Thank you to our dear friend, Carson for helping us to remember Ellsworth.

Music is The Story of My Life by the Piano Guys. 

Much to our delight, Don’s sister Debbie visited us over the weekend. Not surprisingly, things got rather gooberific here when the herd discovered Deb had brought freshly baked Paco treats with her.

They certainly have mastered their goober faces now, haven’t they?

From left to right: Ellsworth, Bernard, Nigel, Grace, Buck, Patrick.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The herd is doing extremely well in their new forever home.

They seem genuinely content here, and I think their unobstructed view of the surrounding countryside has a lot to do with it. (We were surrounded by woods in Lexington.) The Boyz and Grace get plenty of exercise walking their hills, and everyone is at a great weight.

MBF Donks

One morning a couple of weeks ago though, I went out to find Bernard in terrible pain. His chest was raw, swollen and hot. I immediately called our vet, who came to see him that very day.

Her exam revealed the following:

Skin disease; lameness: severe pyoderma in axillas, moist dermatitis, cellulitis: T: 99.4; fly bite allergy front legs distally and RH distally; donkey lame at walk from irritation in axillas and swelling in manubrium.

Poor Bernard!

Bernard's meds

While she was here, the vet administered Bernard dexamethasone IV and applied EquiShield ointment to the affected areas on his body. He was such a good boy and I think he felt better almost immediately. You know he loved the attention.

Bernard’s plan:

Give sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim 8 tabs twice daily for 5-7 days. Monitor for diarrhea. Give dexamethasone 2.5 cc orally tomorrow then 2 cc orally once daily for 2 days. Apply EquiShield ointment to affected skin 1-2 times a day. Can shampoo 2-3 times a week to clean affected skin of scabs. Use fan to reduce fly exposure. Start Zyrtec 4-5 tabs twice daily for 2-3 weeks.

We’re happy to report that Bernard is doing fabulously now. He’s a huge fan of Zyrtec these days, especially because it comes hidden in apple slices each morning and evening.

We’ve installed a fan up at the barn, and more than any of the other donkeys, we’re guaranteed to find Bernard standing under it when he wants to seek refuge from the flies. That’s my smart, smart boy.

Walking with Bernard

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We’ve been here for six weeks and it has felt like home since day one.

First day

We now have a porch goat:

Moo on her porch

Rain or shine, the gardens are lovely:

Garden after the rain

The herd has the farm’s best view:

Our first rainbow

Our snail races are exciting:

Snail races

Mornings are my favorite:

Morning


MBF Herd1

MBF Herd2

As you might imagine, it’s considerably more humid here than it is back in Albuquerque. And while everyone is shedding out quite nicely right now, Patrick not so much.

With as much sweating as he’s been doing, we figured it’d be best to trim him for the summer.

Patrick1

We pulled the clippers out on Saturday afternoon with the honorable intent of giving woolly Patty Pat Pat a full-body shave.

Yeah, not so much.

Patrick2

Poor Patrick panicked at the sound of the clippers. Try as we might to comfort him, his terrified moments quickly outnumbered his calm ones. I have to assume that Patrick is more apt to panic than anyone else in the herd because of his past abuse. (Patrick is also the only one to freak when Harriet wears her blue coat.)

Patrick3

He even did the unprecedented “try to kick Daddy in the head” a couple of times. That’s probably because Don threatened to shave D-O-N into Patrick’s side.

Patrick4

You can see how much little we managed to get shaved. I suppose it’s enough to let Patrick feel at least a bit cooler over the next couple of months.

Patrick5

Shaving him has allowed us to see Patrick’s brand for the first time though.

Patrick6

The man who used to rope Patrick told Don that his brand was similar to the symbol for hazardous materials. (I couldn’t believe it either.)

hazmat-symbol

Patrick7

I’m going to see it as a shamrock instead.

Shamrock

After all, wonderful things can come in threes, right?

Grace Patrick Harriet

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The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. (This is especially true for Bernard, who when he sees me opening a gate, is the first one to come galloping for inspection.)

Pasture

Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve been working with the herd on the ins and outs of electric fences. I’ve heard of this working well for horses, but had serious concerns about it working with donkeys, who absolutely have minds of their own.

You can tell a horse what to do, but you have to negotiate with a donkey.    ~Elizabeth Svendsen

We started by running an electric rope in our permanently fenced pasture, then moved it to an area protected by the woods outside of that pasture, and finally last week moved it to our largest pasture area, which is open. They have a good line of sight here, so if they wanted to bolt, this is where they’d do it.

It all starts with this spool of rope:

Pasture2

Which we pull out to the distance needed:

Pasture3

And string it along these posts which we push into the ground:

Pasture4

This allows the herd an even larger (and new!) grazing area. The area that they’re standing in here is the pasture area defined by the electric fence; the area to the right of the wood post fence line is their permanent pasture:

Pasture5

This is where the electric current comes in (clipped into the electric wire that runs along the top of our permanent fence):

Pasture6

I have to admit it wasn’t pleasant watching them learn that touching the white rope wasn’t a good thing. I know it hurts; I’ve touched it.

But now that they know it and respect it, they’re happy. Doesn’t Patrick look happy?

Pasture7

I think Bernard (in the background behind Buck) looks pretty content too:

Pasture8

 ♥

 

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?

♥ ♥ ♥

Harriet and Bernard