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Thursday March 6, 2014

Farewell Bouquet: maple leaves grace one of my dad’s favorite views – the hayfield that runs to the Brushy Mountain hills that ring the family farm.

Sad news. My father, Arthur Stanley Harberts, died this week. He was 87. More on the incredible voyage of best friend, Dust Bowler, husband and dad is here.

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Thursday October 3, 2013

A scene from “Mule Rider” which recently aired on UNC-TV. You can watch it here. In this photo, Polly takes a break from munching clover to admire the view. Moment’s later, landowner Sid Cayton roared up in his truck – and gave us a grain bin tour. (Aurora, NC)

Kudos to UNC-TV and director/producer Morgan Potts for capturing the essence of mule wagon travel in “Mule Rider”. The segment aired October 3 on UNC-TV’s Our State program. Last winter, Morgan and a five-man film crew spent most of a wintry week on the road with mule Polly and me. The footage they put together is remarkable.

You can watch some thoughts and challenges that went in to making Mule Rider here.

The entire segment can be viewed here (this will re-direct you to UNC-TV’s site).

Mule Polly? She’s been pulling wagons, tobacco sleds and buckboards aplenty: a week-long Uwharrie pack trip, Robbins Farmers Day parade, Benson Mule Days, Duke Homestead. Up next is the South Carolina State Fair. Which is to say, she’ll be plenty fit for winter wagon tripping. See you out there.

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Sunday August 18, 2013

Mule Polly grazes in front of Wayne Hussey’s corn crib. Polly and I visited Wayne and his gospel-listening mules recently.

If Wayne Hussey’s mules don’t go to heaven, I’ll be shocked. He’s piped enough gospel music in to their barn that their chances of becoming buddy-buddy with Saint Peter are pretty good.

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Saturday August 10, 2013

Day 4: rain falls as Buddy, Polly and I cross Low Water Bridge in the Uwharrie Forest. That night I noticed the bilious odor coming from my sleeping bag.
Hours after Tuesday’s post, Polly, Buddy and I made good on our runaway notions. Four days after walking out of friend Ronald Hudson’s driveway, we hauled up in Eldorado, North Carolina.

I fed and water my mules, pitched my hammock and, sniff, sniff, noticed my sleeping bag smelled, shall we say, vomitous. Ronald had warned me this might happen.

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Tuesday August 6, 2013

A scene from my recent shake down salt haul. I’m sitting on Buddy. Polly is hauling 100 pounds of salt blocks. Hard to damage those suckers if she decides to explode.

One hundred pounds of salt blocks, a clean shirt and a string hammock. Wouldn’t you be tempted to run away too…?

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Tuesday July 30, 2013

My old 18 1/2-foot sailboat “Paurius” sailing in the Bahamas circa 1994. I built the Sam Devlin designed gaff rigged cutter in my jockey days. Funny what you can accomplish with an empty belly, a few sheets of plywood and a strong desire to run away to sea. The thought of stowing away on some one else’s boat never occurred to me. Now I’m full of nautical hitch hiking advice.(Bimini, Bahamas)

Folks sometimes ask me how they can score a ride on a sailboat – without actually owning one. Sure, you could charter a Sunfish. Maybe sign up for sailing lessons at Camp Genoa. Theft is an option if your notion of sea rations includes hard tack à la detention center.

Thing is, those suggestions lack the over-the-transom air – that certain Horatio Hornblower saltiness – I prefer when doling out free advice. Then I got a query asking how to become a stow away. Now we’re talking.

On a more serious topic, here’s an article I wrote recently for TownDock.net. It regards a French vessel that’s having trouble getting under way.

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Friday June 28, 2013

The Doldrums – the stretch of variable winds that straddles the Equator. This photo was taken on my 65 day non-stop sail across the South Atlantic on my old sailboat “Sea Bird”. I’ve been thinking of this empty expanse lately.

From time to time we feel adrift. Then something pops up in our life and we’re reminded of the life raft and the wine bottle.

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