Friday, August 20, 2010

Vet Student Visit

Earlier this year Dr. Korinn Saker from NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine did an Nutrition Work-Up on Chester, to try to help with his hoof problems. She asked me if she could bring some visiting students over this summer to do a farm visit and work up my herd for the benefit of the students. Of course I said yes!
So Monday Dr. Saker (In the middle) and Vet Students Teaha Chestnut (Right) from Kansas State and Pinky Andrews (Left) from St. Mathews came over. I had the mules and donkeys lined up on the fence in the front yard. Of course is was another hot day and under the big oak tree is the coolest place on my farm.
They began with Seven, taking his vital signs and measuring him for height and weight. They then examined teeth and looked at body fat. Which there is plenty of right now on all my guys!
They asked lots of question about what I feed, how I feed and what I use Seven for. Then they moved to Sadie, Navarre and finally Chester. Much discussion of Chester's hoof problems, diet and we also determined that the weight tape seemed to read a little lower weight than what Chester actually weights. We think this is because of a donkey's longer and more lanky build than that of a horse or mule.

Then we looked at my feed room and got the feed tags off the bags. Then Dr. Saker showed them how to take a core hay sample. The two students then learned how to take forage samples in my pasture and collected a bag to take back and have tested.

We did a lot of talking about the differences between mules, donkeys and horses.
I had a riddle for them. "Seven has something on his body that Sadie does not."
It took them a little while but they finally realized that she, like the donkeys, doesn't have chestnuts on her rear legs. It is true with the hybrid mule that not everything comes out the same way every time!

Thanks Dr. Saker, can't wait to see the results!

Grayson -A break from the Heat!

I always look forward to the Grayson Highland Trip! I always want to leave early and never come back! Mom came up a few days early so that she could help me get ready and she was going to stay and look after the farm while I was gone. I headed up on Wednesday as early as I could since the AC was out in my truck! I discovered this too close to the trip and I did not want to leave, even an minute late, for the trip.
I had a hard time deciding which mule to take with me. All Spring I had been riding Sadie Mae on my trips as she is easier on my back. The fact that I was going to be gone so many days and might need to miss a day lead me to bring Seven this time, as he is very willing to stand in the barn while the other mule leave, were as many of you know Sadie is not so polite about being left.
It turned out to be the right decision.
Once I arrived and got settled a few of us took a short ride to the Ice Cream Camp store. We pigged out of on some Popsicles and headed back. On Thursday we headed out with a group of 11 to an all day ride. We rode to the Saddle and then down to the Maple Tree Trail. Jay took us by a HUGE tree that was dead and had been struck by lighting. I think the tree was well over 100 years old. Kind of scary and makes you respect the weather and climate at 5,000 feet!

Jay told us that there had been two huge snow storms over the winter, one right after the other. Because of this the people who look after the ponies could not get to them and give them the hay they needed. Many of the ponies had died. They will not be having a pony sale this year because of it. They usually round them all up in September and have a fund raising sale to benefit the local fire department. Very sad! So we were happy to see this mare and foal!

It was a great ride but done at a fast pace all day so I was exhausted by the time we reached camp. I had decided that I would not ride out with the group on Friday but rather sleep in and ride out to pick some blue berries and take some photos. I had a great time spending a few hours with just Seven and myself. He was very good and stood parked next to several bushes while I picked berries from the top of the bushes! Then we rode out with a few late arrivals from the mule group. I broke off from them once we got out the main gate and I headed up a hill near by to take some photos.
I was very pleased with Seven, he did not give me any fuss about being in the barn or leaving our friends after riding with them for a bit. Mules can be very tough about staying with their buddies but Seven did not. I hope he enjoyed spending the time with just me as I did with just him!
I started feeling sick later that afternoon and headed down the mountain to find a clinic to see a doctor. I got lucky and was seen, got my medication and was back up to the camp in about three hours. Saturday I continued to not feel very well and so I stayed back at camp and slept all day. Again lucky that I had brought Seven, as Sadie would have both hurt herself and taken the barn down by now! I did take Seven out to graze later that afternoon. Again he impressed me because I sat in a chair held his lead rope to graze him. At one point he got over near the walking path for people to go back and forth from the bathrooms, so I just raised my hand and did a "Direct and Drive" and he moved over to the over side of the chair! All those hours of training pays off once in a while!
Each night was had some great meals as Holly, Sandra and I took turns cooking for each other and Barry cooked Cobblers for dessert each night. Karen even made Home-made Ice cream one night! It was tons of fun to visit with everyone!
Sunday I was finally feeling better enough to ride so I rode out with a smaller group to take the Lost Trail. This is a great little over grown trail that was started as a cattle trail and goes down to a great hide-a-way place next to a rushing creek for lunch. It then carries you up to just below the Saddle area. It was a great change of pace from the open rocky trails we had been riding on.
I took my time coming home because I knew it would be hot and I did not want to leave!
Thank you Mom for looking after all others on the farm while I was gone. It seems Mom worked very hard and did a small make over on my gardens while I was gone too! A nice surprise to come home too.
Also thanks to for Seven for being a great friend and trail mule!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Robbins Farmers Day Fair

