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Historical Relatives - Loretta and Emmylou

Mules are amazing creatures. Half horse, half donkey, and they inherit the best traits of both. Our girls, Loretta and Emmylou, are a cross between an American Mammoth Jack and a Belgian draft horse.

The first mule breeder in the country was none other than our first President, George Washington. In the 18th century, American donkeys were a bit on the scrawny side. So in 1785, as a gift to George Washington, the King of Spain Charles III sent a breeding donkey named Royal Gift, described as "a fine Creature, just fifty Eight Inches high, & the largest that I believe ever came into this Country." Link The following year, Marquis de Lafayette, a French noble who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, sent George Washington another donkey named Knight of Malta, described as "about Fourteen Hands high, most beautifully formed, for an Ass, and extremely light, active and sprightly; comparatively speaking resembling a fine Courser." along with two "very fine" female donkeys from Malta "to establish a valuable breed of these animals in this Country." Link 

It was through George Washington's breeding program of these imported donkeys that the American Mammoth Jack donkey was born. So it is entirely possible some distant relative (on the donkey side of the family) of Loretta and Emmylou was a resident of Mount Vernon. We were wondering why they were so enthused about last President's day.

-brian

Bray Grove Farm Stories

www.BrayGroveFarm.com

<p><b>Our Neighbor Ralph</b></p><p>Let me introduce you to Ralph. I don’t know for a fact that his
name really is Ralph, but I have called him such on numerous occasions and
he has yet to correct me. Perhaps he is simply being polite but, for
the sake of brevity, I’ll assume his name is Ralph and continue.</p><p>Ralph is a raccoon. A great big, rather tired looking, old
raccoon. He made his first appearance on our farm about two months ago
during one of the nasty cold spells that has come to identify the
winter of 2015. I first saw him curled up sound asleep in a wheelbarrow in
our barn, with remnants of old straw that I left there the night previous
because it was too cold to wheel it all the way to the manure pile.</p><p>Knowing a barn is no place for a wild raccoon, I tried to stir
Ralph but he’d have none of that. Like a somnolent housecat curled up in
the sun, he gave me this look that I could only interpret as mild
annoyance, then put his paw over his eyes, rolled over, and promptly went
to sleep. Since it would seem that, to a wild animal, humans are the
ultimate foe and should flee us if they know what’s good for them (even
though I’d never harm any animal, it’s best wild creatures assume all
humans are bad for their own safety), his lackadaisical
demeanor seemed to mean one thing. He was too tired to move, and he was
dying.</p><p>For a while we let Ralph rest comfortably, suspecting his
end was near. But knowing raccoons carry a variety of diseases and
thinking that it might not be wise to have our animals exposed to
him, I reluctantly got a shovel and nudged him to the door. It took
several tries, but between my apologies, which I have no reason to
assume he understood, and my gentle yet firm persistence, Ralph found his
way to the stable door and waddled his way across the paddock to our stand
of trees. I watched as he slowly yet methodically climbed a Norway
spruce and disappeared into the upper branches.</p><p>Over the next few days I was expecting to find a dead
raccoon under the trees, having finally succumbed to the inexorable
decline of old age. But no raccoon was to be found. For a while
there, I didn’t give it much thought until one night coming in from chores
with the wind blowing wicked drifts, I watched as a big,
old, lumbering raccoon trundled his way across the driveway and along
the front of our farm house looking for food. It was Ralph.</p><p>What made me think of this story is, in part triggered by
the fact that when I went out to the hay barn this morning to gather a
bale for Loretta, Emmylou, and Cowboy, who should I find asleep on a
stack of hay but Ralph. I’ll leave the story about how Joanne and I spent
forty minutes trying to herd an old raccoon out of a barn for another
day. Suffice it to say, by this point we’ve come to assume that Ralph
isn’t quite on death’s door. He’s just an old raccoon, perhaps a
little tired, looking for a home.</p><p>-brian</p>

Our Neighbor Ralph

Let me introduce you to Ralph. I don’t know for a fact that his name really is Ralph, but I have called him such on numerous occasions and he has yet to correct me. Perhaps he is simply being polite but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll assume his name is Ralph and continue.

