Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When times are tough, you want oxen. We had an unusual string of weather. The forecast for Sunday was some sleet followed by snow flurries. Instead it rained heavily for hours then froze and ended with a dusting of snow. The rain washed down blocks of ice from up in the hollow and blocked both bridges. Everything was covered with a quarter to a half inch layer of ice. It flooded enough to leave two logs on the Delk Branch Road bridge. It took me five minutes with two sets of pliers to get the gate latch open to let Floppy (our milk goat) out to be milked. Four of the oxen met me by the barn to tell me they wanted hay. They weren't out of hay, it was frozen so solid they couldn't eat it. George knew we would move hay and stayed by the feeder at the other end of the pasture. I fed them and William went immediately to the sledge. I could not get the frozen hay off the sledge by hand and had to use the oxen and a logging chain to pull it off. The sledge was frozen to the ground. George and William leaned into it and it didn't move. Then before I could give another command both leaned back in unison and lunged. That broke it loose. The outer layers of the round bale were frozen to the ground and peeled off. It took three tries to load the bale. The bridge was so icy that I didn't want to risk the oxen on it. It is a low water bridge with no railings or side walls. I extended the chain and had them stay on the bank and pull the logs off. That was yesterday. No matter how hard things were they just patiently stayed with me. Love oxen.