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December 2013 Over The Back Fence
 
November 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

 

CAMRI and ALISON, photo by Mary Julius

(below) CAMRI and ALSION on the front porch of their new house

When I went to the barn this morning to feed Star I noticed the mules in the back pasture hanging their heads over the gate. So, I thought this would be a good time to check on them, to make sure none of them had scrapes or cuts. I was amazed to see how “fuzzy” their hair was, seems they are starting to grow their winter coat. We have had a few cool nights and I guess that’s an indication to the mules they better get ready for winter. So far Star hasn’t grown much hair; I usually try to predict what kind of winter we will have from the length or depth of her coat.

 I was able to make the trip to the Boone County Sale in Columbia in September. I went there on Friday and was joined during the day by Virginia Bertz of Higginsville, my former neighbor when we lived in the Kansas City area, and by Rita Rochelle of Illinois, a subscriber and mule friend. The three of us enjoyed dinner together before we headed to the motel for an evening of visiting before turning in after an exhausting day. The ladies stayed with me on Saturday and helped me pack up my booth and load my car. We stopped for a late lunch before the three of us home on different highways. What a fun weekend…and I was able to visit with subscribers also. Thanks for stopping by the booth; it’s always nice to visit with each of you.

 I always enjoy our annual trip to Clark to the Amish community in December to buy Christmas candies. This year, since Virginia has retired, six of us got together for a fall trip to Clark. It was a beautiful day and we were able to experience something new…the Amish produce auction. Thank goodness I didn’t have room in the car or I probably would have come away with a huge assortment of mums and pumpkins. We don’t know exactly when we started making the annual winter trip to Clark, but I would say it has been at least 30 years. It is so nice to get together with friends and catch up on one another’s lives. And yes, we do plan on going back to the Amish community for Christmas candy.

 As I write this Cole and his girlfriend, Brianna are in Lancaster, Ohio where they will be racing his mule, BB and Betty at the Lancaster County Fair. I’m anxious to hear how the mules ran on the track, and their trip.

Cori, Davy, Camri and Ali moved into their new home last week; they finally bought a 3-bedroom home with 30 acres, and they are looking forward to having their mules with them. Of course they are going to have build fence, shelter for the mules and a corral. There is also a great place for an indoor arena, but I have a feeling that is way down the list of improvements, but something Camri and Cori are hoping for. The girls have their own rooms, a big deal for an eight and six year old that having been sharing a small room.

Larry and Becky have been busy remodeling their house after the flood; Larry has even had to give up some bow hunting time, but I know they are anxious to get everything done. I made a drive down there recently and things are taking shape, and with Becky’s decorating ideas it is looking really nice.

  I don’t have any trips scheduled, so my calendar is looking pretty bare. Guess I will start concentrating on doing some Christmas shopping. I’m anxious for Cori to get the Gift Guide together so I can start shopping from there.

Best wishes to all of you for a Happy Thanksgiving. 

 
October 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

After enjoying beautiful, cool weather throughout July and most of August, Missouri heat and humidity moved in just as we were headed to Clinton, Ark. for the National Championship Chuckwagon Races. Virginia Bertz and I left here on Thursday morning, stopping along the way to leave my little dog, Spencer at a kennel near St. James. Leaving on Thursday allowed us to stop overnight in Ozark, Mo. so we could visit with mule enthusiasts at Ozark Mule Days. I talked to a few of the wagon riders, who had been enjoying touring with their wagons around the Ozark area. I believe the largest group of wagons they had on any one day was 15. Several of the teamsters talked about what beautiful scenery and trails they enjoyed. As usual Les Clancy and his volunteer crew were busy seeing that everyone had stalls and campsites prior to the beginning of the show on Friday.

We were up early and ready to roll Friday morning, stopping along the way to Clinton to shop at a number of garage sales. Marshall, Ark., has an annual city-wide garage. As the morning temperatures got hotter, we got a little more selective in our shopping; it needed to be on our side of the highway, and in the shade.

We finally arrived at Clinton, checked in at the motel and then headed to the Bar Eoff Ranch for the afternoon races. Loren and his gang had arrived earlier in the week and had put up a canopy on the bluff for Virginia and I; without the shade the canopy provided I don’t think I could have sat in the heat.

