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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paisley, Clouddog


This is what I think about Paisley, the clouddog: I think he is a weenie and a scaredy cat. He is afraid of the goats, and he is afraid of me, and he is even a little bit afraid of the chickens. He avoids the paddock like the plague. He will not enter the pasture. He won't look me in my noble and soulful eye. He is a wimp.

This is what FarmWife thinks about the clouddog, and because I love her I am willing to let her use my blog as a platform for her views: She thinks the clouddog is a very sweet, very good, very nice dog.

FarmWife got clouddog as a backyard-breeder's cull when he was seven weeks old and she 22 years. She had a suburban apartment, a lively toddler, a full-time class schedule, a part-time job, a senior dog, a flighty cat and a pair of rats. A new puppy was, of course, necessary and appropriate for such a busy single mother. (My great big tongue, of course, is filling my capacious cheek.)

She did not get clouddog entirely of her own volition. She was coerced. You see, FarmWife had been keeping her beloved retired cob, Panda, at a boarding stable in Massachusetts. The proprietors happened to have kennels full of Australian shepherds, and happened to fancy the merle-to-merle breeding that so often results in double-dilute white puppies with hearing and/or vision deficits. FarmWife happened to be at the stable, scheduling the euthanasia of her terminally ill horse and suffering from a vulnerable emotional state, when she was offered a deaf white marshmallow of a dog. Between her racking sobs, she accepted, and so wee Paisley joined the family.

This is how Paisley lived: As her third priority. 1) Human baby. 2) Senior dog/beloved sidekick. 3) Annoying puppy. Paisley got walked, and pat, and trained, and played with, but Paisley was not the main thing going. Paisley was a back-burner project.

And this is how Paisley has been: Sweet. Good. Loving. Kind. Joyful. Endearing. Playful. Nice. Friendly. Welcoming. Benign.

Paisley has committed many crimes of enthusiasm in his life; knocking children down small flights of stairs; covering elegant guests in a felting of white hair; leaping for a stick and grabbing the hand that throws it. He has never, however, been in an altercation, engaged in a conflict, made a gesture of threat, issued a growl, or attempted to menace anyone. He has never looked askance at being tripped over by a playful child, being dominated by a touchy dog, being told what-for by a grouchy rabbit, or being controlled by an adult human.

Paisley is smart, but he is not the smartest dog FarmWife has known. Paisley is beautiful, but he is not the most beautiful dog FarmWife has known. Paisley is athletic, but he is not the most athletic dog FarmWife has known. What Paisley is, fundamentally, though, is nice. Paisley is the nicest dog FarmWife has known, and his gregarious love of humans—all humans, every human, any human in this wide world—is what Paisley will be remembered for.

In that, I think, Paisley the clouddog has much Muleness.

FB




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hip Hip HoorBraaaay!

Look, dear friends and supporters of the Muleness, at what we've done! I, Fenway Bartholomule, could not feel more loved than I do at this very moment. You are the BEST—dripping with Muleness, every one of you. I cannot thank you enough.

Your misty-eyed and grateful friend,
Fenway

FARMWIFE

We're in a hurry here today, for FarmWife's brother's coming. I have a poem, though, to share, about my favorite human:

Fondly are my thoughts disposed when pondering my lady.
Ambling down the trail with her astride through pathways shady
Really is quite splendid, for I know she loves me madly.
Most any day that's spent with her is one that I live gladly.

When we meet in morning dew she comes, a-bearing hay,
I welcome her with brayful song at dawn of each new day.
Friendly nuzzles I do give, she hugs and scratches me.
Every mule deserves some love like that of her for me.


I would keep going, for that's barely the beginning, but I've used up F and A, R and M, W and I, F and E. If I had called her FarmWife, Queen of Bent Barrow Farm, I could have made my poem longer. Ah, well, we're short on time anyway.

Have a great day, beloved readers. One day I will write a poem for YOU.

Love,
Fen


Monday, June 28, 2010

Goodbye Goatlings, Hello Family!

We said goodbye to our little doelings yesterday, sending them off to the best home imaginable with our good friends Marie and Loren. Missy was more than happy to bid them farewell, not even bothering to stand for a parting "maaah." "Good riddance," she seemed to say, and "thank goodness THAT's done." She's a good and loving mother, but not a clinging one. Had she been a horse dam, she might have thrown herself upon the fence in prostrate grief, or run herself into a foaming lather to the accompaniment of wrenching screams. She is not a horse dam, and she didn't.

My brothers and their girlfriends arrive tomorrow and thursday, and by the weekend we'll have a generous dozen visitors, including nieces and nephews, at Bent Barrow Farm. We can rock the petting zoo vibe even without the doelings, and our army of fluffy dogs, velvety bunnies, patient cats, stoic mules, peeping chicks, milking goats, and happy hens are ready and waiting. For the anti-pet set, we can offer . . . um . . . lettuce. Lots of lettuce.

M

A List

FarmWife has a to-do list, and "Ride the Mule" is sadly absent. The best thing on the list is "Muck out the Paddock," during which time I can enjoy the pleasure of her delightful company. The worst thing on the list is "clean the house," which is sure to take hours and hours which would be better spent rubbing my splendiferous ears.

There's hardly even time for blogging on my transcriptionist's agenda, so I'll keep this short.  Here, before I go, is the view from FarmWife's bedroom window at various levels of zoom:

Your friend,
Fenway

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Mule Walks Into a Bar . . .


 . . . and the bartender says . . . .



"why the long face?"

**Ba-dum-chhh!**

Really, though, I'm staying home in a drizzling rain today whilst FarmWife and the humans go on a visit to Grandpa. He's MY grandpa, too, but I won't sweat it. Grandma is a gardener, and every inch of their acreage is filled with beautiful flowers. Not too tasty, and poorly inadequate in terms of nutritional value. I, thank you, will stay home amidst the tender grasses of my own verdant valley.

Bon voyage!

FB

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Perspective

Feeling down? Maybe you just need a new perspective.





































I, for one, am anything but down. In fact, I am having a mulishiously splendiferous day. For one thing, FarmWife loves me. For another, I am on the greener side of the fence today, having been let out for a bit of nibbling. Thirdly, we have a strange window of Edenic perfection in which there are no bugs, no rainclouds, no mudpuddles, no heat waves, and no gales. Wickersham could not be more perfect.

The only bad news today is Volvo hay mother's a poor performance review. Yesterday, she brought home stemmy first-cutting hay, lacking flavor, and today she took my human family to Bellingham and stranded them. She came home on the back of a Triple A truck. Lazy. If I, Fenway Bartholomule, had been granted the privilege of taking the human family to Bellingham, I would have seen them safely home with a lively step and glinting eye. 

