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Thursday, May 14, 2015

LEADING DONKEYS HOME

jenny pushes jack

A week ago I put the donkeys in the other meadow, the one they will not cross the creek to graze. They'd chewed their meadow down to not much left. I can't see them in the other meadow. Even outside, trees obscure the view to the meadow. I only saw them in the mornings when I called them to carrot time and afternoon calling them for sweet grain. I realized yesterday I miss them. Never see them in the window anymore or when I step outside. They rested in the shade of the long row of rhododendron much of the day. Jenny in her sixth month of pregnancy seems careful about running or walking too fast. She follows Jack instead of leading him. She has a quiet, inward attitude in her face and body. Jack wants to be close to her, but she chases him away when he gets too close. He's a bit shy of her. Another case of a man unable to comprehend a woman. She says, leave me alone, and he can't do it, so he goes about perplexed. What's wrong with women? I can see it in his face. It's a classic case of men slow to get it that women are mothers with an important mission. Every woman responds differently, due to physical, emotional and mental circumstances. It's ridiculous to talk about this. It's so particular to individuals, nothing can really be said. The complexities make understanding a course of study. Jack is learning Jenny's ways and how to live with them, same as she is learning his ways and adjusting herself too. This is why I've asked their future human never to separate them. Learning each other is an ongoing donkey kickfest. Time goes by and they kick less. Maybe after some years they'll have their issues worked out. Jenny came into the meadow a year and a half ago kicking and biting. She fought Jack for months. Six months with Jack, she fell in love  and they've been lovers ever since. 

jenny pretends to bite jack

It's true that an observer changes things. They can be grazing peacefully, side by side, and I show up with carrots, they come running. Jenny first. Sometimes Jack is first if Jenny takes her time walking, which she does more and more. Jenny takes her carrot and dives at Jack with her nose to push him away. He stands to the side munching his carrot. He just stands there when he's ready for another, Jenny glaring at him telling him to keep a distance. I step over to Jack to give him carrot. He takes it with a downward glance that says, thanks. Humility is Jack's most notable characteristic, like jealousy is for Jenny. Jack defers to Jenny in every instance, given exceptions. She is bigger than he, which buys her the independence she likes. During play time, they do their martial arts sparring, never to hurt, only to tap, neck wrestle and dodge bites. A donkey is a powerful biter. Considering they chew all day every day, their jaw muscles are strong. I don't want to be bit by a horse or a cow, either. I talked yesterday with a man I know around my age who has a donkey in a meadow with some calves. He knows the donkey, but doesn't interact. He told me he had somebody come to trim the donkey's hooves. He came out of the experience wide-eyed at a donkey's power. Him telling me what they had to do to make the donkey submit made me bug-eyed. I must be having Jack's hooves trimmed soon. Curious how he will take to it. First, I must find a halter and put it on him. It's hard to tell. He's easy to handle, but I don't know if he would be for a stranger. I don't want to make it a contest of wills. I'm thinking if Jack has his hooves trimmed, Jenny will want it too. All that is in the unknown zone. 

jenny and jack back home


In late morning I decided to move the donkeys back to their home meadow. It was the easiest transfer yet. I opened the gate, Jenny stepped out of the gate and went after the bucket of grain in my hand. I stepped ahead of her, telling her we're going to the other meadow and she'll have the grain there. She walked behind me as if obedient, and Jack behind her. I walked through the gate and they followed. Took the grain to Jenny's spot first. She was happy. Took some to Jack's place, him squealing and snorting, flaring his nostrils, curling his upper lip. He was eating before I finished pouring the grain. Caterpillar was outside, sunning on a spot about four feet from the path I walked the donkeys on. They paid her no mind this time. Last time I walked them by, Caterpillar was curled up on a mound of last year's leaves. Jenny stopped to have a sniff. Caterpillar was on edge, though knowing she was safe. I've taken her to the gate to meet the donkeys a few times. She doesn't like it, but I want them to know her, smell her, identify her by scent. They know Caterpillar lives in the barn with the Ice Cream man. I was glad to see Jenny so gentle with Caterpillar, sniffing and allowing Caterpillar her space too. Her movements were slow and nonthreatening. Caterpillar was tight as a banjo string, ready to strike if Jenny's nose touched her. Jenny's head is bigger than all of Caterpillar. Jenny satisfied about the cat, she stayed with me as we proceeded successfully through the gate. This was the smoothest transfer of all.  

caterpillar blending in


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