Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Friends in Equininity







Warmblood Horse,

Draft Mule,

Fast Mule,

Little one,



Freshly Born,




Monday, August 30, 2010


This is the sort of man I married—the sort of man who gets up, uncomplaining, to the 5:30 alarm; who lets the chickens out and goes to work; who works ten hours, drives nearly two, and comes home, uncomplaining, to a raucous bunch of tired daughters; who feeds them, plays with them, cleans them, reads to them; who gathers eggs and weeds the garden, mends fences and turns compost, builds and fixes and cleans and works 'til dusk and then beyond; who kisses our babies good night and then washes the dishes, balances the checkbook, folds the laundry, and shuts the chickens in safe against the possums.

He doesn't do it all alone—I do what I can, and there are certainly days when part-time employment and full-time motherhood feel just as exhausting as his 40-hour work week—but he does do it all.

You've heard of the seven-year itch, I'm sure—the age at which a marriage is supposed to start feeling stale, when couples get a little antsy with each other, with monogamy, with the boredom of familiarity? Well, I can boldly attest that the opposite exists. The seven-year delight—the joy of having been committed for well past half a decade to the best possible mate, your one true love. Your best friend. Your better half.

On that note, I think that I, out of wifely obligation and out of love, will take my leave. I'll wash the dishes, and I'll fold the laundry, so that he won't have to—because, you know, he would.


p.s. In case you think he's just a workaholic, let me also tell you that my husband is funny, smart, multitalented, artistic, handsome, charming, kind, compassionate, sensible, intelligent, and interesting. The icing on the cake? He's damned sexy.

A good week for material possessions!

I've been gettin' stuff left and right this week, and I'm digging it! I'm not normally a material mule, but I can't help but enjoy the extra ear capacity of my new draft sized browband; the marketing potential of my new BUMPER STICKERS AND MAGNETS; and the promise of a cushioned trail with my new Easyboot Bares. I'm going to have FarmWife put my old Epics on the back, where they fit nicely, and try some Bares on the front, where the fit of a size 0 is perfect enough for Goldilocks! They're on order now, and should be here soon. It's like Christmas in August.

I'll get you pictures when I can. 'Til then, FarmWife's booting me off—she needs the computer that she might work. (Someone's got to pay for this stuff, I suppose!)

Ears to you!

Fenway Bartholomule

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Boldly Going Where No Mule from Wickersham Has Gone Before

You may recall that I, Fenway Bartholomule, am returning to work after a summer off for my (now resolved) mysterious hock swelling. With my comeback, and because of my voluptuous figure, I am temporarily abstaining from work on concussive surfaces, difficult footing, and precipitous slopes. Unfortunately, my local trails—lovely and abundant though they may be—are comprised mostly of concussive surfaces . . . and difficult footing . . . and precipitous slopes.

Today, FarmWife hitched up the trailer and took me ten minutes down yonder highway to the lovely and thoroughly tamed Cascade Trail, a wide, flat, well-groomed thoroughfare by which walkers, cyclists and equestrians might traverse Skagit county. It was just perfect! Flat as a pancake, beautifully-textured, well maintained, and sparsely dotted with courteous cyclists and perambulators. Along trailside, placid bovines bore quiet witness to our passage, lending to the morning's overall quality of reflective serenity.

The trail did offer the occasional Suspicious Bridge, the first of which we had need to cross thrice—once with FarmWife afoot, blazing the trail and offering herself up as troll bait, then back again and across a third time with me beneath and her astride. The troll, apparently, was sleeping throughout, but I still argue that my suspicion was well-placed. 

We ended our little jaunt and turned back at the pasture of a lovely gray mule and his horse companions, though the trail ahead looked as welcoming as any. We shall go again. 

Ears to you,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We, the Wickershamians of Bent Barrow Farm, were visited this week by our first ever through-hiker from the Pacific Northwest Trail. The PNT, a recently designated National Scenic Trail, passes right under my silky brown nose! This fellow, having hiked from nearby Bellingham Bay, filled his water bottles at our spigot before continuing towards his final destination—Montana. I envy him, slightly . . . I hear the meadows there are delicious this time of year.

