I woke up very early this morning to a brain wave. Slipping through the little door to our back stairs I tiptoed down to my desk in the dark and drew up my ‘genius’ plans! I then watched the clock and when it seemed a decent enough hour pulled out the ingredients for French Toast to entice my chief engineer out of bed. We had a donkey playground to build!
Actually – I thought we were heading into Kingston this morning so I had the donkeys and garage cats all fed before 7 am! However it seemed we were not going into Kingston today … so a building project morning it was!
I had been mulling over how to entice the donkeys to play a little more … instead of passing their time all day at their feed bins. The herd’s profiles from behind … well … let’s just say they’re just short for their weight. 😉 Now that Bella and Darby are both well into their second and third year I think we can slow down on how many hours of eating each day requires. Ede is great at putting ideas into action – and can wield any tool we need. Over breakfast I shared my sketches and she took a mental tally of the wood she had stored away for just this kind of day. Et voila!
We had to work quickly. Our plan involved an ‘edible donkey playground’ but we were hoping to get the frame up before the edible part kicked in. The donkeys LOVE to chew on branches and chunks of wood. Sure enough, when we turned around, Darby and Bella had already found a tasty plank to start on.
Once the frame was up I raided our toy cupboard and odds and ends bin to bring out a collection of ‘temptables’ … Seems we might have had success simply by bringing out that bin of toys. The jennies had a great time unpacking it all for us! Notice those recycled margarine tubs are still the hottest play toy.
We then drilled holes in the cross beams in order to fasten ropes and branches. These were then used to suspend regular favourites like an empty cat litter bin, a pail, a frisbee, and a shovel.
Yesterday afternoon’s raid on the Bully Jeep gave me this brainstorm. The donkeys love to explore and pull things and tug on ropes.
On one end of the structure we’ve hung the horse ball. On the other the hula hoop.
By far the favourite stop is the black bin. I filled it with plastic containers that are easy to remove – and are fun to drag around the paddock gravel.
Then I hid carrots bits in various spots and stepped back to enjoy the fun! As I finished my cleaning up of the paddock I noticed that Bella had passed up on the food bins for a chance to check out the ‘playground’ on her own. Mission accomplished!
I’m now sitting on the couch in our front room with a view out the window to the front paddock. Darby and Bella and Rosie have ALL climbed in under the structure at the same time!
Rosie has discovered that the suspended play ball makes a great back rub and butt rub station. I think we’re going to get a LOT of entertainment out of this endeavour. I know our neighbours are! One drove by this morning … slowed down … backed up … rolled down his window and had to ask. When I told him it was an edible donkey play structure he was speechless. Truly impressed at our ‘genius’ I’m sure! 😉
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