Saturday, May 29, 2010

Four (or More) Carts, One Driver

 Red River ox-cart-train at Fort Smith near Edmonton, Alberta in 1870.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society Collection
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Just for Fun

I started out with the ox's lead-rope in one hand and the pup's leash in the other, but I hadn't gone far when that became unmanageable. Obvious solution --- tie the slower one behind the faster one. Things then moved right along in an orderly fashion. It brings to mind the Red River ox-cart-trains with the behind ox tethered to the cart of the before ox. From about 1820-1870 the ox-cart-trains were typically divided into brigades of from four to ten carts. This made it possible for one man to drive several carts.

The bug on my camera's lens is another reminder of the Red River ox-cart-trails. Sections of the trail were described by one travler as a "miserable country, swamp following swamp." They were assaulted by "bull-dogs" of horseflies. One man who rode the trail on a cream colored horse wrote that he was "unable to distinquish the color of the animal so thickly was [it] covered [with mosquitoes.]"
Historical source:The Red River Trails, Oxcart Routes Between St. Paul and the Selkirk Settlement 1820-1870, Gilman.

Weather Alert!!!

When dogs eat grass, you can expect a severe storm.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


So sweet.

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Grazing Ox Picking Dandelion Flowers

It's interesting to note the ox grazes with a back and forth movement of the head, taking in over twice the amount of forage for each step --- energy conservation!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Sighting

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox

Babe the Big Blue Ox was given to Paul Bunyan on Paul’s first birthday. The ox grew to such proportions that he measured forty-two ordinary axe handles and a plug of chewing tobacco between the eyes. Babe could pull anything that had two ends to it; Paul was known to hitch his blue ox to a whole section of forest and drag it to the landing. Babe would eat thirty bales of hay for a snack --- baling wire and all. Every time they made shoes for Babe they had to open a new iron mine.

There were stories of Paul Bunyan being told in Minnesota logging camps for a number of years around the turn of the century. In 1914 his image became the trademark of The Red River Lumber Company, and in 1922 the first edition of the promotional leaflet, Paul Bunyan and His Big Blue Ox, were published by that same company.

The Red River Lumber Company took its name from the Red River of the North “up” which it floated its logs to Winnipeg, Canada. (The Red River of the North flows north to Hudson Bay.) Later they built a sawmill on the Red River at East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

Bemidji, Minnesota has been home to Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox since 1937. They can be seen there live on web-cam at (It’s sort of like watching paint dry.)

Scout the Ox’s pasture lies halfway between East Grand Forks and Bemidji so he almost certainly shares his heritage with Babe the Big Blue Ox.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At the Watering Hole

You might think this is the last watering hole in the desert. In fact there is water in the watering tank and in many puddles all around.

Even though they are competitive, I think these two must just like to do things together.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finishing Touches

An ox enjoys a work of fine art, and puts a few finishing touches on the artist's painting.
 John Erskine Clarke
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"Uncle Jack ---- He Only Wanted to Say Hello."

Ballin & Liebler -- Lithographer
"68 to 78 Park Place, N.Y."
Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Just Minding His Own Business....

....Chewing His Own Cud!

Chewing the Cud

Watch closely; the calf swallows the chewed cud, and then brings up a fresh batch to work on.

Peaches the Pony Nibbles My Ear

Peaches keeps distracting me from getting a video of Scout so I turn the camera on her while she nibbles on my ear. You can hear Scout the calf chewing his cud in the background.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Jealous Pony

I try to take a video of Scout chewing his cud, but Peaches insists that she is much more photogenic.

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New York City Peddler Gets Boost from Dogs

In The Rag Trade
Arthur Boyd Houghton (1836-1875)
Graphic Illustrated Newspapers, Ltd., 1869
 (Background and forground details digitally removed from the original.)

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