Hot Hot Hot! It has been so hot all well! I even waited till 8PM on Friday night before going out to clip and wash Seven. I was hoping that I would not melt on Saturday!
Saturday Morning it was not as hot and a nice breeze, there is hope for to day! I left at 7AM for Robbins and even had time to stop at MacDonalds for Breakfast.
I got to town and was happy to see my friend Vance Clark and his wife set up with his donkey! Diane was there too with her donkey Pearl! I just got parked and up drive Kenneth Kelly! He was still in the area visiting from Colorado and came to visit everyone for the day!
Shortly after getting Seven unloaded I got a call from Tom and Deby Cochran and I guided them into town over the phone. I got the Awning put out for some shade and started to get Seven tacked up.
About 11 AM we all rode down the road to line up. We had Tom and Deby on their mule and donkey, some friends of theres with a really nice Donkey named Sadie pulling a cart and some other members of the club. Diane chose to lead her donkey Pearl through the parade because he was just broken to ride. As we started the parade Pearl did not like the noise that one of the carriages made and refused to go! After she continued to refuse I get Seven to push the donkey along for a few strides. He just walked up to the side of her and put his head and neck over her her back and hips and pushed her along with his chest. Once he got her moving she kept going! I was so proud of him! The rest of the parade went well and there were thousands of people there! At the end of the parade I had to push the donkey one more time past a big industrial fan.
We got back to the trailers, grabbed some lunch and sat down to watch the awards ceremony! Tom won Best Mule in the Parade with his big black mule COAL and Deby won Best Donkey in the Parade with her Pauline. Pauline went on to win Donkey Halter in the show and Coal won Mule Halter. Coal also won Western Pleasure with Seven getting 2nd (out of two) but the class was more like Construction Zone Western Pleasure. There was a Chain Saw and logging competition going on one side of the ring and men putting up a temporary fence on the other side. Plus all the usual crowd and distractions! Two very well broke mules!
I drove home tired and hot was glad that I went and also glad that we had a nice cool breeze for most of the day!
Many thanks to my friend Susan for all the photos.

Tom & Deby on Coal and Pauline

Lindsay and Flyboy

Parade Grandmaster Odell Hussey!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Loss Of A Friend.......

The other week I found out that we had lost my friend Debbie Devita. She was a great and fun person to be around. Creative and bright! She kept her horses at my favorite place in the world, Leatherwood Mountains. I met her years ago while riding up there and would email her when I was coming up to see if she had time to come and ride with us. She would join us usually on Sunday mornings with her horse Tyrone. A long time endurance horse of hers who is a beautiful Arabian. My friend Bev met Debbie on one of our rides and thought she recognized Tyrone, turns out she has known the horse her whole life. She is friends with the lady who bred him and was there when he foaled. (SMALL WORLD) After a while Debbie also got a new horse to train and ride. She named him A.J. after her fathers initials. She would sometimes ride Tyrone and pony A.J. to get him used to the trail and fit.
Debbie was also a VERY Talented photographer. She took portraits and wedding photos so beautiful.
Debbie made friends with everyone she met instantly. She loved her animals and always took great joy out of them.
They had a memorial service for her at Leatherwood on July 3rd. My parents and Molly were visiting but I felt I had to go. Molly went with me and we took off with the mules to attend. The plan was that several people would be on horse back for the service but once we got there and saw how many people had come I felt it would not be safe to ride in. Between 250 and 300 people attended. Many people, including many of my friends who work at Leatherwood got up and gave testimony to the great friend she was and how much she will be missed. It was a very nice service!
Afterward I visited with some of my friends and also talked to several of the people who were at the service. I met a childhood friend of Debbie's, some riding buddies and a nice couple with a young baby whom Debbie had befriended when she took wedding photos and then baby pictures for them.
Abbie and the whole Leatherwood crew did such a great job pulling off the event. We found out later that Abbie also had to coordinate a wedding later in the day. Strange but true to real life that some things end while others are just beginning.
Molly and I went to eat lunch at the Saddlebrook Grille with Carolyn and then took a ride for a few hours before heading home. It was a very long day but I felt I needed to be there to bid a friend farewell and hug some other friends that are hurting!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Visit From Some Friends!

