The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Jack The Detention Donkey

on July 19, 2012

As I have mentioned I grew up on a farm. I’m not a farmer’s daughter. I’m an industrial engineer’s daughter. I’m a farmer’s granddaughter whose father wanted to live on the farm that has been in his family for three generations. My grandfather was retired from farming full-time by the time I can remember.  He crop rented his fields. (For you city-slickers that means you let someone else farm the ground and in return you get a percentage of the crop.)  There wasn’t much for livestock other than the animals that they bought to help feed the family. We had chickens, a few pigs and one year they raised three cows. Cows that walked over the fence after a blizzard left a huge drift that buried it.  Cows that got out right about the time we were supposed to leave to go somewhere.  Yeah….we only had cows one time when I was little.  That was enough.  We had occasional bunnies and dogs and of course farm cats. “You have to keep proper rodent control” my grandfather would tell us.  So it was a farm, but not in the sense that many people think of farms. We weren’t dependent on the farm to produce, we just enjoyed the fruits that it provided. My parents still live on the farm.  Things have changed over the years.  Barns have been removed. Fields were sold in order to provide the care my grandfather required at the end of his life. Trees have been removed and new ones planted.  Things change, but the farm is still there and it is still home.

A few years ago my brother decided to start a hobby business raising and selling all natural beef.  He fixed up the little red barn on my parents farm, put up fences and purchased some adorable miniature Herefords.  Little Red Barn Beef was born. (Enter shameless plug for big brother here. Check them out folks. INCREDIBLE all natural beef and they ship anywhere in the country.)  Over the course of time and because of unforseen circumstances his hobby business has become his full-time business.   Because of that he has made contact with lots of area farmers.  It is through one of those farmer friendships that I am able to bring you the story of Jack, The Detention Donkey.

Jack’s owner is a friend of my brother and parents.  They help each other out in lots of different ways, mostly based on the “barter” system. (I don’t understand the whole thing because I don’t ask many questions. It isn’t any of my business.)  Once in a while Jack’s owner will bring livestock out to graze on my parents’ farm.  This summer my parents’ guests have been three young bulls and Jack the donkey (pictured above).  The bulls are there because they are young. According to my mother they aren’t even aware that they are bulls yet.  This probably has something to do with the lack of cows in the pasture.  That’s the plan. They aren’t ready to be big bulls yet so they need to be quarantined from girly cows for a season.  That is why the non-aware bulls are grazing in a “vacation spot” for this summer and will be returned to their home farm this winter. I’m sure by next spring they will be more than aware that they are indeed bulls.

Jack is there because he has been put into “detention”.   Jack was naughty so he needed to be removed from home for a while until he can behave himself.  Kind of makes my parents’ farm like Boy’s Town, only for farm animals.  What did Jack do to deserve this treatment?  He bit a calf this spring. I would like to pause here and explain that when my mother was telling me about Jack I thought she said “cat” instead of “calf”.  I said, “You’d think he’s just kick it if it was bothering him. Never heard of a donkey biting a cat.”  My mother laughed at me. “No. CALF. Baby cow?”  Oh. I felt sheepish. Or deaf. She continued, “I think it was trying to nurse off of Jack and he wasn’t having any of it.”   Well now that makes sense.  I probably would have bitten the little bugger too. At any rate Jack was sent to my parents’ farm until either his attitude changes or the calves grow up. I’m guessing the calves will grow up first.  He’s a donkey after all.  Donkeys are supposed to have bad attitudes.  But they aren’t supposed to bite.

So Jack was loaded up and shipped off to my parents’ farm of detention where, according to my mom, “Your father is the only person he can bite.”    “He better not bite Daddy or he’s going to be one dead donkey.” I said. “Oh no.” my mom assured me, “He likes your dad.  Dad pulls weeds for him and feeds them to him by hand.  They’ve bonded.  Jack seems quite happy here.”  Well that’s good. It’s important to be happy while serving out your detention sentence.   Then suddenly my mom said, “You know I never thought about it but there may be some marijuana growing up there by Jack’s pen. I wonder if your dad has been feeding him that? Jack has seemed a little different lately.”  Now don’t go getting the wrong idea here. My parents are not raising or harvesting marijuana. It grows wild in Nebraska. Before you entrepreneurial  people get any moving plans: it is low quality and not worth a thing. It’s a weed. Literally.    Through my laughter, I said to my mom, “No wonder Jack is happy. Daddy’s feeding him ditch weed! He’s a doped donkey!”

So much for my plans to start an animal attitude rehabilitation farm….

The “Little Red Barn”:

Home Sweet Home:


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