26 July 2008

SparkPeople and Kiva

I have joined SparkPeople at the suggestion of another donkey-riding gal who is trying to lose weight for her mount's sake. It is wonderful!

If you join, look for me - I'm TIKKI-N-ME over there.

It's like Ravelry, but for nutrition and exercise - lots of easy, motivating tools to help you live a healthy lifestyle. Like Ravelry, it'll suck you in for two or three days while you learn your way around and get your preferences set up, but it's worth it! Enjoy!

At Kary's suggestion, I have also joined Kiva - a site that helps aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries receive direct loans from those who can help - no wasteful overhead in fundraising. When your loan is repaid, you can help another person, one-to-one. What a wonderful idea. (Kary is always a great inspiration for ways to help the world be a better place!)

Hope your day is as motivating as mine! I am now off to KNIT, to put some oil in my lamp. Maybe I will have something to show for it next time...

17 July 2008

A Day At The Donkey Spa

Well, hello, naaaaay-bor! Tikki here, to tell you about my day at the donkey spa! It's time for my eight-week pedicure, and I thought I'd tell you how it's done.

As you can see, my footsies are not exactly ready for sandal weather. Time for a little trim...

This here's my good buddy Kyle. He's my pedicurist today. Here he's using a big toenail clipper to cut back my overgrown hooves. Doesn't hurt one bit.

See? It just comes off like your fingernail when you clip it. I just looooove Kyle's pedicure stand - I just relax my leg on it and it's no trouble at all for me to keep it still while he works away.

Next, Kyle takes this little shaver and makes my footbed all smooth and even.

Here Kyle is filing to bevel the edges of my tootsies. He has taken my heels down to relieve pressure on my toes - ahhhhhhhh.

Just look at that file go! Kyle is really fast.

This is what a perfect donkey pedicure should look like. See my old toenail in back?

High heels aren't good for ladies, and they're not good for horses, either. My feet look just like a wild mustang's - low, healthy, and sound.

Aren't I puuurty? This is called a barefoot trim.

That Eli youngster, he takes pedicure day very seriously. See how good he's trying to be?

His little hooves are tiny - nothing like mine!

Kyle's pa, Scott, takes care of Jazz's feet. She told me that she had some problems when she came here to live, but that Scott was very patient and kind and fixed her feet right up. I'm glad we have such nice pedicurists. In donkey talk, they are known as farriers.

The best part about spa day? The ear massage...


Y'all can find a barefoot practitioner in your area by visiting this site.

13 July 2008

So 'Bout 'Dem Donkeys...

"Are donkeys fun?"

Depends what you mean by fun...

Jazz and Eli arrive, September, 2007.

Do you enjoy cleaning out hooves, every day of the year, in every kind of weather? (And what if your donkey doesn't enjoy it - do you enjoy taking the time to train a donkey - patiently - to allow its feet to be handled?)

Are you good at wielding a curry comb and brush?

Do you have fun putting together a plan to ensure your donkeys don't get fat? For they will, very quickly, if left out to pasture or overfed on hay while getting too little exercise (a short walk of nine miles a day is considered adequate!) They need to be able to move around, 24/7, so being kept in a small stall or tiny paddock isn't a good idea...

Mama Jazz, Jeff, Jazz's son Eli, 2007.

Do you have a good, affordable, local vet and farrier with donkey experience? Are you prepared to pay for immunizations, dental care, and trimmings on a regular basis? Can you give injections and worming treatments on your own?

Waiting for the farrier, February, 2008.

Are you disciplined enough to know that you will have to be firm and not let donkeys eat from your hand, or lift their adorable muzzles to your face for kisses, because it teaches them disrespect (in equine language) and to invade your personal space - and in the end, to nip? Can you keep in mind that sometime loving them means having to do the Funky Chicken in order to drive them away from you when they get too close? This doesn't mean you can't hug and pet them - but it has to be on your terms, at your initiation, for the well-being of everyone.

Bad donkey training - don't do this! Read about Natural Horsemanship to prevent behavior problems.

Do you have adequate shelter, and are you able to provide fresh, clean water at all times (including winter)?

Do you enjoy shoveling poo on a daily basis?

Do you have pals for your donkey?

Mammoth jackstock jennet Tikki arrives, June 2008.

Tikki meets goats.

Tikki meets Squeaky, another cat who (sigh) just showed up. Time for a trip to the vet for neutering and vaccinations...

Do you have a steady source of grassy (not alfalfa) hay?

Do you want a safe, gentle mount - and are you willing to put in the training time necessary for that result? It's true that donkeys are less likely to spook than horses in most situations. But don't believe the old wives' tale that a donkey "can carry more than a horse of the same size" - that is a bunch of bunk. If you are a big person, you're going to need a big donkey!

At 15 hands high, Tikki is a very big donkey!

Are you prepared to provide a home for a donkey for its whole lifespan - which can be more than 30 years?

Then donkeys are fun! They are hysterically funny, insatiably curious, wonderfully affectionate, and downright cute.

He knows he's cute and plays it up constantly.

Baby Eli, 2007.

Early summer, 2008.

I believe in barefoot trimming of hooves, treeless saddles, and bitless bridles. These are things you will want to learn about, in addition to gaining knowledge of basic donkey care, before falling in love with "longears"!

A new book on donkey care will be coming out this fall and it would be a great place to start with your research!

07 July 2008

Alive And Kickin' (And Picture Heavy)

Been a while, huh?

Just like my knitting and spinning... sigh! What have you been up to?

The snow here has melted.

Spring sprang while I wasn't looking and summer's in full bloom already.

Springtime on a farm is amazingly busy and there hasn't been a moment to update you all, tho' I've taken tons of pictures. Poor Jeff had the duty of cleaning the deep bedding out of the goat barn after the winter season. He had to borrow this manure spreader from the neighbor, and filled it - by hand, by himself - several times before he was through. Ouch!

Remember Eggbertina?

She grew...

And grew some more, and was introduced to the flock...

And now she's doing just fine on her own with the other chickens - though she does still think she's a human child, and tends to follow me around as I do chores or walk the dogs.

I think she looks just like her papa:

The sheep and Angora goats went from being wild and wooly:

...to being much more comfortable.

The fiber is at a local processor this time, and I'm expecting it back in just three short weeks, rather than eight or nine months.

And here is an update on little Elfine!

The little buckling's name of "Periwinkle" didn't go over well with Cheff Jeff, and now he is known as "Jack". Probably a good thing.

Jeff successfully completed his certification at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and is now going to give exams to potential hockey referees throughout Wisconsin. That is, after his second knee surgery later this week. Go, Jeff! Not bad for a guy who didn't start skating until after we were married (fifteen years ago yesterday!)

And the next post has to do with... donkeys!