A Snow Event on the Camas Prairie

At 1 pm this afternoon I put on all my cold wear duds and ventured out.  The boys are huddled in the old Cottonwood trees where they are pretty much out of the storm.  They were surprised to see me pop out of the basement door.  It was 26 degrees and really not  bad outside at that moment.DSC01545There was a rooster pheasant, and two woodpeckers together in the snow.  This guy was snuggled in and was not about to leave.Woodpecker in the snow

At this report we have two inches of snow in the yard, probably 1/2 inch of that is new snow.  It has been snowing since 11:30am so it is pretty moderate. The storm is coming out of the East and the winds are light.  The visibility is one half mile, from the mailbox to the highway.

The gentleman from the National Weather Service I spoke to in Missoula, MT where we get our best weather forecasts from said to button down the hatches as this could be as bad as the one we had in January 2009 and that one was really nasty with winds, snow and power outages.

I’ll be out there again in a couple of hours to do another assessment and a report, gotta keep those guys in Missoula up to date on what is happening here in North Central Idaho.

Click on the photos if you would like to enlarge them.

UPDATE!!!!  At 2:30 this afternoon the winds came calling with a vengeance!  Visibility has dropped to 1/4 mile as I can still see the neighbors but not much further than that!  Temp is 24 degrees and still lightly snowing.

Here is our old horse barn that is located not far from the house.DSC01549

The donkey boys decided to fill their bellies before heading to the shelter to wait out the storm, and it looks like it could be quite the wait!  So glad there is enough hay to get them thru this storm!  DSC01550At 4 pm we have a total of 3 inches of snow so not much accumulation, the winds seemed to have died down somewhat, the temperature is 23 degrees and I can still see the neighbors.  We must have been on the southern edge of the storm but will see what happens overnight and tomorrow.  Merlin, Luc and Galahad came back out to the hay but Marshall stayed in the pasture shelter out of the storm!  Let’s hope we are done with this one!

5pm it is really coming down hard now and blowing, the roads are a terrible mess…. looks like an ugly night …. put another log on the fire please!

One am and all is quiet on the home front.  The winds have died down, it has stopped snowing and the Teamdonk boys are quietly eating hay.  Temp is 23 degrees, I can see two lights off in a distance and all is well.

Cinch Chix Hay Net

They all watched in anticipation as Jim threw the new round bale hay net over and secured it.  They watched as the four foot round bale was taken to the bottom of the pasture and set in place on the ground away from the old feeder.  They watched all this happen as they waited to be released.  What happened next was way to funny…..

Marshall was first, he got about three-quarters of the way there and put the brakes on, you could see in his body language a big spook was building.  Galahad stopped behind him and was getting ready to charge in the opposite direction because there was some big scary object just ahead.  Merlin carefully walked past the two spooks while Luc brought up the rear, he had to stop for some lovin’s from Jim so for a change he was dead last.

It was Merlin and Luc who carefully approached the new round bale.  Neither was going to touch it first so they both whirled in a small half circle which set the other two in motion.  It took a long time for Luc and Merlin to decide who was going to be the first to get close to it, in fact they both turned their back on it acting like it was no big deal.  Finally Merlin moved up in a cat-like stalking motion, reached out touching it with his nose, and we have contact!

When our mammoth donkeys decided the bale was not going to get them it was Marshall and Luc who grabbed the netting and tried to pull it off!  Good strong netting made the attack unsuccessful.  Total frustration for all four donkeys trying to figure out how to get to the new hay, two of them, Marshall and Luc, were pawing up a storm. Luc, Marshall and Galahad then decided the eatin’ was still okay at the old feeder and off they went. There was still some hay left there for them to munch on while they worked on the new bale with the 1 3/4 inch netting.

Merlin persisted at the newly covered round bale until finally we saw him reach in and grab a nice chunk  of hay pulling it thru the netting.  The other three watch him carefully as he continued to eat from the new bale.  Hurray for Merlin!  This was just before sunset and by the next morning all four were at the new bale peacefully eating, like it was old news.

We are thinking that we will need to rescue the hay net when the bale is mostly eaten… I can see the donkeys dragging the hay net off and hiding it somewhere where hopefully we will not be able to find it!  That would be just like Teamdonk to try to destroy it or turn it in to a toy or both!

Here is a photo of the last round bale we fed in the feeder at two days old.  Marshall was Mr Bale Destroyer, while the other three had gotten into a bad habit of overeating.

This was taken the on second day the bale was available to them.  Huge amount of waste!  We never had this before Marshall arrived on the scene.  What a difference one animal can make!

This was taken the on second day the bale was available to them. Huge amount of waste! We never had this before Marshall arrived on the scene. What a difference one animal can make!

Here is the new round bale set in the pasture at the same two day interval.  What a difference the http://www.chinchchix.com hay net makes.

