Friday, September 30, 2005

The donkeys polish the dancing floor


The donkeys polish
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
As it is only a month left before the All Hallows celebration the donkeys have offered to polish the big dance platform. Each donkey pulls a heavy bag of chaff over the waxed floor. Riders are needed for additional weight. The village boys are expected to pay one apple each for the ride and some of our employers are also helping. Note Madam driving hers at the back. Any other helpers are also expected to pay an apple. Our careful donkeys wear moccasins so not to damage the fine wood. I apologize for the quality of the photo as my best camera fell into the water as we approached the quay. The Secretary

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Secretary and Baba with Donkeys

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Donkey port


Donkey port
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
As one of our employers has complained that the Donkey Port was not open at night save for the one donkey she was able to hire, I have consulted with the Great White Owl who has lent me two of his liveliest offspring to keep overnight records and contact donkeys as needed. The young owls were pleased to come as they are promised rides in the day time when the donkeys are not too busy. As the elder of these is quite capable of using the mobile phone he has in hand you will be able to get in touch with me or the Boss Donkey from the port in future. Yours, the Secretary

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Union Meeting September


Union Meeting September
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Notice to all members of the Donkeys' Union: At the request of the Secretary and the Boss Donkey a meeting of the full membershiip discussed the request that some help be given to the Donkeys of Delphi. After a lengthy debate it has been decided that the entire membership will pay ten percent of annual income to a fund to send food to the Poor Donkeys of Delphi. This, the Union decided would be a better policy than bringing the thin donkey to Duwamish as the membership is already short of jobs. Dawn volunteered to take the full load and has been offered the Secretary's winged canoe and three spare pairs of wings for the first journey. Later a roster will be set up for remaining volunteers. We sincerely hope that Lois and other skeptics will approve our solution to the problem Claire brought to us. Later we will send the Boss on a mission to organize a union of donkeys of Delphi to improve conditions of labour in that well known area. Yours, The Secretary

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Skinny Donkey and rider


Skinny Donkey and rider
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
When my friend, Claire, went to Delphi the donkey she was given to ride was so thin she felt sorry for him. She has concluded that this poor donkey was not a member of the Donkeys Union so Claire has asked me to forward this photo to the Boss Donkey and ask if he can allow a membership. Will the Members please meet at the base of the mountain and make a decision by Friday? The Secretary in some distress for this poor donkey so far away.

Dance of the priestesses


Dance of the priestesses
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Tonight the Priestesses of the White Queen dance in celebration of her return to the Island of the Great White Owl. There are guests with us, women of the adventure dancing together in love and friendship before the gathering at Duwamish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Carvings of the Great White Owls


Carvings of the Grea#14D198
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The donkeys have promised to sleep tonight and not interrupt the sacred dance that will be held on the Island as the priestesses celebrate the finding of the ancient carved sign. The Secretary

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

four donkey boats


four donkey boats
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Gus, Dirk, Mehitabel and Moonbeam having completed their tasks decided to have a play in lovely Duwamish Bay in their sturdy leaf boats. When they saw the Donkeys Union about to take off several riders decided to come along. They have all floated upstream to The Island of the Great White Owl to have an important meeting with the Secretary who has been neglecting her duties (So they say). The Boss sends word that she is to remember she takes her orders from him and not from that Owl, no matter how beautiful . The Secretary (who is feeling very hard-done-by.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Our dolphins get to work


Our dolphins get to work
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
After a long rest at the Bath House our dolphins are once more pulling their weight. Their riders and sailors are not yet close enough for recognition but we know that others will arrive shortly at the Island of the Great White Owl and that those who like the comforts of service, or the adventure of riding the lead dolphins will prefer to go the rest of the way swiftly and quietly. You will recall that the price of a ticket is a very fresh fish. For further information inquire at the office of the Great White Owl or to the Secretary of the Donkeys' Union.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Vi's Old Ferry Woman


Old Ferry Woman
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
I read Vi's story of her trip with the Ferry Woman and tried to draw her as Vi told the story. I hope both you and she like the effort. The Secretary

PS So glad Moonbeam is with you. She is a princess among the donkeys.

Mehitabel and Dirk


Mehitabel and Dirk
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Mehitabel and Dirk were apprehensive about the ability of the leaf boat to carry their weight so they spread their wings as sails and were soon well on their way to Duamish. They have asked me to report to Gail that the leafboats are completely satisfactory. The Secretary

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Ferry Woman and the Secretary


The Ferry Woman and the Secretary
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
At dawn the ferry woman came. The Secretary said goodbye to her ancestors. The messages on her magic slate made her think about the Business At Hand. Silly donkeys, young owls and the Great White himself better get started on the big clean up. Before the end of the week this lot have to be on their way to Duamish. Holidays are over boys and girls.

