Friday, July 30, 2010

A Disappointment

I, Fenway Bartholomule, had been prepared to share with you today a terribly splendid and mulishly stupendous bray via digital video media. Unfortunately, blogger and the tired Macbook are conspiring against me.

Fear not! In the fashion of mules the world over, I shall perservere. No thing shall come between me and my goal, and it is merely a matter of time until my video-sharing dreams are made tangible. Check back, and know that I will triumph.

Now, if only that alfalfa-eating dream held the same promise! Unfortunately for me, your own dear Fenway, it's grass hay or nothing.

Fenway Bartholomule

Thursday, July 29, 2010

From Ancient Tribes of Kara Kum
The ancient tribes of Kara Kum held dear to them these gems—
The noble mares and stallions of old Turkmenistan. 
With gilded coats and fiery eyes they strode with chiseled grace—
Perfection sprung from desert sand, a pure and noble race. 

The ahkal-teke sparkles with a shining, gold-dipped glow—
His coat is matched by inner fire, as his spirit shows. 
He burns to run, to move, to go to lengths untold by man—
This noble steed now cherished far from old Turkmenistan.
His grandfather, and his before, and on through all of time—
Each one was cherished in his way and by his own proud tribe.
Today they live in lustrous strength, they flourish in new lands,
The noble akhal-teke from the blowing desert sands. 
His proud ancestral memory speaks loudly in his heart—
Enduring, fleet and graceful, he remains a horse apart.
His sinewy and silken hide, his hooded eagle gaze—
The akhal-teke, cherished once, is still cherished today. 

Bumper Sticker Survey

I, Fenway Bartholomule, find the Cafepress markup to be dissatisfyingly high. As a clever hay-earning tactic and as a means of making the Muleness more available to you, my loyal and deserving readers, I have come up with a tremendously delightful new plan: I shall buy bumper stickers in bulk and distribute them to you at a price lower than that charged by Cafepress. (Am I a great entrepreneur or what??) I also have t-shirts and calendars evolving, so don't forget to put Ear Gear on your Chanukah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Festivus/Holiday lists! 

Here's my question: What do YOU want to bear proudly on your bumper? 

1) Mules: half ass and proud of it (with mule image)

2) Hybrids get better grass mileage (with mule image)

3) I ♥ Fenway Bartholomule 

4) SHINE (with mule photo)

5) A woman's prayer: "Husband, grant me the permission to buy the mules I can afford, the maturity to refuse the mules I can't afford, and the wisdom to know the difference."  

6) Ears to you! (with mule image)

7) I ♥ My Mule

8) Got Muleness?

9) Fenway Loves You (

10) May your trails be smooth and scenic. May your hay be fresh and abundant. May your friends be as nice as Fenway Bartholomule. (

or . . . . something altogether different? 

I think we shall settle on four designs, but please do offer your input as to what they should be and how they should look. Your advice is both valuable and welcome.

Ears to you,
Fenway Bartholomule

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We All Have Our Frumpy Days

We all have our frumpy days. I'm not having one today, as it happens . . . today I am feeling as fit as a fiddle and as lovely as the day . . . but they happen. Even to me, mulish and splendiferous me.

FarmWife is feeling OK today, but over the weekend she wasn't herself. Too many fatty foods . . . and the outcome? Pimples! You humans and your mysterious maladies. Me, I handle overfeeding better . . . I just get fat deposits above my tail.

FarmWife is back to her old self today, but in anticipation of her next Frumpy Day I thought I'd assemble this little 5-point plan for feeling beautiful. Here's my advice:

1) Get dressed up. If you are human, put on some earrings and a swishy skirt. If you're an equine, arrange to be curried and don your dressiest sheet. It's hard to feel frumpy in a sassy outfit!

2) Do something active. If you've just slogged up a mountain, you're entitled to feel grubby.

3) Groom a mule. Once you've donned all HIS dust and mud and shed hair, your own wee zit and limp ponytail will be the least of your worries.

4) Eat more vegetables. FarmWife, at least, never feels less beautiful than when she's just eaten a half-dozen donuts and a plate of alfredo pasta. Being less of an easykeeper than myself, it's not so much that she gains weight . . . rather, she gains a feeling of general unthriftiness that simply MUST be shed.

5) Remember, tomorrow is a new day, and you are BEAUTIFUL.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For Oliver Twist, Who Could Not Stay

We make some friends in these short lives
Who touch us to the core—
Who feel to us like soulmates,
Make us cherish each day more.