I'm that kind of mule.

Your friend,
FenBar

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ten More Commandments

We all know—don't we?—that "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ass" is flawed advice, at the very least. After all, look where a little bit of ass-coveting got FarmWife! Now, I don't want to ruffle any feathers but between the COTHers with their version and Captain Mosey with his eight "I'd really rather you didn'ts," I think it's fair for me to make a little list of my own.



ONE: Thou shalt feed no other pets before thy Mule.

TWO: Thou shalt make for thyself frequent tack purchases.

THREE: Thou shalt take the bray of thy Mule seriously.

FOUR: Thou shalt remember thy Mule in all moments.

FIVE: Thou shalt honor the father, Jack and the mother, Mare.

SIX: Thou shalt move manure.

SEVEN: Thou shalt not commit thy Mule to any unpleasant task.

EIGHT: Thou shalt place frequent kisses upon His glorious ears.

NINE: Thou shalt spread the news of the Muleness among thy neighbors.

TEN: If thee be without a Mule, thou shalt covet thy neighbor's Mule. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marnie versus the Triffids.

The triffids are gaining a foothold with this sun-after-rain we've had, and I spent the evening in valiant battle.

 I absolutely love the greenness of my home and region, and can't complain. And then, of course, there's this—I love grazing animals. Grazing animals love grass and grass loves rain,  and so I take the drizzle and enjoy it. To add to the fun, on those rare occasions where Sir Sol shows his face there's hardly a chore I'd rather do than mow or weedwhack. Thus I am fulfilled, though not without my constant dreams of acquisition. A horse-drawn mower? A scythe? I'd like them.

I spent much of this afternoon mowing, and the morning writing. I feel at home in my skin. I love my life, my family, my one green acre. I love my mule, and my work.

Speaking of such matters, I will be a little spare with my posts these next few weeks. We're having company—my beloved brothers and extended family—and I expect to be busy. The garden, the mule, the goats, the children, the chickens, the rabbits, the dog, the cats, the constant growth of vegetation on our one beautiful, green acre . . . and friends, and family, and love. What better way to be "too busy?"

And then there's writing, of which I have done much today. It's addictive, in the sense that writing a little leads to writing a lot and writing a lot leads to not wanting to stop—wanting to write chapters, books, then more—shelves and shelves of them. This, and the fact that I've actually managed to find READERS, tells me something. It tells me that I am doing what I should be doing. It feels like honest work.

To Boot or Not to Boot


There're boots (FarmWife's, pictured) and and then there're boots (mine, below) and boots (suspensory). And THOSE—suspensory, support or protective boots—are what I want to talk about today. (And yes, I know that there are a million other kinds, too, but a mule has only so much time.)


I love my Easyboot Epics, and I would gladly wear a second pair on my hind hooves if the opportunity presented itself. So far, it hasn't, but it's only a matter of time until a mule of my caliber starts seeing the corporate sponsorship love. All in due time! 
In the meantime, FarmWife wonders about protective or supportive boots. You know, the kind that make a mule look very fancy, ready for anything, and primed for tremendous athletic accomplishment? 


Really, I would love to have some. I think they'd look sassy. The arguments in favor of wearing something like a Sports Medicine Boot are thus:

  • I love to accessorize.
  • FarmWife loves to dress me up.
  • Nothing is too good for Dear Fenway.
  • My legs are worth their weight in gold.
  • I do hard work, surmounting precipitous slopes in challenging footing.
The arguments against my wearing boots are thus:

  • I own no boots.
  • I am on a wicked tight budget.
  • I do not jump, do speed events, or otherwise work in a capacity of extreme athleticism.
  • I have sensitive skin and am prone to rashes.
  • I always know where my hoofies are and I have never managed to hurt my lower legs.
  • I have tendons like rocks.
  • My only symptom of unsoundness is an unsightly (but painless) thoroughpin on my hock, nowhere near and having nothing to do with the area supported by suspensory boots.

So, what's your take? I know people who won't take a horse out of the barn without protective boots on every leg, and then I know folks who feel that booting is an expensive and potentially irritating encumbrance, more likely to cause harm than good. 


I'd love your opinion, even though it's not likely to send me running to the nearest Professionals Choice outlet. After all, there's that budget.


Your barely-booted friend,
Fenway



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Other Obligations

One of the side-effects of FarmWifery, at least when you've got a celebrity mule to look after, is that chores and opportunities are never in short supply. In our case, FarmWife has laundry to fold, dishes to wash, a paddock to muck, and the like—but also, and especially because of her world-famous muse (Yours Truly), she has articles to write. FarmWife's day was spent conducting telephone interviews, taking notes, compiling material, and generally performing in the capacity of a writer. It's fun for me to see her emulating me. I, of course, write from the heart and with effortless ease. She works hard to perform to my standards, and she does just fine! She shows promise, and works with mulish dedication.

I have a little opportunity of my own, having been invited to attend, as a VIP, the September Cascade Horse Fair in Lynden, WA. I'm seriously considering it, and will write more about the matter tomorrow.

For now, I need to pose beautifully outside the office window in case FarmWife needs a dose of inspiration.

Ears to you,
Fenway


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2010, phase I

Six months ago, I had a new facebook page, earning 87 fans by the end of its first week. I was bored as a trail mount, looking for a challenge, and ready to try something new.

I've accomplished a lot in the first half of 2010, and I'm proud of what I've done.

I've become a celebrity blogger, befriending mule lovers the world over and introducing them to the wonders of life on Bent Barrow Farm.

I've spread the Muleness to 577 facebook friends, inspiring my new, dear friend Pants to establish her own interweb portal in the process.

I've taught FarmWife to appreciate my eager desire for learning. Last summer, I was a slug of a mule on our typical, boring, twice-weekly pipeline loop. She thought I was getting old, getting tired, and getting sick of it all. Then she taught me to ride in traffic, reach new trailheads, jump small obstacles, and practice bareback and bridleless riding. I became a new mule. I grabbed life by the horns. Since then, I've practiced cutting (on Jasper Jules, on my own, without a rider), jumping (in moderation), training level dressage, and long reining. I am bold, eager, adventurous, and spirited. I am welling up with Muleness.

I've learned to longe, ground drive, and drag small objects. This is part of my "Renaissance mule" lifestyle, and it is part of what keeps me young. Always learning, always growing, I'm a John of all trades and a master of fun.

