It was yesterday afternoon. A spring thunderstorm had just passed through, the sun was shining again. It was time for Harriet’s afternoon alfalfa cubes and I ventured down to the barn.

I was attempting to move one of the donkey feeders and let me tell you… it’s slicker than snot on these here hills after a good rain and, well, I fell flat on my face in the mud and manure.

I was shocked. And I laughed.

I don’t know why, but I took a picture with my phone. Maybe it’s because Don wasn’t here and I wanted to show him photographic proof of my rite of passage. The only thing is, I apparently don’t know how to take a proper selfie. Here’s what I got:

donkey concern

Yup, that’s my hand. Covered in mud and poop.

But look at this:

Ellsworth

I laughed again when I saw it up close. My beautiful boy Ellsworth, worried about his mamma after she fell down.

How can you not love donkeys?

♥ ♥ ♥

Bernard and Harriet1

Bernard and Harriet2

Bernard and Harriet3

Bernard and Harriet4

Bernard and Harriet5

Bernard and Harriet6

Bernard and Harriet7

Bernard and Harriet8

Bernard.

♥ ♥ ♥

It was Thursday evening and I arrived home just as the sun was setting.

I found seven donkeys playing, grabbed my camera, and jumped out of my truck as fast as I could.

Joy to my heart. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Beautiful Harriet has been with us for a little over a week now.

Harriet9

Not a lot is known about her history, but her rescuers think hers was more a case of neglect than one of abuse.

Harriet1

Don and I are certain that Harriet hasn’t spent much, if any, time around other donkeys. She spent her first couple days here seemingly terrified of letting any of the herd get near her.

Harriet3

Harriet7

Despite that everyone was eager to make her acquaintance…

Harriet6

She much preferred spending time with Don or me.

Harriet2

On Christmas morning she decided to join the herd for breakfast. This was huge step in the right direction for her.

Harriet

As herd leader, Ellsworth has been particularly interested in Harriet.

Ellsworth and Harriet

After getting over their initial differences, they’re now seeing how much they have in common.

Ellsworth and Harriet

Ellsworth and Harriet2

Ellsworth and Harriet3

♥ ♥ ♥

After recently seeing a video that showed the reaction of donkeys watching a donkey bray on YouTube, we had to try it here at Morning Bray Farm.

We give you Donkeys Watching Donkeys Watching YouTube:


My observations:

  1. Gracie (herd matriarch) was the first to react. Buck immediately went to comfort her, and even gave her a hug.
  2. Nigel was silently freaked out by the braying coming from the “box”.
  3. Ellsworth seemed distressed. This was his something’s wrong bray.
  4. Bernard was completely unfazed. I wonder why he was the only one.
  5. Donkey behavior is fascinating.

We don’t know why they do it, nor do we understand when they do it. If you stand next to the barn on any summer afternoon here, you feel like you’re standing next to a furnace. The hotter it is, the more likely they are to do it.

It’s what we call the daily lineup.

When it was the Fabulous Four, they’d stand in the same order every afternoon, each always facing in the same direction.

Here’s the lineup from yesterday:

Those remaining from the Fabulous Four continue to be creatures of habit. Ellsworth (Happy) still stands at the north end of the barn, always facing north. And Nigel (Bashful) generally still stands at the south end of the barn, also always facing north. Bernard (Dopey) is always somewhere between, always facing south. Being a creature of habit myself, I’d be with this group if I chose to take part in the daily lineup.

These last few days, I haven’t been able to take a picture of Bernard in the lineup before he sees me and is on the move. (He’s been feeling very needy lately.)

The rest of the herd, not so much. Patrick (Doc), Gracie (Snow White) and Buck (Sneezy) aren’t particular about where they are in the lineup, or which direction they’re facing. If Don decided that he’d like to bake by the barn with the Boyz and Gracie, he’d be with this group.

September 2011 lineup:

The monsoon rains have left us with large cesspools in the corral these last couple of weeks. To rectify our putrid pools of water problem, Don had 13 tons of crusher fines delivered over the weekend.

After the delivery, Buck was our one brave boy:

Judging by everyone else’s reaction though, you would’ve thought the dump truck had left us with 13 tons of slithering snakes:

Run for your lives!

Ellsworth: Patrick, do you think we’re making a mountain out of a molehill?

It took a little while, but everyone finally gathered the courage to explore the mound left in the middle of the corral:

Surprisingly, Dennis the Menace Bernard was the last to work up his nerve:

Ellsworth meanwhile decided that digging in the pile would be fun:

And Patrick came over to say hello:


He looks so handsome all slicked out:


Fear of the crusher fine molehill was eventually replaced with a King of the Mountain complex. Ellsworth decided that it was his mountain and he didn’t wish to share it with anyone:

And general chaos ensued:

And then? And then it was lunchtime, and the mountain made out of a molehill was forgotten:

All’s well that ends well. ♥

Yesterday was the first time in a very long while that I saw the Boyz in their daily lineup. I’m pretty sure it was the first time since Fergus died.

I quickly snapped a picture and rushed into the house to download the image from my camera. It had been so long, I couldn’t remember in what order and which direction everyone usually stood.

Here’s the original lineup. I took this picture in October, 2010:

Here’s a picture of the Boyz from April this year:

And here’s the lineup I saw yesterday:

♥ ♥ ♥

Each time we’ve brought someone new into the herd, it happens. It happened with Fergus and Nigel, with Patrick, and now with Gracie Belle. The Boyz shun the newcomer away from the feed tub, and sometimes, they can be downright mean about it.

I worry and fret, and Don reminds me they just need time to figure things out.

Gracie came to us on Thursday afternoon. She didn’t have the slightest interest in food on Friday. On Saturday, she finally started eating, and I was so relieved.

Last night, things were different. Instead of being relegated to the feed tub set out separately for her, Gracie managed to turn the tables on the Boyz and had four big, strong manly men eating out of a teensy, weensy tub.

Look who’s large and in charge now, Boyz.


Little Miss Gracie Belle. Yee-haw.

You might recall from last October that the boys line up next to the barn for a stand up siesta every afternoon. You might also recall that most of the time, they do it  in the same order and same direction.

Ellsworth on the left facing north. Bernard to Ellsworth’s south, facing south. Fergus to Bernard’s south, facing north. Nigel to Fergus’s south, facing north.

They still do it, but there’s one notable change to the lineup now. ♥ ♥ ♥