We make some friends who are so kind—
So full of love to give—
That they make every day seem full
and teach us as they live.

We lucky ones who’ve had this love,
Who’ve known this kind of soul,
We can remember happy times
When our dear friends must go.

You ran with fleetness, Oliver—
You jumped to catch the moon.
You touched the hearts around you,
and you left this world too soon.

You’re remembered fondly, friend, 
Dear Oliver Twist,
And your friends, they are grateful
That the memories exist. 

You were cherished, loved, adored,
Respected and well missed—
Regal gelding, handsome darling,
Precious Oliver Twist. 

Chisholm’s Thundercloud on Life

I was born a darling pet—
A favorite: cherished, loved.
I learned to trust and learned to play
And learned what life’s made of.

Then circumstances intervened,
And life became uncertain—
Forsaken, lost, unloved and lame,
I passed beyond the curtain. 

Passed on to where no souls should go,
I saw my looming end,
When out of nowhere came a chance 
To love and shine again. 
My sister walked alongside me
As both of us were saved; 
Passed into caring, loving hands!
And so dawned this new day. 

In just one week, my place was found,
And better yet, I made
A friend to last a whole life long,
Who swore to keep me safe. 

I made a friend, a human friend, 
Who saw me as I was—
My wit, my charm, my brawn, my brains, 
My never-failing love.

I made a friend who needed me
The way that I need her—
Who feeds me, loves me, sings to me, 
Who heart for me does stir. 

I show her crazy, show her kind, 
Show her loving trust—
My life is good, her life is good,
This life is good for us. 

I show her crazy when she asks, 
I wheel and bolt away,
But she does know, and I do know,
That with her I shall stay.

So Here's My Problem . . .

I cannot have a drink of water without attracting a throng of giggling admirers. It's the tongue thing, I guess . . . I stick my snout down to the trough, and *boop!* out pops my mulishly pink and splendiferously touchable tongue. I don't do it on purpose, and I don't mean to draw in the papparazzi, but it happens and I cannot help it. 

I raise my head from the trough, and, lo and behold, there's that tongue, dangling tantalizingly beyond the frontier of my lips and attracting attention from every corner. It's just too cute, and the people can't help themselves. 

Then, chaos. We've got little girls squealing "ooooooh!" at the gate. We've got FarmWife sighing "aaaaah" from the yard. We've got neighbors saying "aaaaaaw" from their porches. Camera's clicking, flashbulbs popping, and not a moment's peace until . . . *shlurp!*—I tuck that cute, wet, pink tongue back where it belongs until the next time I refresh myself. 
Ah, well. At least I'm loved.


Monday, July 26, 2010

I am well, yet Kleng was Ill.

All is well at Bent Barrow Farm today! I'm getting my mojo back, and have started initiating play with FarmWife when she comes out to visit with me in the afternoons. I used to do this often, and my hock injury put the kibosh on the business of trotting boldy about with arched neck and springing step. Now, I do it again, trotting playfully up to her and past with an ear-flicking invitation to dance. If FarmWife walks, I walk . . . if FarmWife backs, I back . . . if FarmWife sashays left and grapevines right, I sashay left and grapevine right . . . if FarmWife runs and skips, I buck and plunge and kick up my heels ten feet behind her. She tries to do rather little of the latter, in case my tendon injury is simply in cortisone-induced remission, but it makes her happy to know that I'm feeling my oats.

Elsewhere in our beautiful county, news is not so good. Kleng, personal friend of FarmWife, beloved Northwest Therapeutic Riding Center therapy horse, and 2009 North American Handicapped Riding Association Horse of the Year, suffered a life-threatening bout of colic late last week and was rushed to Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital for colic surgery. He is currently recuperating at Pilchuck and is expected to make a full recovery. Once well, we expect full mulishness from this most wonderful of pony-sized horses. Kleng was the first small mount of FarmWife's adult life; at 13.3, he took up her leg nicely when she volunteered as a NWTRC exercise rider in much the same fashion as I, at a shy 14.1, do now.

NWTRC is gratefully accepting donations towards his veterinary care via paypal (found at the above link).


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Go Sox!

