Sunday, August 17, 2008
Shhhh. What can you hear? The creak of leather, the soft footfalls of a mule in the forest. The panting of a Jack Russell and the soft swoosh of a tail flicking.
There really isn't any conversation going on. I ride along quietly listening, and watching. When a small disturbance off the trail to our left makes Badger go rigid.
I feel him stiffen and look to where his ears are pointing...and we wait.
A hen turkey sprints out of the tall grass with three of her semi grown chicks...they begin to flap their wings and fly low over the Queen Anne's Lace.
I look down and Morris is trying to stand on his hind legs to see what the 'fuss' is about. I smile and pat Badger on the neck and murmur:
With a small squeeze of my leg we set off again across the ridgetop following an ATV trail, so Morris won't have to struggle to get through the tall grasses.
We eventually get off the ridge and drop into the woods which are dark even on bright days. We make our way down an old logging trail to the back valley [also called the Lost Valley by the owners]. I get Badger to do some tricky maneuvers... and we finally stop for a rest next to the creek.
The first thing Morris does is get in the water to cool off. Badger drops his head to eat. Poor starving mule...you'd think he's never seen a lick of hay nor ever had a bite of grass.
We cool our heels by the creek listening to the water tumble over the rocks and the cicadas singing overhead.
The deerflies start to annoy us all spoiling the moment of 'togetherness'...okay, I know wierd, but the dog, the mule, and I...we are a special trio.
We head back out to the sunny ridgetop to check out the apple trees. These are wild apple trees not an apple orchard that is tended to.
We spot the trees with their branches literally drooping like weeping willow trees because they are so full of apples.
I sit on Badger and pick one ... they are small, but very tasty. I grin and start to pick apples ... how many will fit in my cargo pants pockets I wonder?
Mr. Mule decides he should just go ahead and help himself.
I drop an apple core to Morris.
We are all munching on apples in the late afternoon sun.
We head home, Morris panting, my pockets full of tasty little apples, my mule drooling applesauce...
When I get home my hubby says...
*So how was your ride?*
I answer, *Oh fine, it was just a ride.*
Tonight my dog is sound asleep at my feet. Mr. Mule is munching on his hay bale, and I am thinking of what kind of container I can take back with the mule to gather enough apples for apple jelly.