Mules

Hubby and I both love equines, but never really thought we’d ever OWN any… then all of a sudden we found ourselves rescuing TWO beautiful young mules!!!

Equine Emergency Clinic – a review!

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This past Sunday hubby and I attended a wonderful clinic on Equine Emergencies over at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. Some of you may recall that this is the clinic that did Millie’s surgery a few months ago. Millie is the smaller of our two rescued Molly mules. She developed a growth that turned out to be a Mast Cell Tumor that needed to be removed. Our local vet offered to do the surgery, but I also contacted three other vets that specialize in equine care. In the end, I am VERY pleased that we chose Reata! You can read Millie’s End of August Update HERE.

I first learned about this clinic via a Facebook post on Reata’s FB page. Social Media is a TOOL and for things like this I find it to be a most useful tool, at that!  With their permission, here is the flyer that they had posted announcing the clinic. Weatherford is over an hour’s drive east of us, so we were hard pressed to make it there on time! When we arrived the room was already quite full and they were just giving one of the horses a dose of Dormosedan Gel, which is a mild sedative for horses that is administered orally and is simple enough to be given by the owner! I now have TWO tubes on hand and plan to keep at least one tube in my emergency kit at all times!!!goodies

Zoetis and Midwest Veterinary Supply
co-sponsored the clinic and brought along a table full of products that were given away! Everyone got a sample of Dormosedan Gel as well as a goody bag full of little happy things like brushes and a hoof pick. We were each also given a red ticket as we arrived which were then used to give out the additional door prizes which included thermometers, stethoscopes, hats and two equine emergency kits! Hubby won one of the Reata hats, that is NOT pictured here.

These door prizes were really nice, but more importantly is that after the Powerpoint presentation we all gathered for the hands-on portion of the clinic where we had the opportunity to learn how to properly use the stethoscopes! While we enjoyed Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation inside the Podiatry Center, the Dormosedan Gel was making it’s way into the horse’s system and taking affect. By the time we moved out to do the hands-on portion, the equine was quite sedated – to the point that she was doing well to stay awake by the looks of her droopy eyelids and hanging bottom lip! In addition to learning to use the stethoscopes the hand-on portion of the clinic was where we also learned to properly apply leg bandages! This is important because if not done correctly, the bandaging could possibly do more harm than good, especially over the course of several days!

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Photo used by permission of Reata Equine Hospital. Dr. Sutherland is in the red shirt, explaining something important to us. Hubby and I are in the center foreground with our backs to the camera, naturally! To my right is a fellow mule owner, Robin Thomas. She and I have been Facebook “friends” for a while, and this clinic allowed us to finally meet in person! Robin is one of several friends who recommended Reata when we first knew that Millie’s tumor would need to be removed.

Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation, which she later E-mailed to each of us, was full of information that all owners need to have on hand. When an emergency happens, we are the first ones there and need to asses if the emergency is something we can handle ourselves or if we need to call the vet immediately! Additionally, when calling the vet we need to be able to answer their questions to help them evaluate what is the best course of action for our animals. For me, this is where the benefit of the Dormosedan Gel really comes into play! Dancer, the larger of our two rescued mules, is still quite spooky. She halters and leads fairly well, and we have started working on standing-while-tied, but that is under the BEST of circumstances. If she were to experience an emergency, I’d need to sedate her just to be able to fully evaluate her condition and answer the vet’s questions!

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July 17, 2011 Went out to feed the mules early and discovered Millie had a HUGE gash… if she were a person I’d say she was split open from “elbow to arm pit”! It’s wicked deep, too, with the muscles all exposed!!!

In the short time that we have had Millie and Dancer we’ve already had a small number of equine emergencies! Most of them have been the kind that we could handle ourselves: Dancer now has a split in her right here – possibly from a tussle with a bobcat. She constantly has a nose full of thorns from the Prickly Pear Cactus, too. She once had a swollen eye, but luckily I think it was from a bug bite. Then there is her locking stifles, which about gave me a heart attack the first time it happened because I thought she had broken her leg or something! Lastly, and most seriously, was Millie’s deep wound a couple of years ago where she had practically impaled herself on a section of fencing.

