On The Farm- Dressing For Work

We all have romanticized images of farm life.You know…the fashionable woman from Vogue holding a pitchfork with nary a stain or rip in her attire. Well, you can forget that. The reality is this. I get up at 6 am with bed hair. While still half asleep, I put on a pair of beat-up old jeans, cotton shirt, sweat jacket and wool socks. Just as I’m heading out the back door, I manage to slip my feet into black muck boots. For morning chores (the next two and half hours) I work feeding the donkeys, brushing them, doing their hoofs and cleaning up a whole lot of manure. There’s no way anyone can do that in a pair of stiletto heels. :)

(Photo- Italian Vogue)

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On The Farm- Meet Our Donkeys: Cece, Beatrice, Audrey & Dusty

On The Farm- Meet Dusty

Dusty is our youngest donkey (just over a month old) and very high-spirited. He spends his time running, jumping and kicking until he’s finally exhausted. Then he collapses onto the nearest dirt pile and falls asleep. He’s absolutely still except for the occasional swish of his tail batting the flies away.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

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On The Farm- It’s Hard

As a novice farmer, last week was hard. I scheduled visits from both the vet and the farrier, who clips donkey hoofs. Tuesday, the vet came to check our trio of female donkeys and draw blood from the oldest named Cece. That crazy donkey knew something was up. She resisted putting on her halter and lead rope. After some coaxing with carrot treats she was persuaded. But the moment the needle went into her neck…she exploded. She ran around me while I held onto the lead. The needle fell to the ground. Cece was finished and so was I.

While the vet was packing up, I mentioned that the farrier was coming the next day. She suggested a low dosage of sedative for both Cece and Beatrice. An hour before the farrier came, I gave the two donkeys their sedatives. It didn’t take long for it to take effect. They could barely stand. The farrier began to work on Beatrice’s hoofs and, with some minor kicks, was able to accomplish his task. Then came Cece. She was drugged enough to fall over but somehow had enough where-with-all to snort and kick. There was no way he could trim her without being hurt. Meanwhile, almost a year old Audrey was watching how “proper” adult donkeys behave. And even though she had let him clip her hoofs, problems started up. By Friday, Audrey wouldn’t even let me clean them, and instead gave me a few warning kicks. Doing her hoofs had never been an issue before! After that, I came in the house, threw myself on the bed and cried.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

On The Farm- Audrey The Explorer

While Cece and Beatrice prefer to quietly graze, Audrey likes to explore the woods behind our barn. We can’t see what she’s doing, but we can hear her running through the leaves creating her own paths. Audrey’s latest antic is digging. Usually she does this at night and leaves her treasure by the back gate. The loot consists of broken branches, bark with the occasional scraps of paper or plastic bags. One morning I was up early and saw Audrey coming from the woods with something big in her mouth. At first I thought it was a plant with roots. As she got closer, it turned out to be a piece of shag carpet.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

On The Farm- Meet Audrey

Where Beatrice is an aloof donkey, her eight month old foal, Audrey, is the complete antithesis of that. She’s affectionate, not to mention very curious and full of energy. Audrey has never experienced physical abuse like her mother so she’s trusting of people…except for maybe the farrier. She’s not too keen letting him clip her hoofs.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

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On The Farm- Meet Beatrice

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On The Farm- Meet Beatrice

beatricerescuedonkey-optOut of our three donkeys, nine year old Beatrice is the most difficult to handle. As with animals that have been abused, she carries with her emotional and physical scars. Beatrice was at some point starved. Food is now a HUGE issue. She was also mistreated. This has left her overly fearful and cautious. Taking on a rescue donkey like her is risky. Will Beatrice recover? I honestly don’t know.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

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