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Off With Her Shoes

This weekend my wife Julia and I pulled the steel horse shoes on her pony Pie’s front feet. From here on out, she’ll go barefoot. For extra protection Pie might need on rocky trails or abrasive surfaces like asphalt, we’ll slap on a pair of hoof boots.

Julia removing the nails from one of the horse shoes she’s taking off Pie. Pie looks pretty chill about the whole thing. If you look closely, you’ll see Pie is already barefoot behind.… Continue reading

Christmas Greetings

Snookie ponders his reason for the season

Merry Christmas from the homestead up the holler. “I’ll be Home For Christmas” is playing (the Bing Crosby version), the wood stove is glowing and Snookie is pondering another cookie. “I’ll be Home for Christmas” rings true this year, just not in original way it was meant (it was written from the point of view of a WWII soldier stationed abroad). With Covid numbers spiking, my wife Julia and I are hunkering down… Continue reading

A Year After Riding to Triumph: The Book is Coming

Heading toward Brandenburg, Kentucky with Cracker and Brick. (Sue Waddell photo) Sign up for the newsletter to get a heads up when the books comes out.

A year ago, I finished riding mules Brick and Cracker from North Carolina to Idaho. I’m now on Draft 2 of the book.

A year ago, the snow jammed between my saddle horn and zipper flew free as I climbed down from my saddle. The winter’s first snow fell cold and soggy but I’d… Continue reading

Pickle Raft Crushed, Rebuilt and Refloated

Crunch! Last winter a tree crushed our beloved Pickle Raft. This week, we rebuilt it. Here’s a quick (30-sec) video of how that went followed by some pics.

Introducing the Pickle Raft

A few years ago, my wife Julia and I assembled what looked like a patio on top of a bunch of plastic barrels and pushed it in to our pond.

We christened it the Pickle Raft and life was good.

Building the raft. We scored the barrels on… Continue reading

The Three Dollar Ocean: Rebuilding a Katadyn Survivor 35 Desalinator

The email came from the Falkland Islands. “Do you have advice and information about watermakers?” It was from my friends, sailors Thies Matzen and and Kicki Ericson.

Thies and Kicki and me in Whangarei, New Zealand. I’m on the left in wide-brimmed hat. Thies and Kicki’s sailboat Wanderer III, is under the tarp on the right. (Circa 2001)

I met Thies and Kicki in Auckland, New Zealand in 2000 where I was rebuilding my sailboat Sea Bird. They were doing… Continue reading

The Garlic Journal

How long does it take to grow a head of garlic? Today I found out.

Last December, Scott, one of our hunt club members, gave my wife Julia and I 30 heads of garlic. They were amazingly delicious, grown by Scott in his garden. This, I vowed, I would have to try.

Scott’s garlic, well, what’s left of the original 30 heads he gave us. Hanging beside it, one of my favorite sculptures, a mango wood carving given to my… Continue reading

Locust Fence Part 3: Running out of Posts

Today’s post was going to be about setting the first locust posts in the pasture I’m building for our mules and horse….until I ran out of posts. So, back up the mountain I went in pursuit of locust. I found such a beauty, and was taken by how much life it contained, that I wanted to show you some photos of how a log become posts.

Queen of the Wind Fall Locust Jungle: she showed me how many plants and… Continue reading

Three Little Birds

Bird One

Julia said, “I think something’s wrapped around its leg,” and opened her fingers for me to see. In her hand a phoebe with a piece of string wrapped around its foot.

I clipped of the thread with the scissors on my multi-tool. It flew away. Can’t say it was happy. We were, though.

The phoebe, also known as the eastern flycatcher. Voracious insect eaters, they love building nests in the tractor shed, right above my Tacoma pickup.

Bird… Continue reading

Locust Fence Part I

I’m currently writing my new book about my recent mule ramble from North Carolina to Idaho. Every day, the process goes like this. First I write my thoughts in longhand on sheets of printer paper. Then I scoot over to my computer and transfer that to my manuscript. Sitting in my saddle of course.

Nothing makes writing about a saddle journey as authentic as sitting in a saddle while you’re writing. To raise my keyboard and mouse, I employ a… Continue reading
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