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27 April 2009

A TISKET, A TASKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET CONTEST

Yay - it's my turn to act as hostess in the April Scavenger Hunt event which started on 1st April at Silver James's Blog. It's not too late to join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. Don't worry if you've only just caught up with this contest. I'll give you all the details in a little while.
It's Spring. A time for daffodils and tulips, the promise of warmer weather, and new life. If you are lucky enough to live in the country, as I do, everywhere you look there are lambs and chicks, calves and foals.

Talking about foals, isn't this little one sweet. Donkeys are such delightful animals. This gentle creature that has helped shape human history can stand in line among some of mankind's oldest domesticated creatures. He is a forgotten and unsung hero, often misrepresented and misunderstood.

The cross he bears on his back, is, according to legend, a mark given to him by Christ, after He rode a young donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, so that all who saw it would remember that it was a humble donkey who bore the son of God into the city, and not a more majestic horse. It was also a donkey who carried Mary, the mother of Christ to Bethehem, and who took her and her newborn son to safety when Herod sentenced all male babies to death.

Although many donkeys are the familiar gray-dun color, there are many other coat shades. Most donkeys, regardless of coat color, will have dorsal stripes and shoulder crosses, dark ear marks, as well as the "Light Points" -- white muzzle and eye rings, and a white belly and inner leg. Donkeys do not have a flowing tail like a horse but a tufted tail more like that of a cow. His distincive bray carries a long distance and is unmistakable.

Donkeys come in a variety of sizes from the Miniature Mediterranean (under 36 inches) to the elegant Mammoth Jackstock (14 hands and up).
They are healthy, hardy animals and often live for 40 or more years. However, they require just as much care and attention as horses. Their hooves need regular trimming. around every 8 weeks. They must be wormed regularly, have yearly tetanus and flu vaccinations and regular grooming. Shelter is vital at all times. They are native to hot countries and have far less resistance to cold weather than ponies. Shelter should not be regarded as a luxury as all donkeys require shelter from rain, wind and flies.

Horses are flight animals, i.e. in times of panic or danger they will run away, donkeys, however, will simply freeze when frightened. They evolved in rugged desert terrain and fleeing in times of danger simply wasn’t possible.

Donkeys can be used just like horses under saddle and in harness, although they are more laid back and self-preserving in nature. They prefer to do what is good for the donkey, which is not always what the human thinks is best (especially when it comes to getting their feet wet.) They are very friendly, and their nature makes them excellent for children. Like all equines they are herd animals and should always have company - if not another donkey or pony, a goat or a sheep is better than nothing.

They can perform all the gaits of horses or mules , but galloping is usually not on the program unless dinner is being served. Donkeys can also make wonderful guard animals -- a donkey gelding or jennet will take care of an entire herd of cattle, sheep or goats -- the natural aversion to predators will inspire the donkey to severely discourage any canine attacks on the herd. Dogs and donkeys usually don’t mix, although they can be trained to leave the house or farm dog alone. Wild dogs and wolves aren't a problem here in the UK, although foxes might by deterred from raiding the chicken coop by a braying, 'on guard' donkey. I can imagine in the US or Australia they would earn their keep by keeping away canine preditors though.

Altogether, the donkey is an intelligent and delightful animal and whether as a working animal or pet, does not deserve his reputation for stubborness . The world would be a poorer (and it has to be said, quieter) place without them.

Back to our Blog Hunt.

All you need do is begin at Silver James' blog for April 1st at http://www.silverjames.com and follow the links to all the Blogs taking part until you get to this one. Accidents happen, and should you find a break in the chain, please email me and I'll try to sort it for you, if I can.

Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize! To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to this), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TISKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.
You will be searching for an egg - eggs-actly like this one:Egg.gif Easter Egg image by tx24fan (No, This isn't it - but have a look around this site just in case it's hidden here among the ramblings.) Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to happyendings2007@aol.com by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com. Tip #1, subscribe to http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com to learn if you're the winner!

I'm putting a $10 Wild Rose Press Gift Voucher into the basket and for my own prize today, I'll send an autographed copy of Book II of Song of the Muses to the first person drawn out of the hat at midnight tomorrow (Tuesday) and I'll announce the winner on my Blog on Wednesday. Just tell me what your favourite spring animal is and I'll put you in the draw.

The next stop on the hunt is Stacey Dawn at: http://www.stacydawn.blogspot.com/

Good Luck and happy springtime!