Friday, 28 September 2012

Roller's Philosophical Friday: Flexibility!

Dear Muleteers, my Dragon friend has been demostrating how flexible she is... when you gotta scratch and there's no human around to help you've got to do the best you can!

This got me thinking about being flexible and how the more of a bendy approach to life you take the easier it can be.  Living with two rather greedy mules I have to be a little flexible in my approach to ensuring I am fed adequately.  I've learnt that if I let them both argue with each other about who's haynet it is or which tuft of grass belongs to who they forget that I'm there and I can sneak in when they're not looking!  Being the diddiest member of the gang I can also reach my head under the lowest of fences and I have been known to sink on to my knees to commando crawl under the rails.... see flexibility in approach brings rewards!

I have also noticed that if I take the longest to come in from the paddock at night FH gets a little concerned and fends off the others while I receive my yummy banana peel or vitamin pellets, if you are just quiet and slow you get all the hugs and cuddles - everyone loves on underdog (that should be underpony I think!)

So here's my quote for the day!

I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
Everett Dirksen

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

All Creatures Great and Small

Greetings Miaowleteers!  Catanian here, I have been keeping everyone in check and monitoring the Muleteers but I have recently noticed newcomers to Muleteer HQ.  It seems that all creatures great and small want to call this fine place their home.  We are always happy to share as long as these newcomers don't steal our food, as a feline I do like to size up the new arrivals to check their edibility (don't worry muleteers I hardly ever eat anyone as FH feeds me gourmet cat food so I'm too full!).  I was a little taken aback though when I glanced a snake hiding in my paddock, I am not normally a fraidy cat and will take on anything..... but I didn't really like the look of this invader all curled up in one of Dragon's hoof prints.

One look at this thing and I decided to watch from a safe distance!  At least I don't think this serpent can get me up here.  

I watched a little more and noticed than my snake invader uncurl and start to try and move towards me.... it looks a little angry!

The invader has a forked tongue.... how peculiar!  

Don't worry though Muleteers, FH came and told me that this rather fierce looking creature is in fact a slow worm not a snake at all and is certainly not dangerous.  In fact it's an endangered species that catches slugs and snails so we're very lucky to have him stop by, he is a slow worm with taste as he's come to Muleteer HQ.  I've been forbidden from hunting Mr Slow Worm by FH, she says there will be no special cat treats if I'm bad, secretly I have no idea where you'd start with Mr Slow Worm so I think I'll leave him be.....  

Which leads me on to my next invaders, now surely Miaowleteers these neighbours are no match for the mighty Catanian?  In case I need my trusty weapons I ensure that my claws are ready for action!

These boys don't look like a match for Catanian, I'm sure I could make one of them dinner if I really tried?  Somehow though I don't really feel hungry, they look like a large meal to me so I'll leave them be for the moment.....

On to my final invader of the evening... this one came hopping out from under a log!  There it was, ugghh it's all slimy and doesn't look very attractive.  This toad is definitely no Prince Charming.... I think I won't bother to kiss him! 

Finally I had considered the eating or leaving merits of all of the invaders of muleteer HQ until I decided to have a look at the strange creature that keeps pointing a funny box that flashes and clicks at me.... hmmm this looks like it could be a lot of fun to investigate, I wonder if it's edible?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Life's Lessons from a Mini Mule

What's the secret to life? Love, bananas, friends, excitement, trust or adventure?  Sometimes you humans need a little gentle nudging so here is Dr Mini's lessons in life, hopefully some of these will ring a bell with you my muleteer friends :-)

No matter what others say you are always the biggest and best in the world!

In case you hadn't noticed I am a giant in the world, the biggest, the best and most definitely No. 1 (just ask FH!).  Let me tell you muleteers if you don't believe in yourself then why should anyone else?  I may be on the small side but I can promise you I have a heart the size of an elephant and will take on challenges much bigger than my diminutive size would suggest.  When you walk in the room make sure you are silently confident that you are the biggest, best and worth every moment of someone's time.