I've learned to love cantering, and to depart on either lead. I used to hate speed, but then I used to have an owner who prided me on my ability to pack 350 pound loads. "Slow and steady" is the only way to manage in those circumstances. Now I leap into action at the slightest prompting—a Mule of the Wind, running free.

I've obtained my own engraved halter plate. It is the prequel to the embroidered cooler, dress sheet, and quarter sheet that I've requested for my birthday.

I've become a respected columnist, writing for the American Donkey and Mule Society's BRAYER.

I've been featured in Mules and More magazine, not as a writer but as a subject. I was honored.

I've learned to neck rein. Mighty handy!

I've overcome an ugly thoroughpin, getting the vet's OK to go back to work and taking nary a lame step.

I've endured the most invasive veterinary procedure since the big snip-snip, letting (under heavy sedation) a human clean my sheath for the first time in my recorded history.

I've established my own product line at www.cafepress.com/fenbar. If I'm going to be famous, I might as well try to pay my own hay bill, eh?

I've nannied, from birth to weaning, two lovely and mulish goatlings. They go to their new home on Sunday—good luck, Dove and Pigeon! The world is your oyster!

In the first half of 2010, I've written 191 blog entries and made five times that many friends. Ears, readers, to you. You make it all worthwhile.

Your friend,
Fenway

Monday, June 21, 2010

Linda Avenue, continued

N, right, removing staples from F, left. 

I spent half a dozen formative years on Linda Avenue—years of evolution and change. My mom, single at the time, bought the ugliest house in the best neighborhood she could afford, a house with broken windows and asbestos siding but sitting kitty-corner to one of the best public elementary schools in the nation. It was a smart move, but not without its challenges. She worked her butt off, delivering papers before I woke in the morning and getting me off to school, then spent her days sanding floors, replacing walls, stripping woodwork, fixing appliances, and planting boxwood shrubs. She also, I presume, kept tabs on my delinquent teenage brothers. Like many geniuses, they had rocky adolescences. They have grown into admirable men.

My brother F is truly—and I do not exaggerate—the funniest man I've ever met. He will make you wet yourself. He has incredible conversational timing, tremendous intellectual curiosity, and a broad understanding of just about everyone and everything. Children love him. Dogs adore him. I admire him more than I've ever been able to say.

He is an adrenaline addict, and has more metal in his body than a modern 4-door sedan. When we were younger, he hurt himself skateboarding, then motorcycling. Now it's motorcross, but as he approaches 40 I'm hoping he'll handle his dirtbike with growing care. He has nearly died more times than you'd believe, and he has sprung back faster than experts say is possible. When he was told that the road rash on his badly damaged hands would cause permanent fine motor loss, he learned how to play the guitar. He's back to 110%. He is invincible.

My brother N is an artist, a professor, a sailor, an urban farmer, and a restoration carpenter. He is smart, soulful, and full of super-human insight. With it, I think, comes super-human worry. He would like to have fixed a world that can't be saved. He understands the population crisis, the catastrophe of our human presence on Earth, too well, and he carries a burden with him. Stupidity pains him, and he sees too much of it. He surrounds himself, however, with friends. He has collected amazing, kindred spirits. His partner E completes him.

N is funny, smart, warm, and empathetic. Incredibly creative. Skillful. Imaginative. Deep. A loving brother, never unkind, he would provide a great shoulder to cry on if I wasn't too awed by him to cry. He is a demigod in my eyes, a brilliant genius too awesome to approach with everyday complaints.

I love them both.

This is the lot of the baby sister, I think: to see her older siblings at unattainable heights, to admire and revere them. As we grow into adults, I'm touched by their reciprocal respect for me. I hope to deserve it.

M

postscript: The house on Linda Avenue, thanks to my mother's diligent attention, was the prettiest restored craftsman on the block when we sold it in 1991. Go, mom!

A Good Husband


FarmWife went to sleep on the wrong side of the bed after a stressful weekend, a missed ride, a cat fight, and a generally tribulation-riddled Sunday afternoon. She woke up on the wrong side, too, to four dead chicks in the mail (and one dying) and two cranky and undernourished children. She should have known better than to give them sweet crepes and cheesecake for breakfast.

The long and short of it is that when FarmHusband called home at lunchtime she was practically crying. I think it's a mare thing—women are so volatile!

But get this: "You," he said, "should go riding tonight."

Whadda guy. He knows FarmWife like the back of his hand, and he knows that there's no cure for a cranky wife like a nice two hours on the trail with Yours Truly. I will take her out at 6 tonight and I will return her, cheered and refreshed, to his loving custody.

We're a good team, and together we take mighty fine care of our favorite lady.

Now, human women—listen up. If you have a mule, go ride him. If you have a horse, that will do. If you have a husband who indulges you in these matters, give him a kiss. He's doing you a tremendous service, and you're lucky if he knows it.

FB

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ode to a Jack, My Father


With ears so long
And bray so strong 
And hooves like solid rock,
You were so mighty,
Never flighty,
Always taking stock.

You never flinched
when harnessed, cinched,
You carried men or towed them.
You hauled their loads
Down dusty roads
And with a bray, you told them:

"I'll pull for you, 
I'll pack for you,
I'll cheer you when you're troubled.
I'll ease your work
With ears aperk
I'll do it on the double."

Your son—that's me—
Would like to see,
would like to nuzzle you—
We never met
but I would bet
That you would like me too.

I can't have come
From anyone
Unsavory, unhandsome . . . 
In fact, dear Jack,
I'd wager that
You'd fetch a pretty ransom.

As sire you have proved your worth
The humans chose you well
And when they placed you with a mare
Then only time would tell
But your genes passed along to me 
and mingled in with hers
To form a creature you would like,
With ears not unlike yours. 

Thank you dad,
From your wee lad,
From your own small brown mule.
You gave me life—
A Brayful life!
So ears, dear jack, to you.

Happy Fathers' Day.

Love, 
Fenway Bartholomule




Saturday, June 19, 2010

There, I Fixed It: Tack Edition

If there was a There, I Fixed It for the equestrian set, FarmWife would be a rising star. 
Witness, a homemade crupper of old bungee cords, billet guards, and assorted hardware salvage: 

A goat harness of old carseat seat belts and extra polo wraps: 

An English wintec saddle with western leather breeching, kluged together with old halter fragments providing D rings where there were none:
 
Of course, FarmWife's ingenuity is limited by the strength of her featherweight Singer when it comes to oversize sewing projects—for this reason, and for safety's sake, we'll be looking for a commercial beta harness when that time comes. 

