Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why oh why? Donkey Basketball

I have been very upset this week after finding out our local school is hosting Donkey Basketball. We were a big part of that school when the Fiddler attended K-12 there. We had some really great times and fundraisers through the years. None. Nada. Zip… involved exploitation of animals. I contacted the administrators of the school. The only response I received back (from one of the administrators) was very flippant (which added to my ire). I am ashamed for the school. I assume the event will proceed as planned tonight since I was informed there are indeed contracts in effect.

In my view, this ranks right up there with Donkey Roping. If you’d like to read the REAL story on Donkey Basketball, here ya go: Stop Donkey Basketball. Does anyone else find this video in the link disturbing? Especially since we are presenting that this is all “okay” to the kids in attendance.

My first question when I saw the sign in town was “Why?” With all of the other positive fundraisers out there, why must we present this to the children and make them think this type of behavior is okay? Full size humans riding miniature donkeys? Hmmm.. what is wrong with this picture?


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Mark Meyers of Peaceful Donkey Rescue wrote a wonderful article based on the age-old question: Why Do People Abuse Donkeys?

Like many answers to life’s questions, it can be found in the Bible.

“Why Do People Abuse Donkeys?

In a donkey rescue organization two questions pop up in every conversation, “Why do donkeys need rescuing?” and “Why do people abuse donkeys”. The first question is usually answered by an introduction to the 1000 plus donkeys at our rescue, the second question however has always been a tough one to answer. Who can truly understand the human mind? How can we broad brush everyone? What separates those who handle animals roughly from those who inflict abuse? How can one truly explain the motivation behind abuse?

The answer came one Saturday afternoon while giving a tour of the rescue to a church group.  The kids and parents alike genuinely enjoyed the donkeys.  They saw how lovable and sweet these animals were.  They remarked on how gentle and quiet they were with even the smallest of the children.  They saw first hand the fear and aggression in the abused donkeys.  They saw the scars, the split ears, the lumps, the bruises and the cut noses.  They were able, for the first time in many of their lives, to see firsthand the result of cruelty that no animal should ever have to face.

After the tour, the Pastor made the remark that the donkey was the only mammal in the bible to be given the power of human speech.  I was amazed!  I had heard the stories in Sunday School, even read the bible a time or two, but how could I have forgotten this?  Embarrassed, I asked to know more.  I thought that this might make an interesting addition to my tours, lectures and arguments.  What I heard went much deeper than an amusing anecdote, what I heard answered the age old question, “Why do people abuse donkeys?”
Numbers 22:21
Balaam, a prophet of God, was employed by some local rich folks to speak out against Israel. He saddled up his donkey and began a trip to Kirjathhuzoth. God was really upset that Balaam was going against his wishes and sent an angel to stop him. As the man and donkey traveled down a road the donkey saw the angel in front of her and turned away. Angry at her apparent misbehavior, Balaam whipped the donkey. Again the pair traveled on until the donkey once again saw the angel blocking the road. Again she turned away and again she was whipped.

Once their journey resumed, the angel blocked a narrow passage between two walls and as the donkey turned away, she crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall.  As the donkey could not get away from the angel, she simply laid down.  Balaam was outraged by this transgression and whipped the donkey without mercy.

As God saw this taking place, He gave the donkey the gift of speech.  The donkey said, in only the way a donkey could, “Why are you beating me? Am I not the same donkey that has been faithful to you all of these years? Am I not the same donkey who has always taken you wherever you wanted to go? Why are you beating me?”

And Balaam replied, “Because you made me look stupid”

The story goes on the say that the angel appeared to Balaam and explained to him that if the donkey had not turned away he would have killed him. And Balaam saw the error of his ways and they all lived happily ever after.

But...........

I had the answer! I was amazed at its simplicity and honesty. I had always searched for a deeper meaning; perhaps a genetic deficiency, or eating paint chips as children, or too much fast food and television. But it was none of these things. It was something simpler, something that weak people have no tolerance for and ignorant people lash out at. The one thing that attacks us as the “superior” being.

Question: Why do people abuse donkey?

Answer: Because they make us look stupid.

No other animal that I have ever come across has the ability to take all of your power away like a donkey. In a parade one of my donkeys stopped and would not move. On a pack trip 2 of my donkeys decided that it was time to stop after just 2 hours of hiking. In both cases I was powerless. They had all of the control over the situation. If a donkey makes a decision, he will stand by it until the end. The only way to get him to change his decision is to make him think that he has had a better idea.

You cannot force a donkey to do anything. Beating will only make him more persistent. More persistent leads to more frustration on the part of the abuser. More frustration leads to more beating. You can beat most animals into doing anything including killing themselves.You cannot do this to a donkey. Simply stated, they make us look stupid.

Eventually, we resumed the parade route as well as the pack trip.  In both cases, the donkeys simply had made a new decision and all was well in their world once again.  As I enjoy these particular traits of my donkeys, I never get frustrated with it.  Many times I take the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what may lie in my path (life) that may be blocking my way.

Mark Meyers
Executive Director
Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue”

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is a wonderful organization. You can check them out here.