Trust a few but trust a lot

This has been a big problem for me muleteers, I have been let down in the past but wow it can be great when you learn to trust.  Be careful in your choices but let those trustworthy few in and trust them with anything.  Life is so much nicer when you have someone to scratch your itchy bits, have someone to hold your hoof when the mule doctor comes and to just sit and be with :-)

When you've found your few treat them well and try not to test their trust too much!

Face your fears head on, don't turn your back and run

Us mules do not believe in facing our fears with our backs turned or running the other way.  We will always face our fears head on.  If you can see and control your fears then you have a much better chance of fighting your demons.  This mini mule will never turn his back on something scary, I want it just where I can see it and then I'll think carefully about how to deal with things.  I've seen you humans avoid the very thing that frightens you, how will it ever get any better?  So confront that fear, ears forward, dog defenders at the ready and remember you are the biggest and the best!

Even when you have no chance of success you should still try

I will never be an olympic athlete just as FH will never be an award winning singer, but we'll both give it a go!  She'll sing at the top of her lungs whilst doing the chores and I'll prance beautifully up the lane. If you don't try you'll never know?  Regrets are so much worse than failure, at least you should try muleteers. FH recently had a go at something that she knew was never gonna happen but hey she enjoyed trying and can now 'put it to bed', it's worth a try, trust me on this :-)

My application for 'King of the Universe' was turned down but hey it was worth a try, maybe next time?!
Choose your friends carefully and look after those you choose

When it comes to friends muleteers what's important is quality rather than quantity.  Have those friends that just being with is enough, you know the ones that you just 'get' and who you enjoy being with, simple! When you find those friends make sure you look after them, you never know when you might need them.

Some friends with come and go and some will always be there; they are all important and have different places in your life, I've had many friends who have been with me for a little while only but I treated them well while our lives were on the same path.  Take time to make new friends too muleteers, new friends add a new dimension to your life!

Sometimes those that are different add the most to your life

On the subject of friends, always appreciate different.  Once upon a time I detested all felines but I was really wrong.  Now I have Catanian.  We can all learn from those that are different to us, they can sometimes be the bestest of friends, what is it they say opposites attract?  FHs best friend lives in the big city, has no interest in long ears or mud but this makes no difference or all the difference depending on which way you look at it!

Whatever you are faced with - always maintain your sense of humour

In the words of a very wise human - always look on the bright side of life!  Life is far too short and precious to take too seriously.  Making others laugh or laughing yourself is one of the best pleasures in life!  Us mules definitely believe in the power of laughter, when FH needs it we'll cover her in mud, leap on her shoulder (if you're Catanian), sit on her lap, snort on her cleanest trousers or buck and cavort until she cracks a grin! Problem, generally solved ;-)

Have patience with those that are learning

We all have to start somewhere surely?  Have you ever driven really close behind a learner driver, swished your tail angrily at the cashier in the shop because they don't know how to work the card machine or stomped your feet because the pedicurist is a little bit on the slow side?

Having been the learner surely we should all be able to behave as the 'learned' and give these new starters a little bit of a helping hoof?  Remember that first pedicure, that first drive, the first ride on the road, the first time you had to strike out in the big world, wasn't it good if people were nice to you?  Patience, it's one of the best traits you can have!

Life doesn't have to be 'perfect' to be perfect

You humans are obsessed with perfection!  Everything must be just so, the floor must be swept, the lawn must be manicured, your hair must be perfect (hmmm FH hasn't heard of this!), your job must be perfect, your home must be perfect.... you get the idea muleteers?  What ever happened to good enough?  Although you should always strive for more there is no shame in good enough sometimes.  Although I myself am perfect my mule home is a little lopsided, my paddock could be bigger and by January will be mostly mud, my rug is a little brown and has a few holes in it, my legs are a little on the short side and I have a less than perfect hairdo but then perfection is what you make it.  Perfection is a simple hug, the sunshine peeking through the clouds, making a little difference every day and being true to who you are.

Never pass up the opportunity to take a stroll with a friend

Never pass up on opportunities Muleteers, one day it will be the last walk, the last kiss, the last hug or the last neighbray, make every one count and don't 'sit life out'.

