When the cattle arrived on the Funny Farm so did the two donkeys.
The initial shipment included a female donkey or as Hubby calls her, the Jenny Ass. Jenny is a shy critter, who prefers her own company to the intrusive busybodies with whom she shares the pasture. It did not take her long to establish a routine. Although her loner personality keeps her apart from the herd, she is curious with a touch of skittish which makes her entertaining to watch.
Historically, donkeys (Equus asinus) evolved in areas where they needed less of the flight response that horses developed out of necessity on the open plains. Consequently, asses developed the ability to analyze situations before reacting which makes them excellent guardian animals.
The cattle follow a routine of their own, but Jenny stays separate from the herd serving as a lookout. Aside from watching over the cows, donkeys are a necessity if you own a herd of goats. It guards them against attacks by coyotes.
Just imagine you are a coyote and experienced a kick in the head by a donkey. Would you want a repeat head bashing experience? But if the desire to taste a bit of cabrito is what the coyote palate craves, then the hoof-induced concussion is an excellent deterrent.
About a week later, the rest of the herd and a male donkey arrived. Jack is a real ass. But, he is a social creature. Whenever we go out to check on our chickens, Jack is there, sticking his nose in our business.
Jack opens his mouth until you expect his jaws to come unhinged, and then he brays until your eardrums bleed. He cannot help that the sounds he makes are loud and annoying. It is a fact of his personality.
As is the case with most people and creatures, the male donkey is taller than this writer. Consequently, she feels a bit apprehensive whenever he approaches. But she figured out how to get him to back off. “Shoo,” the lady says in an authoritative voice. And Jack leaves.
His gentlemanly behavior only applies to the lady of the manor. When Jack Ass sees Jenny Ass, he gallops toward her braying his love call. Jenny runs in the opposite direction.
Even after several days, Jenny did not warm up to her suitor. One day she had enough of Jack’s persistence and slipped through a narrow gap between the gate and the fence. She now resides in the back pasture, queen of all she surveys without being chased by her ardent admirer.
Since she relocated, Hubby has added a new task to his daily routine. He takes his binoculars and checks on Jenny Ass. There are times when it takes him a while to find her. Somehow that brown ass manages to blend into the landscape. Of course, the hot, dry summer managed to scorch the grass to a dull beige color which helps the donkey blend into her surroundings.
The other day, Hubby became concerned because Jenny Ass disappeared. At least, he could not find her with his binoculars.
“I’m going to look for Jenny Ass,” Hubby said as he headed for the barn where the four-wheeler waits to carry us across the pasture. Walking around over 60 plus acres is not a good idea when the temperature is over 100 degree every day.
As we drove to the gate leading to the back pasture, Jack Ass and the rest of the herd decided to join us. We made an impressive spectacle with Jack leading the cows behind the four-wheeler. When the lady of the manor said “Shoo!” The longhorn cow with her eight-foot horns was not impressed.
“I don’t want to be a human shish kabob on her horns,” the lady exclaimed while Hubby tried to unlock the gate.
Jenny Ass appeared on the horizon, and Jack Ass went nuts calling to his lady love. She turned around and raced away.
Since Jack and Jenny share a last name, you would think they were destined to be together. But until the lady ass changes her mind, we can forget about hearing the patter of baby donkey feet for some time to come.