THIS is the kind of wound that required calling the vet immediately! If it had happened to Dancer instead of Millie I don’t know what we would have done because at the time Dancer could not even be haltered. Millie, of course, was a staunch trouper! Our local vet came out and sedated her. Because of the location of the wound it could not be sutured. Instead, she was given an antibiotic injection and I treated it myself for the next eight weeks or so. I’d clean it with the water hose and apply a topical ointment. Millie has a small scar that is only noticeable in summer, when her hair is not so fluffy. My experience with keeping this type of large wound clean while it slowly healed was important because I used that knowledge with her recent tumor removal site. An equine’s natural ability to heal is profoundly amazing!

I’m looking forward to future clinics at Reata and wish our local small animal vet would have them, too! On the feed-back sheet, where they asked us for input on what types of clinics we’d like to see in the future, I wrote Chiropractic care/massage and treating locked stifles NON-surgically!

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My mule wears LIPSTICK!?!?!

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Well, that’s certainly what it looks like to me! However, this is Millie after eating too many tunas – the fruit of the Prickly Pear Cactus!!! Don’t you just want to give her a great big SMOOCH? Troy and I went for our evening walk a couple of days ago and this is the face that greeted us!

Tonight I went out for our evening walk alone. Well, not really alone, just not with Troy. He had a City Council meeting, so it was just me, the two dogs and the two mules… Because Troy wasn’t with me, I only haltered Millie, figuring Dancer would follow us. I didn’t count on Millie refusing to walk out more than maybe twenty feet up the trail behind the barn! She might not be big, she’s only maybe 13H, but she’s about 600 pounds, so if she decides not to walk, I cannot pull her. So after trying to convince her, I gave up, tied the lead rope up into her halter so that it wasn’t dragging, and went on about my walk, WITHOUT HER!

Off we went, just the two dogs and I, leaving Millie and Dancer right where they stood. We went up around the corner and out of sight, but just a few minutes later I heard one of them, probably Dancer, call out to me. I answered her, told her to “Come SEE” and kept walking. I wasn’t walking briskly, I was dawdling more than anything! I was picking up cool rocks and found a lovely bit of rusted chain that I suspect might have been hand-forged! Any way, a little while later I saw Dancer coming up through the woods behind us. I called to her again, and continued walking. Eventually the two of them caught up to us and I gathered up the now dragging lead rope.

I knew that they would eventually follow me, which is why I left Millie’s halter and lead rope on. Usually this is NOT something I would do as they can get caught up on things and cause serious injury! With her lead in hand we now commenced walking together. I sent the two dogs out in front of me, had Millie at my side and Dancer following behind. I had my water bottle in a carrying pouch slung across my shoulders. I had draped the piece of rusty chain through it’s chord and the chain was clinking like a wind chime with ever step I took! Now most equines would take offense to having such a noisy clanking metal chain swinging inches in front of their nose, but not my Millie!!! Didn’t bother her one bit.IMG_20141028_074625B

After we made it to the far end of the property and started our return trip I had an epiphany. Dancer is much more skittish than Millie and needs to be desensitized to things that she perceives as a danger. The path back up to the barn at this point is wide, wide enough for a full-size truck, and we were walking three abreast at this point. Seeing as how the clanking chain didn’t bother Millie, and wasn’t bothering Dancer from the far side of me, I decided to swap the water bottle over to the other side so that it would now be swinging directly in front of Dancer! Remember, she was NOT on a lead, just walking with us as close or as far as she wanted to. She backed off a bit, but then I could almost feel her stretching her neck out to investigate those noisy links! To give her a chance to inspect them fully, I came to a halt and asked her to “come see”. She did so without any hesitation! She not only stepped up to me, but smelled them and brushed them with her nose. Satisfied all was well, we continued our walk, with her staying as close to me as if she were on a lead and those chains just swinging and clanking inches in front of her face!

