Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Kindness of Neighbors and Eeyore Gets a Pedicure

Last week our neighbor David Nussbaum stopped by the barn with a dozen eggs from his chickens. We gladly accepted the kind gift and chit-chatted about winter, the sheep and lambs and his horses. He has been challenged - as we all have - by this incredibly snowy, icy, cold winter. Each time a storm has hit, it doubles the amount of work that needs to be done in order to feed and care for the animals. David is a Food Writer by trade but loves farming, animals and the farming life. Both times I have visited his house, he has been cooking up a special stew for his horses made out of carrots, apples and all kinds of other things. I think his horses eat better than most people. He also makes a mean sourdough bread which we have enjoyed immensely.

We aren't horse people but we do have a donkey named Eeyore. How Eeyore arrived at our farm is a story for another day. His job here is to guard the sheep and lambs from coyotes. He does a pretty good job at it and we enjoy having him be part of our farm world. We are the first to admit that we really aren't up on all the specific care a donkey or horse should have. Our sheep are pretty low care. Except for shearing and worming, we barely have to touch the ewes all year long. We knew that we should be paying a little more attention to Eeyore but it just doesn't happen. Enter David. He kindly volunteered to bring down his farrier Ray Steele to trim Eeyore's hooves. Thank goodness for David.

David and Ray arrived one bright and sunny day a couple weeks ago. I stayed in the barn, busy with my morning chores of docking tails, dipping navels, and numbering lambs. Plus, I was just plain afraid of those flying donkey legs. Let the pros do it, I thought to myself, and hope for the best. Eeyore was coaxed into the barn by another neighbor Amanda who had a bag full of apples and carrots. Once she got the lead on him, they moved him out to a post that is sunk deep in the ground.

I didn't know how they were going to control Eeyore but there was nothing to worry about. Ray's method is to wrap a chain under the donkey's lip. Every time Eeyore started to buck and become dangerous, David tugged on the chain and Ray was able to continue clipping and filing.

Ray said that all farriers have different techniques for getting the animals to stay still but he prefers the chain. I was just happy that noone got hurt.


You wouldn't catch me picking up a donkey's leg, that's one thing for sure. Ray knew exactly what he was doing. It turns out he even knew Eeyore from owner's past. This donkey has been around, as the saying goes.

Clipping.....
 

Filing.....


 One foot almost done....


Hosting a farrier is very similar to hosting a sheep shearer. The stories babbled out of Ray's mouth as he clipped and filed. He's had a long career, seen many horses and traveled many country roads. I was amazed how clean and neat he looked as he worked away. Dressed in leather chaps, he barely had a speck of manure on him when he left. Here is a before and after of Eeyore's front feet. What an improvement.......

 

Thank you to David for bringing Ray to the farm. And to Ray for doing such a nice job on Eeyore. We'll be seeing them both again soon. Here's Eeyore with his new pedicure... feeling good, looking good!
 

9 comments:

Whiffletree Farm said...

Great post! I didn't know you could use donkeys as watch animals; I thought only llamas could do the job. I'd rather have a donkey any day. Our farrier is quite a character, too. Must be a prerequisite for the profession.
Warmly, Beth

DonnaC said...

Is that a smile on Eeyore's face? He looks happy about his pedicure.

ellen said...

Thanks, Kristin, this makes me smile.

Mt. Mom said...

Wow, what a difference!

Nancy said...

Very interesting that you can use donkeys as a watch guard for the sheep. Eeyore does look quite happy. Maybe his feet were bothering him before his pedicure. Have you seen a change in his disposition post pedicure?

Anonymous said...

glad that Eeyore is no longer the Howard Hughes of donkeys!
Linda

jennifer said...

I love your posts. It makes me remember all the time I spent in horse barns. Makes me realize how much I miss the outdoors, even in the hellish weather! Can't wait to hear about the next 'adventure'.

Cheryl said...

I love our farrier, too! And our horse vet. Must be something about farms...

p.s. I just finished my second Julia hat. Looooove that squishy yarn. Considering the colors for a shawl now.

Whittal Tree said...

What a nice story. I loved it