Have you heard the expression, “Stubborn as a Mule”? Well, it’s the DONKEY part that is stubborn. Case in point: Norma Jean.

I’ve had Norma Jean Donkey for almost 26 years.

She is wonderful… very easy to manage, sweet, kind, wouldn’t hurt a fly, took care of both of the Shetland ponies for years.

On the other hand, she is very, very, very stubborn on what she feels she doesn’t need to do.

Now, most donkeys don’t even lead.  Norma will lead.  Most donkeys hate halters.  Norma will wear a halter.

But, where Norma draws the line is a BLANKET.  Uh uh.  Nope.  Nada.  Never.  Don’t ever come near me with that thing.

TRAINING IS A THING… not sure who is training whom here.

When we lived in Grass Valley, I purchased a WeatherBeeta for Norma.  At that time, I realized that I would never win the blanket battle with Norma – especially because I only try to train her when I need her to wear a blanket, which isn’t optimum.  Hence, I usually just brought all the littles into the barn when it was a stormy night.

Here in Paso Robles, you’ve all heard me bemoan my decision to purchase a place without a barn, thinking we’d just build one on this pinnacle of a property.  Well, in California, nothing is easy or cost effective… so we have many shelters, but no barn.  Waaaah.

OK< so on the very few horribly stormy nights when the rain blows every which way, Norma Jean tends to stand in it.    I do not know why she is always drenched during stormy nights.  Everyone else takes cover or huddles together.  Not Norma.  She embraces it – and then she’s soaked and I worry – nonstop.

So for the last few days of this torrential and non-stop rain, I’ve tried everything I can think of to get her under cover.  First, I put her alone in a pen.  She got drenched because she stood out in it.  Then I put warm towels on her – which she liked – but they got wet, of course. Then I put her in my shed with panels around it… and she stood out in the rain.   Today, I put her in the pen with the three newbies, crossing my fingers that they might bond and huddle… but they didn’t.  That might take a few days.  So, tonight, I will warm up the blanket in the dryer (great suggestion reader, thank you) and beg her to please wear it.


Here, Norma is finally drying off as this shed has lots of cover. I put her hay inside so she’d have to go in to eat. But, instead, she put her head in and then stood out in the only portion that was exposed to the rain.

Awww, c’mon Norma, come in! I’m inside the shed, begging her to come in.

She was happy to put her head in and eat, which I thought would be enough to keep her dryish over night.

SUCCESS!! I warmed the blanket and added a bucket of grain. It ends up that this blanket is now a bit small for our girl. Hmmmm. I have no idea when I purchased it but it is about 4″ too short. However, it is fine in the chest so it is worth wearing, for sure.

Then somehow, Norma moved to the big feedbin and the donkey duo moved to the back.

I came back with more hay, and they were in this position.

I went in to take this photo of Norma in her blanket… and PBC (Princess Buttercup) was sent to her own pile.

So I went up to Bully Ethel Merdonk… who looked at me like, “Whaaaat?”

And the best part… the pony (Rocky Balboa) never moved once. I think we know who is boss.


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A very, very, VERY rainy day.

California is so messed up, even the weather can’t behave… (not really complaining, I know our winters don’t even compare to most of the nation).  Days like this, I really, really, really miss the Grass Valley house and barn.

It has been raining and storming NONSTOP for about 48 hours now.  California needs rain, but we don’t have the soil that soaks up water.  Instead, we have clay so all the water runs off… into… you guessed it, sewers.

Rain collection has been an issue in CA for a very long time.  No solutions yet.  Except maybe everyone should come to my house and drink up.  We are SOAKED.

Anyway, enough complaining about what isn’t, let’s look at what is.  Mother Nature has equipped all of my equines with heavy coats.  I’ve provided the roofs/rooves and the walls.  Only Norma Jean didn’t use them.  I’m not sure what was up with her last night… but when I came out to feed this morning, she was soaked.  She won’t wear a waterproof blanket, but she will wear warm towels fresh out of the dryer.  Tonight, I’m going to try with the blanket again.   I try every winter.  I has been 25 years of tries.  (A reader suggested warming her blanket first.  A great idea!  I’m going to try that!)


Norma Jean was soaked this morning. I don’t know why. She refuses her lovely waterproof blanket. However, she is OK with fresh, hot towels straight out of the dryer.

Here are the newbies. They stood out in the rain as well, but came in at some point because all of their underbellies are dry. On the left we have the young burro, Princess Buttercup. Far away looking out is the older, heavy, loud singing jenny, Ethel Merdonk. I will call her “Sweetie” for short. And then we have the one-eyed pony, Rocky Balboa. He’s a fighter and we are going to have to do surgery on his bad eye – ‘Cut me, Mick!’

Here we have Finn looking at us. Wrigley is in back on the left and BG is on the right. They always huddle together during storms.

I just realized that this photo looks very similar to the one above. But, actually these are totally different trees and a totally different shelter. They just look similar because of the angle, I guess… Anyway, this is Dalton coming towards me, Missy Miss at his hind end. Mo has the extra legs there – in front of Missy Miss. And Gwen is on the left.


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