The prayer of the donkey

O God, who made me
to trudge along the road
always,
to carry heavy loads
always,
and to be beaten
always!
Give me great courage and gentleness.
One day let somebody understand me -
that I may no longer want to weep
because I can never say what I mean
and they make fun of me.
Let me find a juicy thistle -
and make them give me time to pick it.
And, Lord, one day, let me find again
my little brother of the Christmas crib.
Amen.

From "Prayers from the Ark " by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold and translated by Rumer Godden

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Those young owls of Heather's


Those young owls of Heather's
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Heather's owls like to ride
but don't do what their told
you'll find them in another place
so hunt them down
I hope the donkeys don't lose face
but I am not pleased
Signed The Great White Owl

History Hills


History Hills
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Secretary sends this painting of the Hills of History that guard the entrance to the Isle of Ancestors

Monday, September 12, 2005

Owl Island Guardian

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Breakfast

Sometimes preparing a quick meal
on a campfire or single burner
can be a challenge after the
coffee's done. Try this ...

faucon

.............................................................

Nuthin' Muffin (a single pan breakfast treat)

If you would break your morning fast
with little fuss but fond delight,
but dread those messy pots that last
somehow unto the fading light.

Here is a tip of home prepare
that needs only a single pan
heated slow after coffee's share,
that can be wiped by child's han'.

First peel cold some eggs boiled hard
and slice with ancient wired tool.
Eight rounds you get and shells discard.
Then fetch the meat from chamber cool.

Freezed at castle and store secured,
slice of ham, or bacon chopped
or sausage brown, early prepared.
Lay out some cheese slice or shaved.

Small French bread you will need,
or muffin sliced the English way.
Drop in the pan; cover with meat.
Hide with lid less splatter betray.

When thaw is done and toast is brown,
top with select egg slices four
and bits of cheese of flavor known.
Cover again 'till all melted sure.

Then eat your two with relished pride
and let your crew fix up there own.
For even knight on bleary side
can safely cook and wolf it down.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Owl and the Secretary meet


The Owl and the Secretary meet
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Great White Owl welcomed us to the Island just in time for already two of our donkeys have been requested and hastily left to take their folk all the way to the Kansas prairie.
The Secretary and the Owl spent most of yesterday recalling the far north of their childhood. Tomorrow the Secretary will take a short leave and visit the Ancestors while the Owl has promised to take any messages and to record them on the Magic Slate. The Donkeys are planning a picnic and photo shoot on the Island. The Secretary

Side Trip via Agnes



I am feeling rather homesick for Kansas right now, as this journey is more arduous than I had thought. I believe darling Agnes sensed my mood, because she used her unicorn powers to fly us magically to the Tallgrass Prairie of my home state. One moment we were on the road to Duwamish, the next, we touched down at Spring Hill Ranch. Agnes set to grazing on the rich prairie grass, and I took a rejuvenating solitary walk on the prairie. I walked for miles, my eyes resting on the gently dramatic contours of the unspoiled prairie. A few miles into my hike, I turned, looking 360° to see nothing but prairie—not a person, not a structure—and only a few large and noble cottonwood trees.





As I reached a small oasis of water, signaled by a clustered stand of cottonwood giants, the breeze picked up. A perfect place to stop for a snack, I though, and settled myself on a huge dead log. The wind continued to rise, and the cottonwood leaves made a rushing sound like a river in flood. I was perfectly relaxed, staring off into the distance, when a figure appeared on the horizon. Striding purposefully toward me, I noted that she had on a long dark gown and was carrying a bucket. She stepped into the grove and bent to her task—filling the bucket from the nearby spring. I watched her, noticing the stark gray hair pulled back into a bun, the white apron, the high-button shoes, the stern features focused on her labor. I spoke.
“Hello, how are you today?” She did not respond, merely completed her task, turned, and strode past me, slightly bent to counterbalance the weight of the water-filled bucket. She disappeared over the hill. I was astonished. I expected the historical re-enactors they had at this place to be a bit friendlier. But, shrugging it off, I filled my bottle from the spring and walked on. In three hours time I was back at the stone barn, finding things in a bit of an uproar because apparently Madame Eclectica and her wagon had apparated behind me, and she was now causing quite a bit of chaos in the cistern and spring house, throwing off her robes and insisting on a bath. Those Prairie rangers, farm boys all, had never seen such a woman. They were fairly bewitched, leaving a couple of female rangers to tend to the gift shop and exhibits, which I browsed while Eclectica sorted them out. I was nearly ready to leave, when I spied a book, “Prairie Women:True Lives of Women on the Frontier,” about prairie women in Kansas. The woman on the cover, standing chest deep in Big Bluestem, toddler on her hip, circa 1860, was the woman I had seen at the springs. A shiver ran through me.