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Walking the “Back 40”

Now that we’re having somewhat cooler weather I’m trying to get back into the habit of going for walks in the evening. Our two dogs, HOSS and Sassy (SassyfrASS) usually go with me. I’m sure we ALL need the exercise, both mentally and physically! So that I don’t have to mess with leashes I usually walk the “Back 40” instead of going out on the road. We only have just over 40 acres total, so this back area is probably only a smidge over 30 acres, but the “Back 40” is what it’s always been called – the wild acreage out beyond the barn.1917774_1268001452601_3742908_n

Not counting the recent weeks of Millie’s recovery (see previous posts about her Mast Cell Tumor removal surgery), I’ve let the mules out in the “Back 40” to browse this summer. The pasture is large, but is not cross-fenced. The recent drought and the mules have really put a strain on the poor pasture, which is just native grasses. We’ve had some rain recently, so with Millie being mostly healed I’ve turned them out again. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on the pasture by spring.5086_1166203787723_6760028_n

So the mules were out in the “Back 40” and just as the dogs and I were heading across the pasture I noticed them come into their corral. As I went out the gate I called to them, telling them to “Come ‘round” as I continued going on my way. Millie quickly came around and joined us on the main trail. Dancer was a little more hesitant about the whole thing, but didn’t want to be left behind! As I made it to the first turn she came up at a quick trot to join us, too. So there we were, a merry train, two mutts, two mules and myself.

I wasn’t sure how long the mules might keep walking with us, but their curiosity must have got the better of them as they kept following us right on through the brush and briars. I should have had on long pants, instead of Capri, or at least long socks! More than once I had to stop to removed a strand of spiny Green Briar from my flesh… Yeah, my “walks” more often than not become “hikes”. On and on I walked, ducking under low hanging branches, stepping over exposed roots, winding my way along the perimeter fence.258082_1969170501389_752505_o

With the heat of summer, and my crazy schedule of late, I cannot honestly recall the last time I went on a really good, long walk-about. I could really see the “mowing” work the mules have been doing. It had become quite over-grown back there, so in some ways their manicure work has been helpful. Still, I can’t help but morn the wild flowers that would usually be blooming back there, even this late in the year. The Chin Oak has really made a pest of itself in a few areas of the truck path, and unfortunately the girls don’t seem to have much of a taste for it. Not, at least, when there are so many good grasses and forbs back there!28980_1427795047341_6000708_n

When I came back to where the main trail goes from the barn to the stock tank Dancer seemed to make a decision NOT to continue to the right, with myself and the canines. She quickened her pace, kicked her hooves in the air a bit, and turned left (back towards the barn) when I turned right (to continue on to the stock tank). Millie wasn’t sure which of us to follow, so she stayed at the crossroads for a while. I lost sight of them both as I continued on, past the stock tank, and on out to the farthest west corner of the property, where we once had a pig trap set up.

I had just passed the spot where the trap once stood, when I heard one of the mules, presumably Millie, call out to me. Sometimes their bray is very distinct and I can tell exactly which one it is just by the sound and other times they sound exactly the same! This sounded like Millie, but I couldn’t be sure. Apparently at least one of them had decided to continue walking with us after all, but we had gotten too far ahead and were out of sight. I answered the call with my own, as I turned around and headed back that direction. Just as the dogs and I crossed the dry streambed Millie came into view with Dancer coming around the curve behind her at a rather fast clip. So they BOTH had followed us all the way out to the farthest corner and so now we all turned back towards the main trail and headed towards the barn and home.

I know that it’s about a mile, round trip, up the main trail from the barn, out to farthest corner and back. However, with looping out and around the perimeter our walk was surely over one mile and most likely closer to two. Not too much for our first go at it in months! I’ve been saying that I want to start doing some “ground work” with Millie, in preparation for the two of us learning to DRIVE together… This was certainly an unconventional way to go about it! Still, it will help us to improve our connection and start to get us in better condition, too, perhaps. Training isn’t just about getting better with our commands and responses, but also about conditioning mine and the mule’s bodies to be more fit for the hard WORK of driving. Hmmm… So now I’m wondering they will walk with me, on their own accord, again tomorrow evening!

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End of August update on MILLIE!

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Getting SMALLER and hair is growing back where it was shaved…

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When it’s REALLY HOT, Millie gets hosed off all over… Well, not her face as that’s just rude!

