Mid January Jo, my wife, and I attended the annual Evans-71 high school bonfire at the ranch of one of Jo’s classmates in Howey-in-the- Hills, FL. The bonfire has become an annual event so that the alumni of Evans High School, Orlando, can have a good excuse to get together to burn some firewood, eat delicious food, talk about guns, and enjoy catching up with each other. Liz, a schoolmate, and husband own the ranch where the bonfire is hosted. The ranch has two types of animals and they are treated accordingly, pets and non-pets. The distinction between the two types is that the pets have a name.
Meet Mugsy, a working mule.
Even though Mugsy lives and works in the field, he has a name, he is a working mule. At this time of the year Mugsy lives in the north 40, yes, they still use those terms today because he’s in the northern 40 acres. Mugsy’s job is to keep the coyotes from getting the cows and calves and Mugsy takes his job seriously.
One of the things Jo likes to do when visiting Liz is to go out in the field and treat Mugsy to some carrots and pellets. Recently Mugsy was seen running off a black bear from near the cattle and calves. He’s a good mule and takes good care of his flock. Just a week before we invaded Mugsy’s field a local sheriff saw Mugsy running a black bear out of the field and away from his charge.
You will notice that there is a working Mule in each separate field. The Mule to the left is actually Mugsy’s mom. She is the closest to the ranch house since she is pregnant.
Sometimes these cows are even cute. They love it when people come to visit. For some reason they took a liking to me. No matter where I went in or around the field a group of cows followed, mooing and nudging me for attention.
Meet Ferdinand, the big red Longhorn Bull. He is the master of the field where he lives yet he is as gentle as the fairy-tale Ferdinand. He we so curious about people, he moseyed right up to me and stuck his big, wet nose up for a kiss. Since I couldn’t do a selfie with my Canon 5d I’ll let you imagine what kissing a big red bull on the nose actually looks like.
These cows, although formidable, have a fantastic personality and are far more curious about me that I ever expected, and they were careful not to step on any of us. Ferdinand did get a little too close to Jo, my wife, and goosed her with one of those pointed horns. No harm done just a little surprised wife, I caught the audio on video but no audio.
Click the red box with the arrow to start the video, listen to Jo’s excitement about 1:15 in.
There were a couple more creatures on the ranch with personalities. Meet the family pet turkey, a monochromatic, yet beautiful specimen of avian splendor. Jake, I’ve changed his name to protect film from the dining table, waddled around all evening inspecting the chickens and keeping a sharp eye on all the human visitors. It was great listening to Jake interject his beliefs Ono all the political rhetoric being discussed by attendees.
Foghorn Leghorn, the barnyard rooster, kept everyone in line as he scratched the ground, chicken style, and crowed every few minutes well into the night. This is one of the fuzziest chickens I’ve ever seen.
Visiting the farm year is always fun and its great meeting up with such nice people from my wife’s class from Evans HS in Pine Hills, Orlando. Thank you Liz and Tommy for hosting this event, we truly love it and we’re looking forward to next year already.