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post #1511 of 2605 Old 02-22-2019, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3
Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
More wonderful pictures to oooh and ahhh over! Thanks @SueC ! The flowering bush with the bees is beautiful. If you manage to get a "between the ears" picture of kangaroos in the bush, I think you will be my new hero! We need a kangaroo icon...
I'm glad you enjoyed the little tour; I always enjoy your photos from another world! I was quite surprised how well Wednesday's photos came out, considering the iPod really doesn't compare with a "proper" camera. Especially once I'd gotten off the horse and was taking group shots!

I will try very hard to capture a kangaroo photo off horseback for you! Might leave the iPod in my hand while riding through that stretch. This will work fine until Sunsmart gets fitter again!

The fire issue seems so complicated. I know at least in many parts of the states, there's a refusal to acknowledge that burns are actually a needed part of many ecosystems. It seems smart that you all follow the traditional practices of using controlled burns. Here, it seems that there's a lot of opposition to that, yet if people insist on building towns and cities in the path of areas where fires will occur, then humans will suffer.
In Australia, there's a lot of opposition to controlled burning as well, especially amongst city people who complain about the smoke and are never confronted with managing an actual ecosystem. There's usually less opposition to controlled burning when there's been another major wildfire with people, houses and livestock burnt into oblivion, such as the infamous Black Saturday in Victoria in 2009, where 1,100,000 acres were burnt completely black, destroying most of the wildlife in these areas (because too big and hot a fire to get away to safety) and damaging a lot of the flora, which copes well with cooler burns, but not with infernos from hell. In that fire, 173 people died, 414 people were injured, 3,500 buildings (including over 2,000 houses) were destroyed, and it is estimated that over 1,000,000 domestic animals and wild vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians) burnt to death.

Nobody wants to see that repeated, but we're set for more extreme bushfires, both due to climate change, and because so much of the Australian bush that remains has been neglected instead of managed since the Aboriginal people came off the land post-colonisation. Fuel loads are now higher than at any time in recorded history - often tenfold or more per acre than what they were when Aboriginal people did their firestick farming. The area around Sydney Harbour, when Europeans first encountered it, used to be open forest / open woodland, with a lot of native grasses. These days, there's thousands and thousands of acres of impenetrable thicket instead, which is like a tinderbox and burns fiercely when ignited, by lightning, arsonists etc. It would take a lot more time and resources than currently allocated to patch burn the Australian sclerophyll to the level that the Aboriginal people kept it for tens of thousands of years. However, people are slowly starting to listen to the voices of those people - especially amongst bushfire brigades:

Local people in our area are also a little more positive about doing controlled burning since we had a really uncontrollable fire which became a tense, house-threatening emergency, that started less than 8km down the road from us. Boy were we glad we'd done our controlled burn that autumn, despite the opposition we ran into at the time about doing it. Our burn was legal, yet community members were trying to dissuade us. They can now see that it was the right thing to do. It was hairy enough at the cool time of year in good conditions - it would have been an inferno had it accidentally started in the summer. We're feeling much safer this summer, than we were last summer. It's been another dry, windy summer.

Thanks for the pocket gear link! I like seeing what options other people are using. I'm considering wearing a bum bag at the moment - just a small pouch on a belt strap, that goes around the hips. The more comfortable models may work, and would be cooler than my winter vest...

I'll steer clear of the arm band holders, thanks for the hint! And I think a high-viz vest is great if you potentially encounter traffic on your rides. Not to mention, you probably need it for hunting season?


Yesterday, I'd trimmed Julian's front feet, which were hard as marble, which is why I left it at two, and focused on doing a great job on them, instead of getting all the way around. I was happy with the trim, but not so much to be doing it - normally I get out Greg Coffey for the end-summer horse trims, which is when hooves are hardest. We like to see him yearly anyway, including for feedback on the feet, so that's the best time to get him out.

Today, I worked on his rear feet. The March flies were plaguing us, which is why I got Brett to assist, and hold the horse for the rear feet, and be our March fly sentinel. I'm happy to work on a tie rail with the front feet with March flies around, but not to be working on the rear end in that situation.

Those beasties bite, and their bites really hurt. The horses hate them, and jump all over the place if they get bitten, which is also exactly what I do! Today, I managed to get 1.5 of Julian's rear hooves trimmed before the March flies got so bad that I decided to leave the proper post-nippers rasping of the offside rear hoof until later this evening, when these monsters aren't around.

