July in Texas

I love July in north Texas. Sure it’s hot, but there is B-B-Q and the garden is picking up steam. I like getting up early to take my walk in the summer. So after dousing myself with repellent to keep away the hummingbird-size mosquitos and the chiggers lurking in the grass, I walk up and down my country road for my requisite thirty minutes. I am serenaded by my four donkeys as soon as I walk out the front door; our built–in intruder alert system. This morning when I got back Indy came up for a little snuggle time and to see if he could finagle a treat.

Pretty Boy Indy
Indy

God had a good day when he made donkeys. These little miniatures are loyal, affectionate; they keep away coyotes and kill the bad snakes before they get into the yard. Indy is a little stud donkey we keep on our back pasture. He is by himself (not counting the deer) on about four acres, we keep the Jennys fenced on another pasture (we have four miniature donkeys and that’s enough) and his sire, Poco in the pasture up front. Where have you been momIndy has a thing about smelling my shoes. His version of asking “Where have you been?” So after he investigates my shoes, he gets his scratch and poses majestically for pictures.

Bette Davis eyeI think donkey eyes are beautiful; rimmed with black and with the longest eyelashes! Donkeys are perfectly adapted for the rocky, cedar-covered hills that surround our home.

Just one inch more
If I could just reach that piece of grass.

This summer I have been trying to get the back garden going again. We have a few tomato and green pepper plants in our garden berm that has fencing around it to keep the deer out. I have not done much else but plant a beautiful Purple Fountain Grass plant (my new favorite plant) yarrow (which the rabbits are eating) and Moonflowers.

Purple Fountain Grass
Purple Fountain Grass

 

 

 

Moonflowers
Moonflower Vine

The Moonflowers have made it so far I think only because they are poisonous and the animals know that. They will have large white flowers that bloom in the afternoon and smell wonderful. The rabbits or deer ate all but three of my sunflowers as soon as they sprouted. But those three are the colossal kind so they will be enough. On the other side of the patio is a huge berm where the trick is to pick plants that like partial to heavy shade, hot weather and resist grasshoppers and hungry rabbits. So far, the dianthus, zinnias, coleus, begonias and cosmos have done the best. There is a large red oak tree over this spot that shades these plants.

 

Zinnas
Zinnias
Cosmos
Cosmos
Coleus Beauty
Coleus
Begomia
Begonias

I’m especially enjoying today because my sweet husband of almost forty years is smoking ribs and a roast in the smoker today. He is a talented and passionate griller/smoker and from the looks of things I won’t have to cook meat for a while.

Green salad and potatoes to go with, plus I baked a two-person size red velvet cake for dessert. Yum. I’ll have to walk for an hour tomorrow.

Donkeys

 

Poco
Poco
DSC06960
Indy
Holly and Perdita
Holly and Perdita
Pretty Perdita
Pretty Perdita

 Donkeys! (say this like Mike Myers in Shrek please.) Well then, Donkeys. My husband and I own four miniature donkeys, Perdita and Poco (jenny and jack), plus their two offspring Holly and Indy (jenny and jack). A jenny is a female donkey, a jack is a male and who knows where this terminology came from. We acquired the original donkey Poco from our neighbor down the street. Story goes that Poco was a retired actor from “The Promise” a live nativity play in Granbury, Texas. (Poco was forcibly retired because he had the bad manners to keep biting the wise men and anyone else he could reach too. Not good for creating a heavenly atmosphere.) So we fell in love with the little guy when we fed him when the neighbors were away. Bingo, first donkey. For those of you who have never seen a miniature donkey, they are about the size of a Great Dane and are the sweetest animal alive. Gentle, although stubborn, as you may have heard, and will follow you around creating the most horrific volume ever heard in an animal cry, accompanied by loud and melodic farting. Very endearing habit that. You just can’t help but laugh. We had to get a mate for Poco of course and procured Perdita, a truly lovely pinto-colored donkey. Indy and Holly followed. Poco is the traditional gray donkey with the black cross-shaped spine and shoulder stripe that earned them the name “Jerusalem” donkey from the story that they carried Mary into Bethlehem. Poco had the nasty habit of “cribbing”, which is a routine where they go up to the fence, latch onto the wire with their top teeth, open their mouth and inhale air into their tummies with a loud sucking noise. It is evidently a little donkey endorphin buzz to do so. Animals crib just like some folks eat chocolate;they are bored and it makes them feel good. We tried everything to get him to stop. We changed his feed, rubbed the fence wire with hot sauce…..nothing. He was a cribbing addict. This used to drive my husband insane. He was convinced that Poco would break the fence wire, which would have to be replaced. (True) He has mellowed over the years and no longer reacts, but in the early years……. One afternoon I heard our truck coming down the driveway. Stop. The engine roars, wheels squeal and kick up gravel as my husband aims the truck directly at the fence where Poco is merrily sucking the fence (cribbing), making a noise that sounds like someone pulling their Wellingtons out of quicksand. Screech! The truck stops inches from little Poco’s face as my sweet husband leans on the truck horn. No reaction from Poco…absolutely none, nada. I hear more sucking noises. This little vignette was repeated several more times as I watched from the garden room window. Then I slowly backed away and lowered the shade. Some battles just have to be fought alone. “How was your day hon?”, I asked as George entered the house. “Fine.” Poco is still with us, although he now no longer cribs. I think he quit when we quit reacting. Hmmmmm….reminds me of some students I have.