Last week, CeeCee left the following comment for us:

“With 6 donkeys in the family now, could you do a little tutorial on identifying each one. Obviously, Ells is the only redhead, but I struggle to tell them apart in a group photo. I believe that Buck is red, but much darker. The rest leave me wondering.”

While she was here on Sunday, I asked our friend GK if she would help with the tutorial. She was able to point to the Boyz and Gracie and identify them each by name without batting an eyelash, after all. (I was so impressed!)

Here’s Buck and Nigel:

Buck is definitely red, and is darker than Ellsworth.

Ellsworth is bigger than Buck and his face is much whiter:

Nigel is also unmistakable:

Such a strikingly handsome boy.

And here’s Bernard:

Bernard is short and has shorter hair. Most of the time, Bernard will be next to Ellsworth.

Patrick, however:

Patrick is fluffy all over; his body, face, legs, ears. He has the longest mane of all, and has very cute leg stripes:

By the way, I have to say that it really, really touched me when (out of the blue) GK said she was so happy that Patrick was here at Morning Bray Farm. She’s a young lady who’s so wise for her years.

From a distance, I still sometimes confuse Gracie and Bernard. Here’s Gracie and Buck:

Look at Gracie with GK:

GK was right when she pointed out that Gracie’s nose is more wrinkled than Bernard’s:

Gracie’s taller than Bernard and Patrick too:

It’s all relative. Sometimes, it just takes time to see who’s who. ♥ ♥

October 2011

The surprise and cuteness of Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe… and Juan:

 The privilege of watching this magnificent creature stand for the first time:

Welcoming our loveable and huggable Buck to Morning Bray Farm:

November 2011

The joy of Nigel’s monumental moment. At long last:

Watching Buck sleep-drool:

I think this was one of your favorites:

December 2011

The teamwork required to carry the heaviest traffic cone in the history of the world:

The happiness of having a cohesive and content herd:

Being grateful for the unexpected love and laughter they all bring to us each and every day:

Priceless. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Dear Fergus,

We promised we would take care of Nigel when you left us, and want to thank you for being here when Nigel had his feet trimmed for the first time yesterday.

Nigel was so brave, but he was incredibly frightened. I know you were here because you heard my little prayer to you… “Dear Fergus, Please be here to help Nigel right now.”

Nigel shook like a leaf and made the first sound we’ve ever heard out of him.

We were all thinking about you, Fergus. Daddy told me afterwards that for reasons he couldn’t understand, he kept whispering your name in Nigel’s ear.

Unlike you the first time you had your feet trimmed, Nigel never really tried to kick Daddy or Shorty. Instead of kicking when Shorty went to work on his back feet, Nigel kept sitting down. 

That was okay, though. With his gentle voice and patient hands, Shorty got all four feet trimmed.

I cried. It was everything I could do not to completely sob.

We will always miss you and love you, Fergus. And we will always take care of and love Nigel. We still promise.


Mommy and Daddy

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is definitely a monumental moment. It was 1 year, 6 months, 27 days in the making*.

Nigel wore a halter for the first time yesterday.

There was a lot of Happy Dancing going on here; Nigel included:

As most of you know, Nigel was quite wild and completely untouchable when he came to us in April 2010, and it took almost five months for us to touch him. He’s always had a “thing” about ropes; the mere sight of a rope has always sent him into a bit of a panic.

We knew we had to let Nigel do things on his own terms in his own time. When I finally got the halter on him yesterday morning, he was completely calm. I was so happy.

Once Nigel discovered the halter wasn’t going to prevent him from eating, he was a seriously happy camper.

*In case you’re wondering, I didn’t count out the days and months. Of course, there’s a website that calculates the time between dates:

From and including: Friday, April 16, 2010

To, but not including : Saturday, November 12, 2011

It is 575 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 1 year, 6 months, 27 days excluding the end date

Alternative time units

575 days can be converted to one of these units:

  • 49,680,000 seconds
  • 828,000 minutes
  • 13,800 hours
  • 82 weeks (rounded down)

I love you, Nigel.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Something so exciting happened here on Wednesday evening that I just had to tweet about it. 

Morning Bray Farm

@MorningBrayFarm Morning Bray Farm
SO excited. Big breakthrough with Nigel. He’s discovered he LOVES having the inside of his ears rubbed. He’s actually asking to be touched. 

I’m not sure how it happened, but Nigel was totally okay with it when I started rubbing inside his ears.  Actually, he was much more than okay with it.

When I stopped, he approached me so I could rub his ears some more.

And getting this close to his face with mine?  Never would have happened before. I admit I shed a tear when he allowed me to kiss his face.

And, if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, check out Miss Gracie Belle. Yesterday was her three-week anniversary at Morning Bray Farm.

And Patrick… taking after Bernard with his mischief.

Oh, how we love them all. ♥

We’ve had a wonderful week of firsts at Morning Bray Farm.

On Saturday, Ellsworth rode with his new headstall, bit and reins for the first time. One day later, Patrick was wearing his first fly mask and loving it. Then, on Monday, Ellsworth and I had our first riding lesson together. We even got him ever so briefly up to a trot.

Despite all of the excitement and activity here, Don and I always make it a point to spend time with every one of our critters every day… even if just for a few one-on-one uninterrupted minutes.

For the very first time on Tuesday, Nigel let me really brush him. We’ve brushed him before, but he never allowed us to brush him for more than a few minutes… and definitely not all over. 

This time, Nigel allowed me to brush him until the comb ran cleanly through his hair… about 20 minutes. We took a medium-sized dog’s worth of hair from him.

I throw the boys’ hair over the fence so that the birds can nest with it, and so Bernard doesn’ t eat it.

Yesterday, Nigel graduated to a dandy brush and the FURminator. Again, he stood quietly while I brushed and brushed and brushed him.

It looks like he has a gorgeous black coat underneath all of his old, dirty hair.

Being that Nigel is four years old this year and this is the first time he’s accepting regular grooming, we can’t wait to see what the boy underneath really looks like.

Beautiful, for sure. ♥ ♥ ♥