Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas from el Rancho Asno Blanco

As we near the end of our first year in operation at el Rancho, I feel blessed.

The animals are a constant reminder that simple things have value. The donkeys are always happy to see us, braying a capella  in that mournful longears voice. The sound lets me know my presence is both valuable and wanted. The goats remind me that staying together and working together is both safer and more enjoyable-- it can keep the wolf from the door!

The new kids remind me that when you need to bounce, bounce!
And sometimes you just need a nap.

Some things have been really challenging, like realizing that I can no longer work straight through without a break for several hours, and that sometimes I just need to sit and rest my feet. Bending over to tie ground-level wire  is a no-no, so I bought extra pairs of jeans because the seat of the pair I'm wearing is probably wet and/or dirty. I got a new warshing machine, so that's not a problem at all! I also sit on the ground to trim goat feet, but more importantly I sort the goats so that I can do the ones with the hardest hooves first, before my hand strength gives out. Work smarter, not harder. (I do try to heed my husband's advice!)

Being at el Rancho, 10 - 20 miles from a store, also brings out the Girl Scout in me. Be prepared!  Thus, the back of the car has my 'vet box' containing all types of med, syringes, needles, and tools for the goats and donkeys, as well as ibuprofen for me. There are halters, ropes and head ties, random tools, feed and treats. Extra t-shirts, towels and trash bags. Plus stuff that usually resides in a car! Recently the back seat has held bags of wood shavings for the baby goat house, a few sacks of goat feed, and Christmas presents!

And gloves, lots of gloves. I almost always have on gloves at el Rancho. If my hands don't hurt and I'm doing little things, I wear thin leather gloves (do the goats care that they are kid gloves?). I also have some thick cowhide gloves, Isotoner nylon stretchy gloves, cotton gloves, and Mechanix gloves with knuckle guards. A bad enough rap or twist on the fingers can find that hand out of commission for a day or two, so I am careful.

At the end of the day, some of which are long, it's all worth it. My animals are healthy and content, the family is closer to making the big move to el Rancho, and I am still able to get out in the fresh air and work. Now is a great time to remember those you love and tell them so.

And for heaven's sake, don't forget to hug the donkeys!

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