Saturday, December 31, 2011

Long Reins on Ox Pulling Firewood Sledge in Woods

Scout the Ox maneuvers well in brushy woods, guided by a long set of reins.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Where is Harry the Dog? Loading Wood?

Since a near miss with a falling tree Harry remains pretty sceptical. But he's ready to help.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sledding Firewood with Ox and Dog

Cutting up the firewood in the woods seems more satisfactory for me than skidding the logs out to chunk-up in the open. It keeps the mess in the woods and in the woods the log is rarely laying so flat on the ground that it has to be blocked-up to keep the chainsaw from getting dulled in the dirt. The leaves and forest humus also protect the saw to a degree. The sled is very maneuverable and can skid right over obstructing stumps and fallen logs without hanging up. I cleared a trail, of sorts, and then roughly piled the firewood along the trail to pick up later with the ox and sled. Using the sled required no backing up which is difficult for an ox. I could take each load directly to the truck and trailer. The only problem I had was that the cart-reins were too short, forcing me to walk between the ox and the sled on narrow parts of the trail. I'll make longer reins for the sled.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Skidding Firewood Logs with Ox and Dog

Logging popple trees in Northwestern Minnesota: This is our first try at skidding logs for firewood. The woods is so brushy that the process was fraught with hang-ups and other hazards. Scout the Ox is a two-year old so not technically an ox yet, and not ready for heavy work. We'd have had great difficulty getting the job done at all --- without the help of Harry the Dog!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

For Sale: Ox Cart

This ox cart has wooden wheels and a dumping box as well as a teamsters bench for the driver to sit on. The cart does not belong to me --- please contact the seller. They are located at Peterborough, Ontario and they are asking $800. See their classified ad by clicking here. This looks like a nice design for a cart.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Scout the Ox on Cutting Firewood

"With a little help from the neighbors this firewood thing shouldn't take long."

"Let's get going. You cut 'em, I'll haul 'em"
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Bennett Buggy, New York Style --- A Real Hummdinger

Only in America! The all new Hoover Wagon.

How the Bennett Buggy Got Its Name

A bit of Canadian history as told by four high school girls (presumably Canadian) in an amateur video skit.

After Bennett Buggy, Hoover Wagon, Practice Goes International

In the United States of America, at the time of The Great Deppression, it is said that an automobile with its engine removed, and pulled by a horse or an ox, was called a Hoover Wagon (named after President Hoover). Very likely this is true, but, as of yet, I've seen no photos or documentation of this practice actually taking place.

I have come across a grab-bag of photos circulating around the internet showing the equivelent of Bennett Buggies in recent years and in various countries around the world. None of these photos belong to me so I have only provided thumbnails with links where you can see full size pictures and complete descriptions.

Click Here to Link to Photo

Click Here to Link to Photo

Click Here to Link to Photo

Click Here to Link to Photo

Click Here to Link to Photo

Click Here to Link to Photo
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bennett Buggy a.k.a. Anderson Cart

The Anderson Cart employed a bit more ingenuity than the Bennett Buggy. A classy little horse-drawn cart was fashioned from the axle and wheels of an automobile. The Anderson Cart was named after J. T. M. Anderson who was Premier of Saskatchewan during The Great Depression and The Dirty Thirties. Like the Bennett Buggy the Anderson Cart was an invention of necessity. When the funds to operate and maintain gasoline powered automobiles dried up -- along with the crop-lands --- it was a practical solution to the powerless piece of iron and rubber sitting in the driveway. Many of the farmers would have still owned the horses and oxen with which they had worked their fields; the animals were a ready source of power.

The Glenbow Museum Photo Archives (link here)
Title: Misses Wiccombe and Phelps, Mildred, Saskatchewan.
Date: [ca. early 1940s]

The Glenbow Museum Photo Archives (link here)
Title: Bennett buggy cart, Collholme, Alberta.
Date: [ca. 1934]  Remarks: Cart on front axle of automobile.
 R.A. Trogen and aunt from Ontario, Mrs. Rita Kump.

Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
An Anderson Cart in Limerick, Saskatchewan, 1933.
Courtesy of Garrett Wilson, Regina, Saskatchewan.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Bennett Buggy: Never Say Never

During The Great Depression, gasoline, oil, and repairs became too costly for many folks. It turned out the best use of their automobiles was to remove the heavy engines and turn what was left into buggies to be pulled by oxen or horses. This was most common in Saskatchewan where farmers were hit not only by the financial collapse but also by drought; the times are otherwise remembered as the Dirty Thirties. The buggies themselves are remembered not-so-affectionately as Bennett Buggies, named after R. B. Bennett, who was Prime Minister of Canada at the time.

Can anyone say Obamamobile!

