The last time we had anyone out from the power company to do any work was around Christmas of 2005, and we decided the “Merry Christmas” the engineer hissed at us meant he was watching a bit too much Bill O’Reilly, and we would do whatever it took to keep the whole semiliterate pack of linemen away from the house. This week I’ve been working on setting up a generator to run power tools at the shop. I’m having to revamp one of the outbuildings to keep it out of the weather. It’s one the mules peeled the siding from and ate like a crudites platter when we let them overwinter in that field. They also cribbed the sides of an old wagon down to the bed and a couple of sills off the windows of the shop.
They crib when they’re bored, or lonely, or have other unresolved personality issues. Part of the problem is they no longer have free-access hay. We feed them several times a day instead, which has seems to have slowed the progress of the eldest mule, Andy, towards his grave. He looks much better than when he arrived, rocking back on his feet from a lack of farriery and sporting a big swaying roll of fat that hung off the side of his neck as a direct result of standing all day with his head in a bucket of grain. “Once they get crestfallen like that” the vet said, “you need to start digging a hole.” Well, those weren’t his exact words. He just said he had no idea if there was anything that would fix it.
Now I know if you ever have a mule or horse who’s beginning to founder, you give them some old wooden vehicles and a shack or two to eat. Seems to clear it right up.

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