It's not for lack of trying, FarmWife. You've done alright with the small stuff. 

FB

Friday, June 18, 2010

What a Workout


Fen
Before
Exercise
















Fen
After
Exercise
















Do you see how hard she works me? Really. Yesterday we worked on long reining with yonder milk jug in tow, and when that was done she rode me in the pasture "arena" for a full 25 minutes. We worked on all sorts of things, and as you can see I was plumb tuckered out by the end. Hardest half hour of my day.

FarmWife is going to work today, which means that she will come home looking like Exhibit B above. I will invigorate her with loving nuzzles the moment she arrives this evening.

Your well-exercised friend,
Fenway

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Linda Avenue



With two half-brothers, eight and 10 years my senior, I suffered my share of tortuous early experiences. My bike was stolen and ridden to within an inch of its life. I was tripped in every doorway. I was taken on covert missions, and bribed and blackmailed into secrecy. I was taught to throw hira-shuriken and engineer sunken forts.
When the teenage F was expatriated from his basement, direct-entry bedroom for sneaking out and skateboarding on a broken leg, it was eight-year old Marnie who traded in a second-story bedroom. He tried to frighten me into refusing my cool new digs, trapping a giant spider in anticipation of my visit. He underestimated my critter-craziness . . . though I can't remember my exact response now, I'm sure it was something closer to, "ooh, neat!" than, "eeeek, Moooommmm!" I ended up living in that bedroom for years, sharing it with Emil the parakeet, Echo the Dutch rabbit, and fewer insects and arachnids than F would have had me expect. 

. . . to be continued . . .

Wowie Zowie!

I'd better get better acquainted with yonder tire, 'cause I'm going to be towin' things in style pretty soon! Look at this fantastic progress we've made with the Harness Fund:

Now, the bad news is that FarmWife has clued in to this surprise gift. I guess she pays more attention during our transcription sessions than I realized, because she now knows just what we're saving up for. It's OK, though, really—honestly, she's beside herself with excitement and that in itself is mulishly wonderful. She's also more willing to work on ground driving now that she understands our long term purpose, and we all know that she can't practice too much!

The good news is that we've shot way past the halfway mark (thanks to you, my dear readers, and to the fabulously mulish folks at Chimacum who are giving me a special deal just for being FenBar). Looks like I might be dressed to pull before 2020 after all! I will keep you posted, and as we pass the $400 mark I'll get my measurements and start readying my order.

Many mulish thanks,
Fenway Bartholomule

Contest Winner!


A million mulish thanks to the wonderful competitors, as well as our voting audience, in our Ear Story contest. It was hard to settle on just one great story. I, Fenway Bartholomule, was relieved that the final decision was out of my hooves and into yours. You, my readers, have chosen and the choice is an overwhelming 36% in favor of Sian's Special Delivery.


Sian, who ought to kindly email me a snail mail address, will receive a "Half Ass and Proud of It" bumper sticker as well as a hundred blown kisses and my undying gratitude for explaining, after all these years, why I cannot remember—it was the stork that did it, and one can hardly blame a mule for forgetting such an early experience, can one?


To Dunewood, Gaylene, and Little Big Red, I thank you. Your stories were compelling and beautiful—like me, Fenway Bartholomule.


Read on for Special Delivery, the one true story of the ear. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Bit Like This, A Bit Like That

I, Fenway Bartholomule, have had the pleasure of trying a variety of bits and other various signaling devices, and my reactions to them have ranged from quiet acceptance to frantic grimacing and hollow resistance.

Below, for your edification and enjoyment, is a summary of my feelings on them all. This is not a commentary on their general usefulness for horses or mules but rather on my own personal response to them. Every mouth is different!

French-link loose ring snaffle: Four hooves down. Hate, hate, hate this rattley contraption, even though it is FarmWife's standard bit of choice. It turns out that I like a solid, stable bit.
Mullen loose ring flexible rubber snaffle: Three hooves up. This was a cheap bit, though, and the rings are rusting.
Mechanical Hackamore: Three hooves up.
Rubber mullen pelham: Four hooves up. My favorite bit, but it looks like overkill if you ask FarmWife!
Dr. Cook's bitless bridle: Four hooves waaaaay down.
"Liberty ring," i.e. a stiff circle around my neck: Two hooves up.
A plain' ol' halter and leadrope: Two hooves up.
Nothing at all: Two hooves up in a confined setting.
Single jointed D-ring snaffle: Three and a half hooves up. I like this about as well as my pelham, though I clink it in my teeth when I'm learning something new. FarmWife hopes that by wrapping it in Sealtex she can create the Worlds Best Fenway Bit.

We will let you know!

What are your favorite bits? What do you want to try? I, for one, would like to try a latex-wrapped or vulcanite low-port or mullen liverpool on the snaffle rein slot (for driving in style) and a nathe snaffle (just for the softness of it). I would like to try a rubber baucher snaffle, to mimic the stability of a pelham without the redundancy of an unneeded curb rein. I would also like FarmWife to take me hilltopping with the Woodland Hunt, because then I am sure she would let me wear my lovely pelham again.

Your friend,
Fenway


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New look?

Love it? Hate it? Couldn't care less? Bray your opinions in the comments field!

Many mulish thanks,
FenBar

Snuggles!

FarmWife and I have endured a few challenges together lately: the visit to Dr. Ratchet, when I was tortured to within an inch of my life; the introduction of the tire, otherwise known as the MEDUSA (Mule Eating Device of Unparalled Sadistic Apocolypticism); being followed for an entire hour by an empty milk jug on an assassin's mission. (It failed to kill its target, by the way.)

Through all of these various harrowing experiences, FarmWife has sung to me, reassured me, and promised me something: she will keep me safe. She swears up and down that she will, and I am starting to believe her. After all, she and she alone has the power to send the TIRE and the milk jug away when I stand still and behave. She has the power to open gates, and she touches the electric fence—but only on it's yellowy plastic bits—without flinching.

We have come to a new agreement, based on my awesome respect for her power. She is now allowed to visit me whist I recline, and to share in the basking glory of my midday naps. I might need her, after all, if a milk jug turns up during my sun bath!

Yours in sensuous repose,
Fenway

My Better Half

If I have a flaw, it is that I procrastinate. I am not really a go-getter, a follow-througher (follower-through?), a driven woman of stamina and determination. I like to stop and smell the flowers. Twiddle my thumbs. Check facebook.

