Monday, November 21, 2016

Donkey Adventure and Guinea Family

Rufus and I went on an adventure Sunday morning - we walked out of the fenced in pasture and ate grass on the other side of the fence!  Whoa.  It's true what they say about the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence.  Especially if the grass on the inside has been munched on by a donkey and goats for a few months and it's practically winter.  To get to the fresh green grass, Rufus had to follow me around the barn and step over the scary garden hose, walk past loose chickens, go under the roof overhang near the goats, and tolerate the interest of a giant puppy.   Whew, we made it.  It was a big moment for us.  

Rufus is such a scared-y cat that I wasn't sure how he would respond to being on a lead rope in new territory.  If there was an unexpected noise, would he pull the leash from my hand and take off for the horizon?  Nope.  He was so interested in stuffing his face, that he didn't mind having to follow me around.  He didn't like being led out of sight of his barn and goats, but I figured out not to pull back on the leash when he would get excited, but to gently pull his head to the side, so he danced in a circle around me until he would calm down.  Then I would have to calm down.  How do people do this with big animals?  

Once he was calmly eating in sight of the door to the house, I called Brandon and told him to very quietly come to the door.  The sound of Brandon turning the door knob gave Rufus enough of a fright to send him dancing again.  I can see that I need to work on exposing him to more noises so he isn't so jumpy.  

Wendigo got bored with watching Rufus chew and decided it would be fun to run and jump and play with Rufus.  Rufus thought a game of chase would be great fun too, but since I was attached to his face, I wasn't in to it.  I tied Rufus to the fence while I put Wendigo up.  Rufus and I have been practicing being tied to the fence, and I thought we had that down pat and I didn't have to so careful about tying his head super close to the post.  As you can see, he only had about two feet of rope or less, but he managed to put his leg over the rope, turn in a somersault, and end up on the ground on his shoulders with his feet all tied up on top!  Like a donkey pretzel!  I never knew he was so flexible.  I was still standing there with my jaw dropped wondering what to do, when he slowly untangled himself and stood back up with one leg draped over the rope.  He let me lift his leg over the rope and stood there calmly while I worked on the too tight knot in the rope.  My horse owning friend showed me a slip knot to use in case something like that happens again.  I thought I was going to have to cut the leash the knot was so tight.  

After Rufus was returned to the safety of his pasture, I stopped to appreciate the serenity of the guinea family lounging in the grass.  You can see the baby nestled between his two moms.  The dads are on guard too, and they keep the moms and the baby in their sight at all times.  The guineas are different than chickens in this way.  The raising of chicken babies seems to be solely the responsibility of the mom who sat on the eggs, but the guineas work together as a flock to care for their chick.  

Mrs. Hall?  Is that you? 

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