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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DONKEYS IN THE SUMMER MEADOW


I don't see much of the donkeys in their summer meadow. Can't see them out a window and can't see them when I step outside for all the trees and rhododendron around the house. They have a walkway along the fence behind a long wall of rhododendron and trees. In a corner of the fence, the Christmas tree growers on the other side of the fence have piled dead trees for several years. The donkeys have found it for a shelter. I've noticed they are not wet after a rain, so it's working for them. They can see the whole meadow and the road from the corner. If a pack of coyotes were to attack them, they could only go at them from one side. Coyotes would know better than to make an attempt. They learned about the donkeys a year or more ago. One night last year they found the donkeys lying down at the far end of the meadow. They yipped and hollered and I heard one let out a cry of pain. The others went quiet and walked away. I heard the one hurt squealing as it walked away. I suspect Jenny connected with one. They've not been back. 



The gate at the summer meadow is big and awkward to give them carrots through or the grain. Jenny in her pregnancy with four months to go does not like Jack too close. Jack is ready to go all the time and Jenny is not having it. I don't go into the meadow with them much. Jenny is so raucous with Jack, I don't like to be between them, where I inevitably find myself. They are quick as cats. Jenny doesn't want Jack too close to me, goes at him with her teeth or her back knees and hooves. Jack raises his chin out of range and takes both Jenny's hooves in the chest like a tree. She kicks him over and over. He stands still taking it, chin up high. I stand inches from their twisting around, kicking. Jenny goes into automatic and I don't think her automatic setting cares if she kicks me. I know I only have to touch her to settle her down, but she moves so much, so fast, I get flustered, don't know which way to move to dodge her. Jenny can spin completely around faster than I can take one step. 



I give carrot to Jack and Jenny attacks him. I give carrot to Jenny and she spins her back end to Jack and he backs up. I carried the grain bucket out into the meadow yesterday. They were at the other end of the meadow. Jack came running, ran up to me slowing down, ran by and came back. I poured the grain on the ground for him. Jenny was walking until she saw me pour the grain for Jack. She came running. I moved to the spot I'd pour the grain for Jenny. She ran up to me with a big smile on her face, ran past and came back. I poured the grain without much interference. They were far enough apart they ate in peace. As soon as they start eating the grain, I vanish from their attention. I tell them I'm going to my barn and leave. They don't care. In the morning at carrot time, after the last carrot I hold up my open hands to show them no more carrots. They back away and return to the meadow. They seem happy in this meadow. Jack made a dust circle right way for them to roll on and dust their backs. They are shedding their winter fur. They are at the stage of shedding they look like they have mange, patches of very short new hair mid the longer hair in bigger patches. 



Melvin dropped by this afternoon soon after I'd finished painting. I took some grain to the donkeys as he was leaving. He watched them come to the gate when I called for them. I called out my braying sound and Jack joined me. We brayed until Jenny gave Jack a sound kicking. It's like it annoys her when he brays. Or she thinks he wants on her back. She danced around and kicked Jack, backing up to him kicking with her back knees. Jack, ears up, eyes wide, backed away and she stayed with him. Melvin said, "Jenny's bein a bitch." Jack bears with it. He accepts it as what his babydoll does.  Her nature. He's never known another woman. I don't know that he's seen another donkey besides Jenny, except mama. The same applies to Jenny. They are each other's only acquaintance with donkey. I poured the grain over the gate for Jenny first. Went to the other end, out of Jenny's kicking range to pour it for Jack. Jenny came over and chased Jack away from his grain. He walked over and ate her grain while she was eating his. She attacked him again. Didn't want him eating her grain. He walked back around to his original pile and they ate in peace. Day and night they are side-by-side in peace. It's that quantum physics thing that the observer changes things. They get excited and jealous when the ice cream man has treats. The rest of the day they graze together, seldom more than a few feet apart. 




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