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Sober and Seeking Mule

He leaned out his pickup window and said, “I’ve been sober 2 years now. I bought this pickup for $200 but I want a mule.”

But mule ownership had eluded him. He said, “the people in this town don’t want me to have a mule. I don’t know why.”

I told him I couldn’t understand either because I’d just slept in his town with my mules and it seemed to make everyone happy.

“You’ve got it lucky,” he said, “because… Continue reading

Shovel and Top Hat

The mules and I camp on a lot of people’s lawns. What to do about the manure? Out here in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, mule manure on a lawn is dispensed with a boot kick. Or, as I recently did, with an old shovel.

Shovel and top hat. No, I don’t carry a shovel around on my pack saddle. It was loaned to me so I could clean up after my mules. That’s my collapsible canvas water bucket hanging… Continue reading

Anselmo Early Morning Start

Anelmo, Nebraska. It’s 5:30am. The mules are saddled and ready to hit the road. I got up at 4a. It takes me 1 1/2 hours to go from sleeping bag to saddle.

Mornings, I try to be on the road with the mules by dawn. If I’m traveling a quiet highway, I’m often in the saddle half an hour before dawn.

This can be relaxing. Riding through the still night air, often the only thing that interrupts the clip clop… Continue reading

The Rub: Shoulda Taken a Day Off

I shouldn’t have saddled Brick the day I saw the bump on her back. But I did and she carried her pack saddle 20 miles that day. When I unsaddled her, I saw the newly balded spot on her back. Shame on me.

The spot I rubbed on Brick’s back. It’s right behind her withers.

In an ideal world, I should have given Brick a few days vacation when I first saw the bump on her back. It had just… Continue reading

Greetings from Mountain Time

What used to be 10p is now 9p. We’ve fallen back an hour, like losing Daylight Savings Time. The mules and I have entered Mountain Time Zone.

Brick to Cracker: “Eat fast. We have one less hour of grazing tonight”. (outside Seneca, NE)

Today (August 2) the mules get a well deserved day off – along with grain and a double dose of carrots. Tomorrow we head toward Whitman.

Brick checking out Glen’s 1981 Ford Pickup. Glen was hauling tires… Continue reading

Junk Heap Mule Browse and the Fair Ground

Today a guy asked me, “why do you like mules?” I told him, “because they eat and drink less than a horse and they’re tougher.” What I really wish I could have shown him was Cracker teasing a grass snack from between some junk tires and batteries.

Cracker snack: it’s hard to tell there’s anything worth eating in that pile of tires but Cracker, being a hearty mule….
….always seems to find something worth eating. Here, a mouthful of grass… Continue reading

Aerial Burial

The yellow body on the bridge caught my eyes and I pulled the mules to a halt. A yellow warbler dead on the cement. I scooped it up in my gloved hand. I could do better.

I think it was a warbler. If you know more about this bird leave me a comment in the comment section.
The bird as I found it.

Dying on a bridge is a lonely way to go. No rotting away gently in the grassy… Continue reading

Pig Walking with Landri

Landri Loos shows pigs. She lives outside Hazard, Nebraska. Recently she took me for a stroll with her show pig. Click the video player to learn why a girl would walk a Nebraska pig 15 minutes a day.

Landri’s dad Trent is a broadcaster and sixth generation rancher. Looks like Landri has the makings of Gen Seven.

Post Script

Big thanks to Landri for taking me for a walk with her pig. Additional thanks to her parents Trent and Kelli… Continue reading

Anselmo: The End of Farming

Mules Brick, Cracker and I have arrived in Anselmo and the end of farming in this part of central Nebraska.

Anselmo as seen from space: the dividing line between green (farm land) and brown (ranch land)
Anselmo as seen from where I’m writing you. The building on the right is the old Peoples State Bank built in 1915. Now abandoned.

By “the end of farming”, no, I don’t mean they’re canceling the Husker corn crop this year. Rather, the mules… Continue reading

Broken Bow 4-H

11 years ago, almost to the day, I passed through Broken Bow with mule Polly the our “Lost Sea Expedition” voyage. Today, I rode in through the front gates and received the same kind of generous welcome I received over a decade ago.

Cracker Scratcher: the mules’ ears were an immediate draw (Custer County Fairgrounds, Broken Bow, Nebraska)

The fairground was packed with trailers, horses, parents and kids. All setting up for this coming week’s 4-H show. Despite… Continue reading

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