Sunday, May 15, 2011
We are in the springtime cycle of events and farming. Get home, rush around breathlessly trying to catch up, pack for another event and off again. The oxen are wonderful at it. We see endless children and somehow the oxen just seem to be a bottomless pit of patience. There has been more interest this year in using oxen for subsistence farms and other small or hobby farm applications. I still think that if all I had was a kitchen garden a single ox would be the most practical of all draft animals.
We learned another use of a word in cattle language. We have always known that shaking the horns from side to side was a challenge. I called the oxen into the paddock by the barn. James came in before George and was standing well away from his feed pan blocking George's path. When George came in, he shook his head from side to side. James did not panic as if he had been challenged by a dominant animal, he just simply moved up out of George's way. I think the context gave this signal a different meaning. It gives me something else to look for in their language.
Charlie continues to show his complete understanding of fences. Bright is separated from the other horses for training. I fed her in the round pen. As soon as I walked away, Charlie used his horns to pick up the round pen and move it past Bright's feed pan so he could get at her food. A second incident, I fed the pigs the other day. Charlie left his food to go dismantle the pig pen to get their food. He is back staked again for everyone's protection.
Posted by Gerry Barker at 1:13 PM