Sunday, March 29, 2020

LIFE GOES ON...............!!

Well, you would think in this self isolation situation we are in, it would be boring, but so far everyone around here is keeping busy.

"The hairdresser will take you in the order you arrived. Please stay 6 feet apart."

Last week Marika came by herself to brush the donkeys.  See how polite the donkeys are keeping their "virus" distance patiently waiting their turn.  I'm glad she got a picture of them like this.  One of the reasons they are such interesting creatures is the more you watch them the more interesting they are to watch.  She and Ruth are coming out again this week to do some more grooming.  As you can see the donkeys love the attention and are more than willing to wait in line.
Years ago we had a donkey here named Belle that loved to be brushed.  Not only would she stand in line, but if you watched the line, she would get back in line to get brushed again.  She's been in a wonderful home for years with Shiloh, I hope they get lots of brushing when Kathy gets a chance.

Yesterday was clean out the jungle day.  I think everyone here had spring fever except me....!!!   They were all working with shovels and rakes, chain saws and John was hauling gravel with the tractor.  There's an area on the north side of the house we've kept fence, so the donkeys couldn't destroy all the trees. It's just mesquite and one lone salt cedar we dug up in the river years ago.  We actually had 6 originally, but only one survived the transplant.  First they took down fencing so the donkeys could get in and "help".  
 As you can see that was a big hit with the donkeys.  The last time they were allowed in there a few weeks ago, they pulled a big piece of bark off the poor salt cedar and had to be ran out.  It must be like Temptations are to cats, because once they zero in on it, they won't leave it alone.  

Quilla, the white one was the culprit this time, so everybody had to leave.  LOL

It was rather crowded, especially with the tractor in there hauling river rock.  But they all managed to eat some of the weeds before Quilla ruined it for everyone.  And John managed to not destroy the house......!!

Suzanne has some really nice outdoor wooden furniture she wanted to use.  Unfortunately wooden furniture wouldn't last very long with these guys they are like big beavers when it comes to wood.  So the only place to put it is behind a fence.  Between the house and the trees when they leaf out, that area should be shady all the time, which will make a nice place to sit outside and contemplate life, when we have time......!!!  Ha!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

THIS IS YOUR LIFE, BIG GUS............!!

Ellie a loyal Blog watcher asked what we know about Gus past, so here goes:

We always figured he was probably in his 30s somewhere.  Awhile back we took him to the "dentist" to have his teeth or at least the ones he still has looked at to make sure they were OK.  Dr. Debra laughed when we told her he was in his 30s, she said more than likely in his 40s somewhere.  So we really don't know for sure.  We've dealt with him for over 10 years off and on.  His owners got burnt out and asked a rancher if he could run on the ranch till they got back on their feet.  They never came back for him.  After a couple of years of his antics the rancher said he goes, I guess he spent a lot of time in the flower beds and veggie garden and probably other places he didn't need to be......!!  

Neighbor got in touch with us, figured we'd have him forever, didn't take long to figure out he is a little quirky.  He did find a couple of homes that weren't forever homes.  He loves horses, went out as a companion and the owner had a massive heart attack and could no longer care for his animals.  

John has always said "I'll be glad when that donkey finds a home".  Then after he is gone, John says, "you know, I really miss Big Gus".  Sometimes you just can't win......!!! LOL  

There was a movie being filmed over at Gammon's Gulch the movie site just down the road from us about 8 years ago.  A couple that was working on the set, needed horse poo to have in the street scenes and had forgotten to bring some from home.  The man showed up and asked if he could have some donkey poo, John was picking up poo and the guy said he'd help.  Big Gus helped him the whole time, that's when we figured out he loves horses, the guy had horses and probably smelled like horses.  He brought his wife out to visit Big Gus.  We asked them if they had anything in the back of the pick-up he could get to or play with.  Went to see the rest of the donkeys, came back and a 100 foot garden hose was everywhere, except in the pickup.  They laughed, thought it was funny and wanted to adopt him to go with their 5 or 6 horses.  

Fast forward about 6 years and life grown, divorce, etc.......  I get a call from a horse rescue in Tucson that they have a couple of our donkeys.  Hmmmm........when people adopt our donkeys they sign a contract that if they can no longer take care of the donkey it will be return to us.  

The woman was moving out of state and when we went to pick them up it wasn't hard to figure out why she didn't bring them back to us.  Their care hadn't been the best probably for quite sometime.  

