Sunday, January 02, 2011

In the donkey world with Cate!

It's been a long time since I had a whole day with Cate in the barn, and it's not like we are joined at the hip on days like that, it's just nice to know she is there and well you will definitely learn something new and do something exciting. I also have never had anybody be that excited to see me as Cate is on the days we work together. We had prior arranged for me to be out one day this week to work with Cate, but weren't sure yet which day, so it seemed like such a big surprise to her to see me there Thursday, when I arrived she was standing at the fence by the office with Sandra chit chatting, well you would have thought she hadn't seen me in weeks, with a great big hug she greeted me and we walked down to the barn. Of course in true Cate style she was bossing ( how she calls it, I call it delegating) us volunteers around as to what to do. In the beginning it was just Lisa and I, so Lisa was cleaning the East side with another new volunteer that joined in a little later, and Cate wanted me to clean out the goat stall, once I picked out the stall, she taught me how to use the rototiller to finish of the goat stall, I bedded it down with some more peat moss and it was as good as new for the donkeys and goats, of course there is always one or two that have to try it out right away. While I was doing that, Cate was taking out the spreader and the deal was when she came back that I would help her with the big round hay bales for the paddocks. First one was easy....the mules, they are so much like horses and as soon as they hear the tractor scatter out of the way and don't really come close until the food is dropped into their feeder, so that was easy. Then it was to feed the big main herd and fill up their two feeders, which means you have to go all the way around and through the big gelding paddock to get to them, lots of gates, lots of donkeys to watch out for and not an easy task. Well we did some donkey wrangling, first got the geldings kind of locked into a smaller part of their paddock, got some of the main herd into another part and had to only deal with maybe 25 donkeys at the feeders, so that was manageable. It took two trips to get all the hay out, and the donkeys were very patient, as it is not always easy to get the netting off. Of course we thought if we fill the far feeder first, the donkeys will stay there and eat and we have peace and quiet with the second feeder...but not the case, some had other ideas. Unlike with the mules my job was also to keep the donkeys that were left in the paddock out of harms way, donkeys don't move when they don't want to, no matter what comes their way, so a big tractor with beeping horns and lots of noise doesn't scare them, so it took some maneuvering on my part to make sure Cate had smooth sailing to the feeders. Of course Juliet had other plans in mind and I find it always very unnerving when she is close by and I have to deal with her. She is such a pretty donkey, but so doesn't know her boundaries with people and is not scared off by anything. After filling up the far feeder, I walked back to the gates to let Cate back out and sure enough Juliet was following me, now that is scary because she has been know at any minute to change her tune and charge at you and she seems to always pick out one person and just goes after that one person, no matter how many others are in with her. Needless to say I was glad when I was at the gate and on the other side of the fence. Cate made sure I was feeling ok, even though my heart was racing I assured her I was fine. I walked down to the barnyard beside the tractor to get the second bale, while waiting for Cate to get it picked up, I saw Juliet making her way into the barn, so it was a little bit of a relief to know she was far away from the feeders. Cate got the bale and I walked back up to the gates to open them, when we got to the main herd paddock who was waiting at the gate? None other that Juliet, so I knew I was the object of her attention today. I really don't want to be afraid of her, but I am thinking better save than sorry.  I shooed her away a little just to let Cate in, I still had to make my way up across the field to the feeder and back down again, so I marched up there, with Juliet in tow, she was not leaving my side and wherever I turned Juliet was right in my face,  needless to say I was glad when that chore was done and we were out of there, all the donkeys were let out of their little lock ups and everybody was happy to have food for their bellies. By noon all the other volunteers had left and it was only Ruth, Cate and I, we talked about the Christmas Open Days and what a huge success they were, and while Cate and Ruth brushed donkeys I went up to the garden paddock to spend some time with Juno. Orly came up with me and as Juno is still rather watching from afar I had some cuddle time with Orly, and was later joined by Summer, because Summer can never have enough attention. Orly was trying to get close to Juno too, would really be nice if those two would bond and Orly would adopt Juno as her daughter, as I am sure she still must miss Pinta. Cate came and joined us in some girl time in the paddock and after a nice hour with the donkey girls in the garden paddock it was time to get back to work, next in order was taking care of Tibet. I really worry about sweet Tibet, she has been on stall rest for so long now, even though she gets out for little walks and some time in her tiny paddock and she is slowly healing, the constant bandaging and her special leg wraps for walking have caused quite some skin irritations on her tiny bad leg and yesterday it was just bleeding, you know how things bleed when you're missing a layer of skin. My job was to wash the scrape all out and trying to stop the bleeding, she was very patient and I washed it out good with some special solution  and we put some powder on it to stop it from bleeding and to keep it dry. She really is such a sweet soul and she sure ravels in the attention she is getting even if it is just to fix her up again, she is so patient and never complains much, she is so appreciative of your time in the stall with her even just to keep her company. Poor little Tibet. Normally I am not that fond of doing anything that includes body fluids, but with the donkeys I have no problem, it doesn't bother me at all that I have to wipe of blood or wipe snotty donkey bugger noses ( I am known to do it even with my sleeve if I don't have a gauze clothes lol), not a problem lol. Later on Cate and I groomed donkeys, filled their mineral buckets and fed everybody, cleaned the barn floor one more time and left for the day. Well that was the plan, we got stuck at the Gelding paddock fence and mingled with the big boys for almost an hour, we talked and talked about everything. It was really a nice picture to look at,  the back neighbour must have one big spot light, that hit the donkeys from there and you could see their silhouettes through the foggy darkness.  By the time we left it was pitch black and really time for us to go. So now it will be again back to hit and miss with seeing Cate and working with her. It sure was a treat and fun like always. And the day just seemed to fly by.


Gloria said...

You had a very busy and enjoyable one. I think it is great that you volunteer to help with all those sweet Donkeys. The Donkeys have such sad eyes.

So sorry to here hear that one of the donkeys is ill. Poor Tibet.

Did you take any pictures of your day? You were probably to busy. That was a LOT of work to take care of all those animals. 30 donkeys ,and how many goats?

Tina said...

Hi Gloria- all together there are 60 donkeys right now, 9 mules, 4 sheep and 3 goats. Lots of fun but lots of work. Thanks for commenting and visiting...yes too busy to take pictures lol maybe next time.

Sharon said...

So nice that you got to work a day with Cate! Aah, that Juliet, I think she is a little stinker! LOL!

Guess it wasn't so cold this time, you didn't mention it, so must have been a pretty decent day!

Have a nice evening!

Tina said...

Well Sharon- Cate had me working so hard in the beginning that I was warm all day long, actually took my coat of too and just had my two thermal undershirts, a big heavy sweater and my downvest on lol...but it wasn't that cold either....but according to my dad if you don't sweat while you work you don't work hard I guess I worked hard lol. Juliet is more than a stinker lol.

Canyon Girl said...

I am so happy for you -- I love donkeys and goats. And how great that you are having fun with your friends there.--Inger