I'm skipping the luxury of the midsummer trim this year because I managed to lose my iPod. I don't know how this happened. The iPod is either in my pocket, or it's just inside the front door, ready to take to its permanent spot next time I go in the house. Except this time it wasn't, and I have no memory of this at all, but I must have been distracted and put the thing on the roof of the car for a moment on a particular Friday night when Brett came home, and then not noticed it for the entire weekend, even though it's white and quite large and I walked past that car a few dozen times, as our exit door connects to the carport. And then I must also not have noticed it when I got in the car to see Brett off at the front gate on the Monday morning, which is extremely strange.

But here are the facts. On that Monday evening, Brett came home and said to me, "This is so weird! There's a set of iPod headphones wrapped around the roof rack. I noticed there was this strange clicking sound when I drove home, and I pulled over and found this."

Oh no! We looked for the iPod in case there was an alternative explanation, but could not find it. So a replacement was ordered - a refurbished classic series iPod, because we like to support electronics refurbishing instead of dumping, and because we both prefer the classic models with the click controls, that don't have cameras in them either. (Brett has a modern series one though, with camera, which I borrow on the occasional documented ride.)

That was $270, ouch, so I decided I was saving $200 by not outsourcing the summer trims this year.

We'd had the lost iPod over 10 years, and it had started to develop a screen fault, so at least we got a lot of use out of it. No trace of the thing anywhere, of course. If someone picked it up in town, and it still works, they will now suffer my peculiar taste in music and podcasts, bwahahaha, and of course, you can't re-load found iPods... you're stuck with what's on them...


The other 6 feet were all of Ben's, and Nelly's fronts. With Ben, I finally managed to level up his most badly deformed hoof today, the near fore, which had the inside hoof wall broken almost to the coronet when we first got the new donkeys. At last, enough had grown out for me to be able to lower the outside below the level of the injured inside, and so take pressure off that section, and allow it to grow properly outwards again - it's actually caved in at the moment. So he's looking good all around now in terms of angles, and the hoof walls in the broken places should be grown back where they belong in another few months.

With Nelly, who had badly collapsed heels in front, today, we got the hoof angles back exactly where they should be. The heel is growing back strongly, but still somewhat deformed from having been walked on so long; but the way she's looking, and considering that there's no pressure on the backs of her heels anymore (that were part of the walking surface when she arrived ), nor untoward pressure on the walking part of the heel, and with the mustang rolling of her toes today, her stretched white line should also grow out normal again before too long - it's already improving, but she has to replace the entire hoof at least once before we're back to completely normal.

Attached photo: Me with the old iPod, may it rest in peace...
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post #1512 of 2605 Old 02-22-2019, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3

As it was really humid and hot and still first thing this morning, I decided to postpone my ride till evening and do some chores instead. I opted for a little farm loop on the sand track and swamp track, because both Sunsmart's rides since resuming on Tuesday had been proper off-farm outings. Sometimes, I just want to give him something ultra easy to do in the mix, so he doesn't think he always has to be out for long.

Staying on our property gives us access to around 5km of tracks, and also comes with the advantage of volunteer tag-alongs for the ride. In the evenings, after feed time, Julian and the "new" donkeys are often keen for adventure, and today they were hanging around as I was tacking up. Then, they decided to come along. Chasseur had gone into the paddock to graze, and was either oblivious of the general exodus, or didn't mind. So going down the sand track, we had this:

Initially, everyone was walking, and I was encouraging everyone to keep following us. A couple of hundred metres in, Sunsmart was put in a trot, and Julian, who was trailing by around 40m, really put on his speed trot to catch up! This egged Sunsmart on to want to go fast too, which is fine by me - it's so much fun when two OTSTBs decide to get into racing formation and mode on a nice wide sand track.

Halfway down the track, we slowed up again. Soon after, there was a crackling in the bushes - late in the summer afternoons, kangaroos get active again after resting through the heat of the day. Sunsmart didn't bat an eyelid, but Julian stood looking, with his tail in the air, and after half a minute, decided to run back instead of following us. We just kept trotting down the track.

At the south boundary, a kangaroo was crossing into the neighbour's property about 100m from us. We have some kangaroo gates in our perimeter fences, which the wildlife can use:

Bill Harsley (our Bill, who visits Sundays, and we all have a feast day with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea), who grew up in the district, invented these kangaroo gates to allow kangaroos to pass through fences without destroying them and injuring themselves, while keeping livestock in. We are lucky to have several in our perimeter fencing, and the kangaroos use them happily. The bottom half metre of the fence is cut out between the pickets, and replaced with three strands of wire hanging vertically from twists in the horizontal supporting wire. The vertical wires swing freely, but keep their relative positions. Bill experimented with all sorts of configurations and materials. He says he tried hanging chains into the gap instead of wires, but these wrapped around the fence wires above when kangaroos pass through at speed. The wires occasionally hook up and have to be returned to their hanging positions, but overall it's a great system that prevents many marsupial injuries and saves much time as there are less fence repairs.