For those who haven’t been following along, Millicent the Magnificent Mystery Mule is the smaller or our two rescued Molly Mules. She had a cancerous Mast Cell Tumor surgically removed by Dr. Cal Davis at Reata Equine Hospital on Tuesday, July 15. Originally it was believed that she would be staying at their facility for 3-5 days, but as it turns out she stayed there a full two weeks. Since coming home, I’ve been treating her wound here on my own and sending weekly photos to Dr. Davis as his clinic is a good hour’s drive from us.

Millie’s incision area, commonly referred to as her boo-boo, is healing nicely. In the beginning I was doing hydrotherapy on the area twice a day and spritzing it once a day with Scarlet Oil. When proud flesh began to develop we stopped applying the Scarlet Oil and Dr. Davis called in a prescription for Betamethasone Crème to be applied once a day instead. Now all I’m doing now is cleaning it once a day by running the water hose over it and removing caked on dirt and bits of dried grass. The new muscle tissue has completely filled in the hole where the tumor was removed. There also doesn’t seem to be any recurrence of the proud flesh and the diameter of her boo-boo is getting smaller. Lastly, her hair is growing back nicely from where it was shaved prior to her surgery. I can almost no longer see the line from what was shaved and what wasn’t!Good roll Collage

Of course, it’s impossible to actually KEEP her boo-boo clean, because as soon as I’m done she goes and has a nice ROLL in the dirt… flicking up a huge dust cloud with her tail, too! Meanwhile, I’ve taken this opportunity to work with Dancer, the larger of our two rescued mules. Unlike Millie, Dancer was NEVER handled or trained in any fashion. When we brought her home, we couldn’t even get a halter on her! If Dancer had been the one to develop this tumor there is no way I would have been able to give her the medical care she needed without the two of us being heavily medicated!!! Every day when I go to tend to Millie, I also halter Dancer and tie her to the thinking tree. I don’t do much of anything else, just leave her to stand and ponder while I go about my business with Millie. Every once in a while I go over and reassure her, rub her butt, or ask her to give me her foot.8.25.14D2

Proof of our progress: For the past two days Dancer has been easier to halter that Millie! Not that Millie was really any trouble to halter, but Dancer just came right up, stepped up to where I was standing with her halter and lead in hand, put her head down, let me tie the halter and then we walked right over to where I tie her lead to the tree. Yesterday and today Kit Kat, our shorthaired tabby, also joined us in our morning routine and Dancer didn’t seem like she could have cared less. She’s already use to always having the two loathsome dogs around, so what difference does the cat make?before and almost after Collage

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Millicent’s Tumor Removal… PROGRESS REPORT!

WARNING! If you are sqeamish, don’t look at the photos…

After having a large Mast Cell Tumor removed, Millie came home from the hospital last Monday. She ended up staying quite a bit LONGER than expected because her stitches didn’t hold. Sadly, this is quite common in equines! Originally we thought she would be there for 3-5 days, but she ended up staying a full TWO WEEKS! The extended hospital stay cost an extra $50 PER NIGHT, so please consider sharing her GoFundMe campaign! Caring IS sharing!!! We don’t have Twitter, so if any of y’all could tweet about Millie that would be GREAT!!! (\_/)
http://www.gofundme.com/b270fo

This first photo collage is from that first night home. The cleaning went really well, and I was forewarned that logistically hind legs are more tricky to do than front legs. I was really apprehensive because we do NOT have any kind of a chute to put her in. This proved to be true, but not horribly so. The most difficult part was getting the medicated spray (Scarlet Oil) on. Millie hasn’t ever really liked sprays… they hiss like a snake, ya know! Some of them also STING! I was almost ready to toss in the towel, but knew she really needed me to do this. So we took a short break, setting aside the evil spray bottle, and I told her I just wanted to rub her butt. This is something she LOVES! I scratched both sides, above her boo-boo, of course, and got her really relaxed… then tried the spray again. This time she just stood there and I got it really well coated! The rest of her coat got a good dousing of fly spray, too, to keep those pests away.