Phyllis and Joan with Navarre.

On June 12th two of my friends I met while working at the College of Veterinary Medicine came by for a visit, Phyllis and Joan! We finally got together and they made their way out to the Red Mule Farm to meet the mules and donkeys. They brought carrots and soon made fast friends with each one of my long ears! Phyllis's family had mules when she was growing up and you could tell because we was very comfortable around them. We took some photos but did not hang out too long because, as usual this year, it was VERY HOT! I had tied the mules and donkeys under the big oak tree in the front yard and we did have a light breeze. Joan and Phyllis took turns leading the mules and then the donkeys out to the pasture, then we went out for a nice ladies lunch at the local steak house! It was so nice to visit with them both and be able to finally introduce them to my long eared herd! Thanks so much for coming to visit and for lunch ladies!

Not "Happy Campers" at the Blowing Rock Ride

Well let's just say that we had fun anyway! Most of the group arrived at about the same time around 11AM on Friday. We were all told to our dismay that we all had to park our big trailers in the very upper level. This is not what we all had in mind and as we had to take turns going up and figuring out where to park and in what order so we could all get in, things got interesting to say the least. Teddy and Luann's trailer had to roll over a big hump to get into their parking spot. This caused the camper door on the trailer to jam. Teddy tried to open it gently but ended up denting it open. He was not a "Happy Camper". Mean while the nice flat, easy to get into camp group below sat empty the whole weekend. They would not let us camp down there because they said another group was coming in on Sunday? This was also the first time and without warning that Blowing Rock had decided to assign camping spots. It has always been first come, first served and that is why we all arrived early.
As the dust settled and we started saddling up things got a little calmer, till we rode out. We had a nice ride and every one's mules behaved very well but the Park Service for Moses Cone has seem to have forgotten that the trails are for horse and mules to actually ride on. I would say that 50% of the trails are now covered in large gravel. Bigger than Crush and Run that people use in parking lots. Just perfect for sticking up higher than your mules shoe and giving him a nice stone bruise.
Teddy said, "Boy I would like some of this type of rock, on my drive way!" As we rode and I could tell in parts where others have pulled their horses off to the side of the trail to get them off the rocks. This makes an secondary path that in in the grass and mud and will cause more erosion in the long run. That night a few more mule campers arrived and some how we got them parked up on the hill.

Saturday morning we gathered in front of the office. We had two carriages and about 25 riders. We headed off for Rich Mountain. It was a beautiful day, warm for Blowing Rock but not too hot. Rich Mountain is a nice look out place with a trail that wound around and around till you get to the top. At the top there is a round wall filled with dirt to sit on and eat lunch and plenty of places to tie your mules. I took Sadie's bridle off and put her hobbles on. She hopped around for a while until she came up to the wall. It was about 2 1/2 foot in front of her. She started eating the grass on the other side of the wall. Next thing I knew, with hobbles on, she had jumped up the wall and was grazing like it was no big deal! Amazing Mules!
That afternoon when we got back to the barn we got some free entertainment. A man and his wife arrived and while she was checking in at the office he chose to drive down and around the barn where the horse was to be stables. Holly saw the whole thing. The last turn was too sharp to make it past the corner of the barn. So he hit on the top corner of the trailer. She said that rather than stopping, getting out and backing up he just gunned it forward three more times. Each time getting the trailer dented and more stuck on the barn roof. She said he then seemed to get angry and through the truck into reverse and gunned it backwards. Because the trailer was so stuck on the roof it just jerked it sideways and into a tree. By now the wife was running down through the parking lot yelling at her husband to stop! Keep in mind that there is a poor horse still in the trailer too! Now they could not get the horse out because he trailer was still stuck on the roof and now wedged up to a tree in the back. Our friend Blue went down to see if he could help out. When he told the guy that he thought if he dug down about 8 inches under the tire it might bring the trailer off the roof enough to pull it free and the guy said. "I'm not doing that, that's too much work!" Blue left. The barn crew was on it's way down and had to cut a 45 degree angle off the brand new barn roof to get the trailer unstuck. I could not believe my eyes so of course I had to take a photo to share!Earlier that afternoon I was walking back from taking a shower with Reuben on the leash (As we had been very sternly been told by management to do) and the managers dog ran up to us and started attacking poor Reuben. I kept the dog off for a second and yelled. The manager just call her dog back and told him "Bad Dog!" but never apologized or asked if Reuben was OK. Let's just say that I was not a "Happy Camper!" at that point!
We all took off for dinner about 6PM that night. We tried a new Barbecue place. The food was good but it was very cramped and hot in the restaurant. We all cooled off afterward with a trip to the ice cream store! We all enjoyed a nice camp fire with watermelon that night. The next morning majority of us, including me had decided we had, had enough of this "Happy Camping!" and headed home. There was some discussion about whether or not we would return next year.

