Sunday, December 30, 2012

A monumental shift

I just sat here and wrote a melancholy treatise on the failure of my relationship with FarmWife, but it was too dramatic to share on such an upbeat blog. I'm going to try again, boiling it down to a statement of the facts and a question to my readers.

The facts: FarmWife used to be my very best friend, and I adored her. Then she got me a miniature mule, Miss Arrietty G. Teaspoon. We ALL love Etty, and Etty loves us all. Etty loves FarmWife, and the children, and the goat, and me. As for me, I don't particularly like the humans at all anymore. They are good for food, and they were once good for companionship before I had an equine companion. Now I cannot be bothered with them at all.

FarmWife is a little bit grief stricken at this development (I now begrudge her even a touch of my hide unless I am haltered and forced to stand!). Do YOU know why I have soured so badly on people? Do you have advice for her, other than to spend time with me every day? Jean, of Anna Mule fame, does this sound like what has happened in your family?

Here is another important fact: NO ONE regrets getting Etty. She is our heart and our light.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The week in review

1) Happy Cloverversary! The humans brought home a chihuahua from the Alternative Humane Society exactly two years ago today, and from the moment she burst out of the gift box into their loving arms she has been a warm, wiggly, and wonderful addition to our big, happy family. FarmWife has elevated her to the status of Other Best Dog Ever, up there near Mirri the god-like Australian Cattle Dog and Russ the superhero lab mix. She is truly a mule among dogs.

2) Great goat! You may remember that Missy had a brush with death a couple of months ago due to her senility, arthritis, trouble holding weight, and generally depressed outlook on life. When her daughter, B.G., had to be put down because of crippling orthopedic disease (a long, sad story), FarmWife very nearly had Missy put down too. Well, she and the vet talked it over for an hour, pink juice in hand, and decided to give Missy a week or two. Do you know what? In that week, and in the seven or eight since, she has packed on pounds, gotten the spring back in her step, stopped hackling at invisible demons, and started gamboling and spring-sproinging like a kid again! Here is FarmWife's theory to explain this nearly inexplicable mystery: since nothing else has changed in her life, except the loss of the sad and uncomfortable herdmate across the fence, it must be that Missy's condition was dragged down by the weight of her companion's pain. Whether it was empathy or merely a sedentary lifestyle in the company of a sedentary friend that weighed on her, we cannot know. FarmWife does not doubt that the former is possible, though—perhaps Missy was holding vigil with her friend, waiting for an end to her suffering.

3) Yay, Solstice! The dreary darkness is going to leave soon, I can just feel it. This week, Santa will come (the reindeer ALWAYS share their carrots) and then . . . the crocuses!

4) I am sorry. FarmWife is doing day shifts in one place, night shifts in another, and a little freelance work on the side. I am getting the short end of the stick, but I know that you readers are too. I will work on getting some voice recognition software so that I can blog in her absence. In the meantime, no dice: you should have heard the lecture I got last time I set these muddy hooves on the MacBook.

It won't always be this busy.

Ears, with immense fondness, to you!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The SafeChoice Choice

FarmWife has decided—yippee!—that I need more condition, which is not to say more weight, but rather more muscle and more nutrition. Grass hay alone isn't cutting it, and with the green grass gone and the colder weather setting in I've been looking a little light in the topline. The good news is that I now get some supplements in addition to the grass hay and salt block to which I am accustomed! These things are delicious, and I am immensely pleased with this turn of events. The bad news is that I am also supposed to be subject to regular exercise, especially now that my hock seems quite well. For now, under pressure of short days and bad weather, this exercise is limited to a little longing and short walks around the neighborhood. In the summer, FarmWife hopes that this exercise will include brave expeditions into the wild yonder.

Nutrena SafeChoice has always seemed like a . . . well, a safe choice—it is fairly low in sugar, and better for we easy keepers than a high-starch, sweetened concentrate. FarmWife used to feed SafeChoice to her easy keepers when they needed more cool calories back when SafeChoice was new and highly esteemed on the horse feed market.

Last month, she went to the feed store and encountered Original SafeChoice, Special Care SafeChoice, and Perform SafeChoice. "I want the kind that I used to feed when there was only one kind," she said. "Oh," said the clerk. "You want the Special Care SafeChoice. That's the original Original." Apparently the new Original has corn, which isn't at all what FarmWife had in mind for her easy-keepers! You humans and your taxonomies are still a little bit baffling to me, but at least clear answers can be found on the nutrition panels. (The exception to this is when the nutrition panel on a human menu item lists the values for one half or one third of a ready-to-eat thing, as though you would actually eat the thing as three separate servings spread across three days. That's just silly. Who eats half a soup cup?)

Now, I eat pellets for breakfast AND I eat three hay meals a day (small ones, but a mule takes what he can get). What a lucky fellow I am. Etty, who is a wee bit fluffier than me, gets pellets too: about forty of them. Although they're small, so is she.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Good news/bad news.

It's a good news/bad news week: the good news is that I can use my neck to bend the pasture fence ALLLLL the way down to the ground and eat the delectable lawn! The bad news is I am now confined to my dry lot until such a time as FarmWife is free to repair (and electrify) the pasture fence. It's a terrible state of affairs (and, according to FarmWife, a terrible state of the fence!).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Have a holly jolly Christmas

While the weather is still slightly uncooperative, today's photo shoot went much better! This is mostly due to our fortuitous discovery of neighbor M & S's beautiful outdoor lighted tree, complete with big glowing presents. They welcomed us to their yard and we enjoyed the perfect stage for our second attempt at a holiday photo for this year's Christmas card.

Later, FarmWife made Clover nestle in a bed of tree limbs. The poor thing was nearly scared out of her shiny skin! FarmWife made light of the incident, singing, "scare the dog with boughs of holly," and Clover picked up her contagious festivity (and finally pricked her ears for a picture).

Ears, and brayful tidings, to you!


P.S. we are tied together because I have a rock solid response to the "stand" command and Arrietty, as of yet, does not. If she were to go traipsing away out of reach of FarmWife, I would have the sense and might to hold her back. FarmWife realizes that this would not be a safe arrangement with certain other beasts, but for us she trusts it as the best alternative to a leadrope-holding helper. Fine print: do not try this at home.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photo shoot

My first Christmas photo shoot didn't go all that well—it was rainy, I was muddy, and FarmWife's camera batteries were dying at an alarming rate (something is wrong with it, methinks). I'm not delighted with any of today's shots, so I will try again next week. FarmWife and Arrietty have agreed to give it another go.