The races were exciting. Cole’s black mule, BB had the fastest time in the mule race on Friday. He opted to run his young mule Betty on Saturday and Sunday. Betty’s time on Saturday was better than BB’s, but not quite good enough to have the best time of the three days, which determines the championship title (he was off by one second). Cole has earned this title for the past five years with BB, so he wasn’t disappointed in Betty’s performance.

Saturday’s performance kept us on the edge of our seats, with a bottle of water in our hand constantly…the temperature on the car thermometer registered 108 degrees as we left the Ranch, and I think the humidity was 100%. Sunday cooled down a little and the sky was overcast, making it a more pleasant day. We’re already talking about going back next year. This is a “must” for our family, lots of fun and excitement, with a large number of mule riders in attendance.     

My oldest son, Larry and his wife Becky, live on the Gasconade River, and were one of the families that had their home flooded when the Gasconade reached record heights the first part of August. Their house had never been flooded before and Larry just couldn’t believe it was going to happen this time (even with radio and TV warnings). I believe he said they had 27” of water throughout the house. Now they are busy putting up new dry wall, painting, laying new flooring and getting their lives back in order. Loren took Camri to their house to see the flood waters, which had their house completely surrounded. Camri couldn’t understand how there could be water in their house since the doors were closed.

That’s about all the excitement I can handle for one month. There are still plenty of mule and donkey events to attend before cold weather, and of course fall is one of the best times to get out and enjoy the trails.

 
September 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

I've had an interesting month since my last column. Of course, the highlight of the month was the trip to attend the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. My every morning coffee drinking friend (and high school friend) Joann Michel volunteered to travel with me this year. She and I had a nice trip both ways and enjoyed hours of visiting while driving. This year’s show was great; lots of good mules, donkeys and exhibitors and nice weather. Camri rode Hoosier Daddy in a couple of walk-trot classes and really enjoyed the experience. Cori showed Hell on Heels (Maggie) in a few classes and Cole took BB and Betty for the running classes. There were a few “late nights” and early mornings to get rested up from after getting back home.

I made an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip with friends to a casino in St. Louis the following week after getting back from Tennessee. We were supposed to be home by midnight or a little later, it was actually 3 a.m. before we got back to Bland! It was a fun evening, but I’m getting a little too old for these late nights.

Then we were off to the Boone County Fair Mule Show in Columbia, Mo. Again nice weather provided exhibitors and spectators a most pleasant show. Eight-year-old Camri and Hoosier Daddy entered every event her mom would allow her to sign up for. It was a thrill to watch Camri and Hoosier in the trail class, Camri thought she knew what she was doing, and Hoosier was sure he knew how to work the obstacles, they made quite the pair, coming away with a good score and first place in the youth division. They both enjoyed the game classes also. Marsha and Dan Coleman did a good job keeping the show running smoothly. Our family, Camri, Cori, Cole and Loren enjoyed a number of classes….and again I had another late night out.

Now we’re looking forward to the National Championship Chuckwagon Races in Clinton, Arkansas where Cole will be competing in the mule races, and Loren will be giving a couple of clinics. I’m hoping to be sitting in the shade up on Dan and Peggy’s bluff taking it all in with friends, Joanne Edwards and Virginia Bertz. We plan to make an overnight stop at Ozark Mule Days on the way to Arkansas.

September 13-14 should find Mules and More manning a booth at the Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale in Columbia. I’m looking forward to meeting the new sale managers, Gary and Jody Moss. I understand George Harris will still be assisting the new owners; it just wouldn’t be the same without George.

Check out the Calendar of Events, there is a lot going on for you to enjoy with your mules and donkeys all across the country. Be sure and stop by and visit with us at the events, we are always happy to talk mules.

 
August 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

It just seems like yesterday I was writing my column for the July issue, and now Cori is requesting one for the August issue. Usually I have a little longer to procrastinate about my column, but since I’m heading to Shelbyville right when she is putting together the issue I am required to be “on time” for a change.

Since the last issue Camri has completed acro competition, ending up undefeated with both her pair and with her trio. She loves competing and learning new acro moves.  Of course both girls are out of school for the summer and I’ve enjoyed having them spend some time in the office. Our office walls are plastered with new drawings and colored pages of animals (mostly mules and dogs) already.

Joann Edwards and I enjoyed a three-day bus trip to Iowa where we spent two nights (and too many hours) at a beautiful gambling casino. I was fortunate to win a little money playing the slot machines the first night we arrived, but naturally it all went back to the casino before boarding the bus home. We spent one day of the trip at one of the Amana Colonies where we visited the little specialty shops and enjoyed a lunch of German food. We also had tickets for a comedy play at the local theater.