I think Millie was really apprehensive about what I was doing because the vet did all sorts of things “back there” while she was at the hospital. Most recently, just yesterday morning, in fact, they had removed the final stitches (which weren’t holding anything any more) and the last small bit of drain tube, too. No telling what Millie THOUGHT I was going to be doing, but that short butt rub gave her the reassurance she needed. This morning’s session went much more quickly, partly because it is cooler here this morning and so I didn’t run the hose all over her like I did last night. When it’s really HOT she actually enjoys cooling off in the water!1st day home Collage

 
 
 
 
Millie had been home a full week, and the open incision area was filling in nicely, but over the weekend I noticed it was really starting to get some PROUD FLESH!
For you non-equine folks, “Proud flesh is normal tissue, but it just reproduces too fast in an attempt to heal the wound. The problem is that if it allowed to get out of control, it will heal that way and the skin will protrude above the normal level.” So I’m doing some on-line reading about different things to prevent/remove proud flesh. So far, I’m leaning towards trying the SUGAR SCRUB method. At first it sounds rough, but women often use sugar scrubs on our faces/lips to exfoliate! The sugar sounds less traumatic than the caustic scrubs, too. Here is the best “instruction” for the sugar scrub that I’ve found:
“Sugar has mild anti-bacterial properties and it’s slightly abrasive, so I decided to give it a go. I think that I’ve gotten rid of all the proud flesh by now – I just have to wait and see if the hair comes through!I really liked using the sugar and I think I’ll use it for any future leg wounds because it dries to form a nice protective crust over the wound. It doesn’t just rub off like other ointments seem to do on the legs.What I did was:
1. Get a spray bottle full of clean water and set it to a thin, powerful stream.
2. Clean the area thoroughly using the jet of water.
3. Put about a quarter of a teaspoon (or maybe a half – you’ll see how much you need) of white sugar in the palm of your hand.
4. Use your spray bottle to put a few drops of water onto the sugar and then mix it with a finger from your other hand. It’s very important not to use too much water since the sugar will dissolve and the paste will get more liquidy than it first appeared. You want to add just enough water so the sugar all sticks together nicely, but not so much that it’s runny.
5. Apply the sugar paste to the wound, rubbing it into the proud flesh gently.
6. Leave the sugar there for a day.
7. Use your spray bottle to dissolve the sugar off of the wound, again rubbing it as you go.
8. Peel off any bits of proudflesh that are loosening up.
9. Rinse with water and repeat steps 3 onward. I was really impressed by the sugar method. It still took a few weeks to get rid of it completely, but it was much less gross than scrubbing it the old way.”1383130_10203317936201616_6518321463541451176_n
Another person commented on the sugar scrub: “We have used sugar as well, but in combination with iodine and it worked amazing. We’ve gone through two significant injuries, and the first time proud flesh came, second time we were able to prevent it. What we did was mix sugar and iodine into a paste [almost like toothpaste] and then put it on the proud flesh. We then used a non-stick pad and put it overtop of the ‘sugardine’ mixture on the injury. Then wrapped with vetrap. And we changed it once a day.”
 
So, over the weekend I started using the SUGAR SCRUB, with iodine… have both items on hand! However, Millie’s spot cannot be covered or wrapped in any way.
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This last photo from yesterday morning, after rinsing away previous night’s dirt and muck, doing a Sugar Scrub and rinsing it again… Notice there is STILL quite a bit of PROUD FLESH, mostly up at the top. I told Millie that I thought her butt looked like a fried pork chop. She didn’t think it was funny. Any way, THIS is the photo I sent to the vet yesterday afternoon! He called last night and wants me to try Betamethasone cream on it, but it’s a prescription (he thought it was over-the-counter) so I had to call his office today and ask if they can please call it in to the local pharmacy. So now I won’t be able to pick it up until tomorrow afternoon! Oh, and one small tube will cost about $48… not sure how many tubes we will end up needing!?!?! The open area is roughly the size of my hand, and I don’t have small hands!

Aug. 18, 2014

August 18th… getting SMALLER!

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Millie’s wound, showing proud flesh…

 

 

8.10.14 update

Sugar Scrub last weekend and then Betamethasone latter half of the week… I made sure the photo showed the lower end of the incision where her sutures HELD! Wish is all looked THAT good, but it is what is is… and it’s going to be fine, eventually!

 

 

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Millicent the Magnificent Mystery Mule!