"If you let me in the courtyard, I'll be good......!!  Or just hand me a treat, either way works for me"......LOL

We've since found out that Gus has a heart murmur, and of course he is "mature", and his legs aren't the best, so he's not going anywhere else.  Besides we couldn't run this place without his expert least he thinks so...........!!  LOL

 This is Justin enjoying a "spring" salad I guess.  This time of year the trees really suffer, much more so than the rest of the year.  They started a few weeks ago on the poor cactus, now they've moved on to the mesquite trees.  The trees haven't budded yet, so I assume the sap is moving up to the branches to feed the buds and the donkeys know it.  Next will be the acacia trees and of course during all this other little green things are trying to survive.  The only thing they won't eat is wild mustard, so we have plenty of that......!!!  LOL

Saw a very small gopher snake a couple of days ago.  He wasn't very big they can get 6 feet long.  He was on the courtyard, I went around him to go get the camera, took a couple of pictures of him and he never moved.  Saw some donkeys, so I went out to take a couple of pictures of them, came back and the snake was nowhere to be found.  I looked everywhere and there wasn't anyplace to hide within 20 feet.  I guess he was playing opossum until he had a chance to escape and left in a hurry. 

Monday, March 23, 2020


Well that may be giving him a little more credit than he deserves.  When Eric Lynn was here early in March for his clinic, the guys built an obstacle course for the donkeys to go thru for the clinic.

John digging out a spot for the water crossing.


Water crossing with the odd couple, Olivia and her little shadow Justin. 

They also had tires filled with dirt to look over and jump on. 

Lynn also built railroad tie obstacles for the donkeys to walk or jump over at least the ones that were participating in the clinic.  Big Gus wasn't invited and in fact he and the donkeys not participating had to stay in their pens.  Of course once they were all out, they had to investigate this change in their space.  

I don't know for sure but assume Big Gus was being obnoxious  wanting to be part of the group after the clinic was over.  So Linda put a halter and lead on him and led him thru the railroad tie part of the course.  He did pretty good for an old guy with bad legs.  I'm sure he was very proud of himself, for finally getting to be useful. 

While I'm picking on Big Gus here is an older video showing how he let's people know it's time for them to come out and play with him.  This is why we weren't as surprised as Eric was that Big Gus knew where the doors are........!!! LOL  I don't think there is much goes on around here that he doesn't know about or how to use it to his advantage.  I can't imagine what he was like when he was a youngster.  I hope he was appreciated as much as we appreciate him and his entertaining antics. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Lynn and Linda just headed out of the gate with a trailer FULL of donkeys, I think Lynn said there were 11 donkeys in there.  

Some other runners will meet them and have a great time running and playing with the donkeys.  

One of the couples camped out here this week-end and they all ran 9 miles yesterday.  

Gus does not allow napping on his watch.  In fact the first night they were here he spent most of the night either trying to get in their tent, or trying to get them to come out of their tent and play with him, we're not sure which.  Last night they had the tent surrounded by corral panels.  I'm sure Gus was very disappointed...!!!  LOL

Friday, March 20, 2020


It certainly doesn't take long to find out things are going to be a little bit different for the foreseeable future, until this corona virus runs it course.  I would imagine living in the boonies is actually a plus, less people to come in contact with.  Judging from what our Walmart looks like after me going in 3 or 4 times since this crisis started, "boonie" Walmarts probably aren't real high on the goodie list.  I have never seen a grocery store or in this case Walmart not have onions.  

 I guess you have to be standing there when a pallet rolls out on the main floor to find the "good" stuff.  I'm not trying to stock pile, just buy what is on my list.  I guess everyone else has the same list, because that stuff doesn't seem to be available.  

I talked to a friend that works in Walmart that was shopping.  She said they are giving bonus' to all the workers in their next paycheck, they are also getting a  10% discount on anything they buy.  She said they do that during the holidays too.  They are also getting to shop before the store opens in the morning.  I have no problem with any of that.  I would imagine in exchange they are all going to be working long hours for awhile.  

We have closed the rescue for tours until this blows over.  Didn't want to, but also didn't want to be the only thing open in the area for entertainment.  Once people go on shut down for a few days, they will probably get antsy and bored.  We'd probably end up with too many people that weren't really interested in the donkeys, but just looking for something to do.  

All of the car races are postponed, and the donkey races too.  We all may end up as those "antsy and bored" people before it's over............. LOL  I doubt it, with donkeys there's always plenty to do around here, so I doubt that we'll get bored.  

The donkeys are as usual, busy doing donkey stuff.  As long as they get fed and get a few treats during the day, they are pretty happy.  Yesterday right before a rain storm, they all started running as a herd.  We were too busy watching to take pictures but it was really something to see.  

