he felt it. He felt it. Jack is stout. They gathered around me with the grain, Jack on my left, Jenny on my right, both of them attempting to push me off the path, not by intent, but by excitement. They were wound up tight, snorting, Jack moaning, Jenny pushing. They were gentle with me, though, containing their excitement from overwhelming the boneless human. I slung my right arm over Jenny's neck, which she's not inclined to allow but in quiet circumstances. I wanted to hold her, hug her and she let me. We walked side-by-side, my arm around Jenny's neck. It calmed her. I let go when she was ready and let me know. Jack was getting frisky on my left jumping in front of me excited to have some of that good sweet grain, on the verge of overwhelming me. I put my hand on his side as a bumper and the touch calmed him way down. He stepped in behind Jenney, Jenny behind me, and I walked them through the gate. I had to walk fast. They were in a hurry. 

connie pirtle

I found a good spot to pour some for Jenny. Jack found it first, Jenny ran him off, I poured some for Jack in another place. Jenny stepped over, pushed Jack away, big powerful Jenny asserting herself with donkey power. Jack went to the grain I'd originally poured for Jenny. She came over to push Jack away from it too. Just as I had stepped behind her from one side and Jack from the other side. She made an air kick at Jack, a kick not meant to hit him, a warning. The hoof touched the middle and ring finger of my right hand, just a tap. I knew it was not meant for me, knew she'd have been repentant if she'd hurt me. It's feisty donkeys doing what donkeys do. I don't want to change any of this behavior out of them. I want them to have the opportunity to live their lives as complete donkeys with the least human interference in their behavior. They are mates for life and happy for it. They are calmly at ease grazing side by side all day long, playing, napping. We have an agreement among us that our interest is the other's good. I am happy feeding them, and they are grateful I feed them. They are grateful for much I do for them, carrots every morning. We know each other, consciousness to consciousness, soul to soul. A love flows between all of us. I am one of the three that we are. Though it gets crazy when I'm between them carrying something they both want first, them pushing and shoving, punk mane bristles sticking straight up, ears up, heads up, snorting, stomping, I know I am as safe as sitting in this chair, though between sparring donkeys is not the most comfortable place to be. I know they mean me no harm and will not hurt me, but I get my ass out from between them, quick. They step out of rational mind into the sea of subconscious donkey kickboxing emotional mind and I don't exist there. I'm glad to find the touch of my hand calms them so quickly. A good thing to know when needed. 
  
claude hunt


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