My husband compliments and improves me in every way, and if his character traits rub off on me it will be for the better. He is a man of tremendous energy, drive, and persistence, the kind of fellow who comes home at the end of a 10-hour workday and builds some stairs, weeds the garden, washes the dishes, and reads bedtime stories. An incredible father, a loving husband, and above all a capable man. He gets things done.

Get 'er done. Mat does!

It was recently suggested to my mule, Fenway Bartholomule, that his facebook fanpage might attract a more gender-balanced audience if we profiled FarmHusband (Mat) on the site. I'm not sure that would bring the guys—after all, women love Mat. He's hot.

Mat is the breadwinner, the bill payer, Mr. Fixit, and at least 50% of the parenting equation in our household. He handles all these responsibilities with humor, love, and boundless energy. He is one in a million, and the girls and I are very lucky to have him.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Camping, Then and Now

Camping in 2009: The number one and two questions were usually, "Ooh, is that a donkey?" and "Is it pregnant?" This was before I was famous.

Camping in 2010: "Is this THE Fenway Bartholomule?" and "Can I give him a carrot?" Love the fame. It doesn't hurt that FarmWife is right on top of this publicity business. Out on the trail, for instance: 

Stranger: "Nice mule!" 

Me: "Feed m . . . "
FarmWife, butting in: "Thanks! He's a blogger, would you like his card?" 

All in all, our camping trip was wonderful. Brief, but fabulously sunny and mulishly fun with great friends and good trails. A bit muddy, given the weather we've had, but that's just fodder for my admiring throngs. I plunge boldly through the sucking mud like an actor in an EasyBoot commercial. 

I waded through the corner of a lake this weekend, which was my very first girth-high water crossing. It was deliciously interesting! Picture this: a submerged stump here, a floating log there, mud swirling hither and thither in an obscuring cloud, and me, Intrepid Trail Mount Extraordinaire, boldly fording the waters. FarmWife says that I should tell you that Henry Fjord, who is mulishly brazen, had to go first before I would venture in. I don't see how that is necessary. 

I practiced ground-driving amid distractions, and performed beautifully amidst the hubub of cantering mounts, mingling humans, and trailers full of arriving horses. I had occasion, too, to pony a chestnut gelding after a companion rider dismounted on the trail with a minor injury. I was tremendous! There is nothing, FarmWife says, like a good gelding. Preferably a mule gelding, seal brown, 15 years old, and 14.1 hands on his tippy toes. 

Love,
Fenway

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Goet iz the Bos.


Hiy. Thiz is Jazpur Jewlz. Im eeting all the haey todae cuz Finwey left mee in charege. Im sleping in hiz brekfist spot. I peeed next ta hiz sault blok too.

Finwey went wif the humin ladie to trayl ride an kammp. He probly dosnt no that hez gonna hafta werk hardur that waey. If he staid hoam hed bee wresting hiz butt but insted he wunted to go clime up hils an stuf.

Sily meull.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Introducing Missy's Grandchildren!

This is Jasper Jules' littermate B.G. enjoying one of two newly arrived kids. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker arrived on Saturday and made me sort of an uncle all over again! Congratulations to her owners, our good friends Dirty Mama and the Chicken People. Grandma Missy, Empress of All that the Light Touches, is basking in the knowledge that she will send her own pesky offspring away just as BG assumes the burden of responsibility for two new lives. Missy is done and then some with this motherhood business, and won't cry at weaning.


Here is Mrs. Hotsauce, the intended purchaser of our own little bundles of joy. Lark (née Pigeon) and Dove will be going to their new, gorgeous timber framed goat shed in a couple of weeks, and have been practicing eating hay and browse in anticipation of this exciting transition.


Baby goats—if you don't love them, you're either crazy or a victim.


Love,
Fenway







Thursday, June 10, 2010

Four Versions of the Ear Story.

Appearing below are four possible explanations for the nick in my right ear. Please read and savor these tales of self-sacrifice and mulish derring-do, and vote for your favorite. The winner will win a Fenway Bartholomule "Half Ass and Proud of It" bumper sticker as well as our undying appreciation for his or her participation in this exciting contest!

Love,
Fenway


A) To Save Barbela, by Dunie O'Neil

Once upon a time, in what seems like an eternity ago, Fenway lived on a dirt patch of a farm run by an uncaring, heartless ogre named Mackie Avelli. His aim was to give mule rides on Fenway to those individuals weighing 300 pounds or more; in fact, he decided to hold a contest to determine the very fattest person that Fenway could hold. The obese lined up for miles, as the winner of the contest got to ride Fenway every day for a year; the entry fee for the contest was $1,000 per fatty. To add to the fun, he decided not to feed Fenway for 3 days before the event so FB would be even more challenged!
The ogre was so mean that he didn't feed any other of his animals for 3 days either so they would be too weak to come out and interrupt the contest.
Fenway's favorite kitty friend, Barbela, was pregnant and unable to go without further sustenance. Fenway wanted so to help her, but he was too weak to go forth on a food quest and had none of his own to share. In desperation, Fenway, at great peril to his well-being, offered to let Barbie feast on a weenie piece of the tip of his ear. At first, she was reluctant, as she didn't wish to give Fenway an earache, but FB insisted that she had to consider her yet-unborn little ones, and desperate times call for desperate measures. He braced himself for the pain to come, and just as the little, sharp kitty teeth separated him from a tiny earlet, the kitty was magically transformed into a resplendent Fairy Godmother( with uncannily large ears) who was there to reward Fenway for his selfless generosity!
She offered to grant him the same old three wishes of storybook fame.
Can you guess what the valiant Fenway wished for and received? Well, dear readers, I shall tell you:
1)THE AMAZINGLY CARING & TALENTED FARMWIFE with whom to share his mule-love
2)Cute little helmeted larvae to play with
3)An endless supply of yummie treats proving the endless devotion of his family (not too shabby for the tummy either).
And to this day, beloved Fenway fans, when our hero has a request that is not immediately fulfilled, you can see him out in his pasture standing on three legs, with his fourth hoof in the air, pointing at his famously heroic ear!!!!!


B) Ear of the Rising Sun, by Little Big Red

There is a place in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a mule ear
And God I now have one

My mother was a sweet mare
She passed on perfect genes
My father was a bad ass
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a mule needs
Is to have a little fun
So I headed out for some nightlife
To the place called the Rising Sun

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Had my ear pierced at the parlor
Next door to the Rising Sun

Well, I was standing on the sidewalk
With one hoof on the street
A drunken mule tripped over me
And my earring was ripped out neat

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a mule ear
And God I now have one

C) Special Delivery, by Sian

I'm not very good at writing, Fenway, like Farmwife is. I hope this will pass for a story though, because I do know what happened to your ear. It was the Stork that did it, remember him? Probably not, you were very small.

