Run Forrest, Run
I haven't written in a while because there hasn't been too much to write about for what's been happening on our ranch to be honest. However this morning, as I was making a two mile trek home in the middle of a corn field, I knew what my next blog was going to be about.
Back in March, Holden and I purchased another miniature donkey to hopefully start breeding to add some more cuteness to our ranch. If you haven't met him already on my social media accounts, his name is Forrest. He stands about 33-ish inches tall and is 11 months old! Needless to say, we learned that the name we picked for him suits him well.
Since the weather has warmed up, we set up a temporary fence in our back yard for Jenny and Forrest to roam and be in the sun and graze on the grass. Hence the word temporary. This awful makeshift fence was made out of materials we could find around our ranch and made it work for literally starting from the ground up (First mistake). The materials included: the middle divider from our livestock trailer, recycled roof tin sheets, a doggy gate panel, a pallet and a hog panel. Hey but it worked! For a long time it seriously worked and they are so tame that they didn't test their limits so we became more trusting. For a long time we would lock them back in their pen at night so we knew they were safe and sound, but some nights it was just so warm and the breeze was light, I just couldn't bear to lock them back in their pen for the night. For many many days we'd wake up and they'd stretch their legs as we feed them their morning hay. Not a problem....until last night.
At about 3:30 am, I woke up and heard some movement outside that just seemed "off." Sometimes the donkeys like to kick a 5 gallon pail around for fun, so I didn't think too much of it and rolled over (Second mistake). 5:00 am rolls around and Holden comes bursting in the bedroom, "Forrest and Jenny are gone." WHAT?! I don't think I've ever sprung out of bed so fast.
I grabbed the carrots we never eat out of our fridge, threw on my boots and Holden and I divided and conquered. I started walking in the pasture thinking they couldn't have gone far with 20 acres of fresh grass and the creek right there (Third Mistake). I frantically texted our neighbor letting him know our situation and told him to let us know if he saw two little donkeys over by their place. I thought for sure he would think we were absolutely crazy at that point since he had already helped us round up our cows that got out months earlier when we first moved to the new house. I never got a text back. I don't blame him.
I continued to yell their names which they always came running to and it was complete silence; absolutely nothing in return. There wasn't a single bray or the sound of little hooves running toward me. It was then that I started thinking every possible bad thought that could've happened to them.
What if they got hit by a train? *We live right next to train tracks so it's not unlikely
What if they got hit by a semi or a careless driver?
What if they're lost in the woods and we're never going to find them?
What if someone called the cops and someone else got to them first?
My phone rings and Holden said he found donkey poop in the middle of the highway and followed it. "Great, they're for sure dead," I thought. Lo and Behold, they were walking toward the chicken farm two miles away from home. Someone driving by or something must have scared Forrest, because he ran and ran and ran and Jenny followed.
I pull up behind Holden's truck and call their names and they come trotting right over as I welcome them with carrots. We get their halters on and start making the morning walk home. Then I started thinking of every good thought that did happen:
Thank GOD they are halter trained and friendly and willingly followed us home.
Thankfully Holden saw the donkey poop and decided to track it.
Thankfully they weren't hit by a vehicle or were seriously injured, just a little scared.
As weird as this may sound, I decided I would find it as a strange blessing in disguise. Holden has been so busy with work and spring planting that it has been a lot of early mornings and late nights so I rarely got to see him. We used it as an opportunity for the next hour to talk and reconnect and for Holden to scout for weeds in our neighbors field as we were walking home. We also talked over our new fencing plans and dreamed of the day our new fencing will be in. (If you're wondering, the new fencing will be done sometime in June.) We also hilariously thought about putting together a live nativity scene this winter with our donkeys, hopefully a new calf and our little baby girl that will be born in September. Don't worry, we'll definitely post photos if we make it work.
All in all, I am so grateful our little fuzzy friends weren't hurt and that they are safe in their pen at home. But I better go check after I post this, just for safe measure.
Holden & Billie Asmus