We have two rescued mules who are about 8-10 years old. The smaller one, we call her Millie, developed a large growth on her rump. We took her to our local vet who did an ultrasound and biopsy which confirmed it is a type of cancer called a Mast Cell Tumor. The best course of action is to have it surgically removed as soon as possible! We contacted three seperate equine vets for estimates and have scheduled her surgery with Dr. Davis at Reata Equine Hospital http://www.reataequinehospital.com/ in Weatherford, which is about an hour away. Once the tumor is removed she will have a drain put in and so she will have to stay there at the hospital for at least 3-5 days, possibly a whole week. After that I will be taking care of her here at Dancing Moon Farmstead.
The estimate for just the surgery itself is about $1,400. This does not include the bill I still owe our local vet for the diagnostic work, nor does it include any additional vet visits or post-op care once Millie comes home. It is too soon to know if she will need any special therapy or training once the hole left from the growth’s removal heals. For now, we’re just taking this one step at a time!
Your donations will help ensure this sweet, young mule gets to live the rich, full life she deserves! THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart!!!http://www.gofundme.com/b270fo
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Busy Weekend on the GO!!!

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Okay, so on Friday in addition to going down to Ten Mile Farm on Friday to return Champ and meet Mr. Beau Jangles Blue, we also managed to hook up with the seller of this used horse trailer and make our final payment. We had looked at the trailer a couple weeks ago and mailed our initial payment shortly afterwards. Now the trailer is here at Dancing Moon Farmstead and I’m working on teaching Dancer how to load. Millie is a dream to load and so I’m hoping she’ll show Dancer that it’s nothing to be scared of!

Saturday was spent “at home” in that we didn’t leave Eastland County, at least! One of the local civic groups we belong to was having an Open House and Rummage Sale so we went down there early to do some volunteer work. Well of course I did a BIT of shopping, too! I’m a bona fide Dumpster Diving Diva, after all… Around lunch time we raced down to my parents’ house to water their gardens as they were out of town for the week. Afterwards I dropped hubby back off at the rummage sale while I went home to start cooking a roast and packing our bags for another road trip!!!

Sunday morning we got up and hit the road fairly early as we had a four hour drive ahead of us as we headed down to Madisonville to pick up a load of hay. Last July we hauled 100 square bales directly from the field for $7 each. Those 100 bales were meant to last us until this year’s cutting, but we ran short. My local hay guy flat told me at the beginning of June that he probably won’t have ANY hay at all this year. A friend sold us 10 square bales from what she had stored for her cows and the last four square bales we bought at the feed store cost us $10 each! We were down to our last TWO bales of hay when a good friend said that he’d sell us some of his hay from last year at $5 a bale because he needed to clean out his barn before starting to cut hay this year! Even with gas money for the 8-hour round trip drive, that is quite a worthy savings for us… 

We had to borrow a trailer from some friends, the same trailer we use for our Sit ‘n’ Stitch Gang floats, as a matter of fact. It’s a 16′ flat bed and with what we could load onto the truck we hoped to get about 100 bales. Turns out hubby stacked it so well we got 104. We had planned to visit the newly opened Tractor Supply Store there in Madisonville to purchase additional tarps and straps to cover the hay. The one we had wouldn’t even cover what was on the truck! However, luck was on our side as our friends had an old cast-aside pool cover that they never used which perfectly fit the bales loaded on the trailer! All we had to buy were a few more straps. The drive home on Monday was where the REAL adventure started, though.

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We had barely pulled out onto the Interstate when we could feel something wasn’t “quite right” the gas tank was on EMPTY, so we knew we needed to pull into the very first station we found. Turns out, several of the trailer’s tires were low – a fact we didn’t notice when it was empty! We tested and filled all the trailer tires and the trucks tires, too. One of the tires was so low that we suspected it had a slow leak. By lunch time we were proven right, but I don’t want to jump ahead! Even with the tires properly inflated the trailer would start to fishtail if hubby tried to push our speed to over 50 MPH. We weren’t in a particular hurry, but under the circumstances decided perhaps it would be best to take “the back roads” home instead of the Interstate. Well this proved to be a good decision for several reasons! We puttered along steadily and made frequent stops to check the air in the tires. Each time hubby would check the tarps and tighten the straps a bit too. The load was riding really well.

