A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Friday, January 06, 2006

A is for Animals

Anne suggested a great, fun blog tradition for 2006, that of coming up with a post for every letter of the alphabet over the course of the year, on the average of once every two weeks. I decided that my alphabet would reflect those things that are most important to me, so the first letter in the alphabet is for animals. I have always been an animal person, from back when I was a girl and developed good communications with almost every dog I ever met:)

I have lived with dogs, cats, parakeets, finches, chickens (several dozen birds over the years), goats (lived on a goat farm and milked 50 a night at one point), rabbits, fish, a turtle, a rat, and most recently, five burros. I truly value the difference between us as species, and the benefits of making room for other species than humans in my world.

Many blog readers have commented to me "where are the burros?" as they are mentioned in my tag line, even though most of my blogging is about knitting. However, I spend a part of every day with them, at least feeding and loving on them, and admire their stalwart yet careful natures, their affection, the way they love to have their ears rubbed, and their unique braying communication with me.

We got our first burro, Rose, in December 2003, with the intention of getting a second and taking pack trips in the backcountry near our home. We learned about April in February 2004. She had been pulled off the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge a few weeks before, where a herd was removed from an area that was both overcrowded and too near a highway. She went to live with my friends Ginny and Dave, who operate the Hole in The Head Gang Animal Rescue in Artois, California, in order to be tamed enough to have routine medical care before being adopted out.

In the meantime, fellow donkey list members put me in touch with Mac, who had lived with Rita for twenty years, but recently become too ill to care for her and her companion animal, Louise (yes, animals can have companion animals just like us humans, providing the same comfort and friendship). Rita was 22, and Louise was 25. Louise is a BLM-adopted burro, and was older when captured, perhaps 9 or 10, and never has fully bonded with any humans, but she is firmly attached to Rita. Rita is well-trained to packing, riding and driving a cart.

Yep, I could ride a donkey, if I didn't have so much fun walking with them. This is Rita and I, March 2004

Rita and Louise had gotten settled in pretty well with Rose when it was time to bring April to live with us. Ginny had discovered that she was pregnant, and we had suddenly grown a large herd (not unlike acquiring yarn stash, dear knitter-readers). Ginny felt she would have at least a month to get used to being with us before the baby arrived, and delivered her to our house in early May 2004.

Here are the three gossips, Rose, Louise, and Rita (l. to r.) checking out new arrival, the very pregnant April. Readers of donkey language will note the submissive but suspicious lowered head on April, and the alert, curious, upright ears of the other three.

We did get to spend a bit of time with April, but she was very timid. She would come up for carrots, and accepted us as providers of food. Early in the morning on May 18, 2004, I went out to feed and discovered a tiny burro standing next to her... even knowing she was pregnant, I was almost dumbfounded as it was much sooner than the experts had predicted... hence the name Assteroid, he must have fallen from the sky:)

Newborn baby Assteroid and mama April, May 2004

I look forward to the spring, when we can get out and hike and pack with the animals, and I can move some of them up to the high country with me. In the meantime, I dislike the fact that the long hours I need to work these days takes me away from time shared with them.

The affection we share with our burros is very special.

As I work my way through the alphabet, look for entries on Fridays; B is for Blogging!

Last Minute Note: When I went to Anne's website for her link, I discovered that I hadn't been around frequently enough, as she has set up an alphabet ring with 100 participants! It is too late to join, but not too late to check out the creativity this inspires in the coming year. Bloggers are so cool.


Blogger Carole said...

Great pictures, Birdsong. Especially the one of baby Asteroid.

4:50 AM  
Blogger margene said...

How wonderful to hear the story of how you came to have the burros. It's very nice to meet them all. The pictures are wonderful and baby Assteroid is especailly darling.

5:53 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Very cool - I am trying very hard not to collect any more animals than I already have, but it is hard not to want to have a bunch more running around.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I thought about joining the ABC fun, but didn't think I would be able to keep up with it this year. Look forward to seeing your postings!

12:29 PM  
Blogger marguerite louise said...

How wonderful to read your blog. The account of your animals is fascinating to me, the city girl who never had a pet - except now and then a very small painted turtle who lived in a little bowl from spring until early fall, when it was let go into the Marquette Park Lagoon in Chicago, its fate to be forever unknown.

Thank you for your comment on my blog, and I wish you and yours a New Year 2006 that holds everything for which you could possibly wish.

7:56 PM  

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