home

Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention...by Mule
September 2, 2018

bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention
Happy to be in Happy Valley: Julia and I arrive at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. The 8 miles to get there took 5 hours. Hey, when you’re mule rambling, you gotta visit neighbors. (Happy Valley, NC)

Note: I’m writing to you from a mountain pasture with an internet connection as slim as a cow pie. That means I’ll have to post the full photo essay in parts. Here’s the first part, a glimpse in to our first days on the road with our mules. Bernie. Wring to you from a Happy Valley, NC cow pasture.
Flat foot dancing, fiddle music and river swimming: greetings from the 2018 Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. Julia and I have spent the last 2 days on the banks of the Yadkin River soaking up the tunes, wood smoke and a bit of a cow pasture rash. But that’s not how it all started. No, it started when we walked out the front gate.

The past weeks, we’ve been getting ready for our “Ride out the Front Gate” mule ramble. The name says it all. We pack some gear on to mule Polly, climb on our mules Brick and Dusty, ride out the farm gate and just hit the road. No advance planning. No bucket list. Just see how the road and adventure unfolds.

Okay, we pre-planned a wee bit. We wanted our first stop to be the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. The Fiddlers Convention is 8 miles from our home. That’s 15 minutes in a car but 5 hours on a mule.

Here are some photos of the Fiddlers Convention.

bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention
Outward bound: Julia (mounted) and I make that all-so-hard first step of our journey. Mule Polly is hauling our gear, I’m riding Brick and Julia is riding Dusty. The last thing I grabbed out of the house….
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention
…was a bouquet of flowers and basil for our neighbor up the road. It took us 3 hours to deliver the bouquet 5 miles. The day was hot. By the time we arrived, it looked more like a mafia threat than a neighborly gesture. Wilted basil has a chilling effect. Good thing Missy and Keith are great neighbors. They smiled, took the bouquet and set us down to a proper Caldwell County sandwich lunch. They even sent us off with cookies, sandwiches and brownies. Thanks guys!
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Some people arrived in pop-up campers. Others arrived in big RVs. We arrived in a heap.
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Half an hour later, pop up home. Those are horse blankets drying on the tent. During the day, we use them as designed. At night, we use them for blankets.
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Need a fiddle repaired? You need to get to the luthier tent. You might even run in to your parcel delivery man. Here’s ours, hand planning a piece of curly maple.
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Plenty of great music to be had from dawn to dusk. Here, Strictly Strings with Allan Gurganus.
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Maybe flat footing is more of your thing. Plenty of flat foot dancers to hang out with. You can compare toe-to-heel techniques with Donnie (aka “Guinea”). He’d be happy to show you….
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
…the bottom of his well-worn shoes. He says he bought them for cheap but that doesn’t affect his moves. We hope to have some audio of Donnie’s flat foot dancing online soon.
bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
Fancy pour: what would you pay for this at the El Fancy Coffee Shoppe? Coffee tastes waaaaaaay better when you’ve packed it on with your mules. That high-handed pour is for function not style. We boil the ground coffee in the pot. Pouring slowly keeps the grounds from ending up in your cup. Okay, that high pour is sort of a flourish. That’s what happens when you have extra time in the morning.

bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet

Our camp site is within a few hundred yards of Laura Foster’s grave. Tom Dula was hanged for her death. The evidence was completely circumstantial. He is buried nearby.

bernie harberts julia carpenter, riverearth.com horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention pack saddle flowers bouquet
It’s gonna be a great day when your wake up call is a mule. Here mule Polly reminds me that it’s time for her breakfast. Julia’s okay with me smooching Polly in bed as long as I kiss her first.

A great big thank you the Caldwell County Arts Council and Tony Jones for organizing and hosting the Fiddlers Convention.

We’ve got some great audio and video footage gather up for you. Now we need to take care of critters though. Oh, and stroll around the riverbank at dusk. It’s lined with laughter, old campers and fiddlers playing in the dark. ‘til later. Bernie

Posted Sunday September 2, 2018 by Bernie
Where this story happened:

What a refreshing break from a long day of “caregiving” . In another life, been there, done that ……. just not on a mule! Still, so much fun to be had at those “conventions”. Fall is here, and now is the best time to do some camping, and smoochin’ ……… though I never did it with a mule! That’s one of the things I like about you Bernie ……… you always introduce me to new horizons. You da’ man!!!

Al, your pal ..... · Sunday September 2, 2018 · #

Howdy Al, It cheers my heart that I could introduce you to the pleasantries of mule smoochin’. Once you get used to those ticklish little hairs, the rest is easy. Well, that’s what I tell Julia. My beard is rapidly filling in since I’ve quit shaving. Pretty soon, it’ll be smoother for Julia to kiss a mule instead of me. Should I be concerned? Hang in there with your caregiving duties my friend. Bernie

Bernie Harberts · Tuesday September 4, 2018 · #

Leave A Comment:

Name
E-mail
Web Site (optional)
Message