Monthly Archives: November 2011

Poor little girl…………………………a blog by Judith (volunteer)

Greitje being cared for

On a Saturday morning, we found Grietje very unhappy in her stable. The only thing she wanted to do was to get out as soon as possible! Of course we followed her to see what she was going to do and it turned out she wanted to lie down in the meadow. We were very worried that she might have colic, so we did everything we could to let her stand up and walk around in the meadow. She wasn’t so fond of that, so it took a lot of energy to literally drag her around the meadow.

An hour later the vet came on our request and he said that she looked quite relaxed, she wasn’t in a lot of pain any more and she had no symptoms of colic, so he gave her a few injections (painkiller and indigestion relaxer) and said that she should be fine. The whole Saturday she still didn’t want to eat and there was also no change in her look (a very blown up belly) and behavior. During the night we took turns to see that she wasn’t getting worse. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but she didn’t get any better either.

Sunday morning we called the vet again, because there was still no improvement at all and she hadn’t eaten anything in almost 2 days. He came and this time he felt that there was a turn in her intestines. Again he gave her a few injections to relax the intestines, hoping it would unlock by itself. We waited a few hours and still no improvements, so Marleen decided to call another vet to ask for a second opinion.

This vet came in the evening and did a very thorough research. He took us and his job very seriously. He saw right away that Grietje was very ill and probably had colic. He did an internal check up and thankfully there was no turn in her intestines, but there was a blockage that made it very hard for her to defecate.

Then the nightmare started for our poor little girl. First a tube in her nose, because that’s the normal procedure with colic. Unfortunately the tube was too large for her nostrils, so that wasn’t going to work. After that a tube was inserted in her behind with a sort of liquid that was pored into her. And as if that weren’t enough, she also got an infusion with 4 liters of water and detox in her vein. All and all, the visit from this vet took 2.5 hours!!!!

But her nightmare continued. Before he left, he gave us instructions for the night and next day. We had to give her some honey-water and powder (medicine) in her mouth, and some water and oil trough a tube in her behind, and this every 3 hours. This was only during the night. The next day we had to give her a kind of paste 5 x within 12 hours and we had to flush her behind again. You can imagine that our poor little girl was absolutely not happy to see us these few days, but thankfully in the end it was all worth it, because the next day her figure was normal again and she wanted to eat a little bit. After a few days she became more and more herself again and 1 week later you wouldn’t know she was ever ill!

Apples, apples, apples…………………… Marleen

Cider barrels are ready and waiting

The apples are loaded onto the lorry

One of the October tasks at the donkey paradise is harvesting all the apples (the ones the donkeys haven’t eaten, that is). Fortunately, they leave enough for us to sell them to a cider factory in Nava. The money is always used to improve the living conditions of the animals.

Sadly, the apple trees produce fewer apples each year, as they need regular pruning. This year we harvested only about 4000 kilos, whereas last year we had more than twice this quantity.

If you are a good pruner, why not hop over to Asturias as a volunteer for a couple of weeks??
Your presence and your work would much be appreciated!!


Edible Walk. A blog by Tara

We were all invited to an ‘edible walk’ last week. That was exactly the description we were given. No details, no clues. I have to admit I got a little excited and my imagination ran wild with thoughts of Hansel and Gretel, following a trail of jellybeans instead of breadcrumbs.

Unfortunately that was not the case, though it was still a great idea. Our hosts took us on a nature trail walk of the countryside that surrounds their campsite and the idea was to find edible plants, flowers, nuts and mushrooms along the way. Whatever we collected, we would then make a meal from it.

So, off we set with our hopes high and our enthusiasm in abundance. Not having a clue what to look for (apart from the obvious chestnuts that scattered the floor and a few hazelnuts that the little woodland creatures had left behind) I watched with awe and frustration as the people in front of me identified plant after plant, leaf after leaf and flower after flower. An expert in mushrooms was amongst us, though with barely any rain and very few damp places, the mushrooms were few and far between to say the least.

After a few hours walking, our hoard of food was complete… Dandelion leaves featured highly, as did chestnuts. A single edible mushroom was discovered. A surprise find of a walnut tree with a small deposit of nuts was an added bonus. Two tiny insignificant little apples, a handful of rose petals and a couple of other edible flowers pretty much completed the collection.

By this time it was quite late so we were relieved to find out that some food had already been prepared and that we would just make a salad to go with it, based on what we had found.

So… was our salad and our 3 hour expedition a success?? Let’s just say, thank goodness for supermarkets! Dandelion leaves are awful, bitter things and should never be a main ingredient in a salad, or anything else for that matter. The pieces of apple helped (apparently), but only if you were lucky enough to get some. Luck clearly wasn’t on my side that particular day then!

Despite the paltry gathering of ingredients, it was a great experience, the weather was perfect and our hosts were very well educated on what nature has to offer, which is great as I’m not an expert and without them I think we would have starved.

This “foraging” nature walk was organised by Fontebona camping, Infiesto:

Hannah 2

Hannah 2

“Ah, there’s my porridge!”

Hannah 1

Hannah 1

Hannah with her breakfast

Porridge…………………submitted by Tara

With her bad foot and tendonitis, it is difficult for Hannah to move around. So we give her special treatment and keep her in the yard so she can get out of the stable and enjoy the fresh air without having to go too far.
But her special treatment doesn’t end there.
Every morning after breakfast, she enjoys a special platter of her favourite foods:
Alfalfa conceals a surprise layer of apples (which actually isn’t that much of a surprise anymore as she gets them everyday), and in the centre, the most favourite of all, is a delicious bowl of porridge. Yes, porridge!
Hannah absolutely loves it and any leftovers from our breakfast are most gratefully welcomed by her.

We also scour the area for another of her favourites, Dandelion leaves, which she will almost take your hand off for.

We like to look after our animals!