Mindy was down here for a few days and took some pictures of the donkeys.  She comes out to hang with the donkeys a few times a year.  They have really figured her out.  The donkeys were out of their pens, when she drove up yesterday.  She got out of her car and started walking towards the pen area.  Casper the little mini mule and Loki both went back in their pens to wait for her.  Mindy usually messes with them when their are in their pens, and they have learned that if they want treats from her, it's best to be in the pen.  We all laughed, they both stood there expectantly waiting patiently for their treats.  

Suzanne, Lynn and Linda managed to get in a fun run this month, in Cactus Forest an area in one of the state parks in Tucson.  
Linda with a few of the "fur" kids waiting for the run to start

They ran across some "ear " challenged cousins

Cochise taking a break I guess


Group picture of some of the participants

Some of Mindy's pictures she took while out here visiting with the donkeys

Mindy and Big Gus,on the feed room porch.  Mindy had to hug Big Gus for her Mom.  He is one of her favorites and she didn't come this time. 

Mindy, Quilla, Justin and I have no idea who.........!!!  LOL  When there is quite a few that are about the same color, unless they have something to identify them easily, it's hard to figure out who it is from a picture. 


Mindy and Misty getting to know each other

Mindy took this picture as she was getting ready to leave

One of the local neighbors

More of the neighbors.  This is open range country out here and it gets pretty scary at night when you are driving and black cows are beside or in the road.  Usually 2 or 3 get hit every year.  We use to joke, that the local rancher probably stood by the road and spooked the cows out in the road, they are worth more dead than alive......that is, if they catch the driver....!!

Monday, March 16, 2020


I don't like to go longer than 4 days without updating the blog.  Sometimes 4 days is even too long if there is a lot of things going on.  I wouldn't say this week has been particularly interesting, but it's really been busy..!!

I had introduced Olivia, the new girl in my last update.  She has really settled in nicely and already has a steady boyfriend.  I don't have much hope for the relationship long term though.  Olivia is a pretty large standard and Justin is one of the minis.  She pretty much ignores him, as he follows her everywhere.  If any of the other geldings come around to introduce themselves he chases them off.  What he lacks in stature, he more than makes up with determination, those other boys need to find a girl of their own, because she is his...........!!

He is pretty cute, and she doesn't seem to mind having him around........!!  LOL

I must say the coronavirus is really putting a cramp in everyone's style.  So many events are being cancelled or rescheduled, it's very disruptive to every day life.  Over 20,000 people have already died from the annual flu this winter, but that doesn't even rate coverage, guess it's not sensational enough.  

I went to the store today because I needed to go.  It was interesting to walk the aisles and see empty shelves.  What are people going to do with all the extra supplies they are probably charging to their credit cards?  I guess people are lining up at stores before they open, to get access to the stuff that isn't there later in the day.  I got what I needed except for John's Vienna sausages he likes to snack on and got out of there.  No canned meats available.  Maybe living out in the boonies gives me a false sense of safety.  John and I have eaten out twice in the last 3 days.  Today we had lunch at Cheddars in Tucson and the place was crowded, so I guess there are a lot of other people that aren't jumping on the panic train either.  

We are continuing to give tours and people are continuing to want to come out and see the donkeys.  Lynn, Linda and Suzanne have had a couple of upcoming races cancelled or rescheduled.  The asphalt track held a practice Friday and had their opening race Saturday and there were a lot of people in the pits and in the bleachers, hopefully they will be able to stay open.  The dirt track has cancelled their next race.  

Lynn and Linda took some of the donkeys into Tucson this week for a fun run in one of the parks.  Linda, Jacque and Sugar and I'm not sure who the brown donkey is.  It might be Paco, or it might not be Paco..........LOL

Here is some of the participants of the fun run and their running partners

This is another new girl, Misty.  She's only been here a few days, but has some racing experience, so in the trailer she went for the fun run.  They said she did great.  She's a pretty dainty little small standard, and has a lot of personality.

Isn't she pretty...??


For those that follow the blog and let me know when it's been awhile since an update, I'm just behind on paperwork and have plans to get caught up in the next day or two............hopefully..........LOL

Monday, March 09, 2020

WHAT A WEEK-END............!!

We all had a pretty busy week-end around here.  Saturday night one of the RVs pulled in for the Eric Lynn's clinic Sunday.  Kristen and her boys have been here before, and know the drill.  Once they were parked they pretty much took care of themselves.  

Well they did have to contend with Big Gus the ambASSador, welcoming them.  He seems to think anyone and everyone that comes on the property needs to have his help no matter what they think.

I raced Saturday night and probably had more fun than anyone else........LOL  Our class only had 3 cars, but we all put on a pretty good show for the main.  One of the cars did a roll over and Tim and I battled for 1st place for most of the race.  It would be more fun if we had more cars.  There are old hornets sitting out in the weeds all over town.  But it's been so iffy for the dirt track to open up and stay open, no one is interested in dragging them out of the weeds to find out the track is not going to stay open.  The promoter said they will run the complete program this season and then will decide whether to try to keep it open or not.  So hopefully that information will get out and we'll get more cars to show up.  

