Summer is in full swing at Moose River Farm. The hectic school/barn schedule has been replaced by a slower all-barn-all-the-time routine. And I am loving every minute of it. The day is full of horse related activities. However, there are other animals who catch my attention through subtle communications that insist I wrap my arms around their necks and lavish them with undivided attention. Ah, this wonderful life lived among such fascinating creatures; so much like me and so different at the same time.
This is our donkeys' first summer in the Adirondacks. Now that Frankie has been gelded, his aggressive behavior continues to ebb each day. Bing is finally able to relax without his brother pestering every time the mood rises.
A donkey day is full of all kinds of adventures explored between long intervals of grazing. Bing and Frankie roam our property freely, choosing where they want to be. The day begins before 7 am after breakfast which consists of two small horse treats. The first order of business after exiting their stall is to roll in the sandy driveway. Donkeys tend to this task with much more exuberance than horses do. They roll over and over, back and forth, preferring to do so in the other's body print left behind in the sand. Its not uncommon for them to pee in the same spot as well, much like two male dogs trying to have the last territorial 'word' before moving off to begin a different activity.
Bing and Frankie are never far from the barn. Frequently, they seek shelter in the cool interior of the goat stall. By mid-afternoon quite a crowd is assembled in there including the three goats; all seeking refuge from the sweltering heat and annoying bugs. The whir from a single box fan provides background noise while the little herd patiently waits for evening to descend, bringing relief from the stifling air.
The donks keep themselves well hydrated throughout the day by plunging muzzles into the nearest automatic water troughs. Like kids at a drinking fountain, they take turns slurping deeply. Occasionally, they squeeze their mouths into a bowl at the same time, draining all the water before the mechanism has a chance to refill. These cooperative efforts are always a pleasure to witness. Although the donkeys do wrestle and bite each other during periods of play, I have never thought that it was mean spirited. In fact as Frank's 'stud' behavior dissipates, a more considerate demeanor is emerging. Each day that goes by sends memories of demonic Frankie farther into the past.
In late afternoon Frankie and Bing return to their stall for horse treats, a belly-filling pile of hay and some much needed rest. "Sweet dreams, little boys, see you in the morning."
The following photos provide just a sample of a donkey day full of enrichment and social interactions. Enjoy!
Photos by Michele deCamp
|Long ears swivel and focus so that a donk can keep track of what's going on.|
|Fiona and Frankie share a bit of gossip...|
|...along our daily walk.|
|Fiona is in the process of shedding her long winter bristles.|
|Our new horse, Gatsby, is introduced to Fiona and the donks.|
|"My what big ears you have."|
|♪ Grazin' in the grass is a gas, baby can you dig it. ♪ ♫|
|Bing and Spirit exchange greetings.|
|May you all enjoy the same peace, adventure and joy of a 'donkey day'.|