Donkey Icicles

Every summer, I marvel how my mules cope with the heat, bugs and dust of hot weather travel. Six months later, freeze up comes and the sky rains icy pellets down on them and they take it all in stride. During a recent patch of icy weather, I stepped out to see how Polly and Smokey were faring. Here are a few photos of their seasonal transition.

Smokey the woebegone winter burro. Grazing behind him is mule Polly. In the last 24 hours, about an inch of icy rain fell on them.

Donki-cicles. During a recent cold snap, instead of heading for the barn, mule Polly and donkey Smokey headed for their favorite foul weather hangout – the brush pile. They prefer to ride out winter weather in the lee of this heap of cut saplings instead of the much larger oak and pine structure. As the freezing rain drizzled down on them, some of it froze to a crust. The rest ran down their winter coats, freezing into icicles. Here’s how that looked on Smokey’s brow.

Donkey, mule and horse hair is remarkable stuff. Smokey spent the whole night standing in the falling frozen rain. It formed a crust of what appeared to be shaved ice about half an inch thick. Here, I’ve parted the hair to show how cozy and dry things are next to the skin. Smokey felt this was in intrusion of his thermal privacy and suggested I take off my winter coat. You know, to see if we humans were dry next to our skin when it was foul out. Point taken, Smokey, point taken…

Have a great day! Hope to see you at the March 2 Newfoundlander program.

Allen deHart
2013-02-17 22:05:35

Dear Bernie,
Congratulations for your travels and for Jeri’s
exciting article in the March Our State NC magazine.
Josh Shaffer wrote about me in Traveling by Trail on the MST in the same issue of the magazine.
Please let me know where you will be speaking or giving
a lecture so I can attend.
Best wishes,
aka “Earth Daddy”

2013-03-10 20:54:43

Hi Allen,
Hey, just read about your NC trip in Our State. Do you have any other voyages planned? Mule Polly and I will be sure to keep our eyes peeled. See you up the road. Bernie

2013-03-15 13:31:21

Enjoyed your travels, which I don’t believe I could accomplish, however enjoyed seeing yours. Take care & good luck to you & Smokey.

2013-03-19 12:29:46

So I’m curious – why would Smokey and Polly brave the elements, if they could ride out the weather under shelter, in the barn? Are mules and donkeys claustrophobic? Or maybe they just don’t feel the cold, and like to be outside to check out what’s going on around them?

There’s that saying about horse sense (or is it mule sense?) but geez, you have to wonder … 😉


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