Taken on day number two with all the boys peacefully eating.

Taken on day number two with all the boys peacefully eating.  Click on the photos to bring them to full size.

On the fourth day of eating, here is the same round bale.  The only thing I found upon closer inspection is the rope that is used to cinch the bale up tight had been pulled out from where it had been securely tucked in next to the bale itself.  LUC! reached over and bit me on the butt while I was tucking it back where it goes!  Biting thru an insulated coat and bib overalls is pretty much a non issue for me… it just let me know WHO worked on that rope!  LUC! leave it alone!  I don’t see them spending any more time at the bale than before the net was installed, and that is a good thing!

On day number four here is the round bale inside the CinchChix net.

On day number four here is the round bale inside the CinchChix net.  It looks like there are plenty more days of good eating left on this bale.  It has certainly stopped them from tearing the bale to shreds and wasting half of it!  Thank you CinchChex

Thought you would like to see a photo of the same bale on day six.  In the bale opening they can now reach in there to get hay.  Not a big deal, it is near the bottom of the bale.  I did not see the rope Luc had pulled out so I am guessing it must be on the bottom side.  It looks like they still have a couple more days of good eating!  Hay Bale day 6

Click on the photos to increase their size.

Marshall finally let me reach over and give his shoulder a little rub, he has been stand-offish in the pasture so I have just be lovin’ on the other three boys.  I guess he finally decided it was his turn.  He even let me give him a little face rub before I left.  Merlin and Marshall followed me down the fence line but Mr Merlin played cutting-horse donkey and would not let him get close to me.  Marshall got ahead of him and I followed him down the fence line just like I was driving him, when I clucked he took off trotting… he sez’ hey I know that sound!  Love It!

On day seven I thought I might be able to go dump the hay out of the net.  There was still way to  much hay  but  I did open it up and took maybe a third of it out and laid it on top the bale.

7th day of the hay net

Merlin had his front hoof hung up in the net from standing on the hay.  It was easy to lift his foot and take the net off.  Glad I was home to do it, even though I don’t think it was hung up that bad.

Marshall let me pet him again today and was just fine with me out there freeing up some of the hay before the big snow storm arrives.  I like it now he has accepted me out in the donkey pasture going out almost daily has helped.  It took patience and was done without treats, too!

It is one am on day number eight of this bale, we have never had a bale last this long even this fall when we were feeding three mammoth donkeys.  The weather has calmed down and I can see four donkeys munching on what is left in the hay bag.  The plan for today is to pick up what is left of this bale with the tractor and deposit it into the old feeder and take the hay net off.  They will be getting a new bale today since Jim has to fire up the tractor to plow out the driveway.  I think we will deposit the new bale into the old feeder and see how that works out, at least it will keep their hooves out of it.

This is the final report on our first time feeding saga with the Cinch Chix hay net.  It has made a huge difference on the amount of hay they have gone thru on a daily basis.  This four foot round bale weighing around 750 pounds has lasted a full week and a day.  The hay has stayed good to the end even thru a winter blizzard.  We are pleased and will continue to use it until our new hay feeder arrives from Indiana after the first of the year.  It may even be used in the spring when we need to slow down their enormous appetites. There has been very little wasted hay and with feeding purchased hay this winter that means a lot!This is what is left on day 8.

After dumping the hay out of the net we decided NOT to feed until tomorrow.  There is still plenty of hay to get them thru day eight!  WOWERS!!!  Amazing!  LOVE IT!!!

Happy New Year to the Teamdonk boys and of course to you too especially if you have read through this  (now) nine day feeding episode with the Cinch Chix Hay Net.

ALERRT’S Montana Marshall

Today was Marshall’s first retraining session,  the activities with him and the others will be reported here on the blog. Winter months here are tough to get out and do much but after the holiday season I hope to get out and work with all of them as much as possible.  Here is our first entry.

This was taken in Burley on our trip.  You can see how animated he is!

This was taken in Burley on our trip. You can see how animated he is! Click on the photo to enlarge it!

ALERRT’S Montana Marshall arrived Nov 11, 2013, a 1,400 road trip for him and he is still settling in. His first walking trip away from the others was Nov 14th. He would not allow me close to him with a halter in my hand out in the pasture. Galahad wanted to do something so I slipped the halter on and led him to the mail box and back. He was not as good as he could have been.

Luc was next and he trotted with me on the way back…. the show off!

Merlin did not want to be caught so he was next. He did a good job but could use more walks.

I had to lock the other three up in a pen and pen Marshall separate in order to catch him. He did not want anything to do with me and a halter, but was fine once he was caught. I left the other three locked up and took Marshall out through the big gate where we bring the tractor in and out. He actually did great on his walk.  No pulling or pushing me around. He did not want anything to do with the trailer when we got back but he had to go there to get his “walkin” treat.

