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.
Not all Trash Food
But don’t get the idea Brick and Cracker are starving on the road, getting their meals from scrap heaps if they’re luck to eat at all. In addition to being tied out all night – where they get to eat as much grass as they like – they also get to eat while they’re walking up the road.
It’s taken the guys a while to figure this walking and eating thing. Grazing is easy while standing. Horses do it all the time in the pasture. But snapping off blades of grass at 3 1/2 miles per hour? That requires a new skill set.
It took Brick and Cracker about 2 months to figure out how to graze on the hoof without loosing speed. Sure, I could have let them slow down. But that would have made for even longer trip.
In addition to grass, they also get grain when we can find it. Folks have been crazy generous with grass and grain. Without their generosity, the mules wouldn’t be as summer plump as they are.
Camp August 31, 2019
We are riding through the heart of the Nebraska Sand Hills. The mules and I camped at the Thomas County Fair Ground outside Thetford, Nebraska. A great old school facility with a roping arena, toilet block, cattle shoots and, most important, good browse for the mules.
From the fairground, the mules and I head toward Mullen, Nebraska, about 27 miles away.