At the back of the pond in our neighborhood's common area is a fairly narrow strip of woods. It's wide enough to let Rosie off-leash, out of sight of ducks and bylaw-waving neighbors, but small enough to see daylight through the trunks.
On the other side is a large field, broken by lines of trees, and seasonally occupied by a herd of beef cattle.
|Larry, Curly and Moo|
Cows intimidate me, especially these large beefy specimens, but I've recently started taking more of an active interest in the denizens of this field. Perhaps you can guess why?
|Which of these is not like the others?|
Those of you who read the blogs from the 7MSN Ranch and Morning Bray Farm have an unfair advantage. Especially if you've noticed any of my comments regarding a couple of dark-eyed boys named Alan and Nigel.
Yup, living alongside these placid bovines is a sweet-faced little equine.
(Unfortunately for me, the field is on the west side of the woods, so I've had to adjust contrast and brightness on these photos in the computer.) I think this donkey is actually the second to be put in with this herd; there was a gray one until a year or so ago, but I haven't seen it since this beautiful black beauty showed up.
For lack of a better idea, I've been calling her Jenny, waiting for something more inspiring to strike me. Last weekend, she came close enough to the fenceline to stretch out her neck and sniff briefly at my hand, but she was very shy. This week, when I spotted the herd feeding close to the fence again, I trotted back home with Rosie to grab an apple and the camera. (Rosie was very confused when we headed back out!)
It took awhile to attract Jenny's curiosity enough to drag her away from the fresh hay bale she was munching at. She was quite standoffish. But when I waved an apple quarter at her, she deigned to come close enough to at least check out what all Rosie's rustling about in the underbrush might mean.
I couldn't convince her to come close enough to grab the apple from my hand, so I ended up tossing the quarters onto the ground. Once she got a good sniff, she didn't need any convincing to chomp them up.
As you can see, once she was done with the apples, she was done with me! (You might also notice I had the attention of most of the herd by this time.) Hmm, not the friendliest donkey, but maybe over time she'll decide I'm at least a nice diversion from those slow-moving hamburgers on cloven hooves. Problem is, it's only on the weekends that I can get out there at feeding time. And the farmer moves the herd from field to field throughout the year, so I'm not sure how long I'll get 'til she's out of reach.
Still, it's a fun little project to befriend a hoofed stranger. And when I'm sweet-talking a donkey, I'm surely not thinking much about lesson-plans, chores or work. I tend to walk away feeling a bit lighter, and mentally refreshed. I see how one can get addicted to these brushy-maned enigmas! Even if I never get to stroke her soft muzzle, I'll still enjoy spending time talking to her. And confusing the cows.
As we made our way back through the woods, I noticed the subdued light was bringing out fascinating blue highlights in Rosie's coat, so I stopped for a short photo session with her. In spite of the fact she refuses to look at the camera, I got a couple good enough to brag with!
Since our run-in with Tia's family I described in my last post, Rosie's been getting lots more walking, attention and affection from me. It was a good reminder to enjoy every day with her.