I hope this never happens again. If it does (God Forbid), I hope my army of donkey/critter lovers will help me out :) In the meantime, please at least consider this: if you see your locals are going to present such an event, perhaps you can just donate money directly to the cause (instead of promoting Donkey Basketball)… and let them know you do not approve.

Donkey Whisperer..
over and out! ♥

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Oh, November…

You are passing much too quickly!

I took a little time to check out some things going on around the farm right before dusk. 70’s today.. cold weather on the way!

Peeky Calf – he would have taken the treat right from my hand, but Shorty dog shooed him away.
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Great Blue Heron, I’ve tried for years to get a decent picture of you. We’re getting there, but still a bit grainy.

Reflecting…
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I found this old poem again, and it reminds me there is so much to love about November and the weeks to come.

"Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers."
-  Edgar A. Guest, Thanksgiving

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Calling all Fans of Long Ears and Fiddle Music

“Too few people understand the Missouri Mule, a beast of burden in peace and war.
They worked farms, forests and mines, yet never shed a reputation for stubbornness, even cantankerousness.
Those who knew them tell a better story: Mules are intelligent, hardworking, agile, quick to learn, dependable – and wiser than horses. “You must be smarter than a mule to work a mule,” they say.

Long-time MU agriculture journalist and photojournalist Duane Dailey spent years photographing Missouri mules and their owners. This work, created mostly in 1982-83, has never before been exhibited. What we learn from these stubborn, gentle, persistent creatures, and the men and women devoted to them, is a beautiful partnership of man and beast.”

This McDougall Center documentary features the music of our Fiddler and his friends... and they make a special appearance at the end of this less-than-10 minute clip.

Missouri Mules and Men from McDougall Center on Vimeo.

Enjoy!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Quick Wedding Pic and Random Stuff

Thanks to one of the “Fiddle Family” (Trish) for taking this pic as our couple arrived at the reception Saturday night. Love it!
(oh yes, you WILL see many more wedding pics in the weeks to come)

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Also, some of our loyal blog followers have inquired as to what we’re using the “Shouse” for. We had decided some time ago that our old house was beyond fixing up (trust me on this one!). We will recycle as much as we can of the wood, doors, windows, etc.. but eventually it will be gone. The Shouse is our “transition time” abode until we can get a new house built where the old house now stands. (Location-wise, Shouse is just a few feet behind the old house). Then after the new house is built, the plan is for the shouse to become a craft retreat, canning shack, B&B for (invited.. lol) guests, family dinner place, occasional man cave, etc etc. Just know that the Blacksmith and I typically take a while to get things done so this new house thing will not happen overnight. Guarantee it :) Therefore we want to make the Shouse as comfy and cozy as possible. Hopefully the basic amenities such as kitchen and laundry will be finished in a few short weeks so we can move in before the really cold stuff hits!

Have a great weekend!!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shouse Update–Cabinet Progress

Here is where we are today in our quest for a kitchen in the BarnCottage, aka Shouse. The Blacksmith is working on plumbing and other details today. We’ll measure for countertops within the next couple of days and order. I have cabinet trim pieces and some cabinet hardware to paint. Plus, a large pantry cabinet needs painting to match the Valspar Woodlawn Colonial Gray (the color choice for the cabinets). The additional boards you see will be concealed by barn wood at some point (soon, I hope). They were necessary to support the cabinets really well in this pole barn.

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I’m a-lovin’ the colander light fixture over the sink.
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Guess who I see now when I look out my new kitchen window? My girls! (This is Gracie.. Ruby was around the corner).
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Hope you’re having a fabulous Hump Day! I’ll post more shouse updates and wedding pics as they become available ;)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blissful

bliss·ful
ˈblisfəl/
adjective
extremely happy; full of joy.
providing perfect happiness or great joy.
synonyms: ecstatic, happy, euphoric, joyful, elated, rapturous, delighted, thrilled, overjoyed, joyous, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven, over the moon,on top of the world

This pretty much describes our special couple’s wedding day and evening, which was held on Saturday. God smiled upon us with a splendid Fall day! And, with that, everything else fell into place.

Special thanks to dear friend D who was our videographer. She also snapped several pics so we could have a sneak preview. Here is one!

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We’ll be back with more pics soon!

Song of Solomon 3:4 MSG
The Message
No sooner had I left them than I found him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around him and held him tight, wouldn't let him go until I had him home again, safe at home beside the fire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marry Me

As we prepare for the Big Day.. here’s a quick video share of random engagement photos taken a year ago for our special couple. The year has just flown by, and the big event is nearly here!

marry-me-vimeo from tammy williams on Vimeo.

Hope to be back next week with some wedding pictures.. and shouse update (cabinets are being installed by the Blacksmith as we speak!).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Evening Drive: Olde Homestead

The Blacksmith and I have taken more time the last several weeks for evening drives once or twice a week. We have an open air “buggy” now which is great for nature photography (and getting a super dusty lens, but I’m okay with that). Here are a few snaps from a couple eve’s ago.


Neighbors’ bean field


As long as I live, I will never tire of seeing these beauties.


A favorite old homestead in the neighborhood.

Hope your week is going well! We are getting some much-needed rain today!

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Jeremiah 5:24 (NIV)

24 They do not say to themselves,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’

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