Friday, April 23, 2010

April Picnic Report

I, Fenway Bartholomule, was invited to go on an Earth Day picnic yesterday with FarmWife and her littlest humans. It is nice that Worrydog is gone—with no dog to walk, FarmWife often ends up walking me. (Paisley, the Clouddog, has a limb deformity that precludes excessive exercise.) This is a win-win situation: I get a little exercise, a chance to visit the neighbors, and a few bites of tender and delicious grasses, and FarmWife gets the company of a pet that is unlikely to bite anyone and unlikely to require a pooper scooper. (I only poop on the home pile).

Whenever we tour the neighborhood, we get reviews on my stupendous bray. My sound has led to many comparisons: I have been likened to a monster, a dinosaur, a demon from hell, a murder victim, a dog being horribly damaged, the sound of joy itself, a fire alarm, someone suffering, and a giant peacock. I rather liked Bob's interpretation (the sound of joy) best.

When I go picnicking, I have three priorities—

First, I provide companionship, by means of being mannerly, obedient, quiet, and responsive. This is important when one picnics with humans who are three and five, and requires the ability and willingness to move at a snails pace in irregular patterns with occasional bursts of speed. I never outpace my humans, nor step on their heels, and I never resist a signal to stop, start, pause, hurry, or linger.

Second, I seek ideal rolling conditions. If I am tacked up, this requires a plaintive stare at FarmWife during the stationary portion of our picnic outing, that she might remove my tack for a wallow. This also requires that she demonstrate the foresight to bring a dandy brush along, but she knows me well enough by now that she rarely fails in this capacity. Yesterday, I was not to be ridden and therefore enjoyed the ease of rolling which total nudity allows. I rolled thrice under Charlotte's plum tree, leaving a gift of shed hair for her population of songbirds to enjoy.

Third, I enjoy tender morsels of delicate grasses. The grasses on the other side of our Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway spur taste so deliciously exotic! It's like a trip to another time and place. Charlotte permitted me to eat the tender greens, untouched by equine mouth, from beneath several fruit trees and across a capacious lawn.

Sometimes FarmWife brings a temporary fence along, in the form of a dozen or so baling twines knotted end-to-end. An unnecessary precaution, but one does want her to feel safe. Other times, I graze with my leadrope on that I might be caught in an emergency. If FarmWife and I ever go camping, I will be the mule that she trusts to be present in the morning. And, what if I were not? Why, then she would call, "Muuuuule!" and, like magic, I would appear cantering over the horizon with a hearty bray. I am that kind of friend.

Traveling to the other side of the BNSF railway was very exciting and took some great deal of time, but this had more to do with the length of my small companions' legs and attention than with the distance traversed. At top, you will see a photo of Bent Barrow Farm taken from our destination, the house at right, the tracks between, and my profile in the foreground. It is not so far, as the crow flies, but it felt like a grand adventure.



  1. "Why, then she would call, "Muuuuule!" and, like magic, I would appear cantering over the horizon with a hearty bray. I am that kind of friend."

    Awwww :)

  2. Great pictures! Looks like a fun outting too. I'm curious Fenway, does Farmwife roach your mane? I just realized I've never seen a mule wearing a long mane, are they always shaved, or do you not grow mane? Karen W.


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