Sauratown Trail Mule Ride

On June 4,6 & 6th my friend Bev Duval hosted the Carolina Mule Association for a ride on the Sauratown Trail System. I could not come until Saturday morning but Holly and Jane met Bev to for a ride on Friday. They had been riding for a little while when Bev's horse (Yes, she was riding her horse and not her mule) tripped in a large tree root. She and the horse hit the dirt unfortunately not in a very graceful way. Lito the horse was OK, but Bev was hurt. She had a bloody nose, the wind knocked out of her and her neck hurt. Holly stayed with her while Jane took off on Val to meet the EMTs that had been called and then led them back to Bev. Good thing they took all those precautions because poor Bev was really hurt. Once the EMTs took her off to the hospital Holly and Jane ponied Lito back to the barn where they were all camping.
Bev's friend owns the barn where the ride took off from so she was able to take Bev's horse home and then run to the hospital to check on her. They did not let Bev come home until early that morning so we did not see Bev until later the next day for an injury report!
Saturday morning I left the house at 5AM so I could make it to the barn by 7AM and be ready to ride by 9AM. Most of the group lives locally so they started arriving and parking up on the hill and riding down to say hello. We had a pretty good group to go out even thought the day was VERY HOT! We rode 6 or 7 miles to another parking lot that is part of the Sauratown Trails for lunch. Along the way we rode on many different types of trails, our favorite ones were in the trees and by a rolling creek. As we went along the trail passed some very green grass off to the side. Everyone was pointing as they went by it. As I got closer there was a baby deer, with big round eyes laying in the grass. It was staying very still and I don't think the mules even knew it was there.
This is the technique that Mother Deer use to hide their young as they go out to eat. The baby deer are born with almost no scent so they will not be sniffed out by predators. I just hoped that the deer would not move till the whole group got passed. It was strange to this this now, twice in just under a month. Seven nearly stepped on a very young baby deer just a few weeks ago.
When we arrived at the parking area people took advantage of the many tie rails to secure their mules. We also took advantage of the nice covered picnic table for lunch and I laid down for a nap. I could hardly get up after about 20 minutes but my back sure liked the stretch. We rode home with the day still getting hotter!
When we arrived back at the barn we were all surprised to see Bev! She had two black eyes a bloody nose and a neck brace on. You could tell she was sore all over! Turns out she cracked a vertebrae in her neck and is very lucky to even be here! The barn owners surprised us all by having cold drinks for everyone and home made ice cream! Wow what a treat and a surprise!
The next morning Holly, Jane and I packed up and drove to meet Teddy and Luann, Max and Lu and their son. We rode out from a different area of Sauratown Trails and part of Pilot Mountain State Park. The ride was mostly down to the Yadkin River and back up. Teddy, Jane, Holly and I all crossed the river which was very wide and flowing pretty strongly! It was really neat to be out in the middle and see nothing but water. It did not seem to even faze Sadie Mae who was more worried about keeping up with Jane's horse. On the was back she grabbed a branch off a tree and carried/ate it as we crossed back over. Bev continues to get better each day but I am still glad she was not hurt worse than she was!

