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Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

June 2009 Issue

 

 

     I am always reluctant to throw away feed sacks. This may have come from my childhood when oats came in gunnysacks, and you never threw them away. They were too valuable. You saved sacks, and took them back to the feed mill to be re-used. And you always kept a few in the barn, just in case you needed them.

     My feed sack collection is a number (I refuse to say how many) of bags high. One always acts as a handy garbage container for baling twine, plastic wormer tubes, paper, and miscellaneous barn debris. Feed sacks are useful for disposing of grass clippings and weeds. They are handy receptacles when cleaning rocks from the corrals.

     I’ve got some metal horse panels leaning against the side of the barn, and I used a half dozen or more feed sacks to pad the panels and keep them from scraping the siding.

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     There has been only one problem with those sacks used to pad the panels. Answer this question and you’ll know what it is — What’s black and yellow, has wings, can inflict pain, and builds nests in every crook and cranny?

     Did you say wasps?

     You are correct!!

     What is it with the quantity of wasps the last few years? They are everywhere at my place! And they are starting early this year, building nests in the same places they built them last year — in the tractor’s box scraper, under the gas tank cover of the blue ranch truck, in the square tubing of the flatbed trailer, and in my poor li’l ol’ 1984 Toyota pickup. (Some people at our house call it the “wasp-Mobile!”)

     I’ve already been buying up cans of wasp spray because they are on sale at this time of year. I know that by August, those cans will be priced at a premium! (Kinda like the price of gas in the summer.) By the end of last year, we had figured out what brand was the best, shot the furthest, knocked ‘em dead in the air. Can we remember the name? Alas, no.

     A contributing culprit just has to be the neighbor’s junker vehicle which is sitting near the property line. It’s filled with ancient cardboard boxes, and now it’s been covered with a tarp. I get the heeby-jeebies just thinking about the science-fiction sized wasp nest that is under that tarp!

     I’ve heard people recommend using a jar of cheap grape jelly at a picnic to keep the wasps away from the table. So I’ve been wondering how I might employ jars of jelly to keep them away from the house and barn. But other people seem to think that wasps prefer meat — and I don’t think I’ll be offering ‘em steak!

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     My mule Petunia has been eager to get out on the trail. Even though she’s turned 22 years old this year, she has amazing stamina and patience. She willingly casts a shadow for the dog to use to get out of the sun. She is easy to ride; she knows me, I know her. Although it doesn’t pay to ever get too relaxed.

     Last summer, in a thunderstorm, with the dog tucked under my slicker and Petunia headed down the trail, a mean old stump appeared out of the gloom and attacked the mule. She jumped six feet sideways, and rudely jarred both the dog and me. I immediately guided her nose over to the stump, and proved to her that it had never moved.

     And she said… “Never forget I’m an equine!” (So there!)

 

Copyright 2009 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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