Other Cool Reads

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What Mule Cracker Taught me at Leatherwood Mule Days

You can ride a mule 2,300 miles through America and still bomb the trail class.

Imperfection Exhibit #1: mules Polly, Brick and Cracker with me at Leatherwood Mule Days. I dressed up hoping to win the Best Dressed Man award. I didn’t win but got to be the parade Grand Marshal instead.

This weekend, my wife Julia and I attended Leatherwood Mule Days in Ferguson, North Carolina, about half an hour from our farm. It was a reminder of how… Continue reading

The Long Riders’ Guild: All You Need to Ride 1000 Miles

Twenty years ago, I owned a mule named Woody. Woody was cantankerous. I wanted to ride him across North Carolina – and maybe a whole lot farther. Too bad nobody could tell me how to ride a mule 300 miles. This is the post I wish I’d read all those years ago.

Woody and me trying to figure out how to ride across North Carolina. I had no idea what we were doing but figured feeding him apples was a… Continue reading

Mule Rider

It was about this time of year, a few years ago, that a TV crew for UNC-TV followed mule Polly and me on a wagon ramble through eastern North Carolina.

Mule Rider: just click on the arrow between mule Polly and me to watch the video

Director Morgan Potts and his film crew followed me from Oriental, North Carolina to Hobucken and Aurora and back to Oriental. They dropped in from time to film me as I visited with folks… Continue reading

Are you Too Old to Go?

A guy I’ll call Harold wrote me recently. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m seventy-one years old. I’ve always wanted to take a long saddle trip like yours. Am I too old to go?” This reminded me of a quote by Saul Bellow. “When someone asks for advice, they’re looking for an accomplice.” It also reminded me of my dad, Art Harberts.

My dad Art Harberts on his 87th birthday. He never was much of a cake man so I… Continue reading

On Becoming Harriet Bighorn

My wife Julia and I are thinking about our next trip. My way of getting ready for a trip is just leaving. Julia makes lists. One of the things on her list of things to do before heading out is, “Teach Pie and Magneto to pack and remain calm even when the pack saddle flips under their bellies or they see a bull elk or a mountain lion.”

Julia with my mule Brick, on the left, and her pony Magneto.… Continue reading

The Hoof Boot Review: 3 Hoof Boots, 32 Days on the Trail

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Consumer Reports just won’t report on some things. These are the boots we’re reviewing. Here’s how they looked during our month-long mule ramble.

What’s the best kind of hoof boot for your horse or mule? My wife Julia and I rode from North Carolina to Virginia and back with three brands of hoof boots. This review is what we learned after 32 days on the road. The 3 boots reviewed are Cavallo hoof boots, EasyBoot hoof boots and Renegade hoof… Continue reading

Sailing Back to Horses

I have not always traveled by mule. When I was thirty, I decided that sailing around the world would be more interesting than sticking with my office job. I bought an old boat named Sea Bird and notified my employer that I was going sailing. I had just enough money saved to get going but not enough to make the whole trip without working along the way. I went anyway.

Sea Bird when I bought her. She was designed by… Continue reading

Hoof Boots in the Snow

This week we had our first snow of the season. It wasn’t a blizzard. We only got about five inches of snow. Still, it was fun taking Cracker and Pie for a spin in the white stuff. If you’ve ever wondered how hoof boots work in the snow, I think you’ll find this post interesting.

Heading out with Pie and Cracker.

About Hoof Boots and Me

None of my wife Julia’s or my horses or mules wear steel shoes.… Continue reading

Snow on the Pillows

This morning, Julia and I woke up with snow on our pillows. We sleep with our bedroom window open, year-round, and during the night, the season’s first snowstorm blew in. The boundary between the indoors and the outdoors is thin and that’s the way we like it.

Julia went out to feed the critters before coffee this morning. I took some photos you might enjoy. Yes, we’ll get to the coffee. Enjoy!

Pie hunkered down, tail-to the wind
The view… Continue reading

In Praise of Salamander Water Part Two: Keeping the Cistern on the Hill

Last week I told you how my wife Julia went to turn on the tap in the kitchen and we didn’t have water. I thought it might have been a salamander plugging up the works. It turned out our cistern was about to topple off the hill.

We get our water from a spring above our house. Here’s how it flows to the kitchen sink.
One of the salamanders in our cistern. Sometimes they stop up the plumbing and… Continue reading
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