One magical night a very special mare was about to have a very special baby. She couldn't wait for him to arrive, she knew he would be the sweetest and smartest foal in the pasture that spring. She had readied her shed with clean straw and paced restlessly back and forth. This was the date the baby was to arrive, she felt sure of it, she couldn't have forgotten. But the stars wheeled by above, the spring peepers sang by the brook and all stayed very still. The only other sound was the breeze in the willow tree.

Suddenly, finally, a flapping of large wings could be heard! Then the awkward sound of bending branches in the willow and slapping, sliding leaves. Could it be? The mare rushed to the fence. The moon was just bright enough to show an elderly and dilapidated gentleman Stork settling down through the tree, very carefully as he was frail and stiff. He carried an impossibly large burden as well but he treated it with the utmost care and gentleness. "I think I have what you are expecting, Lady," he said to the mare in the pen. He carefully carried the burden to her bed of straw and revealed the foal. "We had a difficult journey and he'll need your care now. I nearly lost him coming over the Columbia and I had to grab his ear quick or he'd have been a goner, sure." He indicated an ear tip with a trickle of bright blood glinting in the moonlight. The baby made not a sound as the mare licked it clean and then cleaned and warmed him all over with her tongue. He was home and safe and he nuzzled his dam with affection and relief. "He's a good one, Lady," said the Stork, "and very special. The One Above said he had to get here today, no waiting, He had promised you. I was the only one left to bring him but glad of it, that I am." The Stork rested a while and drank from the brook. Then he leaned on the fence and just watched the mare and her new baby. New life is something you never tire of seeing, he thought to himself, even after all these years. Hard work it was, but seeing the love, the joy and wonder made it all worth while. The moon revealed a tear in his eye as he rose into the air for the journey back and a lump in his throat slowed his wings as he circled above for a last glimpse of the last baby he would deliver.


D) Double Ear 7, by Gaylene:

What happened to his beautiful mule ear, you ask? Was it an arrow injury from his career as a Mule Express mail carrier? Was it a lasting memento from his sword fighting days? No my friends, it is something far more sinister indeed. I shall tell you now, but you must not tell anyone else, as his life may still be in danger. You see, you think his name is Fenway Bartholomule, but that is simply a cover. He is actually Double Ear 7, Special Mule Agent. Read on and you will understand.
Not long ago, a mule hating, angry, greedy evil bunny named Mr. Gnomes sought the destruction of all beautiful, shiny mule life on the earth. While he possessed long ears, he was jealous of all of the shine and glory and trail rides garnered by mules. Mr. Gnomes and his henchmen created robotic locusts that were about to be turned loose on all of the delicious hay crops……that was until Agent Double Ear 7 was called into action by Her Royal Mule Service.
“Double Ear 7, at your service.”
“Oh, Double Ear 7, it’s up to you. All of our military’s attempts to wipe out Mr. Gnomes and his henchmen have failed. If you cannot stop his evil attack of the hay crops, all equine life will be in danger.”
Double Mule 7 and his small donkey assistant Miss Assalot snuck into the cave inhabited by Mr. Gnomes and his henchmen. This particular cave had been blasted into the side of a nearly sheer cliff and had only one steep treacherous trail leading up to it and a rabbit hole at the bottom. Mr. Gnomes had painted dangerous, evil mule eating lines onto the trail, thus keeping all previous mules at bay, but he hadn’t counted on the brave, selfless Double Ear 7 and his assistant Miss Assalot.
“Muwahahahaaaaaa,” laughed Mr. Gnomes. “These robotic locusts will eat all of the delectable hay and then no long eared creatures alive will be more beautiful than me.” “I can hardly wait to watch those mules starve. They think they are so great with their shiny coats and neat manure piles….I’ll show them a thing or two…muwahahahaha…..”
Double Ear 7 and Miss Assalot were listening at the bottom of the trail, the voices travelling down the rabbit hole. The evil intent was clear to them, as was their dangerous, selfless, possibly deadly task. “Miss Assalot, I cannot risk your life, I will not ask you to fight the mule (and donkey, by the way) eating lines. You stay down here and warn me if the bunnies are coming.” “But Double Ear 7, if you don’t survive, I don’t….. want…… to….. live…... I must come,” responded Miss Assalot. “No, I need you to stay here, now please, do as I say.” And so, Double Ear 7 headed up the treacherous line wielding trail on his own. A feat never attempted by a lone mule without a FarmWife or donkey to assist.
Double Ear 7 began his brave assent. The steep and treacherous terrain was of no consequence, but one must always keep an eye on the dangerous mule (and donkey) eating lines. They weaved and wandered up the trail, but Double Ear 7 never wavered. He put one brave mule foot in front of another dodging from side to side, hopping as necessary to avoid being snaked around and devoured by the painted monsters. As he approached the opening of Mr. Gnomes's cave he heard a loud braying from below. “Oh no, the bunnies are about to release the robotic locust and then all will be lost!!!!” Never fear Double Ear7 to the rescue. He used his robust vocal cords and let out a loud, “Brayyhhhssscccreeeeaaaammmm" falsetto simultaneously interrupting the transmitters of the robotic locust, causing them to crash to the floor of the cave rendering them useless AND deafening the small creatures with the large ears. All of the henchmen were permanently deafened, but Mr. Gnomes was not. He had a loud reverberating mule scream echoing in his brain causing insanity. He jumped out of the cave opening, and almost fell off the side of the cliff but grabbed with his bunny buck teeth the first thing of consequence that he came upon. That my friends, was Double Ear 7’s beautiful mule ear. Double Ear 7 knew what he had to do and risking ear and limb, he swung his head around violently, causing Mr. Gnomes to careen off the mountain, never to be heard from again. Mr. Gnomes did however leave a permanent mark on Double Ear 7.
Now you know that although he goes by the name of Fenway Bartholomule, fearless companion of FarmWife, toter of larval children and consumer of yummy treats and flakes of hay, he is actually Double Ear 7, Special Mule Agent extraordinaire, loved by equines everywhere. Who knows what his next ear raising adventure may be?

Money, it's a gas!

