Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Shelby Shivers

Donkeys are hardy creatures.  They can withstand much by way of harsh climate and conditions ~ unless they are cold and wet.  Their coat is unlike most, in that it does not shed water like a raincoat.  So, to add water to their furry thickness is a miserable combination at best.

With little neonate beside Roux, her Momma settled in her pen the first night of her life, we were content that the pseudo windbreak made in advance of the winter weather would keep everyone fairly comfortable, especially since they were under cover.  

Imagine my surprise, when, arriving to feed this morning, I found Shelby shivering.

Her coat is not a heavy as Roux's, nor does she have the added benefit of hormones coursing through her system post-partum.  Her hindquarters shook in the chilly air, and I tossed her extra hay to get her engine going strong.

Late afternoon, after 24 hours of freezing temps, the newest member of the family was now shivering.  I decided to add windbreak to all sides, including Shelby's ~ it worked.  By the time I was finished, I could feel the temperature rise in the 24 square foot of space they shared.

Yet, as the rains began to fall, and night closed in, the knowledge that the cold would continue began to concern me.  What if it wasn't enough?  I decided an exploration expedition was necessary.  Driving up in the dark, working by flashlight, I checked everyone.

NO SHIVERING!  Shelby was amazingly calm; Roux and baby settled and warm.  

 I was empowered by the powerful boost plywood and a couple tarps gave the lovely creatures.

Tomorrow is promised warmer weather - and I hope that by tomorrow I've decided on the little one's new name.  Stay tuned.  It's been tough choosing.  :)

Monday, March 03, 2014

A Bray-ve New World

It was a weekend of final plans and procedures put into place, preparing us for the arrival of two new inhabitants of Silver Oak Farm.

The decision had been made to employ the donkeys for Chicken Patrol.  These two lovelies, which we'd named Roux (because Gil is Cajun) and Shelby (because Keller said so) had already taken post with goats and cattle.  Knowing how intelligent and quickly they learn set my mind at ease that I could transition them to bird stock easily, if I played my cards right.

Roux is the gentler, friendlier one of the bunch:

She was also the more pregnant one.  The knowledge she was expecting was a boon in my eyes, as it meant that a babe could be raised with birds from the get-go, and be fully integrated with them by the time she (or he) came of weaning age.

The trip to retrieve them wasn't wrought with peril, but it sure was full of delays and deterrents.  We arrived just before dusk, and the seller aided in the loading of these two with a bit of a struggle.  Donkeys will freeze when they are fearful, which gives them their infamy of being stubborn.  The little two-horse trailer was unknown to them, and they just. weren't. sure. about all the fuss concerning a cross country ride.

The late arrival home led to the decision to leave them trailered overnight, rather than release them to a strange new field in the dark.  I was a tad suspect that Roux was soon to deliver; and somewhat in the know that a trip such as this might just send her into labor just because of the stress.

Through the night, the sound of Shelby and Roux jostling the trailer would ring out.  That would set off the gobblers, and soon the quiet night would be filled with a moment of noise, and settle once again.

Nine o'clock.
Three a.m.

Enough sleep had been slept that the Five A.M. jostle awoke Gil.  He gingerly went outside to speak to the two newcomers.  All was well within the little trailer for two.

Seven a.m. gave way to a rhythmic kicking against the trailer door.  The sublty was enough to allow me ample time to make a cup of coffee, but present enough to cause me great curiosity.  With the brew almost complete, I stole away into the cold morning air.

Donkey ears greeted me through the window.  I spoke in low, reassuring, welcoming tones, and hoisted myself up the back wheel.  Roux was saying hello herself, and Shelby, ever the timid one, was curious only to gaze my way . . . but I soon understood that Shelby really felt like she was in the way, for there, just below me, was a jet black little baby burro the size of a Great Dane dog.

I squealed and ran inside to get Gil.  Strawberries and apples were the celebration on tap for the new mom, season though she was at the task.

In the blink of an eye, the entire day shifted.  No longer a plan to release to pasture - the cold front had a tail on it that reached right down to the Coast, and it was threatening to drop us into the teens this nearly-spring-night.  So, shelter had to be secured.  No better place than the framework of the barn at Silver Oak.

The task was a joy, although time consuming.  At several junctures, checks on the now motley crew of three net the knowledge that the little trailer was a true benefit, as windchill was kept off of the little one, now learning to nurse.  The body heat of the two adults filled the makeshift travel stall to a very warm temperature, perfect for incubating baby as she gained her strength.

With plenty of daylight left, we were able to move everyone to a secure place for the night.

There is much training to be done - young and old alike - but given the special birthday event, I think we will celebrate with nuzzles and scratches for awhile.  :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Time To Begin!

Just prior to the GilGuy having met me, he was influenced in an energizing sort of way by a then-popular song.  The chorus shouted out in staccato fashion:  "Get up!  Get up!  Put the body in motion!"

So he did . . . and before long, we were phone dating, and wouldn't you know it?  He was driving outside of his self-imposed 50 mile radius to meet up with me every other weekend or so.

We've had many catch-phrases as way-markers in this journey of ours, each significant in it's own right . . . and vital, too - because honestly, dahling!  [spoken in my best faux British accent] "Would you care for a pork Rrrrrind??"

Pork rinds are the very sustenance of life!  LOL

Okay, not really.  But they are yummy.  :)

Every once in awhile, we come across an event/happening/catch phrase that defines the season we are in.  It just so happens, that at the close of 2012, Gil found a great indie band, local to us, who happen to be going places . . . and wrote a song befitting their new record label signing:  Time To Begin.  Rosco Bandana took up a resident place in our hearts, and soon the great rocakbilly-pop-indie sound filled out house many times a day.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the motion this little tune brought to our semi-stalled-out building project.  Yet, I am thankful for that song, as it has nudged us enough to get the ball rolling in earnest again.

That, my friends, makes my heart happy.  :)
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