The title of the play was Cookin’ With Gus and the actors did a great job with their parts, especially the lady that played the part of a gypsy. It’s amazing how good laughing makes you feel.

Loren and Lenice and several friends had a great time riding in Wyoming; the weather was great and the trails were beautiful, and sometimes exciting. From there they took their mules on to Jake Clark Mule Days, where Loren’s mule Lady A sold for $15,000 and has a new home in Long Island, NY. The other mule Lexie went to a 10-year old girl. Lexie will have a great home. Camri had been riding her and was pleased to learn she has a new little girl as an owner, as Camri really hated to see Lexie sold. I was able to watch most of the sale on Live Stream.

We are still having nice showers, so there is plenty of pasture for the mules. Loren finally got his hay baled, with a lot more bales than last year when there was such a drought here.

We will be heading to Columbia, Mo. to the Boone County Fair Mule Show about the time this issue is mailed, and hope to see many of you there. Even if you don’t show we hope you come out to support the event. Marsha and Dan Coleman put in a lot of time and effort into getting this show built up once again.

Then, it’s off to Clinton, Ark., to the National Championship Chuckwagon Races Labor Day weekend. It’s such a huge decision as to which event to attend, the chuckwagon races (where my grandson, Cole will be riding competing for his sixth consecutive mule race win), or to go to Ozark Mule Days at Ozark, Mo. This is a fun-filled event that I really hate to miss, but Cole’s races pulls me further south.

Hope to see you at one of the upcoming mule and donkey events. Check out the Calendar of Events, there is a lot going on in the mule and donkey world all across the country.

 

 
July 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

Our area has escaped the storms that have been hitting Missouri, we don’t have a lot of sunshine and showers pop up frequently. The mules in the south pasture are up to their bellies in grass, and it is almost impossible to see deer or turkey. I’m sure there is wild game lurking around as Star’s ears are a good indication something is invading her space. Last night I was watching a doe at the salt block and Star trotted in and ran her off.

We are still viewing the devastation in the Oklahoma City area on television. I can’t even imagine how you would start the clean up process and how it must feel to lose so many material things that you hold dear.

I had a good time last month visiting Ron and Virginia Bertz at Higginsville, and Virginia and I traveled on to Kearney to watch Camri compete in acro. Camri came home with gold medals from that event, and yesterday we watched her final competition for acro in St. Louis. Once again she brought home first place medals in both pair and trio competition. Now it is time for her to get in the saddle and start getting ready for the mule shows. I believe she is taking over her Mom’s mule, Hoosier Daddy. She rode Hoosier on a Mother’s Day trail ride and at the end of the ride claimed him as “her mule.” I think Hoosier’s cushy life, as he has known it for the last couple of years, is about to come to an end.

Our office is a bit quieter this morning as Sheila is enjoying trail riding in Wyoming this week, along with Loren and Lenice and several other mule friends. They will break camp Wednesday and head to Jake Clark’s Mule Days.

I have a bus trip planned this week to the Amana Colonies in Iowa. This is another trip I can mark off my “bucket list.” It sounds like the weather is going to be good, and the company on the bus trips is always interesting.

I’m also making plans to head to Shelbyville, Tenn., for the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show in July. This will be Mules and More’s 22nd year to have a booth at this show. Virginia Bertz won’t be joining me in the booth this year, but hopefully I will have another friend traveling with me. Right now I’m not sure many of the Basham family will be attending, I believe it will just be Cori, Cole and Camri. With Lenice’s school principal position her vacation schedule has had to be rearranged, and doesn’t allow her to attend as many mule events.

On another note, we regret to inform the readers that Tim Doud of Diamond Creed Mules, Cody, Wyo., will no longer be submitting a regular monthly column. Tim wrote that he needed to cut down on some of the things going on, as he just doesn’t have enough time in the month to complete everything. Between his outfitting business, guide school, television show, mule training, private lessons and shipping semen from his jack he cannot get it all done. We have been fortunate to have Tim share his knowledge with readers for the past 4-1/2 years. Thank you Tim for a great job.        

This month’s calendar of events has a good listing of mule and donkey events, so hopefully you will be attending some of them. We have a few places scheduled to attend, and maybe we’ll see you there.