As for equines and the rules governing their presence, each segment of the trail is subject to local regulations. This means that, now and for the forseeable future, most parts are probably open to hooved traffic. As for whether I, Fenway Bartholomule, could legally and practically traverse the breadth of the Western States from my very own yard, I am not quite sure. Perhaps some one of you—someone with a free human, perhaps, and no larval children in the home—could ride it first? Perhaps you could let me know how it is? Whether there are ample delicious grasses, and whether the watering holes are fresh and frequent?

As for me, I will remain here, offering water and a bray of encouragement to all who travel by.

Happy Trails,

Friday, August 27, 2010

That's my Human!

That's my larval human #1 on the cover of that thar' magazine!


Way to go, pig, as well. I wish we knew your name.

Ears to you,

A new shirt suggestion.

Bumper stickers and magnets are coming! Here's the image (click to enlarge, but please ignore the weird line in the middle as it won't appear in the final copy):

and as for shirts . . . 

How's this for the back. For the front left, some text . . . help me choose!










Now, as for shirt color . . . I think charcoal would look nice. Other options include chocolate, tan, black, forest, military green, navy, pale blue, or just about anything else you can think of, but we're going to have to agree on something before I place this order. (It's hard enough convincing the sales guy to deal with me, a mule . . . harder if I can't be decisive!) I'd also be grateful if you'd let me know how I'm doing on sizing—I'm thinking mostly small, medium and large with a handful of Youth Small and Youth Medium, a handful of Youth Extra Small, a handful of Extra Large and a couple XXLs for good measure. If that won't cover you, speak now or forever hold your peace! (Unfortunately, they've already said a firm NO on the XXXXXXL, so I won't be rockin' one myself.)

I'll see what I can do about Made in the USA and/or organic shirts, but since cost seems to be the single most important factor per yesterday's survey I'll make the final deci$ion with that in mind.

I'm lovin' this interest, your feedback, and the helpful design tips here and on my facebook page. Thanks.

Ears to you,

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Cupcakes by Bella Cupcake Couture

As much as I am a skeptical agnostic with both feet firmly grounded in reality—and as much as I have never been, in all my life, the slightest bit superstitious—I have to admit that my wishes seem to be manifesting themselves lately. 

A small example—at work, I sometimes get to thinking. Sometimes, I get to thinking about doughnuts. Sometimes, cakes. But regardless, when I get to thinking that I simply MUST have something sweet—I simply must, or else I'll die—then NO MATTER WHAT, and EVERY TIME, something sweet shows up. I get to wanting a doughnut, and five minutes later someone drops in with two dozen. I get to imagining a cake, a cake with lots of frosting, and out I go to the kitchen fifteen minutes later to find 40 delicious oversized cupcakes. It's a funny sort of magic, this magical ability to predict desserts, because sometimes I even predict desserts that I don't particularly relish on an ordinary day. Most times, frosting really isn't my thing. 

A week ago, I got to thinking that I really had to have a new stove. I got to thinking that our dirty, dingy, broken down old electric stove with its missing oven rack and its three-out-of-four dead burners really did not jive with my Culinary Artist/Mistress of the Homestead vibe. I got to thinking that what I really wanted, and what I'd even be willing to pay out the nose for, was a dual-fuel range (gas burners, electric oven). A gas range with a convection oven would be even better. And knobs, I thought. Knobs, not buttons. Black and silver. Very pretty. 

So there you have it, my wish. My mental image. The problem being, however, that such things cost money, and money is not something of which we have a terrible overabundance. I was imagining an $1800 stove, and I wasn't entirely sure what to do about that. "I'd rather have a new range," I told my husband, "than a mule carriage." This, coming from me, is a VERY strong statement. 