I purchased the book and left. I collected Eclectica and had a word with Agnes, who spirited us all back into Lemuria, where we touched down at Duwamish Bay. I sipped from my prairie spring water as I flipped through the book. Periodically, I gazed at the cover, where the face of Emmeline Chase stared out at me, shy, proud, hardworking, beautiful. She died at forty, my own age. Once again, I shivered. I kissed Agnes goodbye, and complimented her on her mastery of unicorn-power and now relatively infrequent spells of hysterics, and set off with Eclectica in tow to the Ferry House.

White Owl Island

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When I finally reach Duwamish I will make sure to come and visit Owl Island, which from memory is quite close to the Isle of Ancestors. My recollection of it is that it is like Iona, off the coast of Scotland. Very beautiful. Iona is not inhabited by Owls but White Owl Island has a colony of birds. This is just one of them, with one of the ravens from our rookery.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Some information gathered from the net

What is a mule? (Our Georgina is a Hinny and therefore smaller and less agrressive than her cousins)
A mule is a hybrid cross between a male donkey on female horse or a female donkey on male horse, although the latter cross is more correctly known as a "hinny". Despite the fact that both mules and hinnies each have one horse and one donkey parent, the two crosses generally differ from each other in appearance and stature and to some extent in temperament - a fact which has been recognized since they were first bred.
Mules, having hybrid vigor, can grow taller than both parents. Weight for weight they are stronger than horses, and are much longer-lived with much longer working lives, although maturing slightly later. They rarely become lame or ill or suffer wounds, can withstand extremes of temperature, can live on frugal rations, have tremendous stamina and resilience and are exceptionally sure-footed.

The Hinny and the Hat


The Hinny and the Hat
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
One of our employers has asked to see our little new hinny, Georgia. Unfortunately the only available portrait is with her mother, Geraldine, as she was taken by the keeper on a walk from the cave in which she was born and she refused to leave without wearing the beautiful hat that the Lady of the Hermitage had sent. We all love her already despite her determination to get her own way. The Secretary

Emmie's Reply

I sent m'lady Emrys a copy of the donkey poem below,
and she send this back ...

I stand alone at the treacherous pass
when next I beheld a noisy ass
a snort, a blow, a bellow below
a flick of ear, but I do not know
for I've listened to my share of asses
but none looking up at me from scarey passes
should I heed the plaintive beckoning bray
and trust that I will be borne away?
Neigh I say, no way, belay!



faucon

Check out my horses

Hey Secretary of the Donkey Union
This is proof that my horses are more feminine than any of your donkeys. Cover your ears Regina! I think you are just boottiful.

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Patient Journey

DONKEY SONG

I dare not glance down -- again,
for the chasm walls of my fears
exceed the depths of reason.

The trail ahead is faint and narrow,
secure only for donkey foot
and blind trust in instinct.

My normally well placed naked foot
dangles aimlessly from its side,
wishing for more stable ground.

My inside foot, more knowledgeable,
scraps the jagged, ancient wall
dusted by those passed before.

I believe this trail has an ending
because I have no wisdom here
and must have faith in donkey.

Such tiny feet and silent nature,
inner balance beyond my ken
and natural forbearance.

Oh that I, and thus humanity
could have such simple attributes
that empowers a donkey song …

clip clop -- clip clop

Friday, September 09, 2005

Missing Donkey?

Dear Fran,

You've been doing a splendid job as secretary for the donkey union but there is one tiny mistake I feel inclined to point out. My sweet Geraldine is not the animal shown with the unicorn horn on her forehead. I do remember the incident which involved flying over the head of a rather beastly troll, I believe, and the donkey in question was marvelous--but it wasn't Geraldine (Agnes, perhaps?).

I am rather concerned that Geraldine might be missing or perhaps in some trouble. She had a very strong attachment to one of the stallions ridden by the hooded riders. Truth be told, she was head over donkey ears in love with him. I know Firestarter personally and I don't think he'd do her any harm, but if she's missing or languishing somewhere pining away, I must locate her.