For lunch we stopped at Sulaks Czeck Bakery in Clifton, Texas! We’d never been there before and saw a billboard for them as we pulled into town. Troy had a wonderful sandwich and I had a wrap. While looking around to see all the delightful goodies they had to offer I noticed a basket FULL of summer veggies sitting in front of one of their meat cases. Upon inquiring how much the veggies were, I was told they were FREE for the taking as they were, “just extras from the garden”! Well naturally I jumped at that deal… picked up some beautiful Patty Pan Squash, some Ichiban Eggplant and a zucchini, too. I knew I had one zucchini in the fridge at home as I had just picked it from my parent’s garden while watering for them on Saturday. Giving away FREE veggies was a brilliant strategy as I now had to BUY a pack of their wonderful looking sausage to go with it. In my next blog post I’ll show y’all just what I made with this bountiful windfall! One stop we did NOT make in Clifton was to Quilting Cousins Quilt Shop. We drove right by this adorable little shop, but with hauling the trailer and hubby getting hungry I simple made note of its location and plan to stop in next time… or even make a special trip back down just to go there and to the Sulaks again, too!

Shortly after lunch we had a blowout on one of the trailer tires! Surprisingly is wasn’t the tire with the slow leak, but the one adjacent to it! We were quite fortunate that the blowout wasn’t more eventful as some of them can be quite dangerous and even deadly. This one was a very distinct POP! And we both knew exactly what had happened. Luckily we were going slow and there was no traffic on the back road so hubby was able to just ease us over to the shoulder. He got out and carefully walked back to retrieve the shredded bits of tire that we UN-affectionately call “road alligators”. As he was doing so I had time to reflect on our situation: we had a good spare for the trailer and hubby had made sure it was properly aired, too. However, we didn’t have a jack that could lift a fully loaded trailer and all our tools were in the tool box on the back of the truck buried under several layers of hay bales. Before he could even return to the truck I was already calling AAA! Turns out it was a busy day on the roads and the “nearest help” would be driving in from Weatherford, which was a good hour and a half away. Nothing to do but sit back and try to relax while we waited for them to arrive.

Poor Walter, the gang at Ace sent him out ALONE on his first run without even really telling him what the job was or where he was going! Luckily he stopped for directions and the sweet lady called us and he arrived at our location just a few minutes later. Walter is from Guatemala, so he was worried about his accent a bit, but his English was really good! He had a few false starts with getting his jacks to cooperate, but in no time flat (pun intended!) we were ready to get back on the road! For future reference, several trailer-toting friends have suggested we purchase a Trailer Aid Tandem Tire Changing Ramp. We plan on doing just that and storing it in the tack room of the mules’ trailer! I cannot imagine waiting two hours for AAA to arrive in 112 degree heat with equines cooking in their trailer. Luckily there was a nice breeze and the hay was from last year so not likely to spontaneously combust!

So in the end what should have been a 4-5 hour drive home lasted from 9 am to almost 8 pm. We were tired, but no worse for ware under the circumstances! Hubby unloaded the cooler and our personal items from the truck while I fed the STARVING animals. They always think they are starving, by the way, but for the record our good friends and farm-sitters, Jeff and Robin Angus, fed everyone Sunday night and Monday morning for us!!! I made sure I called Robin right after Walter changed our tire and let her know that although we’d be later than expected that we would be home in time for the evening feeding so she wouldn’t worry. Actually, I think the mules and goats might prefer Jeff and Robin to me because those two always bring EXTRA TREATS with them like apples and carrots! If the animals ARE disappointed in seeing me upon my return, they are at least courteous enough not to show it.

Categories: Family and Friends, Goats, Mules | Leave a comment

Mule collage

Mule collage

Our mules are just PHAT pasture pets, but we love them! Right now they are up in the yard “mowing” for me! They are such funny girls. Thought you might like to meet them, so here are a few of my favorite photos. Millie is the smaller, lighter mule and Dancer is the taller, darker mule. They are both rescues and are about 6-7 years old now. I’ll write up the full story of how they came to be at Dancing Moon Farmstead sometime and I’ll keep you posted on how they’re doing now and then, too.

Categories: Mules | Leave a comment

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