Monday, June 21, 2010

1st Ever RMF Obstacle Course Day

Heather and Seven

On May 30th I decided to set up my Obstacles and invite some friends over for an Obstacle Course Day! I send out an email earlier that week but really did not know how many people might show up on such short notice. I picked up Kayla's horse Chief to spend the night. Kayla helped me get all the stuff set up too! We pulled everything out, from the pool toy Shark to the tarps and an umbrella. We got 13 people to come over! What fun everyone had. Some peoples horses took to it really quickly and a few people were even able to show off and do to obstacles at once. Like the Umbrella and the Shark Pull!

Ron and Jeb

Others took their time and introduced their horses to some very new things! I had pulled my horse trailer into the field and set out the awning. With drinks, food and a few fans running it became a nice cool spot for everyone to have a break. Heather, Ann and Lynn's daughter rode Sadie Mae. Heather and Ron also got a turn on Seven. I also got the Donkey's out and made a Donkey Chain. Ron and his mule Jeb played Pony Mule and led them around for a while! Lisa and Lawson brought over some Mini horses which for some became an obstacle by themselves to some horses! Later in the afternoon many of the riders took off for a short trail ride.
I hope to do this again in the fall, with a little more notice next time! Thanks Kayla for all you help!

Lisa and DeVa

Jane and Val

Kayla and Chief

Ron leading the Donkey Chain

Loose Lips

On May 18th my friend and farrier Kevin Zambone came to shoe and trim the Red Mule Herd. I have known Kevin for over 10 years and he is always a lot of fun to be around, plus he is a great farrier. My mules really like and are very relaxed around him too.
Kevin says that when some of his other client's horses start acting badly he tells the clients how good my mules are for him. He says this always annoys them a little!
On this visit I had my camera out to take photos of Chester's foot trimming. Kevin started goofing around with Seven and rocking his big head back and forth really fast to make his lips move around! So Funny! Those of you who know Seven, know that he would not be this relaxed around just anyone!

The Snake & The Fawn

On May 16th, Heather a Vet Student at NCSU CVM, came to ride with me. She has not been able to do much riding since she had been away from home so she jumped at the chance to help me keep my mules ridden. We rode for about an hour enjoying the spring day. We stopped in a field to let the mules graze a little bit when I noticed a Black Rat Snake making it's way though the grass. Heather moved Sadie up a little closer so she could see it too. As soon as the mules moved the grass near it, the snake took off. I find it funny but the mules seemed to have no fear or even reaction to the snake being there. A few minutes later we rode off at a quick walk down the side of the same area we saw the snake. About half way down the field Seven stopped right as I noticed something moving right under my right foot. I looked down as Seven looked back to see a very small fawn getting up from the tall grass. It had all the white spots down its back and was so delicate and cute looking. It kind of stumbled around a little and then woke up all the way and took off for the woods. Once it was gone I realized that Seven had nearly stepped in the Fawn but then when it moved, right under his feet. He did not jump or spook. I was so pleased with him for this that he got lots of praise and extra cookies when we got home!

A Break Down

On May 15th I was excited to meet Lisa and Lawson for a Hunter Pace with the Red Mountain Hounds. I got up early, groomed and tacked Sadie up as it as going to be another hot day. I loaded Sadie a few minutes early and headed out the front gate. I got on the phone to let Lisa know that I was on the way, when my truck just quit on me. I was able to coast down the hill on Moss Road and 1/2 way up the other side of the hill. I was STUCK! I got my horsemanship cones and put them out in the road to warn people. Just my luck I had just joined a new service offered to AQHA Members called EquiPass. It is kind of like a AAA for horse trailers. I got them on the phone and was very impressed with the service. They asked if I was in a safe place and if the trailer was loaded and if the mule was in a safe place. They also offered to call the police if I needed it. They called a tow truck which would be able to tow my truck and trailer if needed. In the mean time I was still so close to home I decided to just ride Sadie home. I put her bridle on in the trailer and tightened the girth. I let her unload and them pulled her around so she was next to the step down of the trailer. I was able to use that as a mounting block. Away we went! Sadie must have been one confused mule as we rode home and then I untacked her and let her go out into the pasture. I got back to the truck and trailer and it started! I was able to get the trailer back and unhooked just in time for the tow truck to come and do a great job taking my truck to the shop. I missed the Hunter Pace but was able to try out my new service! Turned out is was the battery ground cable. Apparently if you lose the ground on your battery your engine will shut off!

Physical Therapy with a SADDLE?

