Saturday, August 28, 2004

just some notes...

My father-in-law hunts elk in Idaho every year. He packs in on 3 mules and stays in the mountains for two weeks. Having mules is an adventure in itself. Yesterday I watched a farrier shoe the mules. Shoeing a mule is not a simple task. The hoof must be prepared, the shoe shaped and applied and the hoof finished. Mules are, as a rule, flighty creatures. Every time they see you the first thing that goes through their head is "Today he is going to eat me. He may not have eaten me in the past but today is the day." Distrustfull to say the least. Shoeing a mule, especially their hind hooves, keeps you in their blind spot. They are already waiting for you to gobble them up and since they can't see you they are especially nervous. A mule can kick forward or backward unlike a horse which (as I understand it) can only kick backward. So shoeing a mule is a sweaty task. Nervous, electric sweat. So as the farrier shoes, others try to occupy the time making small talk. You can't silently wait for the farrier to get the fool kicked out of him.

So we are waiting. As we are waiting I notice a large number of fire ants crawling about. The fire ant is my least favorite creature above even the completely unnecessary mosquito. If you are not in the southern United States you have the luxury of lying on the grass. I don't.

As we are talking I feel a small twinge near my nether regions. "Hmm, must have moved wrong and pulled a hair." Another. And another. This is a familiar sort of pain. I have a fire ant in my pants and he is taking it out on very sensitive areas of my body. I move quickly toward the rear of the barn, discretion, in this case, being the better part of not flashing my father-in-law. Once relieved of the offending creature I mosey (if you had had a fire ant latched on to your privates you'd have to move slowly too) back out to nervously wait for the farrier to get kicked. I just thought there was swelling after my vasectomy...

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