We have three four-legged members of the family, Spike, Ike and Donny.
Please note that I had nothing to do with the naming of the mules. Actually, the Country Boy didn’t either. All three were named before they joined us. I’d like to think that, had we been the ones to name them we would’ve given them maybe more creative names.
Of course, you may be thinking to yourself that this comment this comes from a family whose favorite duck is named Ducky. His name is actually Duckster McQuacken. We just call him Ducky for short.
Then again, given the fact that I broke my nose 6.2 seconds into my first ride on Spike after he bucked me off and into Ike, their names that I would’ve given to them may not have been appropriate for publishing. So, we’ll have to trust that God knew what he was doing when he had them named.
Spike and Ike are brothers and best buddies. They hang out by one another all of the time and whine when the other leaves for a ride or to get brushed down. They’re the two that always head to Colorado for the big hunt.
Donny was the later addition to the family. Country Boy got him because he’s about a foot shorter than the other guys and the previous owner said that even a novice rider (ie, me) could handle him.
He reared up twice the first time I tried to ride him. I haven’t gotten on him again.
The three boys are just like any other family. Every day it seems like they try to set the pecking order. Ike usually ends up being the boss. He has had that role since day one. To get it, he usually would buck or nip or push his way past the other mules.
When Donny arrived, he upset the apple cart a bit. He started off quiet and reserved – staying in the background, not socializing with the others. Then we started to see him getting a bit more bold. Finally, he started to challenge Ike for king of the mountain status. That usually didn’t get him much because Spike and Ike would head off for the big trip where they really WERE kings of the mountains. Donny just couldn’t compete with that.
Since moving to the farm, things have been a little different. The soggy weather – it started raining in April and never stopped – kept the boys stuck more in the barn than out in the open pasture. The close confines brought out the bossy in Spike. He nips constantly at Donny in the next stall, especially while Donny is eating. That causes Donny to kick, which has led to boards in the separator wall to break more than once. Spike has also pushed Ike out of the way when it’s feeding time and doesn’t wait for the girls and I to get the food onto the stall before charging for it. Half the time I’m worried about hitting them with the pitch fork.
The phrase,”You know, it’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out,” goes through my head just like it did when I was a kid.
So, why do I bring this up? And what’s with the title? Several reasons why I think of the mules while watching my girls and vice versa:
- Seeing the girls go from perfect playmates to crazed enemies and back to playmates in the span of 30 seconds
- Watching how my sweet girls (oh, OK, I’m just as guilty) react when the need for food arises
- Hearing the whine when one doesn’t get to do something that the other is doing
Yes, indeed, the pecking order battle inside the house happens daily just like the one in the barn.
I just hope my nose stays out of it as much as it can.