Stevie the pig lived in the stable next to Bella our new resident horse (see earlier blog) and, If Bella’s conditions were squalid, Stevie’s were appalling: a tiny, three-metres-by-one-metre space, never cleaned, no water, no light. At least Bella got to go outside sometimes. Stevie was stuck in her cage and more or less forgotten.
A couple of days after Bella arrived at Donkey Paradise, a space was prepared for Stevie in Stable Zero and she was brought to the sanctuary. Marleen’s old dog Jolly normally occupies the back seat in her Pajero, but this day, her bushy black-and-white tail was displaced by the constantly wagging little tail of Stevie, who oinked all the way from Arriondas. In fact, Stevie oinks almost all of the time, whether she’s being fed or watered or left alone. The only time she stops is when she’s picked up. This prompts the most terrible squealing, as if she were about to be killed. Once we got her into her half of Stable Zero and set her down on the bed of straw, the squealing stopped and the happy oinks returned.
A new arrival always prompts interesting responses from the established creatures. Stevie has particularly drawn the attention of the Donkey Paradise dogs, who often scurry up to her gate to sniff or bark. (Whether or not they want to eat her or are simply curious remains in question.) Unfortunately, Stevie’s stablemates Elfie and Finn – a mule and an Asturian horse – are not so thrilled about the new arrival. When Stevie was brought in, they immediately retreated to the far side of the stable, where they stayed until the following morning. Getting them out into the fields in the morning or into the stable in the evening used to take five minutes; now it takes half an hour. Sometimes, it’s not the new arrivals that need to be managed more carefully but the animals who already here and have to adjust to a different routine.
It’s still early days, but Stevie’s transition appears to have gone very well. Volunteer Tara has worked with Marleen on getting her feeding regimen right, and volunteer Ille is preparing a mud bath to go in Stevie’s quarters. Then she will be able to cover herself in mucky, stinky, piggy glory.
A yearly recurring event is the autumn apple harvest, as the land of the Donkey Paradise has lots of apple trees with cider apples.
It’s not always easy to carry out all the donkey-related tasks ánd collect all the apples, but this year we were fortunate enough to have a lot of helpers. They had to shake the apples from the trees and put them in 30-kilo bags. These bags will then be taken to the village, where they are collected by the truck from a cider factory in Nava.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of the helpers and the warm weather we were able to collect 10.000 kilos! The money is used for necessary reforms of the buildings.
The pictures below will give you an impression of this year’s apple harvest and the amount of work done by a lot of wonderful volunteers! Marleen
After a gorgeous lunch I sat down in the field and looked into the happy faces of Kari and Mara..
Then I felt something sitting beside me making a very happy sound..it was Arvo snoring.
Running out of her space in the stables came Ronja and the sound of a purring cat joined Arvo.
But of course do not forget the donkeys…here Rosie is taking Ronja for a ride though the garden..