A few weeks after my back surgery I was cleared to start physical therapy. I went in for my first appointment with one goal on my mind. I need to be able to lift my heavy mule saddle up on to my mule's back! My physical therapy was twice a week and each time my therapist laughed at me as I was always asking for more to do. She said most people whine and don't want any more to do. She designed many of the exercises to help me reach my goal. Toward the end my sessions she asked me to bring in my saddle so she could really see what I had to do and how heavy it was. I brought it in and showed her how to pick it up and how heavy it is (About 45-50 pounds) She said that she thought I was stronger than she was at this point! She also said that she has realized that my whole life was a work out rather than my needing to go to a gym for a work out! I wish that was not truly the case!

1st Ride back with the Mule Club

May 1st and 2nd was the Carolina Mule Association Trail Ride at Uwharrie National Forest at 4B Farm. I hauled in late Friday night and Barry was so kind as to meet my in the dark and help me get Sadie's stall set up. Next was parking. There was one easy spot left and then the harder to get into spot that I was assigned. Much discussion was made about how late it was and how it would be easier to pull into the spot unused. But I was up for a challenge and had an audience, those left at the camp fire that night. Barry moved his truck, I had a good backing moment and was able to swing it in with ease!! The next morning we were ready to ride at 9AM. Larry came out and gave us the morning ride blessing. We took off through the woods. Sadie was her sturdy self and we rode down to the river. I learned that my back did not like going down hills too much. After a late morning break about six people headed back to camp. I really did not want to head back before lunch but after they left I left like maybe I should have gone with them. We rode up the huge hill to Hang Glider Hill and right before the group turned off to lunch (Up Another Hill) Tony and Brenda and a friend said they were going to turn off and head back. Tony was going to cook Chicken on a big grille for everyone that night so he needed a little extra time. I took my second chance and rode back with them. It was quite hot that weekend and I was glad to get back a little early, take a shower and relax a little before dinner and the board meeting. We ended the day at the camp fire again and Brenda brought some really Sm ore's to make! I had forgotten how good those are! Sunday a small group rode out for about two hours. I went with them and was glad both for my back and for the heat to get back in early and head home.

Saddle Up & Go!

Many Thanks to my friend Molly for coming to ride Seven for me. After nearly 4 1/2 months off I was not sure I wanted to be the first on the back on Seven. Molly rode Seven for me as my back was still pretty weak. We tacked him up Friday afternoon for a short arena ride. To my surprise and pleasure Seven framed up trotted and loped off like he had been ridden yesterday. The next day Molly and I took the mules out for a longer trail ride. We ran into a goose, who got very upset when we got too close to her nest. When I went back to get a photo she got even more upset and called for reinforcements, the male goose on the lake. So we hi-tailed it out of there. We rode for about three hours that day. I was very happy that my back, Seven and Sadie, did so well! The next day I trailered up for a ride with Lisa and Lawson at Double D Equestrian Center. Thanks to Sadie I had another enjoyable and safe ride!

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Heck Of A Surprise!

March 25th Report:
About two weeks ago my friends Donna & Colin Taylor came home late one evening, after having dinner with friends, to find a great surprise. They walked down to check on their three equines, Blanche the ancient horse and the two donkeys, Lottie and Lucy. When they looked over the stable door they they found that Lottie has just foaled! Donna and Colin had no idea that Lottie was pregnant, they just thought she was a little fat. So Donna was very surprised and called some friends and the vet to come out and check them both.

After a few days and finally some rest Donna was able to get some good photos of the Donkey foal and name her Fiona! Which I thought was great since that was my best friend's name when I lived in England. Donna says that Fiona is quite a ham for the camera, as we can see!
Congratulations Donna and Colin!