This weekend, the humans are honoring FarmHusband's birthday by going to see the Red Sox at Safeco Field. Rooting against the home team—someone's got to do it, I suppose, and the Mariners have been on bad behavior lately as it is! As for me, I would have been much more excited if my human family had been planning a trip to Fenway Park. If that were the case, I would go too. I would not be left behind.


Saturday, July 24, 2010


Now's your chance, longears, to shoulder your way into the spotlight! The official 2011 Brays of Our Lives calendar is slowly transitioning from Dream to Plan, but we need you!

I know, 12 months of Fenway sounds pretty delicious . . . but wouldn't it be great to see the Pants and Sheaffers of the world, as well? I need your favorite and most flattering high-resolution images via email at fenway (at) braysofourlives (dot) com. Photos selected for inclusion will earn a byline with mention of your blog, business, or rescue, as well as 2-for-1 pricing . . . that is, buy one, get one free! Cost will be reasonable, as we hope merely to cover printing and shipping costs.

(Sorry, horses, no room for you this time . . . maybe next year we'll have the budget for a "Friends of Fenway" edition!)

Humans, do you know a perfect Mr. December or Miss October? Send them my way, but please be sure to obtain photographer and owner permission.

Thanks, and ears to you!


Friday, July 23, 2010


My favorite blog on the subject of hooves has to be Fran Jurga's. She doesn't specialize in barefoot hoofies, Easybooted hoofies, or mule hoofies, but somehow she always has something interesting to say! I am not a Hoofcare and Lameness Journal subscriber, but somehow she makes me wish I were. 

My own hoofies have been maintained at home these many months, since scheduling issues and cost stood in the way of my professional trims. It's hard to find someone to come out here to the boondocks, and as long as my hooves were functionally unchanging (that is, getting a little longer between trims but remaining geometrically normal) FarmWife felt OK about trimming me herself—a little snip here, a little snip there, and a little rasping and my front hooves were good as new. 

With my rocky neighborhood trails and course paddock footing, my hind hooves self-maintained before this hock injury. There was often not enough to trim after 8 or 10 weeks regrowth, and they usually looked great.

This week, FarmWife decided I was a little long in the toe and that I really did need action taken—and quickly! Here's what she did (foolish, foolish FarmWife):

1) She made an overture to her favorite mule-specializing, barefoot trimmer, Ali, even though Ali lives Faaaaaar away. She suggested to Ali that someday she might like to have me trimmed. 

2) She promptly trimmed me herself, which was not butchery but which was certainly not equal to the work of a professional.

3) She got a prompt call from Ali, and an offer to fit me in right away, to which she had to reply that I needed a couple of weeks to grow a little more length. FarmWife's trim, you see, left me with rather little for Ali to work with. 

Oh, FarmWife. You impetuous human. You could have had this done right, and today! 

As it stands, we will go to Ali next time. FarmWife promises.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Query: What Are Your Favorite Muleisms?

At the suggestion of my dear reader Ann, I'm ruminating on the matter of a 2011 Brays of Our Lives calendar. With enough interest, I think I'd like very much to make one available for a modest fee (to cover printing costs).

So, first question: Would you plaster my personage upon your wall for 12 months straight?

Second question: Which muleisms do you like the best? I never miss a chance to spew quotable quotes, and have already selected a few of my own favorites to include. Have there been words of wisdom, humor, and Muleness by which you have been particularly touched?

Third question: How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?

(Actually, I don't really need an answer to that third question. I just threw it in there because the other two questions looked lonely, but I know and you know that a woodchuck could chuck any wood he would chuck.)

Thanks, guys, and ears to you!


Making a Living

I have a new plan for making a living: sell my writing. 





OK, now wipe away your tears of laughter and listen—I am happy here at my desk. I am full of ideas, I love what I'm doing, and I am getting positive feedback—lots of it, unsolicited, and from perfect-strangers-turned-friendly-readers. Momentum is building, and it's not just through the blogs. I have been writing, with no- or low-pay, for several magazines consistently and my portfolio has doubled in size in three months. 

Last time I managed to sell much of my writing was in 2004. I wrote a poem and two articles (one researched, the other a personal anecdote), and submitted each to a magazine. Each was rejected. I submitted each to a second magazine, and each was accepted. Each was paid for, and prettily. Ka-ching! 

This year, I vowed to sell my writing but approached the matter differently . . . I wrote a dozen query letters. Two dozen. I got one rejection letter, and not a thing more. 