Please do a head count and see if you can find her. If all else fails I'll be there tomorrow to get a search party together and put up posters offering a reward for her return. I am so looking forward to the festivities in Duwamish and am hoping to ride in on Geraldine.

North Star Studios

I am excited about getting to Duwamish Bay and look forward to visiting the North Star Studio. I will also bring some art for you to consider showing there.

The Donkeys' Barge arriving at the Island of the

The Donkeys have farewelled the helpful Dolphin Four and have docked at the jetty to be greeted by the Great Owl himself. He says there are messages waiting so the Secretary will soon be back to her duties. She will be replying to orders after her rest.
The Chief Donkey (still finding typing difficult. Perhaps the Tower might forward a microphone attachment for the Secretary's slate.)

Riders in need of services

Dear Fran: I would love to secure a donkey for the voyage to Duwamish. I am partial to Agnes, despite her complaining and crying, but would be happy to work with any fine steed that will have me. Please let me know at your earliest convenience and I will meet you at the stables. Karen
PS, Mme. Eclectica needs a ride too. She's rather stout, though you didn't hear it from me. A sturdy donkey is in order. Mum's the word...

The Union of Donkeys on route to the Island

The Donkey barge is taken by the Dolphin Four upriver to the Island where they will rest and await orders from the Tall Tower.

On reaching Lake Beryl


On reaching Lake Beryl
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The Donkeys meet up with the Dolphin Four

The Donkeys leave the Hermitage


The Donkeys leave the Hermitage
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Thank you for the stay for we have been treated very well here. The Donkeys' Secretary

The secretary rides


The secretary rides
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The kind members of the Donkeys Union had a cart made for their ancient employee

From the Donkey Union Secretary

Following are portraits of the current members of the Donkeys' Union. Any one of our members is available for hire at the usual rates as soon as they reach the Island where there will be an opportunity to get in touch with the Tower. Meanwhile if you are anxious to start on your journey please email Fran who will relay your message. Yours, The Secretary

From the Donkey Union Secretary

Following are portraits of the current members of the Donkeys' Union. Any one of our members is available for hire at the usual rates as soon as they reach the Island where there will be an opportunity to get in touch with the Tower. Meanwhile if you are anxious to start on your journey please email Fran who will relay your message. Yours, The Secretary

The mule-donkey


The mule-donkey with#12E6AC
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Uncertain and unhappy will someone out there give this willing mule-donkey a chance to prove himself and earn a good name?

Mehitabel


Mehitable's post
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Mehitabel is a most considerate and reliable donkey specializing in looking after ancient secretaries. She has a problem, however, and would like to put her wings back in their place.

Moonbeam


moonbeam2
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Moonbeam is temporarily absent on a visit to her home but she has promised to be with us shortly bringing her gift of love

Dawn and rider


Dawn and rider
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Dawn is known for her beauty and her ability to find her rider's destiny

Augustus


Augustus-3
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Augustus is a wise old donkey who will guide you through the darkest woods provided you never call him "Gus"

Ariel


Ariel
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Ariel has a light load this trip but can work hard when required.

Geraldine and Karen


Agnes and Karen
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Geraldine will let you know how things really are. She is very intelligent and knows it

Neria-unicorn


Neria-unicorn
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Neria, no ordinary donkey is also a unicorn

Yuji and Maxine


Yuji and Maxine
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Yuji is a fountain of good advice as well as being a beauty herself

Maya-Alexandria-2


Maya-Alexandria-2
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Maya took her rider to the Dream Time. She has another life too

Christabel and Gail


Christabel and Gail
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Christabel is the academic among the donkeys. She has attended the Donkey University. Currently learning cryptic crosswords.

Annabel and Lisa


Lisa and Annabel
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Anabel treats her rider with dignity and care

Dirk


Dirk
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Dirk, the wise kept the bag of necessities close

Agnes and the Troll


Agnes and the Troll
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Agnes, the brave who trod the troll

Welcome to the Office of the Lemurian Donkeys Union

Notice from the Secretary: Present membership of the Lemurian Donkeys' Union:
Each of these notables has been given a story by a fond employer. The Secretary will be providing portraits which will be hung over the stalls in the Great Stable.
Agnes
Anabel
Ariel
Augustus
Dawn
Destiny
Geraldine
Maya
Mahitabel
Moonbeam
Neria
Regina
Moonbeam
One doubtful member is uncertain of his status. If he desires he will be welcomed if his rider can send a certificate of service.
The beloved Gillian has since the first part of the journey moved into the sunset.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Regina - Leader of the Donkeys

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