Here's a video Tim had mounted on top of his car...............In car go-pro from Tim's car

Eric pulled in Saturday got set up and ready for the clinic Sunday.  Of course the weather decided to not be typical Arizona weather for the week-end, especially Sunday.  It started raining about dawn and sprinkled and dribbled ALL DAY LONG............!!  Everyone came prepared with slickers even umbrellas, wearing boots and didn't let the weather dampen their fun.

Eric got in Saturday, got set up and he said about 10pm someone knocked on the door.  He opened it and this is what he saw.  He took a picture, emailed it to Linda to find out who this was.  Linda wrote back that it was Big Gus.  Eric said Gus kept his head in for awhile looking around, then he backed up and shut the door on his way out.  Eric was impressed that he shut the door before he left...!!! LOL  He was also impressed Gus knew where the door was.  I hate to tell him, but most of our donkeys know where the doors are, that's where people come out......!!

The clinic started out with Eric talking about donkeys, how they differ from horses and working with them being different.  The weather finally cleared up a little bit, although everything including the donkeys were wet, so everyone put on their rain gear and headed outside to get their donkeys and do a little donkey training 101.

Not sure I want to step on that crinkly thing.........

Must take a break for picture taking, look at that face......!!

Ready for adventure

It wasn't warm enough for swimming, but I guess the dogs didn't care. 

I don't think Nellie is impressed with the obstacle course

There's a good student


Friday, March 06, 2020


I would imagine most of our winter is over, although we've already thought that a few times this year.  It's bright and sunny, no wind so far today, probably this afternoon we'll have some.  It's nice to be able to go outside in shirt sleeves again.  

Suzanne took this opportunity to clean feed buckets.  

 This is the individual buckets for everyone. They each get a miNUTE amount of pellets, maybe a couple of teaspoons.  It's amazing how they can pick those pellets out of the mush and supplements with their very talented lips........LOL 

We now have a porta potty on the property.  Always before we have let people come in the house.  That works OK if you just have 3 or 4 people, BUT if you have a lot of people they end up standing in line to use the potty, rather than getting to visit with the donkeys.  

We haven't had it "officially open for business" yet, but when people get out of their car and asked if that's a porta potty, you have to say yes.....!!!  We'd like to find someone to paint flowers or something on it to make it unique, but I guess that isn't necessary, people seems to recognize it just fine.........!!  The long drive out here, seems to trigger bladders...........LOL

After about 20 years of being a private sanctuary, as of this week, we are officially a non-profit.  Over the years I had thought about it, would look into it, and not being a detail person it looked very daunting.  Suzanne knows all this stuff, said it was simple and the next thing I know, it's done.  Not much will change we'll still operate about the same, except people will be able to donate if they want, and they can take it off their taxes.  

This week-end there will be a clinic held here by Eric Lynn on training donkeys.  He's coming down from Colorado to do about 4 of these clinics in different places.  Some people are coming out today to set up their RVs for the week-end.  Eric Lynn designs pack saddles just for donkeys, in fact Justin was one of his models a couple of years ago, when he decided to build mini donkeys pack saddles.  Should be a fun clinic, John and I are just going to watch.  

The donkeys will have to stay in their pens while the clinic is going on.  Some of our donkeys have no idea of personal space and boundaries.  They think people come just to see them and want to make sure they are available for any attention and petting.  Big Gus is one of the worst ones.  Cochise has figured out the tour routine and presents himself for adoration when people are here.  

We have a new girl named Olivia here.  She's only been here a few days, but has already figured out the way tours work.  We had a tour yesterday and she was front and center.  She belongs to a friend that actually has 2 of our mini mules.  She offered to foster them years ago, and John said she'd want to adopt them within a couple of weeks.  Sure enough that's what happened.  Olivia didn't have anyone to bond with in the herd of horse, donkeys and mules and was sort of odd man out.  So she is visiting to see if anyone buddies up with her.  She's really a nice girl, easy to work with.


I race again this week-end. Raced last week-end on the dirt track for the 1st time in 5 years.  Well that's not true, in 2017 a guy tried to reopen the track.  He had one race night and we never saw him again.  They have a full season scheduled, but my class only had 5 cars last week-end and some of the other classes were rather sparse too.

For some reason the track promoters around here don't seem to think advertising is important, so people don't even know they are racing, which means not many people in the bleachers.  Not sure how long they can keep going without spectators and cars.  Guess we'll find out.

Sunday, March 01, 2020


Penny crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday morning.