At dawn three hundred and sixty-five day a year, it’s time to feed and do barn chores. I would like to sleep in just once, especially on a Sunday, but having a donkey on the property doesn’t give me that option. Beamer is my alarm clock. Some people have nice music to wake them, I have a honking, hollering ass pitching a fit at the crack of dawn. If I ignore him, it only gets worse. He’ll start to pace the fence line, kicking up a dust cloud the size of Texas. I’m sure my neighbor’s windows are open now that it’s cool in the evenings. Somehow I find it impossible to drift off into precious sleep when I picture them lying in their beds gagging on a cloud of manure dust.
The horses are quiet; they just wait… and wait, until hay magically appears. On the other hand, Beamer is quite busy digging holes to China. This of course only adds another chore to my list of a billion others. So, to make things easier, I get out of bed when the sun is no bigger than a flashlight behind the mountains.
There’s no time to make coffee–Beamer hasn’t the patience for that. He prefers I heat up a stale cup of yesterday’s sludge until his demands are met. Choosing that over nothing, I reluctantly shove the cup in the microwave for one minute.
I drag myself down to the barn, stumbling in the dark over sprinkler heads in my path and usually spilling half the coffee along the way. By the time I finally get to Beamer’s pen, he greets me whole-heartedly. If you were to compare donkeys and horses to dogs and cats, donkeys are most definitely like a dog. Horses want to be cared for, but are more reserved, preferring little interaction. Beamer will choose being brushed over food. If he were loose on the ranch he’d be following me everywhere. Unfortunately he is destructively curious, and the ranch would resemble a train wreck in one afternoon.
Last night Beamer rearranged the furniture in his pen, dragging one hundred pound stall mats all over the place. Last week my farrier and I learned that taking a break during Beamer’s hoof trimming was a really bad idea. Of course we moved the farrier tool box out of Beamer’s reach, at least we thought. Within ten minutes we returned. Beamer sure was happy to see us as he stood at the gate… with a rasp in his mouth. The rest of the tools were sprawled out here, there, and everywhere, with all the wooden handles chewed up. A week later, I was still finding things like tape measures, sharpie markers, etc, etc. I hear from the farrier often, lately it seems he misplaces things…