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photoSteve Darwood and his new male donkey, ‘Maxamillion's Shades of Mirage’—better known as just ‘Mirage’—get to know one another a little.

Mammoth Mirage
New donkey in town

A handsome eight-month-old donkey jack arrived at Cascade Wilderness Outfitters, the Darwood Texas Creek ranch, in early October.  

‘Maxamillion's Shades of Mirage’, the little jack, comes from some magnificent Mammoth donks. Mammoths originate from the four largest breeds first imported by George Washington. These donks were gifts from Lafayette and the King of Spain to the "King of America". They were bred further by Henry Clay of Virginia until one individual named Mammoth set the standard. Since then, one of the breeds is extinct, the two remaining Spanish breeds are under 400 individuals and the French breed is back up to maybe 2,000 individuals in France and a smattering in the United States.

Big donkeys were valuable as they produced big strong work animals and saddle mules. Quality large breeding stock was tightly controlled by kings. Commoners were permitted only little stock. Donkeys went mostly out of business in the developed world with the advent of internal combustion engine for both peacetime and wartime. Easier to feed gasoline than hay. Nowadays, our military is relearning the use of big mules to haul equipment and arms around the rough country of the Middle East. As long as there is gasoline available and passable roads donkeys are not essential.

Steve and Jess Darwood expect to breed their good mares to Mirage and produce big, capable pack mules. I hope they breed some high-class saddle donkeys from some of the local fancy big jennys now in the Methow.  But apparently not all jacks like a nice mare after enjoying a nice jenny.

It was wonderful to see Mirage calm down after the six-hour trailer ride to his new home the moment Steve Darwood approached low and friendly with the "donkey whisperer" touch. Donkeys seem to read people very well.  

I bet Mirage will be renamed more in keeping with the names of Steve's other jacks—Pervert and Woody. Although, he is pretty classy, so maybe he will stay Mirage.


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