Sunsmart looked interested to see the kangaroo slip through the fence, but not in the least disturbed by the matter. This horse who was basically institutionalised from birth to age 12 has come such an astronomical long way in ten years. I'm also very happy that he's back to his normal self since starting treatment for the early PPID we detected in him five months ago; his coat is still adjusting, but everything else feels the same. He trots around eagerly, offers canters in suitable stretches of trail, steps on the accelerator going up hills, and enjoys his sight-seeing.

He was really swinging along on the swamp track into the middle meadow this evening. There, we met the Simmental crosses nibbling on bush grasses in the burn perimeter, and our three "original" donkeys on the pasture. We meandered along, enjoying the evening. Jess found her soccer ball and carried it around for a distance, until she realised I wasn't going to kick the ball for her, and neither was Sunsmart. She then dropped the ball and went haring off to the farm dam for a swim.

It was a lovely ride, and Sunsmart much enjoyed his carrots afterwards!

And I'm going to enjoy dinner in a moment. I've had Tandoori chicken in the oven while typing this, with the paste made up properly instead of bought in a jar; also wedges. We made a lovely Indian coleslaw which works well with this, or even with Cajun chicken, or any sort of baked or fried chicken. I'll finish with the recipe - I think @egrogan will like this one, if she doesn't know it already! It will be a nice bit of crunch to go with baked chicken in the wintertime too.


350mL natural plain yoghurt
2 tbsp clear honey
2 medium carrots, thickly sliced
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
80g cashew nuts
handful fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the yoghurt and honey together in your salad bowl, and mix your salad ingredients through, adding them gradually. That's it! For variation, you can add a handful of white grape halves or sultanas.

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post #1513 of 2605 Old 02-23-2019, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3

It was hot and humid all day, with blazing UV, and I wilt when the weather is like this. Other people go to the beach, but I just want to go indoors where it's cool and dream about autumn and winter, when it's going to be so much more pleasant to spend time outdoors. And read a few books, and watch some classic Dr Who with my husband - we're up to Colin Baker, whose intro story was in my view the worst Dr Who story ever. The next one was so-so; a Cybermen story, but the spinoff is that one of the actors in it also has a starring role in The Day Of The Triffids, which Brett happens to have. I've read most of John Wyndham's books, I really love his writing, and The Midwich Cuckoos was so interesting, but it appears I've not read his most famous book yet. Brett thinks I should read it before we watch the film, so I can imagine it for myself first. My tsundoku is getting higher!

I really liked the third Colin Baker story, Vengeance on Varos, and would rate that 8-9/10. It has the most hideous villain, a sluglike thing most brilliantly acted, called Sil - the whole story has parallels with 1984. It's an utterly bleak dystopia, screwed by corporations trying to get rich at everyone else's expense. The ideas in it are great, as is the character development in some of the figures in this tale. A more extensive (and very funny) review here, by a Dr Who devotee and his wife, who also happens to be called Sue, but resides in the UK and is some kind of media expert.

VENGEANCE ON VAROS ? Adventures with the Wife in Space

So anyway, late in the day, the steamy heat finally subsided enough to have a nice little twilight ride on the exact route shown in red on the map above. Because that was a loop we patrolled constantly during autumn burnoffs, I now refer to it as the Fireground Loop, even though things are growing back rapidly and it no longer looks like a fireground.

Horse, dog and human had fun and enjoyed the attractions, which included the general landscape, the kangaroos getting active, farm dams (highlights for Jess), and cattle silhouetted against the sunset, across the fence from the furthest out point we went to today. We mostly walked and trotted. I smuggled Sunsmart into the garden after to feed him a scoop of salty oats on the side. Today was tree lucerne day, not bucket day - we're alternating at the moment, except for old Romeo, who gets two bucket feeds a day owing to his lack of molars. So the horses had all dined out on fresh, lush, high-protein greenery before I took Sunsmart riding. Tomorrow it's a bucket feed to get mineral mix into them.

The cattle like the tagasaste as well. This was our last batch of heifers, on tagasaste to see them through a pasture shortage. We planted 1000 of these back in 2012, and have long hedgerows that are constantly growing this high-quality feed, so we rarely need hay.

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post #1514 of 2605 Old 02-24-2019, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3

It's been a good day; we went for an early morning walk with the dog out into Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve, and found her the one waterhole that still had enough water in it for a little swim. That was over an hour's brisk walking, which is useful. After that, Bill came over as usual, and I made rye waffles for our morning tea, served with our home-grown concentrated plums.

