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Donkey Icicles
January 26, 2013

Every summer, I marvel how my mules cope with the heat, bugs and dust of hot weather travel. Six months later, freeze up comes and the sky rains icy pellets down on them and they take it all in stride. During a recent patch of icy weather, I stepped out to see how Polly and Smokey were faring. Here are a few photos of their seasonal transition.

Smokey the woebegone winter burro. Grazing behind him is mule Polly. In the last 24 hours, about an inch of icy rain fell on them.
Donki-cicles. During a recent cold snap, instead of heading for the barn, mule Polly and donkey Smokey headed for their favorite foul weather hangout – the brush pile. They prefer to ride out winter weather in the lee of this heap of cut saplings instead of the much larger oak and pine structure. As the freezing rain drizzled down on them, some of it froze to a crust. The rest ran down their winter coats, freezing into icicles. Here’s how that looked on Smokey’s brow.
Donkey, mule and horse hair is remarkable stuff. Smokey spent the whole night standing in the falling frozen rain. It formed a crust of what appeared to be shaved ice about half an inch thick. Here, I’ve parted the hair to show how cozy and dry things are next to the skin. Smokey felt this was in intrusion of his thermal privacy and suggested I take off my winter coat. You know, to see if we humans were dry next to our skin when it was foul out. Point taken, Smokey, point taken…

Have a great day! Hope to see you at the March 2 Newfoundlander program.

Posted Saturday January 26, 2013 by Bernie
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Newfoundland Library Program
January 12, 2013

“Hey there short ears. Bring me a carrot!” Polly practices her pitch in advance of her March 2 program.

Hey Bucky, ever wondered what it’s like to travel across Newfoundland by mule. No? Do you even know where Newfoundland is? Well, how about kicking off the year with an adventurous travel program. Learn a thing or two about caplin, screech and jiggers. No idea what I’m talking about? Yeah, you need to come.

Last year mule Polly and I traveled 5 months across Newfoundland. March 2, we’ll share the voyage with folks at the Caldwell County Public Library. During the program, we’ll retrace Polly’s voyage across the land of polar bears, icebergs and fog. The quest? Tracking down the details behind a mysterious album of Newfoundland music. Following the program there’ll be a question and answer session and you’ll get to visit with mule Polly.

Yes, I’ll bring a slab of salt cod for you to handle. If you’re more excited about petting a mule than a piece of dead fish, I understand. That’s why Polly’s coming. This is a family program so bring the carrots and kids. See you there Bucky!

Polly recently traveled 2,400 miles so she could visit these Newfoundlanders. January 26 she’s coming to the Caldwell County Public Library so she can meet you.

When: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Where: Caldwell County Public Library, 120 Hospital Avenue, Lenoir, NC 28645
Phone: 828-757-1270
Time: 1:30p

Snapshots of Newfoundland

Mule Polly’s first day on the road. A welcome to make Eric the Red wish he’d arrived in Newfoundland by mule instead of boat. (L’Anse aux Meadows, NL)
Newfoundland chapel (L’Anse aux Meadows, NL)
A cold night outside Polly’s and my traveling home (L’Anse aux Meadows, NL)
The end of the Appalachian mountains. Yes, the range ends here, under water, on Newfoundland’s northern tip.
Posted Saturday January 12, 2013 by Bernie
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