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
In the comments field of a previous post, Blue Page astutely asked me to elaborate on my reference to "the God Money" (mentioned on Monday in relation to the Gulf oil tragedy). I'd like to do so here. Being a skeptical agnostic, I try nonetheless to use the word God carefully. I used it then as an expression of my frustration with capitalist culture: with the way that corporate rights equal or sometimes transcend personal rights, and earnings reports seem to trump ecosystem health, cultural heritage, and community integrity. There is reverence in our society for the right to profit, and I think that money has become something other than what it should be: a means of greasing the "goods for services" or "goods for goods" trading system. It has become an end in itself. People kill for it, people die for it. In this way, it is treated like a deity. I'm all for ownership: I'm glad I have a house, a mule, food from the grocery store. I also think that the rights of people, animals, and the environment should be weighed carefully against the rights to property ownership and resource use. The right of BP to drill with shaky safety systems and indefensibly poor emergency action plans, the right of industrial-age "farmers" to torture the soil into submission, to warehouse animals like inanimate inventory and to feed them the dirty byproducts of other industries, the right of Ford and Toyota to manufacture gas guzzlers, my right to choose an SUV over a compact electric vehicle, or to own a car at all—these things are protected with almost religious fervor by our regulatory system, and I don't think they should be.


I don't have the answers, but I do know that economic growth has had a huge human and environmental toll. Ecosystem destruction and labor exploitation in developing nations; gushing oil and strip-mined landscapes in the US and abroad; sprawling land fills, soaring carbon dioxide levels, rapid ozone depletion, dangerous topsoil loss, deforestation—these things may once have been attributable to ignorance, but in this day and age there is surely a better way. I have no doubt that the means for wide-scale use of clean, green alternative energy and sustainable, soil-friendly organic agriculture exist right now. Perhaps it is naive to suggest that changes could be effected today—everywhere—to create a zero-carbon, world family of healthy eco-warriors. I do think, however, that it is the monetary interests of existing big business and its defense of fossil fuel-based industry, intensive production, and rapid consumption, that stand in the way of change. It goes against the "growth" model to promote green technology in the developed world, but why do we insist on growth, and at what cost?


If the true cost of a gallon of gasoline and a pound of storebought beef were measured I think we would manage, as a culture, to walk a very different path, and I think that letting consumers pay these true costs would be a step in the right direction. In broader philosophical terms, I think we should put money in its place as a tool for the betterment of human community-building. It doesn't belong on a pedestal.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My New Favorite Online Resource

Photo: Lancelot the dressage mini. Not associated with Axwood Farm.

My new favorite source for long lining wisdom and harness how-tos:  http://axwoodlibrary.com/

These people seem to have written a series of articles designed just for me, Fenway Bartholomule, and for my trusty FarmWife with whom I ground drive regularly! They have given me some wonderful ideas about how to introduce FarmWife to harnessing and hitching me and how to get me working effectively, safely and athletically between the lines.

Kudos, Axwood, and thanks for the service you provide to novice drivers and their mules.


FenBar

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Harness News!

I thought that you, my supportive and encouraging fans, would like to know two important bits of mulish news. The first is that I was followed by an empty milk jug for the ENTIRE duration of my trail ride yesterday. At first it threatened to kill me, but FarmWife whispered sweet nothings to me and it was magically thwarted by her calming influence. She kept it at bay, and I lived to tell the tale. FarmWife tells me that one day I will be followed by something much bigger and more rattley, but that she will again keep me safe.

The second, not unrelated, update is that I have had an exciting offer from Chimacum Tack, the vendor of the Comfy-Fit harness of which we have spoken so much. Janie, the proprietor, heard about our fundraising efforts and offered a substantial discount and free shipping to me, Fenway Bartholomule, in order to further the muleness and support Brays Of Our Lives! (All the more reason to click the Chimacum link at the upper right corner, by the way, if there's anything harnessish that you need or want.)

This means that we have a new monetary goal of just $675 for the Comfy Fit breastcollar harness. If I should commence to pulling farm equipment later in my life, I will invest in a collar, hames and short tugs on the advice of my thoughtful readers who know these things. For now, this will be an excellent harness, made-to-measure and guaranteed to fit. We are more than halfway there! With a few more donations, we'll be able to order the Gift of the Decade!

From the bottom of my mulish heart, I thank each and every one of you for the mulish kindness and gracious encouragement you have offered me. I look forward to kicking my driving training up a notch with the purchase of a harness, and I gratefully bray in your direction.

Who says an old mule can't learn new tricks?

Fenway

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heaven is Where You Find It


Who said "heaven is where you find it?" I heard this recently and I'm not sure where. True, though. One day, if you're lucky, you'll look around and gasp at the beauty. You'll wiggle your toes and feel connected to the earth beneath your feet. You'll breath in and feel flooded with the happiness that is your life. You'll cast your gaze and see every face you've ever needed. Every thing you've ever wanted. You'll be at home. You'll stand fulfilled. You'll have arrived.

Now that I've found heaven, I'm flexible. I love this place—Wickersham, my little green farmhouse—but I think I could take this feeling elsewhere. I love my mule, but I think I can love another one day. I love my boots, but when they wear out there will be another pair. And yes, I still have a wish list . . .

Finding heaven has been a growth experience. I think I've learned to look inside myself for satisfaction, but it took looking around to open my eyes.

Now, life's not perfect. We worry about the bills, the cabbage blowflies. The other day, in fact, I was watching a youtube video about tilling a field with a 46-horse Percheron hitch and I found myself suddenly crying—about the Deep Horizon disaster, about the state of things, about consumption, destruction, suffering, and loss. About the way things used to be, and never will be again, but also about the way things could be, but aren't. About the God Money and the terrible things His subjects will do for Him.

Crying won't staunch the flow of oil in the Gulf, but maybe growing our own vegetables will help. We do what we can, and I'm enjoying the doing.



Marnie

Today's Forecast

Today's forecast calls for rain, followed by more rain. Look for a steady downpour this morning, followed by sheeting rain and a continuing torrent after lunch. This evening should bring heavy gray skies, dumping precipitation, and a 99.9%  chance of continued wetness. Expect soggy conditions to continue until the cows come home.

Unfortunately, the cows are all home and tucked safely in their various stalls. The Jerseys on W. street are accounted for, and the AngusX steer next door is barely visible through the wall of precipitation dividing his shed and pasture from mine. All present and accounted for.

I guess this means it will rain forever. I will save up for a harness and mule-drawn boat with which to take my beloved FarmWife out cruising. She never was much of a swimmer, whereas I am very strong in that area.

I am strong in most areas. Mules, sodden or not, are like that.

What's your weather? Write in with your stories of blue skies and warm breezes. I could use a distraction. If you'd rather, you can take the "my weather is worse than yours" approach! If you've had a hurricane, a tornado, or a killing drought you just might be able to take my mind off this rain and turn it to more important matters. Let's hear it!