Take time out to be alone and reflect on life 

I love to be in the thick of it, checking out what everyone's up to but I also know a little secret.  Sometimes it's just great to be on your own.

Eat well and play with your food at every opportunity!

Food is the BEST!  Forget whatever your parents told you!  Eat, play and enjoy!  Food was given to us all to be happy, if you're like me you can never get enough but guess it's best not to be too greedy.... although I would really like some more!


Live for today

Yesterday, tomorrow, the future, the past, next week, someday, never, whenever..... gosh I'm not surprised you humans are so busy, you're always thinking about what's been and gone and what may or may not arrive.  Us non-human animals have a definite advantage to you lot, we don't do dwelling, regretting, worrying about yesterday or planning for tomorrow and the day after, we just get on with what the day brings and it feels good.  Today it was wet, it felt good on my coat so I bucked and kicked and squealed - what a great day!

Trust your instincts

Mules are great judges of character (even if we do say so!).  We have a sixth sense, we can read people like a book because we have a sixth sense that you humans seem to have lost.  It's still there though, if it doesn't feel right don't do it and if that person doesn't feel right they probably aren't.  Trust your gut instinct and stop making excuses!

Be happy in your own skin

This is the most important one Muleteers, until you have this lesson learned life will be difficult.  This needs no explanation, I hope you get there - Dr Mini xx

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Winter Woolies!

Dear Muleteers, I've decided it's time.... time to make sure I'm fully prepared for winter, that's right it's time to grow my 25 tog Roller duvet!  Gone are the days of my lovely sleek golden coat and here I am working up to my winter woolies!  In these days of chilly nights, frosty morning and blue sky days it really is time to make sure that I am fully equipped for the weather.  As the Royal Marines say..."There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing"!  I think I look a bit like a Royal Marine?  Don't you?  Handsome, muscular, quick, bold, brave and of course ready for anything!
This is my effort so far, I've got my double coat coming through, there's no time for the sandy golden colour that blends in with the golden grasses of summer, no it's now time for golden grey of my winter coat - I will blend in with the snow if it ever arrives!

It seems like a long time since I was this sleek and shiny!

I'm not quite there yet Muleteers, I have a little way to go until I have my full covering, here I am last winter, definitely the right clothing!

My Muleteer companions are also making sure they're not caught out by the weather, Dragon looked fine in her summer clothes, shiny and sleek!

Not now though Muleteers, my Dragon has toughened up her scales and is growing a winter duvet coat that is only rivalled by mine!  She does still look mulificent!  The Mini is time delayed and still looks rather sleek, don't tell him though he does need to freeze a few pounds off so we're not too worried ;-)

It's such hard work growing this coat, must be time for a snooze!  Hope you're all tucked up warm and have brushed off your winter coats and duvets!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Roller's Philosophical Friday: Sunshine

Dear Muleteers.  Another week closer to my favourite season of the year!  I have noticed though that Autumn is upon us and with it some of the humans are despairing of the months to come.  The sunshine that goes with Summer is fantastic and we all love to bathe in it but sometimes you must take your own weather with you.... you see when the winter is at its hardest or the days are dark and my pony bucket is a little empty of carrots I remember that I can make my own sunshine.

My sunshine comes from within, after all is life not too short to spend half of our lives in Autumn and Winter?  So Muleteers everywhere you go always take the weather with you - just make sure it's sunny!

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. 
Anthony J. D'Angelo 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Queen Callie of Dreamland

Even super mules get sleepy!
Greetings Muleteers!  How tiring life is.... I spend most of the day eating but I'm also expected to chuckle at the humans (aka neighbray) to keep them happy and attentive, I have to guard Mule HQ, see off the local dogs and cats (except Catanian of course), inspect the boundaries at every opportunity, entertain countless guests, stand on three legs, look good, assist with gardening and hedge laying, keep watch over the minis and be personal beautician to them both, I even have to carry the human - how much can a girl take?!!  So when the sun was shining, the humans weren't looking and the minis were stuffing their faces I just decided to catch up on some beauty sleep!

