Je suis vraiment à la campagne (translation=I am really in the country). One of the first noises I heard at Le Maine was not mopeds racing by, but the hee-hawing of un âne (translation=a donkey). Yes, there is a pet donkey here. He is called Zebulon.
Willy had warned me about the loud noises that donkeys make and I can report back with an affirmative. The first time I heard him bray, I jumped. Literally. It was so loud! I do startle fairly easily, but I was inside my apartment, and it sounded like he was right next to me. I don’t recall Eeyore braying like this but Zebulon, now, he’s the real thing.
I’m getting used to having Zebulon around but I never know where he may be when I walk out my front door. There hasn’t been much rain in this area and he’s running out of food. During the day, he is often moved to different parts of the yard so that he can munch on some grass.
When I was preparing apple crisp for Thanksgiving (post yet to come) I put aside some apple pieces with the hopes that Zebulon could eat apple.
Mind you, I am not a big animal person. Not at all. I didn’t grow up with a dog or a cat and thus never had that early exposure to animals that I think is crucial in developing that level of comfort. So getting to know Zebulon is a big thing for me.
Before attempting to feed Zebulon some apple, I checked first with Cristophe, Zebulon’s real owner, to make sure it was ok.
Take 1 – Erin feeding donkey apple
Zebulon could sense that I had some food with me, so he was all up in my face from the moment I approached him. I repeatedly told him to be nice, and reminded him that he was a bit scary to me, so to be patient. I held out a piece of apple between my fingers, hoping he would gracefully take it, without ever touching my hand. I must have been dreaming, thinking that feeding a donkey could go like that. Zebulon’s huge mouth, lips, and teeth weren’t capable of an exchange like this. He came at my hand, looking like he would eat the whole thing in one bite, and I instinctively pulled back and the apple fell to the ground. Fail.
Christophe saw my unsuccessful attempt and proceeded to demonstrate how it’s done. He made it look so easy, like anyone could do it. And he assured me that Zebulon wouldn’t eat my hand.
Take 2 – Erin feeding donkey apple
I took a deep breath. I extended my arm, with the apple in the palm of my hand, facing up. Was my hand shaking? Yes. Was I freaking out? Yes. Then Zebulon’s wide open mouth and quivering lips made a nose-dive straight for it. I closed my eyes and squealed. And before I knew it, the apple was gone. Zebulon had successfully eaten it. And I still had my hand! It was over. Phew.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I was quite proud of myself. “Let donkey eat from my hand” — check!
I decided once was enough though and we put the rest of the apple on the ground for Zebulon to eat at his leisure. 3 minutes later, no more apple. He really liked it!
I captured “Erin feeding donkey apple” on video but unfortunately the footage isn’t the best. The audio on the other hand is priceless.
For the skeptics out there, this photo will have to suffice as proof of me making nice with Zebulon. Yes, my hand was actually touching him.