As we put this issue (June/July 2017) to bed, I’m getting ready to start another round of travel, mostly for work, a little for pleasure, though those two categories tend to mix together for me more all the time.
Next week, I’ll head to Woodbury, Tenn., where Wagonmaster Grady George will let me tag along on the Mid Tennessee Mule Skinners' Wagon Train for a day. I'll stick around for the Mule Show these folks put on in Woodbury that Saturday, May 13, before heading home on Mothers' Day.
After that, we head to Bishop Mule Days, in southeastern California, where we’ll spend a week being amazed at the versatility of the modern mule and the friendliness of their owners. It will be our first trip there, and we are looking forward to it.
In June, my brother, Tom, and I are going on a weeklong bike ride from Eagle Lake, Wis., near the Michigan Upper Peninsula, to Prarie du Chien on the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin.
I will be back from that trip for a few days before we go to Ohio to visit Ralph and Connie Rice, a trip we had scheduled in March but had to postpone due to bad weather. Ralph is putting together a full schedule of field work with his Percherons, and other activities on his well-run farm.
The month finishes with me hopping a ride on the Friendship Wagon Train in southern Minnesota which raises money to send people with development disabilities to a one-week outdoor summer camp.
As always, July begins with a trip to Horse Progress Days, this year in Leola, Penn., June 30–July 1. We will again have a vendor booth and I will be talking with equipment manufacturers, taking photos and visiting friends I see only once a year at HPD.
Later in the month, I will be visiting Jerry Hicks and Jerry Neff, who operate a farm called The Jerrys in Flemingsburg, Ky., using mostly horse and mule power to raise organic tobacco, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork and chickens.
Nebraska is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year and their plans to commemorate this anniversary will include an event called Convergence on Sacred Ground in Ash Hollow State Historical Park in Lewellen, Neb. Re-enactors will set up living history camps with farmsteaders, Native Americans, military and more, as they were in the 1860s when the state was founded. I will be there June 21–23.
Afterwards, I hope to continue west, eventually getting to Dorena, Ore., to spend some time with Walt Bernard at Workhorse Workshops and Ruby & Ambers Organic Farm in Dorena, Ore., where he hopes to have horse and teamster trainer Don Yerian train a horse of his and perhaps hold a clinic.
And then it’s August when I will have fewer long trips and more weekend outings to fairs, field days and harvestfests, within a few hours drive of home.
Scattered throughout these trips will also be runs down to Fairfield, Iowa, where the Southeast Iowa Draft Horse and Mule Association is putting in some plots of checked corn. I have shot them plowing and planting the fields, with Paul Bishop providing excellent explanation of how the system works. I look forward to shooting the culitvating and corn picking. Tony Garrett is on the cover of this issue with three of his handsome mules pulling a disc over one of these plots.
If you have an event or activity you'd like to talk to Joe about, shoot him an email at
or give him a ring. 319-362-3027