I don't mind admitting that I'm rather fond of  a good snooze in the sunshine folks, I like a nice high up spot in the field so that I can stare in to the distance and keep check on the surroundings, I like to have my boys near so that they can protect me from any intruders, I need a full tummy with plenty of straw, some nice warm grass and the tweeting of the birds hurrying to fatten up for winter.

The Minis are essential company for a spot of dozing
When I lay down I am still nearly as tall as my mini mule pal!
I fell asleep so deeply that I think when I woke up I must have been daydreaming a little as I looked across and saw a strange creature, it looked like the push-me-pull-you creature from Dr Doolittle.... surely this was only a figment of my imagination? Perhaps it's time to get up and stop snoozing if I have such strange dreams....

The Mini and Roller or a strange Push-Me-Pull-You?
Wherever you are Muleteers sweet dreams, may they all come true - Queen Callie (at least in my dreams!) xx

Monday, 17 September 2012

Invasion of the Metal Mule

Dearest Muleteers I think FH has gone a little odd on her visit to the big city!  On her return her and MH brought us Muleteers something to look at... it would appear that they have acquired a pack mule?!  But not a normal pack mule they've acquired a less than mulificent pack mule... this is not a living, breathing creature with divine ears and voice.... no it is a piece of metal with wheels where there should be hooves?  Whatever has come over those humans.....

So we watched very carefully as MH wheeled this contraption in to our paddocks, we were not amused at the thought of having to share our home with such a pretender.  Apparently this mule does not require food, water, love or scratches, we have our suspicions that it is an alien!

Roller and I decided to have a closer look at this pretender, admittedly it was about our size and has legs at each corner but we are definitely convinced it is not from this planet.  Even Callie the brave sniffed out the pretender and decided that this was not a mule she would be flirting with (must be bad!)

MH decided to try to convince us by taking the pretender on a walk in to the paddock, well it's 4 hoof drive capabilities are rubbish and it seems a little obtuse and is not very forward going, definitely something not right here?

So I left Dragon and Roller to inspect further.... note the swishing tails, they are most certainly sussing out the pretender..


After a while I decided to ask FH what was going on, she is normally reasonably sane although I'm not sure this time!

It would appear that it's ok muleteers, this contraption has been acquired to help with the jobs around the yard, it is a more mulificent version of the wheel barrow and FH tells me that it will be perfect for carrying tonnes of yummy carrots and hay, well ok she actually only mentioned straw and shavings but a mule can dream!

But then.... another possibility has come to mind... now wouldn't I look mulificent pulling along the metal mule, now we'll see which mule's in charge then ;-)

Friday, 14 September 2012

Roller's Philosophical Friday: Loss

Dear Muleteers, this week has been sad but glad for our FH. It has marked the passing of time since she lost someone irreplaceable but has also brought with it good memories of times gone by.  Us Muleteers know when she disappears in to her thoughts and needs a little cheering up; we are always happy to lend a snuffle, give her a pony mane to sink her nose in to and inhale (honestly this is her favourite thing!) or if you're the Mini you will sit in her lap....
The person that she lost taught her to always think big, that every story has two sides, that the natural world is a thinking person's playground and that much can be achieved through quiet thought and talking.  We will never have enough time with those that we truly love but in life's grand scheme there is not a lot us mere mortals can do to change this.  What we can do is remember and enjoy what was and make sure that we always take the lessons that were left for us by the people we are lucky enough to have loved and shared time with.

So here is my thought for today with this in mind:

"They whom we love and lost are no longer where they were before.  They are now wherever we are."
St. John Chrystostom

In loving memory of a man who gave much more than he took and left a legacy of memories, thoughts and values that live on in those of us whose lives he touched :-)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Mules: In a Nutshell

Worker, fighter, thinker, comedian... handsome!
Greetings Muleteers!  FH is often asked why mules?  There are some long answers but she has recently found the best short answer yet - it says it all!

So thanks Robert Miller!  Here's what he has to say...

