Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another one of those Donkey Stories.

Just when you thought we'd get through another pivotal land event without an overly detailed story........

In all honesty, there is little to report. I mean, unless you consider the evening we spent on a ranch in Fredricksburg where the donkeys used to reside (hill country in full bloom. along the banks of a magnificent river. sunset and wine. a palomino horse and a pasture of belted galloway cattle. just your average Sunday evening, the details of which I will not bore you with. sniff). And also, there was the whole loading of the animals ordeal which was less of an ordeal and more of a 15 minute variety show starring Jeremy, the donkey's owner, a bag of sunflower seeds and three tiny, obese donkeys in a small chute. Imagine the most stubborn creatures on earth faced with the reality of their diminutive stature and 5 large humans. They still managed to turn their backs to the trailer in a tiny shoot as if saying "No. No. Nope. no. Don't think so. I am magnificent and you are insulting me. No." Needless to say, they each eventually had to be lifted into the trailer as they refused to cooperate, and it was humiliating for them.

We released the minis into our round pen and each leapt gracefully (read: sarcasm) from the trailer. As soon as their hooves hit the ground they looked up to see Boo (Boo is punctual. For everything.) staring at them through the fence. In apparent shock, the leader of the mini pack (Fiona) let loose a banshee scream. This was not your average hee-haw. Actually, it was a heeeeee with no haw. And it was terrible. This set Boo off with his gasping, not-as-yet-defined hee haw, and the other girls (including Chula) all chimed in. Jeremy and I covered our ears and hoped for the best.

For one day they lived in our round pen in order to safely acclimate to their new home. This provided an opportunity for all 8 bottoms to be sniffed by all 8 noses, an awe-inspiring display that is definitely not worth discussing further. After a full 24 hours in the pen I released them onto the land expecting frightened and timid behavior but getting, er, the opposite. They were off like chubby race donkeys. They galloped past the hay ring, down the hill and through the main pasture, bellies flopping and tiny tails flying behind them.

Eventually, they bumped into our scrappy herd near the pond and Boo's excitement, impressively contained for a FULL 24 hours, overcame him. You must remember that Boo came to us as a wobbly 2 month old and his social encounters, beyond his mother, his People, and the cows - are few. Therefore - Boo was incapable of "handling" himself which means that in his overzealous attempts to make friends, he scared the crap out of the minis. His approach to friendmaking is to first stalk the potential friend, hurdle himself at top speed directly towards the potential friend and then skid to a sideways stop in their face. When the potential friend kicks him in the face, banshee screams, and runs - Boo takes the obvious next step towards successful friendmaking. He repeats the initial approach. So there it went for approximately one hour. Gallop, skid, stare, kick, scream. Repeat. I was lucky to catch a series of these attempts throughout the afternoon. Once again, the damn donkeys teach us a lesson: Don't come on too strong in any situation. Like, really. Don't. No one ever likes it.

Today I was more hopeful that this all might work out. I think the donkeys reached an agreement overnight and there seemed to be some understanding between all 5 of them. Boo no longer forced his friendship down their throats and they no longer tried to kick his face off every time he approached. Even Chula was brave enough to sniff a few bottoms before tucking tail and running away. And the minis are, just as I expected, feeling like they owned the place before they even arrived. Something akin to a donkey version of the Napoleon complex.

One final note: our good buddy Jeff, self-proclaimed arborist, geologist, and naturalist, finally paid a visit to the land. After literally scaling trees and handling untouchable objects, Jeff's given us a comprehensive list of what the heck's growing out there; what to help flourish and what could seriously maim us. For example: all that poison ivy we've been so scared of is just Virginia Creeper. And all those rattlesnakes we've been avoiding are nothing compared to, as we now know, the dreaded water moccasin which will, according to Jeff, literally grow legs and chase you, find where you sleep at night, and bite you with fangs that are infested with bacteria from all the "dead sh*t they eat." Jeff, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming out. We give you first dibs on the property which is, obviously, now on the market.

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