 
June 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

The birds are singing, there is not a cloud in the sky, the windows are open; I believe spring has finally arrived in Missouri. Temperatures have been up and down with lots of rain the last couple of months. It has been impossible for farmers to get in the fields, and Dave (my tomato guy) hasn’t been able to get much done in the garden. Tomato plants still haven’t been put out, and that’s not a good thing. One good thing is that there is plenty of grass in the pasture. Loren was here yesterday and rode the fences so he could bring a few mules over to help Star keep the pasture mowed off. I have trouble seeing the deer and turkey when the grass gets very high.

Cori and Camri haven’t been able to find many dry days to ride their mules. There was a mule show scheduled near here, but last week, due to rain, it was cancelled. We are hoping that it will stay dry so the show can be held this Saturday.

Camri has been busy with acro practice and competition. She recently competed two days in St. Louis and came home with four first place medals out of four events. She and Ali will be participating in dance and tumbling recitals later this month. These girls certainly keep Cori and Davey on the move. Also, later this month Camri will be competing in the Kansas City area, so I will get to spend a weekend with friends, Ron and Virginia at Higginsville. Virginia is the lady who usually accompanies me to the Great Celebration Show in Shelbyville, Tenn. She won’t be able to attend this year as she has other commitments that weekend.

I went on a bus tour recently to the Azalea/Dogwood Festival at Charleston, Mo. The flowers and trees were beautiful; the homes were decorated for walking and driving tours. There was a big craft show, lots of touring, a fabulous piano recital, good food and great company on the bus. I have made five tours with this group, Fun Time Tours out of Kansas City, and they are always well organized. Our first stop was at the historical town of Kimmswick, south of St. Louis where we had lunch at the Blue Owl, the home of the mile high pies. I enjoyed a piece of caramel apple pie; each pie contains 18 apples. Wow, was it good.

The May issue of Mules and More, containing Tim Cross’s article about trailer tires has been receiving a lot of comments. Tim did a lot of research on this article, and hopefully it will help solve some of the tire problems for those hauling mules. We appreciate Tim and Sheila’s help with Mules and More, both sharing their stories and Sheila’s help in the office.

Loren and Lenice, Tim and Sheila and Wesley and Brandi Wells are beginning to make plans for their trip to Jake Clark Days in Wyoming. They will spend several days trail riding before getting to Jake’s. If you are at Jake’s be sure and go by their trailers and meet this group.

To end this column I would like to send congratulations to Cole’s girlfriend, Brianna DeMoss of Lovilia, Iowa; she graduated from high school May 12. Good luck Brianna in your future endeavors.

 
May 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

This past month has kept me busy; it actually started with my 73rd birthday celebration with my family and friends. We went out the Friday night before my birthday for steaks at my favorite place to eat, Matt’s Steakhouse, near Rolla. It was a fun evening of visiting, but we were missing Camri and Ali, and Cori’s boyfriend, Davey. The girls had other plans for that night, so Camri, Ali, Cori and I enjoyed lunch together the next day. The following day was Easter, Cori and the girls joined me for Sunrise Church Services, followed by breakfast fixed and served by the men in the church. It was a beautiful day. Jo Ann Edwards and I went out for a late lunch. By Sunday evening I felt like I had eaten my way through this birthday.

This past weekend I took in the clinic Loren was giving at T Cross Farm, near here on Saturday. I learned so much; I just wish I had had the opportunity to attend a clinic of this kind 30 plus years ago when I bought my first mule. There were several people attending I already knew, and new people to get acquainted with during breaks and at meal time. Danny Coleman did an excellent job keeping this group fed; he is an awesome cook! It was another beautiful day.

On Sunday Camri had acro competition, so the day was spent indoors waiting and watching. She placed first with her pair partner, and another first with her trio. We are so proud of her; she works very hard at practice, and it shows when she competes.

This weekend we will be celebrating Camri’s eighth birthday party with relatives and Camri’s friends. She will be having a Monster High theme; hopefully it will be a nice day so the kids can enjoy the trampoline and outdoor games.

I have made plans for the following three day weekend to join friends for a bus trip to the Azalea Festival in Charleston, Mo.

Believe it or not, I do find time to make my morning run to the coffee shop and get in a few hours in the office each day.

I notice Star is spending more time picking the new green grass, and also when I feed her each morning I always talk to her a little and rub her forehead and ears. She is really shedding, so I guess spring has officially arrived. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tie her to the hitch rack and give her a good brushing.