"When asked why I like mules? I say "If you knew a man who would rarely start a fight, but was always capable of finishing one, who had very good judgement, high intelligence, a tremedous work ethic, but would never allow himself to be taken advantage of or overworked, what would your opinion of that person be?" Most people say that sounds like a person with character!"

That perfectly describes mules and it's the reason that we are the apple of our human's eye! 

We would like to add that it also has something to do with our amazing good looks, mulificent hearing, sense of humour and all round niceness :-)

Have a good week Muleteers, FH is off to the big city this week, we're happy not to be going too....

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Dartmoor Mule Rides in Autumn

Today I was a big grown up muletta and went for a lovely ride on Dartmoor, just us two girls.  Until today I have only been allowed on to the very biggest expanse of the moor with a mule sitter.... my short eared friend Bree who shows me the ropes.  But today I went up there on my own!  It is a very wild place where not many humans go; the secret part that we come to was very quiet this morning except for the sheep, ponies and cows in the distance.  Dartmoor covers nearly 400 square miles and in the olden days there were people that lived on the high parts of the moor and farmed, more recently there were mines and peat extraction but now it is a national park which means it is open to all, including us long ears!  There are also the Pixies who live here, I've told you about before (sometimes they are called the Dini), FH never believes me but I know they're there, she just doesn't look hard enough!

We covered quite a few mule miles, going up and down steep slopes (no saddle slippage anymore - yippee!), through streams, weaved in between the granite boulders and we narrowly avoided the yucky bogs that this part of Dartmoor is famous for.  
For once I had to really listen to FH as unlike most of the time she knew more about where I should put my feet than I did.  The moor is a bit of a skill to ride, there are so many things you need to know; what are sheep tracks that lead nowhere and what are mule tracks that lead to where we need to go, what is a bog and what isn't, what is hidden beneath the bracken and which parts of the streams you can cross at, if you don't know the area it can be very dangerous.  It would seem FH has been practising up here without me, I am most upset but guess it's been to my advantage?

We had been out for a while when I spied a strange creature in the distance... it looked very peculiar in amongst the sheep and cows and bracken, it seemed to be running on two legs directly for us!  Oh no muleteers I think it may be a monster?!  I have my bravest mule ears on and am stood very still ready to run if needed.... But no, don't worry it's Man Human (MH) all dressed in lycra and he seems to be running?  What a strange individual my favourite human can be sometimes!  It would appear that he enjoys spending time running around the moor, I wonder if he got lost?  So he stopped by for a quick hello and scratch of my ears and we persuaded him to take some pictures of my mulificence!  Here I am cooling my beautiful little toes in a Dartmoor stream....

But wait what's that over on the bank?  I spy some lovely sedge grass, my favourite!  FH pretended not to notice and continued to stare in to the distance, if you look closely though she has definitely rumbled me, I must get better at adopting 'Casual Ears' when I lock on to a tasty morsel!

So off MH ran and continued on his slightly crazy moor running trip leaving us behind to make progress at the right pace (my pace) and to stop every now and again to take in the beauty of the moor at this time of year.  The grass is just getting brown, the ponies are plump and the ground is finally drying out - all in time for the W word! 

Alas, all good things must come to an end so we started on our way back, the mist of the morning had risen and the track back was full of lovely views and morsels to eat. 

Bye Dartmoor, we'll be back again very soon!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Roller's Philosophical Friday: Positivity!

Dearest Muleteers.  Sometimes life can get you down and everything can be difficult but in the words of a very wise human that we know you can always find 'the positive from the negative'.  Us muleteers are full of positivity; we don't have a wrong side of the bed, bad hair days, PMT or chocolate withdrawal.

So this brought me to this wonderful quote for Friday, when life seems a little tough there is always one thing to rely on - the power of positivity!  Try it muleteers, it's really hard sometimes to see the good from the bad but if you practice counting up all the good things in your life I promise they are there, sometimes we just need to remember them :-)

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference! The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it's positive or negative.
W. Clement Stone

Til next week Muleteers!  Sending you all Roller snuffles to spread the power of positivity!