Query letters, at least for me, do not seem to be doing the trick. It looks like writing on speculation is the thing to do, and why not do it? 

Professional writers say not to, and here's why—it's time spent without reimbursement. It's working for free. I ask, however—is it really work? If I'm having a blast, and loving every minute, why not write for the freelance market? Why not put something together and send it out? Why not try?

I'll let you know what shakes out.


Toebee, Big Inside

My years are few as you may count—
Of moons I shan’t see many—
But my days are as full as yours
And my life grand as any.

My heart is small by measured weight,
My pulse is light’ning fast,
But it’s a brave heart, good and true,
And full of love to last.

A day to you, a week to me—
Each minute lived is full.
As you have loved these years with me,
So I love life with you.

I eat with gusto, move with grace,
Enjoy life to it’s all . . . 
I’m Toebee, and I’m big inside
Though gerbils tend towards small. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do the Hustle

Well, friends, I may be temporarily retired from riding, but I am still sound enough to do the grapevine and the funky chicken. I have spent a minute or two here or there teaching FarmWife to do this, and now she can go forwards and backwards and pivot left and right in the "heel position." She is such a fast learner! Yet another reason why mules and humans get along so nicely (the first being the opposable thumb, which was made for ear rubs, and the agricultural revolution, which was made for carrots).

Next, of course, we get back to the business of teaching her to drive. It may be some time before I'm cleared for this sort of work,  but it should be just a short while now before I can resume coaching her on how to hold the lines, how to harness me effectively, and how to carry herself with the regal, proud bearing suited to a whip.

And someday, eventually, we'll do this and this and this.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

For Cody, Still Cherished

Some lives are far too fragile, 
Some lives are far too brief—
Some lives so grand that when they’re gone 
There’s everlasting grief. 
Some loves are so enduring—
Some bonds so firmly sealed—
That even death can’t shake them loose,
Can’t take a love so real. 

Some friends teach peace and patience,
Some give more than they take—
Some friends teach loving lessons 
With each simple move they make.
Some beings are so gracious, 
Enduring and so wise,
That when they go they still remain
In many love-touched lives.

Forsaken, once—abandoned—
No stranger to dispair.
Your loving flame burned through the gale
And lit the darkened air.
You cast a light around you,
You shared a loving glow.
We were lucky to have known you, 
You were loved more than you know. 

Rest in peace, Cody. You are loved.

I am not the only cutie pie blogger out there

Here is a little list, selected at random, except for Shaeffer* and Parsley* who are my e-friends.

Here is a cute border terrier blogger:
*Here is a cute donkey blogger:
Here is a cute politician dog blogger:
*Here is a cute minimule blogger:
Here is a cute French bulldog blogger:

Now, my friends—do you know of any blogging cattle? Blogging goats? Blogging Australian Cattle Dogs or Irish Wolfhounds? Blogging Staffies or blogging Drafties? What is your (other) favorite blogging animal? Inquiring minds want to know.

Your friend,

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Greatest Subject
for Sue Kroll—a great artist

A painter’s eye can beauty find 
Within a bowl of fruit; 
A vase of blossoms can inspire art. 
A scenic lake can fine art make, 
As vistas can inspire,
The nude in the museum plays her part.

But should you want a subject tuned
To every singing stroke, 
And should you want a work that leaps the page,
Consider painting something living, 
Clad in shining coat—
With eyes more wise and soulful than a sage.

There’s something in a landscape set
To perfectly cast light, 
And something in a quiet stilllife, too,
But there is something even better—
Something with more heart—
In paintings of our stoic friend the mule.

Words from Rambo to his Human 

What were horses made to do? 
To live within a herd—
To eat, to play, to race about, 
To speak without a word.

What were horses made to love?
Sweet grass, good friends, and space—
The pleasure of good company,
a playful game of chase.

If I had been a wild horse,
I would have led a band; 
Been kicked and bitten here and there,
But gained the upper hand. 

I’m glad I’m tame, and wasn’t born
To rove for rugged miles—
A lonely life it would have been, 
Without your human smile. 

You help me as a good friend should, 
You groom my tender parts,
You take me out to stretch my legs
You love my good, brave heart.

A Morgan is a horse, it’s true,
Unmatched for strength and brains—
Throw hybrid vigor in, you get
A horse was born to reign.

I’m special, friend, I know I am—
I’m bold and smart and strong—
But you, dear one, complete my herd, 
It’s here that you belong.