Ralph is a raccoon. A great big, rather tired looking, old raccoon. He made his first appearance on our farm about two months ago during one of the nasty cold spells that has come to identify the winter of 2015. I first saw him curled up sound asleep in a wheelbarrow in our barn, with remnants of old straw that I left there the night previous because it was too cold to wheel it all the way to the manure pile.

Knowing a barn is no place for a wild raccoon, I tried to stir Ralph but he’d have none of that. Like a somnolent housecat curled up in the sun, he gave me this look that I could only interpret as mild annoyance, then put his paw over his eyes, rolled over, and promptly went to sleep. Since it would seem that, to a wild animal, humans are the ultimate foe and should flee us if they know what’s good for them (even though I’d never harm any animal, it’s best wild creatures assume all humans are bad for their own safety), his lackadaisical demeanor seemed to mean one thing. He was too tired to move, and he was dying.

For a while we let Ralph rest comfortably, suspecting his end was near. But knowing raccoons carry a variety of diseases and thinking that it might not be wise to have our animals exposed to him, I reluctantly got a shovel and nudged him to the door. It took several tries, but between my apologies, which I have no reason to assume he understood, and my gentle yet firm persistence, Ralph found his way to the stable door and waddled his way across the paddock to our stand of trees. I watched as he slowly yet methodically climbed a Norway spruce and disappeared into the upper branches.

Over the next few days I was expecting to find a dead raccoon under the trees, having finally succumbed to the inexorable decline of old age. But no raccoon was to be found. For a while there, I didn’t give it much thought until one night coming in from chores with the wind blowing wicked drifts, I watched as a big, old, lumbering raccoon trundled his way across the driveway and along the front of our farm house looking for food. It was Ralph.

What made me think of this story is, in part triggered by the fact that when I went out to the hay barn this morning to gather a bale for Loretta, Emmylou, and Cowboy, who should I find asleep on a stack of hay but Ralph. I’ll leave the story about how Joanne and I spent forty minutes trying to herd an old raccoon out of a barn for another day. Suffice it to say, by this point we’ve come to assume that Ralph isn’t quite on death’s door. He’s just an old raccoon, perhaps a little tired, looking for a home.

-brian

Posted 162 weeks ago
<p><b>A Milestone for Cowboy</b></p><p>Fate brought us together. When we found Bray Grove Farm, we also found Cowboy. One of our goals for the farm always was to care for farm animals in need. At first sight, we loved this old lonely Appaloosa horse. At his advanced age, with cancer, and with no future home, he was destined for an early burial. After regular vet and farrier visits, healthy feedings of fresh hay, grains, and clean water, and the company of Loretta and Emmylou, Cowboy has flourished. </p><p>He can be a bully with “his” herd at times, yet he can be a real charmer, making sure the girls are always in his sight. Despite Loretta having a good 600 lbs on him, Cowboy still succeeds in fending her off from taking his feed and he can still bolt off into a full gallop.</p><p>Happy 30th Cowboy - looking forward to many more!</p><p>-joanne</p>

A Milestone for Cowboy

Fate brought us together. When we found Bray Grove Farm, we also found Cowboy. One of our goals for the farm always was to care for farm animals in need. At first sight, we loved this old lonely Appaloosa horse. At his advanced age, with cancer, and with no future home, he was destined for an early burial. After regular vet and farrier visits, healthy feedings of fresh hay, grains, and clean water, and the company of Loretta and Emmylou, Cowboy has flourished.

He can be a bully with “his” herd at times, yet he can be a real charmer, making sure the girls are always in his sight. Despite Loretta having a good 600 lbs on him, Cowboy still succeeds in fending her off from taking his feed and he can still bolt off into a full gallop.

Happy 30th Cowboy - looking forward to many more!

-joanne

Posted 163 weeks ago