Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting it done

Oxen are such amazing creatures. It is not just the personalities, it is their ability to make decisions that constantly surprises us. Sunday afternoon we had to move two round bales. This is not a normal pattern for us. Most ox work is done in the mornings. I called them and they dutifully trooped in to the paddock by the barn to be hooked up. Now, they know that when they are called in it means work. There is no question, however, that they will come in when they are called. We yoked them and hitched to the stone boat and went to the other end of the farm for the round bales. Since this was the first time we had done this job since last spring, there was a little confusion, but their work was perfect. The thing that surprised Maria and I most was that once the oxen, and George, the lead ox in particular, had a picture of the work that was to be done, they simply, quietly and determinedly set out for the goal. For example, we stood a hay ring on end in preparation for delivering the hay bale. While Maria stood balancing the ring, I went back to the team and started them moving. George immediately headed for the ring with the sledge and bale. I laughed and let him go, stopping them when the bale was even with the ring. They do this logging, farming or pulling the wagon, with no lines or reins and never touched by whips. They just get the job done with clean efficiency.

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