‘Molly Mule’ video to premier at library

EASLEY — Gone may be the days when “Forty Acres and a Mule” was the recipe for family prosperity. But with the growing surge in home food production, and high fuel and machinery costs, who knows when man’s best friend may once again turn out to be the one that pulls the plow?

And who among us remembers how to rig the harness and persuade the mule to “lay off” a garden row?

When staff volunteers at Birchwood Center for Arts and Folklife inquired among themselves, not one claimed mule-and-plow proficiency.

Luckily, Birchwood board member Olivia Fowler and her husband Roy operate a small family farm near Liberty. There, the long-time best friend was Molly Mule, who for decades of seasons had turned the garden soil in the spring, vanquished summer weeds from picture-perfect rows, and in the fall turned under the remains of bountiful crops.

Yes, the Fowlers owned a tractor. But lacking mule sense, it had to be told what to do. Not quite so, with Molly.

The Fowlers’ friend Jim Dunlap of Six Mile is a proficient videographer, and in 2009 at planting time Dunlap and his camera followed Roy Fowler through the intricacies of hitching Molly to the plow, turning the soil, planting and cultivating. Sadly, in the spring after that last crop was made, Molly died of ripe old age.

The product, a 50-minute video they aptly called, “Molly Mule,” will be premiered for the public at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Aug. 25, at the Capt. Kimberly Hampton Public Library, in Easley. Produced by Olivia Fowler and edited by Mark Cochran, with original music by Jackson Sparks, the video is intended as a means of keeping what long was a life-enabling skill from being lost, when it may well be needed again.

Everyone is invited to the showing, and admission is free. Copies will be available for purchase.

For more information, call Birchwood Center at (864)878-7579.