We then sat in the lounge chatting and watching odd bits of stuff on TV, while I was pitting a big bowl of our morello cherries. We don't watch TV more than once a week, so there's always a few surprises. Today's happened when I had my hands dripping with cherry juice and could do nothing about the remote control, so I was forced to sit through a looooong commercial about a new cosmetic gadget, which is essentially a mini vacuum cleaner to suck out pimples. I was gagging, and they kept showing the contents of the vacuum cleaner, which made me gag even more. I was nauseated when the horrid commercial was finally over, and made a mental note never to run a commercial TV channel again while I have my hands full.

The cherries were for a clafoutis which would be our afternoon tea. Sundays are always good feast days. Lunch was some particularly fine sausages from a local butcher, served with polenta with fennel seeds, zucchini and a garden salad, all from our own garden.

Bill, who is 84, was telling us that when he was a kid, the thing everyone really looked forward to was having bread and dripping for dinner on Friday nights. His family were local pioneers when the land was cleared, and times were tough. If we ever want to know anything about the history of the district, we just ask Bill.

Bill and Brett, on a recent Sunday, tucking into lunch:

In the evening, I even got a little on-farm ride in. None of the horses or donkeys felt like following us, so we went alone. This was the fifth session back, and tonight, he was trotting more than he was walking, by his own request. There's photos below of this evening's preparations and jaunt, but now I have to cut this short, because we are starving and the pizzas have just come out of the oven! Wholemeal crusts, one salami and onion, one supreme, which we just put together half an hour ago...

Oh, and for @Anita Anne and @greentree , I've finally managed to get a close-up wearing the HF Meet&Greet 2018 T-shirt they so kindly sent me last year. It's very comfortable and cool, and has a great neckline - it's so hard to find anything here without big scooped necklines at the moment, and that's not good when the UV is so high... I'd rather be covered with fabric!
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Last edited by SueC; 02-24-2019 at 08:27 AM.
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post #1515 of 2605 Old 02-24-2019, 09:33 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Toledo, Spain
Posts: 1,358
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Sue, I wanted to ask about cooling. Do you use air-conditioning? You mentioned humidity, so I am assuming that you must need it, although I am sure that your bale house must also be well-insulated.
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post #1516 of 2605 Old 02-24-2019, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
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@Spanish Rider , I was reading the Wikipedia article on Toledo recently - wow, so much history in your city! The different architectural styles are so interesting - and bridges going back to Roman times... I was rather shocked to note that near Toledo, you only get half the annual rainfall that we do! That's really dry, no wonder you're restricted with your gardening. Are any annual crops grown in your surrounding areas - like wheat maybe? That rainfall is at the low end of what people in WA use to grow wheat crops. Can olive trees survive without irrigation?

Nominally, we have the same broad climate category you do: Mediterranean, i.e. mild winters, hot dry summers. And for the first couple of decades of living in Western Australia, our summers were exactly that: We'd get crazy heat, above 30 to 35 degrees Celsius for weeks on end, with heat peaks in the low to mid 40s, but it was dry heat, with an afternoon sea breeze if you were near the coast. The dry heat was comparatively bearable; but a couple of times in the summer, we'd have horrible humidity when there was a cyclone up north and a trough bringing the humid air down from the tropics.

In the last five years or so, the weather pattern has been changing, and we've been getting tropical humidity for much longer in the summer. This is the worst summer for that yet - it's not been particularly hot, but the humidity has been with us for long stretches. Have a look at today's synoptic chart for WA - the trough (yellow line) is sitting right there again, without a tropical cyclone up north - normally, the high pressure system would have kept the trough away, but the highs are getting weaker...

Now to answer your question, we don't have air conditioning. The house stays nice and cool inside, because of its construction and because we are inland and have cool nights, so we open all the windows in the evenings and let the cool night air through the house every night. We do notice the humidity indoors as well, and then we switch on our ceiling fan, or strategically point a pedestal fan at the sofa, office chair etc. But I avoid going out in the daytime heat like the plague, except to rotate the watering stations from the solar bore (which only works when there is light)!

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post #1517 of 2605 Old 02-24-2019, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3
Something I noticed today: Look at Sunsmart's browband...

I figured out where that one came from:

Same browband, Germany 1982 and Australia 2019. 37 years on, still giving regular service. They don't make'em like they used to!

My Arabian mare also had it, early 1990s:

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post #1518 of 2605 Old 02-25-2019, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,862
• Horses: 3

Ordinary life resumed last week; here's a quick review how those 2019 goals are going. I've ridden five times this week - tick - and enjoyed that. This week, the aim is to repeat that, and to do two sessions of Pilates, and two practice sessions on the violin. I'll have to trim my nails extra short for that.

