Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Day with Donkeys

For over a year, I had been lurking.  Yes, it sounds like a bad word, but it's not if you genuinely like something.  See, I like the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada on Facebook, and I haven't been able to stop liking them since I started following them.  The pictures they post of these rescued animals is heart-stopping for me...or work-stopping, because I stop working to look.  They seem so gentle, and in the pictures, each ones character shines through.  For a year, I dreamed of making the trek to the Sanctuary to see for myself.  Now, this isn't a light plan to make, it's a fair distance, there's the apprentice and his schooling, the studio mutt, and not least of all, squeezing it in between actual work.!  No problemo, there was lots of time, I had a year to plan, right?
Then suddenly, it was a year later.  So, it ended up being more of a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kinda trip.  I yanked the boy out of school for a day, grabbed the leash, drove towards Guelph, ON.,  booked a campsite in Rockwood, and settled in for the night.  The next morning we showed up for "Donkey Day #19" .. a once a year event at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, where they open their doors to visitors, raising funds to run the facility.  We were stunned at  the amount of people we saw (2420 visitors!) - the beautiful day co-operating with a perfect sky!  People from all over,  flocking to the same destination with presumably the same addictive interest as me.  We were welcomed by a wonderful crew, who fawned over Sonney like he was an honorary Donkey.  Sonney adored the attention.

And, while Sonney and I were waiting at the Donkey Paddock, a pleasant volunteer relayed to us an interesting history of Donkeys and Dogs.  As it turns out, they are natural enemies.  Sheep farmers used Donkeys to protect their herds from wild dogs a.k.a. coyotes and wolves, and they were known to be able to kill the predator with one fell stomp of their front legs.  Sonney was a true gentleman, and did his best not to upset any donkeys.  In the end, just as many kids and adults made their way over to Sonney to give him a pat, take pictures with him, and marvel at his good manners.
Along with the Donkeys, the events and food kept visitors busy and satisfied.  An eclectic collection of food vendors from burgers and fresh cut fries, to indian cuisine - there was something for everyone, plenty of it, and everyone was biting! There was a picnic / resting area, music, kids events, a silent auction, souvenirs, and all the while, the donkeys mingled with the eager crowd.
It was a fun day, and for a moment, we visitors were one kindred collection of spirits, celebrating the challenging, but rewarding rescue efforts of the Donkey Sanctuary.
Watch for Donkey Day #20 on Sunday June 9th, 2013.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Even on Holidays?

What's that smell? Is it baking, freshly ground coffee...perhaps the fresh clippings of garden produce?

Nope, working with wood means always working with wood - even on holidays. Some of the long weekend plans to relax turned into harvesting wood for winter (among other things). That means pulling out the trusty chainsaw, saw horses, and cutting and stacking wood to season. Sonney felt inclined to help, which usually means either suntanning or snoring nearby. On my little patch of land, I have a small stand of elm and white ash, which are decent burning species, and luckily, whenever my neighbors (who don't have wood burning fireplaces) clear their yards, they offer up their wood piles to me. This batch I got from a neighbor who are clearing backyard space for their wandering dog. Now their yard is a large fenced in play area designed to allow freedom without the dog visiting others (let's call it 'looking for trouble') or getting bumped by a wayward tractor. And, another batch I picked up from a town resident who just took down a failing tree, which would have likely taken out their garage if not harvested. I'm now sitting on two cords of wood that would have otherwise met a less useful end.

I'm surrounded by it, in and out of my home, work with it, salvage it, recycle it, reuse it and am never far from it. I adore these useful, magnificent beings mother nature gives us. Trees.

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