June 25, 2009

Americans moved West on the backs of mules

Although there were many treasures in early America such as gold and silver, for a period of years from 1823 to 1850, another treasure generated huge profits for those involved. The treasure? Mules!

Hard-headed, stubborn, unpredictable, ornery and ugly, the critters were sorely needed to pull the plows and wagons of the settlers and carry supplies to the miners and armies.

Originally started by Mexican traders from Mexico when they drove herds of Jacks, Jennets and mules to Missouri to trade to the power-hungry settlers needing mule-power for many reasons. The trade grew year by year with ever-increasing demand.

Read the rest of this facinating history lesson on Amarillo.com

Posted by News at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2009

Bookworm: The Donkey Who Carried the Wounded

The tragedy of Gallipoli and the story of Simpson and his Donkey have become immortilised in Australian folklore.

Conveying these strories to the next generation is not always an easy task.

From prolific Australian author Jackie French comes a new book for young readers which aims to bring the story of the courageous Jack Simpson and his trusty mate to life.

Learn more about this book on Babble Australia

Posted by News at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2009

'Donkey' award reflects Anzac spirit

One of the most iconic symbols of Gallipoli is of a man leading a donkey along a treacherously narrow cliffside path.

The donkey bears a critically injured soldier.

It says everything.

It's basically a bloke who has chosen to ignore the risk to his own life in favour of doing everything he can to save the life of another bloke.

Read the rest of the story about the Anzac Donkey award in the Hawkes Bay Today

Posted by News at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2009

40 Acres and a Mule

Historical Documents IN THE FIELD, SAVANNAH, GA., SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 15. January 16th, 1865.

Abandoned plantations and the promise of freedom draw former slaves to plant crops and create their own communities. Northern activists like Tunis Campbell arrive to offer help and a vision of black liberty. Emancipation is finally real -- until white planters return to claim their lands.

As Union soldiers advanced through the South, tens of thousands of freed slaves left their plantations to follow Union general William Tecumseh Sherman's army.

To solve problems caused by the mass of refugees, Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 15, a temporary plan granting each freed family forty acres of tillable land on islands and the coast of Georgia. The army had a number of unneeded mules, which were also granted to settlers.

Read the rest of this story on Jacksonville.com

Posted by News at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2009

Donkey museum opens in Crimea

A donkey museum has opened on a farm in the village of Zalesnoe in the Crimea, an autonomous republic on the northern coast of the Black Sea, the Ukrainian news agency Unian reports.

Over one hundred carts, harnesses, collars, and other donkey related souvenirs are exhibited in the first ever donkey museum to open not only in the Crimea, but the entire Ukraine, the founder of the museum, owner of the Wonder donkey farm, Nikolay Pomogalov told the Unian correspondent in a telephone interview.

Read more about this exciting new museum in the MosNews.

Posted by News at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2009

A mule ride into Molokai's storied history

A visit to Kalaupapa is the antithesis of sun-washed revelry in the Hawaiian Islands, but it's a story of human tragedy and bureaucratic atrocity that shouldn't be forgotten.

The status of this settlement as Kalaupapa National Historical Park, established in 1980 and overseen by the National Park Service, seeks to ensure that it isn't.

Read more about Molokia's mule rides on the San Jose Mercury News.

Or find out more by visiting the Molokia Mule Rides website at http://www.muleride.com

Posted by News at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2009

Hook Up a Mule and Plow

It's been a long time since you or I have a seen a mule plowing in a giant field. A mule was a beast of burden during our early years of growing cotton and corn.

According to Webster: "A mule is a hybrid offspring between a mare horse and a male ass or donkey." Mules are born male and female but sterile and cannot reproduce an offspring other than by a mare as described above.

Mules were big, beautiful and strong animals with long ears, a sharp back bone and huge muscles built for field work. They usually are deep red or black with manes cut short. A mule's hoof was different from a horse being a bit smaller and thinner and required a different type shoe.

Read the rest of this story on The Monticello News

Posted by News at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2009

Little Donkey with a Precious Load

It's been 12 months since the familiar clomp of hooves returned to Chalford. David Clensy visits the Cotwold village to see how Teddy the donkey is getting on as the latest in a long line of four-legged delivery boys.

It's a timeless sight, as the head-bowed donkey climbs the steep lanes of Chalford, his panniers overflowing with loaves and groceries.

Read more of Teddy's story on Bristol News at this link.

Teddy, the delivery donkey
Photo Credit: Chalford Donkey Project

You'll also want to follow Teddy's adventures on the Chalford Donkey Project blog. You'll find lots of great photos there!

Posted by News at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2009

Freighters of the Early Days

What was it like back in the days before the railroads covered the west?

I know the railroads came to Arizona fairly late compared with some other parts of the country. What I am wondering is how merchandise and supplies and so forth got moved around before the trains came. Did they use mule trains, or were people very self-reliant back then and didn't have to depend on a lot of traffic from the outside?

MuleFreighter01.jpg
Photo Credit: Unknown Photographer

Read the rest of the story in The Arizona Republic at http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2009/01/23/20090123azhist0123.html

Posted by News at 05:34 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2009

A Honey of a Day at Parma Park

Wranglers Test Out Mule-Driven Plow at Local Park

Can’t teach an new dog old tricks? Don’t tell Otis Calef that. Otis is a modern-day cowboy who loves to get out in the backcountry with his string of mules and enjoy the wilderness from the top side of a saddle.

Read more in the Santa Barbara Independent at http://www.independent.com/news/2009/jan/21/honey-day-parma-park/

Posted by News at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2009

Tradition Dies with Cocklewoman

For many years the wives from the village would work up to 10 hours a day gathering cockles by hand and then take them to sell on donkeys.

CockleWomen.jpg
Photo Credit: BBC News

Read the rest of their story on BBC News at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_west/7842297.stm

Posted by News at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)