I tied him up next to the other three and slipped Galahad’s 18 inch collar on him. It was too big for him. Marshall needs a 17 inch full face collar, the size I do not have. Anyone have a 17 inch  full face collar they would sell me?

It was 44 degrees, cloudy and no wind, a great day to take all four out to the mailbox and back. We worked on cross over turn arounds at the mail box and they all did great. Next time we go I will brush them down and clean all their hooves, including Mr Marshall’s.

Luc was his normal naughty character.. After our walks Mr Luc ran off with the halter and lead rope, and was damn proud of himself!

Teamdonk’s Big Red ASS

Around August 15th someone on the mammoth donkey list posted that they were looking for a riding donkey.  Nelda Auge and I both wrote saying we had a donkey for sale.  Hank went on to become a therapy donkey and it was decided that ALERRT’S Montana Marshall should have a Teamdonk address.  

He's a pretty huggable guy!  Click on the photos to enlarge them

He’s a pretty huggable guy! Click on the photos to enlarge them

Robert, Nelda and I have been internet friends for a good ten years but have never met.  They live in New Mexico and we have shared many of our donkey stories over the years.  At one time we both had very forward donkeys with too much go and on my end no whoa! Her problem child at the time was Marshall. Over the years Marshall has matured but kept his go power.  He is not timid, he is not mean, he just wants to get going and keep going.  A Teamdonk kind of donkey.  He has not had a job to do in awhile and Nelda thought getting him back into driving would bring out his full potential.

Robert Auge showing me how it's done!  I think they look like they know what they are doing!

Robert Auge showing me how it’s done! I think they look like they know what they are doing!

We met Robert and Nelda, 900 miles from our home and around 500 miles from theirs at Kanab, Utah on Saturday, Nov 10, 2013.  We certainly appreciate them hauling him the first 500 miles, that was wonderful!  As soon as Marshall was unloaded Robert and I commenced to ground driving him.  He was extremely forward even after his long ride and I just love that!  Tons of go and a nice whoa!  Nelda and I really had a great visit while I played with Marshall ground driving him some more.  It was good for Marshall to see his new people with the ones he has known most of his life.  He wanted to get out and move, wow I am impressed with this boy and his great attitude!  He is so much better in person than on video or in photos.

The girls turn to play with Marshall, he was giving us a good fast ass pace!  Better than any tread mill.

The girls turn to play with Marshall, he was giving us a good fast ass pace! Better than any tread mill.

Robert and Nelda are by far some of the best folks on earth, let me tell you!  We ate, drank and told funny donkey tales for three hours at dinner time… oh my gosh we laughed!  You know donkeys are the best critters to bring folks together. It was wonderful to finally meet in person.

There is always something this big boy needs to stop and check out!

There is always something this big boy needs to stop and check out! 

On the first day headed back to Idaho at a fuel stop, I opened the trailer door to check on him, the big red turd jumped out.  He wanted to look around too. People were grabbing cameras and he started posing for them, head up, ears forward… I’m like are you kidding me?  When the photo sessions were finished I jumped him back into the trailer, Marshall turned around and before I could stop him he jumped back out!  I needed Jim’s help to push the door closed as I latched it.  Nelda told me Marshall needs tuned up on his manners, he and I will work on that this winter!

He was pretty interested in the sheep and cattle at the farm and wanted to go 'git 'em!

He was pretty interested in the sheep and cattle at the farm and wanted to go ‘git ’em! 

Marshall ate good in Burley, Id at our first night’s stop, we gave him some of his hay and a little of ours.  He preferred his own hay.  We walked him over to meet my 94 year old father and step mother.  I think Dad liked him as he commented on his color, size and conformation.  Overnight Marshall drank about 8 gallons of water and finished the soaked hay pellets, apple and carrot mix that also had a little mineral oil to help with digestion.

 

Marshall really liked the green green grass of Idaho!

Marshall really liked the green green grass of Idaho!

Marshall traveled excellent, when he arrived there was not a rub mark on his body anywhere.  Stopping was a different story. Marshall pawed and banged on the side of the trailer with force at each and every stop!  He had a terrible fit when we were not moving!  On our first day I tied him up and got in with him on a travel break. When he pawed I kicked the leg he was pawing with, he decided pawing was not good idea when I was in the trailer.

On the second day of our journey when we needed a break we had a terrific place where he could be unloaded.

What a great place to take a break!

What a great place to take a break!

The corrals at the Boise Stage Stop located on the east side of Boise, Idaho was a wonderful solution to fuel, check air pressure on the trailer and give us a chance to eat. We unloaded and escorted him into one of their really nice pole corrals.  When Jim and the trailer disappeared Marshall immediately became upset.  He thought about crawling thru the poles on the corral but changed his mind after one try.  As soon as Jim and the trailer came back he stood by it and was fine, that was his security blanket.

