Summer to winter overnight

Snow on Puig Campana 9 am Saturday 16 November

Snow on Puig Campana 9 am Saturday 16 November

It was only two days ago that I was sitting outside the Bar Cantonet in the early evening having a beer with a friend and commenting on the continuing warm weather.  Overnight the snow came down on Puig Campana and the high Aitana ridge to the west.  Suddenly we are plunged into winter.

Wintry breakfast for the donkeys

Wintry breakfast for the donkeys

Matilde and Aitana at breakfast

Matilde and Aitana at breakfast

The donkeys are looking wet and forlorn this morning, having stood out in freezing rain in the night.  It is always a mystery to me why these animals who do not like water – and who have a perfectly servicable stable that can accommodate all of them – choose to stand in the rain or under the fig tree which eventually lets the rain through! They can look as forlorn as they want, but I’m going to stay indoors and have a relaxing day doing school work (?) to catch up with things after last weekend’s panic with Matilde.  Her wounded nose is healing up nicely, and since yesterday I don’t have to give any more twice-daily antibiotic injections, thank goodness.  It is very disruptive when you have to hurt an animal and it leads to a loss of trust.  She runs off when she sees me at the moment!  Here is her sewn up nose in close up – still with stitches in – but hardly visible now.  I got the bill from the vet yesterday and was relieved to find it was a very reasonable 134 Euros: for an emergency call-out on a Sunday, with an assistant, and an hour’s work, plus the various medications. Excellent veterinary service.  I think Alicia takes pity on me because I am overwhelmed with a herd of donks!

Matilde healing up after her wild time and accident last weekend

Matilde healing up after her wild time and accident last weekend

I extended the stable in the summer and integrated the feeding manger into the end, so the donkeys could feed from inside or out. The stable provides shade in summer and the open end keeps it well-aired.  But the plan is to close in the end during the winter to keep out the cold winds from those wintry mountains mentioned above.  Once the end is closed in, the donkeys can feed from the manger on the inside of the stable.  I have just found a dismantled wardrobe at the rubbish dump and it will provide all the wooden panelling I need to fill in the end of the stable, enclosing the manger.

The open ended stable and manger

The open ended stable and manger

The food lorry came with the delivery from Nutrivila on Thursday, so just in time for the extra feed that the donks will get through in colder weather.  I now buy enough food in bulk to last for five or six weeks, and the storage area was fenced off and gated in the summer holidays in preparation for this new routine.  I tied the big plastic sheet down, over the bales of straw, forage and alfalfa, just  in time for the change in the weather.  A fierce wind preceded the change in temperatures, with turbulent conditions caused by competing weather fronts early yesterday morning.

Loads of lovely food

Loads of lovely food

So, with one last glance up at the snow-capped Puig Campana, I have taken off my muddy wellington boots and settled down indoors with a wood fire and intend to have a leisurely fried breakfast. Winter has arrived on the Costa Blanca.

Snow on Puig Campana 11.40 am

Snow on Puig Campana 11.40 am

Puig Campana and the Aitana ridge in snow

Puig Campana and the Aitana ridge in snow 11.40 am

Postscript Monday 18th November
Matilde’s behaviour – as a consequence of the course of injections – has become even more noticeable. The last injection was on Friday and I have been trying to regain Matilde’s trust.  On Saturday I had to chase her all around the field before she would let me put the head collar on her, but I finally managed to catch her and simply gave her a long leisurely grooming with curry comb andthe hard and soft brushes. I thought that would be a good way to show that there were no injections to come: a half hour of my attention without a hypodermic syringe! However, this morning she was worse than ever and ran off when offered her usual carrots. She would not feed at the manger with the others until I had retreated to a safe distance. She is very nervous.  That’s the last time I will give injections to my donkeys: I need to get someone else to do it next time.

 

 

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About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have three blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog begun in 2015, plus an old donkey blog which ran from 2010 to 2015.
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2 Responses to Summer to winter overnight

  1. Jim of Olym says:

    I’m happy to see that Matilde is recovering nicely from her ‘adventure’. We are fortunate that we have had only one or two wounds over the years, which were minor and didn’t require a vet. Mostly we get foot abcesses in the spring or fall, which we have learned to treat ourselves. As to the standing out in the rain whilst there is shelter available, I think it’s part of the ‘Eeyore complex’ that donkeys have inherited from their mythic ancestor!
    PS we are looking for a rather wet winter here across the globe from you, but so far it’s been chilly but not much real rain. Our paddock gets really muddy and due to the soil stays that way for a long time.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Thanks for comment, Jim. I like the Eeyore reference! Rubí is my classic Eeyore donkey: often to be found separate from the other three, with her back turned to the action, gazing into space and possibly thinking, “I wish it was Tuesday.”

    The blog now has four pages of photo archives, grouped by year, 2010-2013. The early photos from 2010 show Matilde and Rubí in Parcent, on the other side of the Sierra Bernia, then the photo record shows the stages of their history here, with the births of the foals in 2011 and their contribution to the story. I’ve realised the blog is my only complete record of my life with the donks, so I am starting to preserve all this stuff and back it up on two hard disks.

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