A Brief History– Our simple farmhouse first showed up on census map in the 1840s but most likely it’s older than that. We’re pretty sure it was built in the 1700s with one room and a single fireplace. As the family grew, so did the house. Then, at some point in time and for some unknown reason, they abandoned the house. In the mid 1900s, old timers tell us the house served as a funeral home. The two front rooms made space for the overflow of mourners. Then that too ended and the house sat empty again. In 1986 the property was sold to make way for a gas station. The house, however, was saved from the wrecking ball by a single woman. She bought it, had it loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved it three miles to its current location. For the next thirty years she used the house for herself and as a rental until our arrival in 2015.
1. Side porch was enclosed and is now the master bath.
2. There was a third fireplace in the keeping room that was removed in 1986. This space was converted into the master bedroom.
3. A window (not shown) was added here by the last owner to lighten a very dark interior. For a short time the room served as a kitchen.
4. Living room & dining room fireplaces and windows were still intact although a few panes were broken.
5. No front porch existed in the early 1800s.
6. Shutters were removed some time after 1860 with the addition of the porch.
Hoof care is important for donkeys. Picture the animal as a house and the hoofs as its foundation. If the foundation is faulty and crumbling, then the house will eventually develop structural problems. A lack of hoof maintenance is similar. It can lead to all kinds of complications.
In her previous life, our donkey Cece had minimal care…if any. And her hoofs were a disaster. The whole year she’s been here, she wouldn’t let me go near them. Finally I had the vet come and sedate her. Cece was still able to stand while Bill, the farrier, worked on her. But it will take several visits from him to get the hoofs back to where they should be. We’re off to a good start though.
(Photo- Martha Browne)
The donkeys have been with us for just over a year. And what a year! We’ve had our good days and bad days but overall Beatrice, Audrey, Dusty and Cece have become a joyful part of our family. Life wouldn’t be the same without them.
(Photo- Martha Browne)
Gelding Dusty was an important issue for him…and for me. I have three female donkeys and to have an ungelded male with them meant trouble. My biggest concern was that he could get them all pregnant. Also, Dusty is such a sweet natured donkey and gelding would help him to remain that way. So last week I made arrangements with my mobile vet to come and do it.
The vet tech above preps a sedated Dusty for surgery. She tied a rope around his back leg in order to lift it up and keep it out of the way during the procedure. A towel was placed over Dusty’s face to keep flies away. She would check his pupils often to see if he was coming to. There was a portal in his neck to add medication as needed.
(Photo- Martha Browne)
It’s been over two years since we made the move south and I still miss our last house. How long does it take to feel at home in a new place?
(Photo of the front porch of our previous house, 2015- Martha Browne)
Several of you inquired about the donkeys and how they’re doing.
Beatrice– She’s made major improvements in letting me touch her. The back hoofs are still off limits, though.
Cece– Poor girl. She’s had a rough few months after delivering Dusty. Her health declined and she was agitated most of the time. One evening while putting her hay down, she reached out and bit me in the shoulder. I called Barbara and we discussed what to do. Cece has now been on an increased diet of hay, supplements and vitamins. Her health has gotten better and because of that…her mood is better, too.
Audrey– She has a lot of energy and needs to have some sort of purpose. I had started clicker training (more on this later) but her lessons slowed down after Dusty was born. She became bored and started girdling a tree in the paddock. The tree trunk is now covered in a tarp…much to Audrey’s disappointment.
Dusty– He’s growing up fast. Although he gets a lot of his nourishment from nursing, Dusty began eating out of Cece’s morning feed bucket. He now has one of his own which makes him feel like a big donkey.
Curtis says goodbye to the donkeys (left to right)- Audrey, Dusty, Cece & Beatrice.
(Photos- Martha Browne)
Person- Portrait of Curtis, age 21.
Place- The view on Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina.
Thing- An isolated tornado ripped through our area bringing down a hundred trees. Audrey inspects the massive root ball of one tree that fell behind our barn.
(Photos right- Martha Browne. Photo left- Scott Browne)