The turkeys are also gobbling, that is another good sign of spring.

This issue of Mules and More has the calendar of events packed with great mule and donkey things to do all across the country. Also, this is a beautiful time to get out and enjoy trail riding with your favorite mount.

 
April 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

CAMRI with the two first place medals she won at her first acro meet of the season • ALISON on Valentine’s Day • CAMRI and her class valentines. I “mint” to tell you, you’re the best!”

I’ve spent the morning proof reading copy for the April issue; Cori just asked if I was going to have a column. I hadn’t really thought about it. I haven’t been anywhere, or done anything, since the Boone County Sale.

Maybe I have done something, for the last several weeks we have watched it sleet and snow, not a lot of snow, but flurries every day. And the cold winds and cloudy days didn’t give me much incentive to get outdoors. I have changed Star’s feeding schedule to twice daily, instead of just mornings as I head out to the coffee shop. There were several days when the pasture was entirely covered with sleet, which made it impossible for her to get out and pick grass, so I felt she needed the extra Equine Senior.

And then there are the birds, wow I can’t believe how much sunflower seed they can eat in one day. Of course, feeding seven grey squirrels at the bird feeders takes a lot of the feed. I also feed stale doughnuts (like there are a lot of those in my house), bread and suet cakes. I also have a heated bird bath, so had to make sure it was filled daily in order for the birds/squirrels to have drinking water.

There is also Suey, my 11 plus year old Catahoula. She has required a lot of extra attention this winter. In order to help keep her warm I have been heating beef broth (you can buy boxes of this at a discount store at a reasonable price) and I pour this over her dry dog food.  During the really cold, dreary days she likes to curl up on her pillow in the garage, so there is the routine of letting her in and out; she barks loudly to let me know when she wants in, and it’s up to me to remember to turn her out a couple times during the day and before we settle down for the night.

One night this week I walked by Suey’s self feeder that is located on the deck, to find a big coon eating out of the feeder…and of course Suey was all snuggled down in the garage. No wonder I had to fill the feeder so often.

So, I guess I haven’t been completely idle, I just didn’t realize how much time my animals and the outdoor critters were keeping me busy. I also have Spencer, my 8-year-old lhasa apso that demands a certain amount of time during the day be spent playing ball with him, especially when I am on the phone. Spencer has a toy monkey that makes loud “monkey noises” and he really likes to set them off when I spend too much time on the phone (now you know what those backgrounds sounds you hear are when you call the Mules and More office).

Looking back over this I guess I have been busy traveling to the feed stores and taking care of God’s creatures. I do enjoy watching and interacting with them all. Yesterday it was nice when Camri was here and pointed out that there were two different woodpeckers at the feeder, I’m glad she is sharing my interest in feeding birds.

Cori is about to finish up this month’s special Trail Ride issue, the stories are interesting, and the trail photos are beautiful. So get out your calendar and set up schedules now to spend some time out on the trails with your mules and donkeys.


March 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

I just returned home from the Boone County Mule Sale in Columbia, Mo. What a great two days! There were mule people in attendance from all across the country, and if you know me at all you know I love to visit, so this was my kind of sale. I had a booth next to the arena, and the only drawback was there was a speaker right behind me, which at times would drown out our conversations. But, I did enjoy seeing so many subscribers and friends. Several of those attending I hadn’t visited with in years, but unfortunately I didn’t get to talk with them as long as I would have liked. I do appreciate all the conversation and hugs.

I had three tables of merchandise, and Mules and More caps was the product of the day, along with books, decals, calendars and various other “mulish” items.

I believe this was the largest number of mules and donkeys ever consigned to this sale, well over 200 head. Several consignors were there due to the shortage of hay and pasture because of the drought last summer. Because of where my booth was set up I wasn’t able to see any of the animals sell, so I really don’t know who had the high selling mule of the day. I do know there were several gaited mules consigned.

Mules and More has a commercial running on HRTV (Dish channel 404) for the National Championship Chuck Wagon Races. The commercial ran for the first time last night, and Cori said we have had a lot of response about the commercial on Facebook and our website. This is an exciting new promotional aspect for us. Of course our entire family enjoys attending the chuck wagon races, and especially watching Cole and his mule BB race. We are all already talking about the races this year, and thinking how far off August is, but that time will be here before we know it.

Camri and Ali are busy little girls with school, dance and acro practice. I don’t see them as much as I would like, and I look forward to my time with them every other weekend.

