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In Praise of Salamander Water: Part 1: The Dry Tap

“There’s no water in the kitchen sink,” my wife Julia told me recently and I knew it was one of two things. Our water comes from a spring behind our cabin. Either a salamander or a crayfish had gotten stuck in the plumbing or the cistern that gathered the spring water was empty.

A crayfish we found walking up the driveway one recent frosty morning. They sometimes get stuck in our water supply.
Julia in the kitchen the day we… Continue reading

Mule Mushroomimg: Hunting “Aeyer Schweumli” from the Saddle

My mom used to point them out to us as kids. We’d be walking through the forest in western North Carolina and she’d point down at an orange mushroom and say, “Lueg. As Aeyer Schweumli”. “Lueg” means “look” in Swiss German, her native language. Aeyer Schweumli is what she used to call chanterelles. *

Aeyer Schweumli: aka chanterelle. It’s also called “Pfifferling” in German. Pfeffer means “pepper” in German. The mushroom has a peppery taste.

My brother Christian recalls a… Continue reading

Pony Sunday: How to Exercise Three Mules at Once

Recently, my wife Julia and I exercised our small herd of three mules and one pony all at once. I thought you might enjoy a few photos of how we did it.

Three for the price of one: here, I’m riding mule Brick and leading Polly (L) and Cracker (R). We’re coming around a turn so everyone’s a little all over the show

Usually, when you think of saddle riding, you think of a person sitting in the saddle riding… Continue reading

Off With Her Shoes (Part 1 of the 3 Part Series on Transitioning to Hoof Boots)

A while back my wife Julia and I pulled the steel horseshoes on her pony Pie’s front feet. I thought you’d be interested how we’re transitioning her (Pie, not Julia) to bare 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… Continue reading

Happy New Year 2022

Happy 2022. Here are a few photos from ’21 that made me smile. I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Bernie

Mule Polly checking out the new bed I built for my brother Christian when he came to visit. It’s built of red cedar and two-by-fours. In case you haven’t seen it already, Polly was the mule that pulled my wagon 14 months across America for the Lost Sea Expedition documentary which you can stream here on… Continue reading

From Starved to Star

The transformation of Magneto

A kind soul rescued him from a herd of eighty feral horses, some of which were starved, others of which had broken legs. And yet, he survived. Read the amazing story of Magneto the Magnificent, my wife Julia’s new horse, at her blog Saddle Under the Stars.

Snake Bites Mule

Snake bites mule: Brick tangles with a non-poisonous black snake.

A while back, Julia and I rode spent six weeks traveling with two saddle and one pack mule from our farm in western North Carolina to Virginia and back. We posted a lot of stories on this trip but here’s one I never got around to sharing with you.

Julia was riding a mule named Dusty we’d borrowed from our friend Ronald Hudson. I was riding my mule Brick. As… Continue reading

Snookie: 2008 – 2021

He started life in a ditch, could out-howl a tin coyote and cleaned a skillet better than a scrub pad. Today, his life ended under our chestnut tree. Our dog Snookie is gone. My wife Julia and I are torn up over this. The longer story of his life is coming.

Snookie riding in my wagon at Benson Mule Days 2018
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