FarmWife hasn't ridden me in MONTHS! I'm not exaggerating. First she was working too much, then she was at a conference, then I had a stone bruise, then her kid was in the hospital, then it started to rain terrible, slushy rain. She's huddled in a warm house beside a crackling fire and I'm huddled in a cold shed beside a belching goat.
FarmWife still visits me every day. She feeds me hay in the morning, a snack in the afternoon (sometimes a rose hip, sometimes a pear, and sometimes a handful of sunflower seeds), and hay in the evening. She warms my water when it's cold and freshens it up when it's dirty. She cleans my shed. She opens my pasture gate when the sun is out and closes it when the weather's rainy.
We have a language: "Heeeee-Hawwww-Hee-HEE-HEEEEEAaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!" means "feed me," and her conventional reply is "poor hungry baby!!" She yells it to me, and it assures me that she knows about my plight. I stop braying and wait, and eventually food comes.
If she does not reply with "poor hungry baby," I worry. I bray again until I'm sure she hears.
If I'm not hungry, I say "hooo-hoo-hoo-huh" to her. It's a gentle sort of thing to say, and it means "I love you with my heart AND with my stomach." I usually say it when she comes back from the school bus—this is a time when I've already been fed, and when I know a whuffly thank you will be welcome.
If FarmWife wants to hear a full-fledged bray, she says "MuuuuuuuuuuuuuuLLLE!" I scream "HEEEAwwww!" and gallop to her. This happens most, but not all, of the time, and she is happiest when She is happiest when these times correspond to her attempts to show me off to a friend or visitor. Other times, she calls "MuuuuuuuulLLLE!" and I look up with a bored expression, nicker weakly, and go back to grazing.
If she wants to hear my whuffle, she says "Hoooo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo Fenny." I "hooo-hoo-hoo" back. Her heart melts a little, even though we say "hoo-hoo" to each other every single day.
I may not be able to carry FarmWife up the precipitous slopes of Lyman Hill today, but don't think we aren't having quality time. We are.