Three days ago, my husband (he works in construction) was off recycling some old appliances for a client. At the recyclers', who also happen to retail new and gently used appliances, my husband saw it. A dual-fuel gas range with a convection oven—with knobs, not buttons. Black and silver. It was in perfect aesthetic and functional condition, with all parts, accessories, and original documents in place, and guaranteed for 90 days. They told him it was the first used range of its type that they'd had in four years of business, and we bought it on the spot. 

We paid $290 for it, and I'd gladly have paid a thousand.


What do you think? On the right track?

Keeping in mind that these designs will be modified to suit a variety of shirt-colors, do you like this concept? What are your thoughts on fonts? Too artsy, just right?

T-shirt design proposal 1:

design proposal 1a:

Design proposal 1b:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 123's of Fenway Bartholomule

One pretty face, beautiful and bright
Two lovely ears, shining in the light
Three paddock friends—two white, one brown
Four solid hooves, with Easyboots all 'round
Five pounds of hay twice a day—that's all I eat!
Six are the days when my FarmWife's home each week
Seven mornings every week you'll hear my trilling bray,
Eight weeks off since my hock did swell one day.
Nine lives for me, I hope, and for my tigers too . . .
Ten stars for you, my fans—you're dear. Now, ears to you!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The ABCs of Fenway Bartholomule

Print by Marnon http://www.marnon.etsy.com
Adorable Animal
Beautiful Beast
Charming Companion
Devoted Diner
Exquisite Equine
Faithful Friend
Good Guy
Hybrid Hero
Illuminated Individual
Joyful John
Kind Kid
Lovable Lad
Magnificent Mount
Nifty Neddy
Oxyphonic Orator
Proud Prancer
Quotatious Quadruped
Riveting Raconteur
Shining Sage
Terrific Tetrapod
Undaunted Ululator
Volitient Voyager
Witty Writer
X-rayed Xenodochialist
Youthful Yankee
Zaftig Zenmule

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shy Carrot

"I can't," he said. "I'm too shy."

"You can," I told him. "You'll be delicious."

"Oh, OK."

 . . . . gulp . . . .

he tasted GREAT.

Art by Brian Simons www.BrianSimons.com
I delighted my husband this week with my statement—over our one-working-burner electric stove—that I would rather have a new gas range than a mule carriage. It would, he concurred, get more use. He, on the same day, delighted me by stating that he would one day like to own a Highland steer. I'd like that, too . . . I love bovines, and dream of owning one. The range may come before the steer, and in a remarkably mature moment I actually find myself hoping it does!

Everything's coming up roses for me lately (and no, I'm not just saying that because a new stove and a someday-future-calf lie in my future). I have received a wholehearted YES! from the artist mentioned in last week's post, and we are well on our way to publishing our collaboration. I'm applying for an ISBN number, looking into filing a copy with the Library of Congress, and crunching numbers for my very kind father/investor, who's helping with the cost of this endeavor. He believes in this. 

I got a bear via email today—a beautiful, vibrant, life-infused watercolor bear, the first of a cast of a dozen-or-so animal characters that populate my story-in-verse. To see these images, these pictures from my mind, brought to the page by a woman I've never met—it's amazing. To think that somewhere in Pontypridd, South Wales there is someone who sees what I've dreamed, whose pictures exactly match those that grew in my brain when I dreamed up this little picture book—it really is something. 

All sorts of good stuff cooking. 


Sunday, August 22, 2010

100th Anniversary of the NW Washington Fair

From Alpacapillars to Zinnias, the Lynden fair was all that and then some. My humans report a good day had by all; no mule sightings, unfortunately, though there was a lovely mini-donk named Buckles in the petting zoo area. (In the image below, he tastes Larval Human #1's zipper pull. No fingers were threatened during the making of  this photograph).

FarmWife brought home a bag of  ♥ NICKER DOODLES  ♥ brand mule cookies (ingredients: whole wheat flower, wheat bran, fresh carrots, and molasses). They were a present from Horses at Heart, a Whatcom county non-profit horse rescue. 

Here are a few photos from the day.