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Mules: The Middle Link of The Evolution of Manpower

Updated on January 20, 2020
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.

The Hard Labor of Manual-Farming

Source

The Man in The Top Photo

shows us just how his farming tools could be considered primitive, but this was a great start in the fields of turning the sod in order to plant the seeds that he had in order for a good harvest that would help feed his family.

Mules Were The Middle Link of Manpower

Source

My Friend, The Mule, Deserves Recognition

about the mule, the hybrid offspring of a male ass (jackass, or jack) and a female horse (mare). The less-happening cross between a female ass and a male horse results in a hinny, or hinney, which is smaller than mules. Mules are beasts of burden in Asia Minor at least 3,000 years ago and still used today lots of the parts of the world due to their ability to endure hardships and perform work under conditions too severe for many other draft and pack animals. Mules are usually sterile.

Please, I beg of you. Do not be so modern that although you were born on a farm and you helped your dad while he walked behind a mule and planted, sewed seeds, and then harvested your food. If you were really a farm child, do not fret. I will not harass or make any light of you. I give you this promise. Fact is, I love mules. In my 66 years on this earth, I can honestly say that mules have NEVER brought to me any measure of headache, heartache, or even depression. Mules are such animals that if we respect them, they respect us.

You think, probably, that I do not mean to be this serious about mules, but friends, I am. And have been serious about them since I was 12. Sure. Our dad’s mule was a very-hard worker and I considered her a family member, but she did not like for me to get on her and ride like “Rowdy Yates,” (a young Clint Eastwood on CBS’ Rawhide), because she did not like it so much that she got rid of me from her back in seconds flat and did not apologize. There, on the ground, is when I began to look at mules in a very different way.

To Prove My Point

I now will share a few of the famous mules that I have read about. There was: Francis, Britt and the every-famous Redbo. Yes. You read this for yourself. Over the years, mules have been around to help sculpt our country and made its history while they were at it. All without one grumble, gripe, or bellyache. Oh, sure. I am sure that there were those mules who loved to act stubborn, (as most of us humans can be), but when all of the demands were yelled by their owners, the stiff-necked mules got their act together and made some fine work mules.

Speaking of work mules. This is not a name of fantasy, but a true fact. These specially-bred mules were made for hard work. They carried a lot of supplies either by pack or wagon across the early western United States as well as made themselves and their owners a good share of respect for transporting visitors up and down Grand Canyon. Mules, I might have said it earlier, but it bears repeating. Mules are very versatile. They can several things, but they cannot talk. But there was “Gus,” the football-field-goal-kicking mule for Disney Studios (1976) starring Ed Asner and Don Knotts. There were many mules all outstanding in their work, but their humble obedience kept them from making it a big thing. You might appreciate another bit of information about “Gus,”-- the 1976 American family comedy film by Walt Disney Productions, directed by Vincent McEveety the film did very well at the box office and was released on home video in 1981.

Unless you have been given the opportunity to meet a mule and to talk to the mule, you are missing one of the greatest areas of happiness that you can find in our universe. I should know. Our mule, “Gray Bones,” a solid-white mule, yes, the one who bucked me off her back and ended my short-career of being a stunt double for Clint Eastwood, loved us. I have to believe this. We never had to tell or yell her do anything. She was told when it was feeding time and after a time or who, all we did was whistle and she walked very casually to her feeding box (my dad had built) and ate every bite of her corn in the same cool, casual fashion of how she walked. I have always harbored (this) secret about her: I thought for years that she understood everything we asked her to do---and we made sure that we did not expect her to tackle any task that would cause her any injury. Mules were very beneficial to the early American farming sectors.

Tractors Took The Place of Manual and Mule-Powered Farming

Source

The Man in The Photo Above

was “the” last link of the Evolution of Manpower: the tractor. This machine all but rid farmers of slow and meticulous mule-power that helped farmers get their crops planted and harvested. A farmer might sit comfortably on the seat of his tractor and just ride through several acres of farmland while a disk, (made of several sharp blades) removed the weeds from his field. All that he had to be concerned about was keeping the tractor running in a straight line.

The Breakthrough-Date of The Invention of The Tractor

1892,In 1892, John Froelich invented and built the first gasoline/petrol-powered tractor in Clayton County, Iowa, US. A Van Duzen single-cylinder gasoline engine was mounted on a Robinson engine chassis, which could be controlled and propelled by Froelich's gear box.

When The First Tractors Appeared

multitudes probably gasped at seeing the first tractor that did not depend on manual or animal-power, but simple gasoline or some other chemical combination. And when the fear passed, farmers with a sharp-thinking insight of what lay in store for them when the tractors proved how much work the farmer could do in one day. It was more than amazing.

Then, other farmers watched other farmers using tractors and the die was cast. Almost every man who owned a farm and depended on it for selling or growing food for their kitchen tables, just had to buy a tractor. But this was not a simple feat of going to the nearest tractor site in order to talk dollars and cents about what a tractor could and could not do and another feat to be in the farmer's way was in the first days of the tractor, the men had to travel to another nearby state to just look at these "gasoline-powered mules.," and looking was about all the farmers could do was look due to them not being financial lucrative.

But in time, banks and tractor store owners began to finance their tractors and this in itself was a wonderful feat of modern machinery.

January 20, 2020____________________________________________________

© 2020 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      17 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Doris,

      (Seriously) I have to hand it to you in your expertise and wit in managing Jude. What a sweet name. I love it. I am right now, almost ready to do my Paul McCartney channeling of "Hey, Jude," but no one but me and God would hear it, so . . .naaaah.

      You did outdo my feeble attempt to be Rowdy Yates on my dad's mule who proved to be "if a mule is quiet, leave her be," and that mule knew that it was right. Thank God that she stopped bucking just long enough to see if I was okay. How nice.

      I do see your Country Connection of men driving tractors and another man using a mule to plow a produce garden. Doris, old ways and new things many times do not mix. I am with the man with the mule, by the by.

      Ahhh, Doris. Not too long until springtime. And this season brings me sinus allergies that last for 2 weeks, an annual rite of passage; plus getting to get into the sun and be nice to bumblebees.

      This has been so much fun.

      Let's do some research and see what other rural icons are still out there.

      We could be a real X-Files.

      Peace.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      18 months ago from Beautiful South

      Okay, my southern friend, I can just see you lying on the ground looking up at that mule. I know mules, too, because my grandma had one. Her name was Jude, and grandma used her to plow a large truck patch in which she raised vegetables for the family. Where did "truck" garden come from, anyway? The men in the family drove tractors through the fields, all but grandpa, that is, but grandma loved plowing with her Jude. Tractor or mule, I was too small to care.

      As a teenager, my Sunday school class went to the ranch of our teacher. Those fine horses thought they were too good for the likes of me to ride and kept running my legs into the fence trying to brush me off. Finally I gave up and got on the back of the teacher's mule. We got along just fine, but the next day at school I was so sore I could hardly walk. That was probably the most embarrassing day I spent in high school. That was also the last time I rode a mule. But I believe I outlasted you on that mule that day.

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