The good summer weather has meant that the many volunteers who have stayed here have been working mainly on outdoor tasks and their efforts have made a great difference to the environment here.
In general the volunteers’ day starts with breakfast and animal care, in particular the cleaning of the stables, feeding the animals and providing them with clean water. Later, there is time for the volunteers to work on particular tasks and projects or certain aspects of animal care such as helping the farrier, cleaning the donkeys’ eyes and ears, grooming the donkeys or walking the dogs.
There are also projects within the grounds and this year some volunteers have been continuing with the pruning of old wood from the many apple trees or clearing and reorganizing the vegetable garden which has been greatly improved by a lot of hard work as you can see from the photo below.
The biggest project this summer has been the digging out of a small pond above the main Lily Pond to provide an area for quiet meditation. The excess water from the small pond will drain down into the Lily Pond. A fair number of vehicle tires were found abandoned in this area and, as they are difficult to remove entirely and to recycle, they are being used to form the bank of the pond and will be covered eventually with a lining which will hide them. We think that the pond is coming along nicely as these photos will show.
It has been a while since I wrote my last blog. January was rather wet here in Northern Spain and the donkeys spent a lot of time indoors. Fortunately, February has been a lot better. Yes, we have had a lot of wind but there has been less rain and we have had a lot of sunny days. Everyone feels much better and the donkeys can go outside more and they are so much happier.
Today was a beautiful sunny day. The sun was shining upon the snow-capped peaks of the Picos de Europa mountains which can just be glimpsed from the Paraiso del burro (Donkey Paradise) but the best views are to be found just along the lane when you turn right into the village of Arobes.
At the Paraiso del burro, the care of the animals is of the greatest importance and key to their wellbeing is the work of the volunteers who rise early in the morning to feed and water the animals and clean out their stables. Daily routine is important here and volunteers need to quickly learn the routine tasks such as cleaning the stables, replenishing the water buckets, washing the feeding bowls and cutting up the carrots and apples for the donkeys’ me
Today, the donkeys’ brushes needed to be cleaned and disinfected – not part of the daily routine but one of those tasks that need to be done regularly.
After the routine work, the volunteers might like to work on a project. At the moment there is an on-going project to lay a gravel path from the stables down to the stream as this area is very slippery for both animals and humans in wet weather. The projects are many and varied to suit a variety of interests and skills from animal care to gardening and building skills and anything in between, in fact the volunteers often come up with their own ideas for projects.
But it is not all work at the Donkey Paradise and everyone has time to relax and unwind and enjoy all that this beautiful area of Asturias has to offer.