Wetly,
Fenway


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Testing, testing

This life is a test. It is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have recieved further instructions on where to go and what to do.
Actually, I'm just experimenting with this scheduled post function. You see, FarmWife and I had talked about leaving Jasper Jules in charge of Brays Of Our Lives for a day or two this summer and I'm getting the jitters just thinking about it. He's a good goat, but not mulishly clever at this writing business. Trying to find an automated alternative to leaving my precious online friends in the hands of that cloven-hooved clutz, endearing though he may be! If I'm not careful, he may just break the internet while I'm off camping.

I'm posting this on Friday night, after my evening roll and before my evening hay. If it shows up online in the morning, then we're golden! 

Fenway


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Who is the Best?

I am the best. FarmWife told me so.

It's a busy day in Wickersham: Sunshine shining, mechanics mechanicking (there is hope for the terminally ill Volvo Hay Mother!), weedwhackers weedwhacking, players playing, muckers mucking, gardeners gardening, cluckers clucking, farmers farming, and above all me, the Maven of Muleness, Muling about the place in all of my majestic grace.

Now, pardon me while I bask in this strange heavenly glow and enjoy renewed freedom to roam about in the verdant grasses. Our dear yellow orb was gone awhile, and I'm oh-so-glad it's back.

Fenway

Friday, June 4, 2010

Harness Options—Weighing Public Opinion

As you surely know by now, I dream of being a driving mule and making FarmWife's dreams come true. With the help of my beloved and gracious friends, I have raised over $300 towards a beta biothane harness for the furthering of this cause. I am a lucky mule, and have the best fans in the world. Ears to you!

FarmWife's history as a driver includes starting wee Sir Lancelittle, a miniature gelding, in harness when she was a teen on beautiful Whidbey Island. That went well, and she came away confident in her ability to drive a larger animal. I have volunteered to be her next guinea pig! I have learned to ground drive, and now I walk and trot, between the lines, hither and thither through Wickersham with a proud step and glinting eye.

I have come up with some options, and because I am making a publicly-funded purchase I have decided to put it to you, my readers, to weigh them. I will give particular importance to the responses of A) kind donors, of which there have been many, and B) experienced drivers, from whom we seek to learn.

Option A:

The Comfy Fit harness from Chimacum Tack. Chimacum is a sponsor of www.BraysOfOurLives.com, donating a generous commission on purchases via referral from the blog. It is a good company of great reputation, and its owner and founder is always willing to share her wisdom and insight with green drivers like FarmWife. The Comfy Fit is reputed to be a harness of wonderful comfort, which would certainly please me. Nothing is too good for Fenway Bartholomule!

With $321 in hand, we are well on our way to our monetary goal of $795 to buy the Comfy Fit harness, as was our original intention.

Option B:

There is a harness for sale, second hand but little-used, by a private party. It is Amish-made beta, haflinger sized, stainless steel hardware, complete with brown lines, a bridle, and green fleecey pads. It sounds great, and the price is right! I could afford it now, with the funds already raised. I will guess that it lacks the wide, shaped breastplate and the high-tech weight-bearing tree of the Comfy Fit, being more traditionally designed, but it is a good harness.

Option C:

A collar harness. It has occurred to me that a collar is harder to fit, but it might be a good choice for me. After all, farm work—skidding small logs for firewood, for instance, and learning to plow—may be in my future, and to use a marathon-type harness for such work would be unconventional! Chimacum, like other distributors, sells a lovely harness and collar setup for something in the range of $600-700 altogether, and I'm sure that the correct sizing could be managed with advice and careful measurement.

Now, if I haven't bored you to tears already I will tell you what it is I intend to do with this harness once I have it. It will help you in the rendering of Good Advice.

To start, I plan to drag tires about. Why FarmWife wants me to do this I cannot imagine, but she does and I will.

I will then move up to dragging the pasture, which could use some dragging anyway and which can be done with the equipment on hand. I may also be able to procure some sort of homemade training vehicle, since my human grandpa is a mechanic and welder of immense creativity and resourcefulness. We shall see.

I will save up to buy a vehicle, but it is more likely to be one of the cheaper two-wheeled types than not. I understand that these require careful balance so as not weigh the saddle to heavily, so we will resist the urge to buy a $400 bicycle-wheeled cart off Ebay and instead watch and save for a quality used cart or wagon. I will also save for lessons and clinics, and as FarmWife's children grow, her income and her discretionary funds will grow too. Perhaps by the time she is 40, and I am 25, we can have a real driving budget and some more competitive aspirations. Maybe even a green mule to bring along as my disciple!

In the immediate future, our means are limited. When it comes to buying a $6000 marathon carriage I simply must be realistic and admit that it's not part of our current plan. For now, FarmWife dreams to drive me on the gravel logging roads and paved backroads of Wickersham, take family drives to the restaurants and friends' houses, and do a bit of work around the farm.

So, there you have it. What I want, why I want it, and by what means I might be able to get it. Advice welcome . . . please, bring on your thoughts and comments!

Fenway Bartholomule


Thursday, June 3, 2010

More to follow, but for now . . .

 . . . what do you think of this housing development name?


I guess, from a marketing perspective, that it beats "Environmental Devastation" or "Ravaged Ecosystem." One of these might be at least be an honest deviation from the tradition of naming a development after what was removed—i.e. Elk Meadows, Hawk Ridge, Ptarmigan Hill. 

Still, though . . . what were they thinking? Perhaps they were making reference to an obscure botanical or astronomical term, but that's definitely not the first place the mind goes. 

It's a well-intentioned tribute to poor Tina, I would guess. With the ticky tacky mansions of Tina's Coma clinging to a cliff face, I can't help but wonder from which lot Tina fell, and whether she ever woke up.





Win Prizes! Wow the World!

Contest announcement:

I, Fenway Bartholomule, am dying to know what happened to the tip of my right ear. You may have noticed that it is not quite right. I cannot, with all my mulish powers of memory, recall what happened to me! I'm sure it was a swashbuckling tale of derring do, but I can't tell it if I can't remember it!

Readers, write in via the comments field here or on my facebook fanpage wall with YOUR version of what happened to my darling ear—when, and how, and during what feat of daring. The best three stories, chosen by me and FarmWife, will be posted one week from today in a public poll for your final vote. The winner will receive a "Half ass and proud of it" Brays of our Lives bumper sticker, as seen here. Second and third prize: a hundred or a dozen blown kisses, respectively, sent via the interwebs from me to you.

Happy storytelling!


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