I have a “senior” bus trip planned to attend the Azalea Festival at Charleston, Mo. the last part of April, as well as a day trip or two coming up.

Check out this months’ calendar of event, mule and donkey shows and trail rides are starting to pop up all across the country; we hope to see you there.

 


February 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

Today is a very rainy morning, the kind that makes you want to curl up with a good book and ignore the outside world. But, instead I’m in the office, answering the phone (and I always tend to talk too long when someone wants to talk about mules), and proof reading the February Jack Issue. This issue needs to go to the printers today, and it’s not even the middle of January. I just got the last of the Christmas decorations back upstairs and tomorrow we’ll be working on the March issue.

Christmas was fun this year; two girls, Camri, 7, and Ali, 5, will make that happen. Of course Santa brought them lots and lots of toys, games and clothes. Grandmas love to buy clothes for little girls, especially when you can shop for purple and pink! We all gathered Christmas Eve for a late dinner and gift exchange at Larry and Becky’s. The meal was great and boots and other hunting and mulish items seemed to dominate the gift line (imagine that). A few games of pool finished off the evening. Larry built his own pool table for their great room out of old barn wood. It is a very unique piece and fits right in with their décor which consists of my dad’s saddle, a canoe, a cinnamon bear Larry killed while hunting in Wyoming with Tim Doud of Diamond Creek Mules, and various other items, antique and new. Becky has a great eye for decorating and Larry has a gift for making a piece a wood turn into unique items.

The girls enjoyed Christmas break, but it just didn’t last long enough to get everything done. I was hoping to see more of Camri in the office, but her schedule was busy, busy. They are back in school now and have dance and acro practice four nights a week. Acro competitions will start up soon and that will fill several weekends. This year Camri has been chosen to compete as a pair (with Kylie, her partner from last year), as well as competing as a trio, with two new partners. I always enjoy watching the acro students compete, and try not to miss a meet. I don’t have the schedule from Cori yet, but need to get it so I can mark the dates on my new mule calendar.

Star is doing well this winter. She looks good and cleans up her Equine Senior quickly each morning. She has hay in the manger, but prefers to wander around the pasture picking grass. One morning recently when she came in the barn she had the strong odor of skunk on her. I’m wondering if she picked a fight, which is common for mules when they feel they can intimidate smaller critters. I usually scratch her ears and give her a few pats on the head every day, but that morning she just got a few kind words and I headed out the door.

So far Missouri weather has been pretty kind to us, just a couple of snows and several warm sunny days.  The birds are feeding extremely heavy this morning, and the weatherman says there is rain and more snow on the way.

Cori is also starting to work on the April trail ride issue. So, if you have a special place you have ridden, or photos of some of your trail rides send them in to us by March 1 and we will consider using them in that issue.


January 2013 Over The Back Fence
by Sue Cole, Senior Editor of Mules and More

It is extremely hard to get in the Christmas shopping mood when the sun is shining and the temperatures here in Missouri range in the upper 70s.

Yesterday our church went caroling, and this brought back memories when my late husband, Gene would harness a team and take the group around town in a wagon built for the occasion. This wagon had seats down each side, and an easy step entrance from the rear.  I recall the good times we had driving around town, all bundled up for the cold, and stopping at individual homes to sing carols. We did this for several years, and some years a friend, Paul a fellow church member, hitched his team of mules, Jack and Kate and joined us. Gene usually always drove a team of blond sorrel mules, but never the same team two years in a row. Once the team was ‘broke to death’ and I felt comfortable riding in the wagon, they were usually sold and another young team purchased.

Star is enjoying picking the late fall grass in the pasture. It had been so dry all summer that there wasn’t much grass, but the fall rains have brought the pasture back to life. We could still use more rain, as the creeks and ponds are still pretty low.

I noticed as I made my morning trip to the coffee shop that my Bradford Pear tree is budding; another sign the temperatures are much too warm for December.

Camri and Alison are looking forward to Christmas and have their Christmas tree up already. I need to get them to come decorate my little tree. I finally have enough mule, donkey and western ornaments to make the tree presentable.

Kelly, our secretary, welcomed a baby daughter, Ella, November 14. Sheila Cross of TCross Farm, St. James is filling in for Kelly for a few weeks. Sheila enjoys riding and taking care of her mules, and recently moved to our area from Iowa.

We are looking forward to the Christmas season, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.