March 25th Report:
Long Story short I had to have back surgery on Jan. 29th. I had a Microdiscotomy and was in the hospital for two days. The surgery went well but the nursing care afterwards was not so good. Plus a snow storm hit and Mom was not able to come visit or get me till I was discharged. We headed home and I was nervous because we were still driving on slick roads and I
was worried about someone else hitting us. As we drive into the little town where I live Mom's car started loosing power. She kept going and just barely made it to my repair shops parking area. She lifted the hood and her fan belt had broken and come off all the wheels. We were very stuck! Mom was panicking a little as I was in no shape to have this happen!
I called Lisa and Lawson and lucky for me they were home and willing to come and pick us up. About 10 minutes later they drive up in an old 80's Bronco that was an Army Surpluse vehicle that Lawson's employer had given him to drive in the snow. It had a lift on it and was very interesting looking! Mom and Lisa got into the back and Lawson had a bucket for me to step up on to and then get into the truck. I got mostly in but he had to pick up my right leg and put it in the truck for me! He very carefully drove us home! Once we got there I had Lawson get my mounting block to make it easier to get out!
My life is never dull! Even something as mundane as coming home from the hospital, for some reason, turns into an adventure! Mom took care of the mules and I stayed in my recliner and home from work for two weeks. I started going back to work the next week part time. I have not been able to ride since the surgery and did not ride for nearly 2 months before it so the mules at this time are unworked and fat and sassy!
This weekend I hope to get on Sadie Mae for some walking around riding. The surgeon gave me premission to ride this week! It will still be many more months before I am back in full swing again!
Thankfully everything went so well. I want to thank my parents for helping me during this and thank all my friends for the cards, emails and phone calls!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome to a Suburban Refugee

I got a call about a goat who needed a home for a few months. His owners live in Cary, a suburban neighborhood right outside of Raleigh, NC. Apparently his noisy calls for food and attention was waking up the neighbors too early in the morning! So they needed a place to stash him until they can build some fencing on their new farm out in the country.
So with that we welcome our
Suburban Refugee - ASTRO!
A Tennessee Fainting Goat, although I have yet to see him faint.
He has already settled in and gotten the kids next door to feed him sprigs of green grass through the fence. The mules and donkeys were not to sure about him at first, except for Seven to likes goats, but he made his status known in short work by butting his head in the gate any time they got to close to it.

Water Color Of Sadie Mae

Included in the 2009 Christmas cards, Dad sent out a Christmas newsletter, that included a photo of Sadie Mae on the cover of "The Book of Mules" written by Donna Campbell Smith. He told how Sadie Mae and I had been going to some book signings with the author. Chuck Warner from Yuma, AZ, a high school friend of Mom's, saw the Christmas letter and was inspired to paint a water color of Sadie Mae. Chuck was very kind to send me a matted print of his work! Very good if I do say so myself! I love watercolors, I have two already hanging in my living room. Thanks so much Chuck! I love it and will soon get it framed!

Mustang Update!

In October of 2009 I met a nice family at the Best of America By Horseback Ride at Leatherwood. I was really impressed with their daughter Kaitlyn. She is one of the best riders I have ever seen and is only 15 years old. She placed second in the advanced trail challenge class I hosted with a horse she trained herself. That got the wheels turning in my head. I asked if Kaitlyn might be looking for a project. The anwser was yes, a younger horse she could start herself and train. After much considering on both of our parts and a meeting in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot, Kaitlyn had herself a great project. My mustang (Whom I just have not had time for) Buckshot. He seemed to like her right away and I could not wait to see what the two of them would accomplish!
January I emailed Kaitlyn to see how they are getting along! I was so happy to get this report:
Buckshot's doing great!! He loves his new pasture buddy Misty! I've only got to work him a few times until we got 2 feet of snow. It's very interesting to see how different he is from the other horses! (But in a good way) The first night we put them in the barn for the snow, he figured out a way to lift the stall gate off the hinges and let himself out! Then he decided to share the bag of treats with all the others by flinging the bag around while he walked up and down the aisle. Other then that he's been wonderful! I thought I'd send you a few pictures. I've decided to keep his name Buckshot since he already knows it. Thank you so much again! ~Kaitlyn

Starting the NEW YEAR of Right?

I started 2010 off in a not very good way by having my back go out on my pretty severely! Mom stayed here to help me and take care of the mules while I got better. Unfortunately for her it turn out to be one of the longest and coldest periods we have had in a while here in North Carolina. After feeding one morning Mom brought in a chunk of the ice she got off the water troughs. The chunk was about 2 1/2 inches thick. It was unfortunately just the beginning of a lot of ice chopping mom had to do!

Donkey Blanket for Christmas

We had a nice Christmas this year at the St. Clair Red Mule Farm. Mom and Dad came down and we had a great Christmas dinner before opening gifts. My Aunt Cherie and Uncle Ken in California treated me to a most unique gift this year. A blanket made with the image of my two Donkeys Navarre and Chester wrestling on it. She got it from a photo I sent her a couple of months ago! Very cool and unique! Thanks so much!