Monday, May 10, 2021

Forest Pasture and Wandering

My wild red heads. That is Sunshine in the front, she is 23 years old and some days acts like her young sister behind her. They are always ready for some fun. Which in Mule Terms means Bucking and Farting.

It was time to move them to the Forest/Meadow pasture. Without our regular rainfall, our pastures have really not recovered well. But the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right?

I have a rotation that generally works fairly well. Mules love the grass. The photo below is where I concentrated an area for them to graze as they usually pass by this section and it gets tall and uneaten.

Turning them out to the forest means they have a meadow but will have to forage in the woods for more grass and nibble on briers which they will do. Often they are lazy and don't bother with the woods.

So far so good. They have all been put back together. Old Fred looks a bit rough but he is happy he is grazing with his girls. I have a lot of grooming to do to everyone who are shedding like crazy. The horse is just about shed out already. Mules generally start to shine around the first of June. Must be the donkey in them!

Sundance inspects an inner fence. She is looking into the Buckthorn Woods. Grass grows in there and I have some Burdock to clean up before they can enjoy that area. 

After 24 hours the little mule herd seemed to be at peace. They are back to being one unit. 

I decided to take a nice long wander about in PeeWee's. Rich wanted me to hunt morels and it was a good enough excuse to pack snacks and water in my little backpack and take off. It was Mother's Day and that meant I got to choose what I wanted to do ... sort of. 

I walked the south hillside of the first valley and found an old cow trail to follow. Weirdly enough I noted that someone had walked along the same route and marked some trees. Curious, I followed the trail to the fenceline and then headed up the steep hill we once called Mule Killer Hill. There was a steep and long hill that would take the piss and vinegar out of our young mules. 

I followed a narrow deer trail near the top.

I started thinking about the fact I hadn't seen or heard of the 4 wheelers in weeks. Then I thought about how much easier it would be getting around while riding Sunshine. 

I finally decided I'd had enough 'hunting' around. The only fungi I found was near the creek and those were pheasant backs. 

I toured the side of the hill and crossed the fence onto our land. Something caught my eye and I stood still.

An owl!

I only had my little red camera hanging from my side. 

The owl wasn't interested in me. But I watched it. I took pictures. It never turned its head to look at me until I made a kissing noise. Then it gave me the once over and continued to chirp.
I left the owl to its business and headed home.

Back in the woods I heard:
Who...who who...who cooks for you!


  1. What a wonderful way to spend Mothers Day, out exploring!! Your herd looks so healthy and happy, even Fred. I just want to hug the fuzzy guy. I like when equine are pastured in areas with variation. Much more interesting than easily grazing their faces full in nothing but fenced grass. Like our horses. Mule Killer Hill?! No wonder you are in such great shape, and you found an owl!! Whooo was looking at you with their keen eyes. I think it might be a Short Ear? Not sure. I love owls and am trying to learn more about them. Where/how to spot etc. I love shooting them, of course with my camera. Finding them is not easy. I heard and saw (as it flew away through the trees) my first owl on our land just a few weeks ago. They roost but do not nest in pines. It only took me four years to find one here, insert eye roll. I've never heard of the owl call "...who cooks for you". That's a good one. Reminds me of the Whippoorwill's "pray for rain, pray for rain" song ref.

  2. This owl is easy to ID without seeing up close. We have about 3 pairs of them in the surrounding woods. I am surrounded by nearly 1,000 acres of unoccupied land. In this 'section' there are a total of 4 homes on the outskirts of land.
    Oh it is a barred owl that I saw.
    Here is a link to the Audubon Society and songs of the owls:

    I do love owls they are just so cool. Of course the nights when they would swoop down on my vehicle when I was coming in from a midnight shift scared the CRAP out of me!
    I hope you get to see more owls.
    Did you ever get a good look at the bird that was singing for us? It was not a warbler, my mistake! I don't know what it was, my photo wasn't very good.

    1. Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it. Loved hearing the Barred Owl, made me laugh out loud. They sure are wondering who is cooking for them. I got a fairly good shot of the bird we saw, it is a Towhee. Jury is out on which one, but I think it's an Eastern Towhee based on the reddish eye.

  3. It is always fun to see animals kicking up their heels and enjoying spring. I smile and remember the lambie wave when I helped with the lambing out west. The joy of they expressed in the running and jumping while the ewes ate. :). Thank you for taking me along on your walk.

  4. As I was unpacking the car I heard an owl in our woods probably just passing through:)