Farm-wise, I'm getting on top of the horse and donkey hooves. Mary Lou had a trim this morning. She's got club feet, so needs a lot of care not to get rot near her frogs etc. Don Quixote is next, plus Nelly's rears. Then Chasseur, all this week.

After hooves, I got in a couple of hours gardening time. I'm watering, mowing and collecting manure for compost, making mulch. I also pruned the apricot tree, after Sparkle started it off this morning when she spent a little time in the garden. The mulcher blades are blunt as anything, so I had to give up halfway through the batch. I've dragged it up to the carport to see if I can figure out how to get the rotating blade out of the casings, so I can sharpen it.

I came in and started reading The Day Of The Triffids, for my movie date with Brett. He told me it's one of the creepiest, most effective novel intros ever, and he's right.

This afternoon I've got a date with the paper journal; then I want to make a pumpkin-brown rice salad for this evening, and some more of these chocolate nut horns for general enjoyment, now we've eaten nearly all the Cherry Clafoutis:

The replacement iPod is very helpful for keeping my nose to the grindstone. This morning I resumed my acquaintance with The Cure's 1996 album Wild Mood Swings, which we acquired quite recently. Here's some impressions.


Brett and I are currently augmenting our Cure catalogue in-between Disintegration (1989) and Bloodflowers (2000). The latter is our favourite album by this band, so far; just by a whisker over Disintegration for me. Both of those, I've discussed in this journal previously. It's really nice to still be discovering great music by a great band we've known for ages - but The Cure are unbelievably prolific, and there's quite a bit of material to go yet.

I'll pull out my favourite tracks so far here. The opening track, I've done a long post on before, in The Blessing (And Art) Of Gratitude, but I didn't put a clip in, so here goes:

I love the bell-like tones of the guitar here. I find it quite interesting that Robert Smith often plays guitar much like a person in a chamber orchestra would play a stringed instrument, and how in fact, the two guitars and bass often work together in a similar way a chamber orchestra works together, but set to killer drums and percussion. They're really weaving a texture. This is very evident in tracks like Pictures Of You and Fascination Street from Disintegration - here's a scintillating live version of the latter, which can strip paint off your walls if you turn it up loud:

This is a great live band, and there's a selection of concerts on YouTube with the songs from Wild Mood Swings specifically, worth looking up. Brett's had the pleasure of seeing these guys live; I've lived under a rock for too long! Their bass player is a road cyclist, by the way; I suspected it when I first saw live clips, and found out this was a correct guess!

Anyway, it's lovely to be discovering new tracks with marvellous textures like that. I'm also drawn to this track; here's a live version:

Interesting lyrics; there's still a bit of existentialism around in this one.

This next one is a beautiful song... and as with any good metaphor, you can read it a few different ways. This is lovely poetry, so here's the words:


She follows me down to the sound of the sea
Slips to the sand and stares up at me
"Is this how it happens? is this how it feels?
Is this how a star falls?
Is this how a star falls?"

The night turns as I try to explain
Irresistible attraction and orbital plane
"Or maybe it's more like a moth to a flame?"
She brushes my face with her smile
"Forget about stars for a while"
As she melts

Meanwhile millions of miles away in space
The incoming comet brushes Jupiter's face
And disappears away with barely a trace

"Was that it? was that the Jupiter show?
Kinda wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, you know"
Pulling away, she stands up slow
And round her the night turns
Round her the night turns

Yeah, that was it
That was the Jupiter crash
Drawn too close and gone in a flash
Just a few bruises in the region of the splash

She left to the sound of the sea
She just drifted away from me
So much for gravity

I love the percussion on this and am linking to the studio version here for clear sound... I find it completely unsurprising that this band still has the imagination and appreciation of a lot of people.

I'll do a Part 2 at some point, but my to-do list beckons!
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Last edited by SueC; 02-25-2019 at 02:58 AM.
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post #1519 of 2605 Old 02-25-2019, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 2,460
• Horses: 4
The sites are absolutely amazing!! It looks like you get to see some absolutely amazing sights and have some amazing experiences with your horses. Seems awesome! Thank you for sharing
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post #1520 of 2605 Old 02-25-2019, 09:07 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 3,051
• Horses: 0
You sound busy!!! Good busy though. I am a bit envious of your summer weather, but when I read about it I wonder if I could handle it. Like you I tend to wilt in too much heat.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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donkeys , free-ranging horses , french trotters , life & the universe , riding standardbreds

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