Country Mouse

I find winter to be the best time to do mending. Maybe because there’s less to do outside and I can focus on socks and shirts with holes or a rip in my favorite quilt. To mend socks, you can use a small wooden darning egg or my method- a rubber band ball (use leftover rubber bands to create your own). Push either one of these into the sock toe. Special thread for darning is a good choice. But sometimes I just use whatever thread I have on hand…even if the color doesn’t match. Mending leaves behind a reminder that with some repair many things, even my quilt (above), can be serviceable again.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

On The Farm- Donkey Updates

Dusty (age 1  1/2 years)– Two weeks ago I went out to the barn to do morning chores and the smell of skunk was overpowering. At first I thought it was a dead skunk somewhere inside the structure but after searching I couldn’t find anything. Then I went out in the paddock and Dusty came to greet me. He reeked of skunk!! I called my vet and unless I wanted the challenge of bathing him there wasn’t anything I could do but wait for the smell to go away. The other donkeys don’t mind that Dusty stinks…just me.

Audrey (2 years)– I’ve been doing a lot more clicker training with her. Audrey can now lift small traffic cones and deposit them in a basket. She’s one smart donkey.

Beatrice (10 years) & Cece (25-30 years)– These two had to be sedated for their last visit from the hoof farrier. And even after being sedated it was difficult for the farrier to work on them. This is the reality of dealing with rescue donkeys. Both Beatrice and Cece continue to have long term behavioral issues.

(Photos- Martha Browne)

A Summer Break


This is just to let you know I’ll be taking time off from the blog while we work on our old farmhouse. Posting will resume Monday, July 23.

Warm regards,





(Photo- Martha Browne)

Decorating Our Farmhouse

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.

On The Farm- Hoof Care

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)

On The Farm- Dusty Gets Gelded

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)