People came out to see the big read loud donkey out in the corrals!

People came out to see the big red loud donkey out in the corrals!

He watched Jim walk to the restaurant and kept a close watch for him to reappear.  As soon as Jim was back in sight Marshall let off with a full blown bray.  That caught the attention of quite a few folks who just had to come out and see him.  Marshall was wonderful with everyone, especially with a lady who had a severe disability.  Marshall pushed his nose closer to her so she could pet him and he did not seem to mind that she was petting him the wrong direction.  He was very patient and kind with her.

Thank goodness Marshall remained calm and quiet loaded in the trailer as it took us over an hour to pass a fatality accident in the Salmon River Corridor.   He hardly made any kind of a fuss while we sat and waited.  This is the only route from North Idaho to South Idaho and the traffic was lined up for many miles both directions with the two lane highway closed for six hours.  Marshall was good as gold, bless his heart and never once started kicking or pawing.

He was happy to see the Teamdonk boys and wanted to go be with his own kind again. He had been totally on his own for the last three days for the only time in his life.  After a 10 minute introduction and some last minute Marshall hugs, which was his idea, I open the pasture gate.  Jim had the attention of the other three donkeys so he only had to deal with one at a time.  He immediately took off on his own exploring and led the troops to the far back pasture.  I went back to check on them and they were all fine grazing together.  He wanted to come say hi but the other three cut him off and told him I belonged to them!  Jim checked on them again after dark.  At 1 am I could see all four at the feeder eating in the moonlight.  At first light they were all together at the fence looking into the house.  At the morning feeding Marshall came on the run.  I have a feeling the other three are going to have to step it up, that Marshall is quick on the draw!

I can’t believe how well this all came together, it sure was meant to be. It is great to have Marshall here, he’s about ten times plus better than I had hoped for!

There will be many pictures and Teamdonk stories to come starring Marshall and Merlin, the MnM boys and Luc and Galahad!

YIPPEEE. Teamdonk now has a Big Red FAST ASS!!!  We may become known as the Teamdonk Fast Ass Express!

Teamdonk’s First RED Player

Let’s all join in to welcome ALERRT’S Montana Marshall to the Teamdonk gang.  Check out this boy’s ground driving skill’s on these short videos, he is what I like to call “good to go”.

http://youtu.be/WC8pCepHK10 dragging a pole

He comes packed with a ton of energy, we love Road Warriors at Teamdonk!
The good looking one on our side is Marshall

The good looking one on our side is Marshall

Thanks to Robert and Nelda Auge of New Mexico for making this happen and for all the great training you have put into this fine big fella, who is a perfect match for us.
Click on the photo of Robert leading Marshall to bring it up to full size

Click on the photo of Robert leading Marshall to bring it up to full size

RED, it’s never been done here at Teamdonk before.  You could say we are continuing the theme of rainbow teams.  Why match when you can be colorful?

He turned 15 years old this summer and stands around 57 1/4 inches.He turned 15 years old this summer and stands around 57 1/4 inches.

Luc, Galahad and Merlin get ready to meet your newest pasture playmate and driving member.  Merlin and Marshall you boys shall be known as the M ‘n M team!

What a cute face this guy has!

What a cute face this guy has, don’t you agree?

A Quiet Autumn for Teamdonk

It’s been another quiet and beautiful fall with cooler temperatures and much shorter days.  It’s hard to believe that almost two months ago was our last drive and video.  I apologize for the abrupt end to our driving season, that was totally unplanned!   We managed to un-officially complete our goal of driving over a thousand miles this year which began way before I started keeping track of time and miles.  Next year we will hit the official logged time and how many hours it took us.  We have less than thirty miles to go so I’m sure it will happen!

Thanks to the many folks who enjoy what we do enough to follow along with us on our drives and the other posts of life on and off our North Central Idaho farm.  I really enjoy your thoughts and kindness.

Merlin and Luc are taking a short pause for a quick photo while enjoying the first batch of fresh sweet maple leaves.  Luc was just like a kid playing in the big pile I pushed under the fence line…he just had to have a little fun first before he got serious about eating and before Merlin devoured them while he was messing around.

Merlin and Luc

Click on the picture to bring it up to full size. As you can see they are putting on their winter coats.  Merlin’s hind hood, that is showing in the photo, is the one that is in the process of healing.  It is looking better all the time.

I want to sincerely thank all the folks who enjoy what we do enough to follow along on our drives and the posts of life on our North Central Idaho farm.  I really enjoy your thoughts and kindness.  I appreciate those who just pop in once in awhile to see if anything new has been been happening.  Fair Warning….Stay tuned our next post promises to be a BIGIE!