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Technologically Advanced Bennett Buggy

The Glenbow Museum  (click here for link to complete photo)
Title: Oxen pulling automobile, Lashburn, Saskatchewan.
Date: Winter 1913
These Oxen were certainly up to the task of pulling this early automobile, though I think travel would have been a bit slow! There is some disagreement as to whether this was actually a Bennett Buggy, or just someone getting an ox-tow to the garage? The date on the photo puts it well before The Great Depression, The Dirty Thirties, and Prime Minister R. B. Bennett's term. But, I favor that it may be a Bennett type buggy because it's obviously cold outside and the driver has the top down and the windshield removed. This would be helpful in communicating his wishes to the ox, but unbearably cold if he was planning on traveling at road speeds; even 1913 road speeds! The draw-bar also appears to be attatched to the car, a task unneccessary for a simple ox-tow.

Perhaps it was so cold that the driver has given up ever getting that frozen, block-headed engine running again --- making this a Bennett Buggy, well in advance of its time!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Maltipoo Puppies for Sale, In Time for the Holidays!

My daughter's miniture poodle has a litter of six puppies which will be ready to go in a few more days. See more pictures and other details at: Maltipoo Puppies For Sale

See a video of the puppies nursing --- before there eyes were  even open: Here.

Granddaughter Shows Grandpa and Grandma a Puppy on Web Cam
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sound of Coyote Barking at Ox and Dog

Ordinarily we think of coyotes yipping and howling. This is an audio recording of the sound of an individual coyote who comes and barks outside Scout-the-Ox and Harry-the-dog’s pasture. You will hear Harry-the-Dog racing back and forth along the fence line, vigorously defending his territory.

The coyote’s apparent calm is a bit unnerving — but that’s the way coyotes are!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Granddaughter Digs Tractors!

Our grandaughter likes tractors as is evident in this video.

In the center part of the video --- after soaking the inside of the block with a special product --- our son-in-law and his brother are attempting to free a froze (rusted) engine. The video captures the eureka! moment when the engine turns over for the first time in many years --- an important step in breathing new life into a tractor that was destined for the scrap yard.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maltipoo Puppies

My daughter, son-in-law, and grandaughter were raising these puppies in their living room when we were there last. The pups will be 8 weeks old December 8th, 2011.

Harry the Dog Enjoys Chewing a Bone

On an windy autumnal walk Harry the Dog happns on a bone to chew.

Ox and Dog: A Walk on the Windy Side

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog's last autumnal walk for the year 2011 --- it's a windy one, but that doesn't dampen their spirits.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tug-of-War Play: Harry the Dog's a Good Sport

Though Harry the Dog (black) and Oliver, a Standard Poodle, are similar in height --- at a serious game of tug-of-war the lanky Oliver would not stand a chance. He likely weighs half as much as Harry the Dog, and he's still a pup. When I play tug-of-war with Harry the Dog he is a serious opponent for me; I'm six-four and weigh two-ten. He has the bulldog grip of his Pit-bull father and the size and strength of his Landseer Newfoundland mother.

In the video, however, you will see two dogs who appear equally matched. Harry the Dog invites Oliver to play the game, and then gives him just enough fight to make it fun for the young Oliver.

In the end Oliver even wins the rag!
To see Harry the Dog and Scout the Ox play with a garden hose, click here.
To see photo of Harry the Dog, as a puppy, inviting play, click here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Contemplation: Dog Contemplates Approaching Ox

My daughter Sarah and family's dog came to stay for several days. In the video Scout the Ox was grazing in the yard. I was laying on my back, resting in the shade of the woodpile. Scout's bells told me he was getting nearer and nearer as he grazed. Suddenly, Oliver, who is a Standard Poodle. was standing on my chest facing off with the ox.

I presume he had in mind to protect me. (Otherwise, he would have just kept a safe distance from the ox.)  But, alas, as he contemplated the situation his courage failed.

He's just a pup! Give him a year and he may make a formidable guard dog.   .

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rumination: A Word Definition

Scout the Ox is a Ruminant. He is chewing his cud.
But, what is he ruminating about?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

For Sale: Steer Calf for Ox or Riding Steer

My daughter and son-in-law have this showy little steer calf. Wouldn't he make a beautiful ox or riding steer?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ox and Dog: Pasture Buddies

Livestock Guardian Dog

Panting Dog's Tongue

Ayrshire Ox and Dog are Best of Friends

Grazing 2-year Old Ayrshire Steer Who Is Being Trained as an Ox


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rototilling Ox-Manure/Shedded-Paper Compost into Garden

Thanks for repairing the rototiller Ken! As you can see it's running good.

It appeared the tiller had died but Ken worked his magic and it is up and running again. It pays to have a mechanic in the family.

After sitting for the summer the pile of shredded paper bedding and manure has broken down into a nice workable compost. (I used white non-glossy paper and newsprint for Scout the Ox's bedding last winter.) The compost is spread on the garden and I am tilling it in.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ox Playing With Cattails

Scout the Ox discovered cattails and amused himself with them several times --- the last time of which I caught here on video.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scraping Ox Manure: The Cameraman Has Horns

This video shows me scraping out ox manure for spreading on our vegetable garden, using an 8N Ford tractor like my Grandpa used to farm his 160 acres with. Perhaps Scout the Ox is feeling insecure with the introduction of the tractor to our very small farm. He need not, because the scraper has made the ox-manure handling a lot more doable than with pitch fork alone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Amy Drives the Ox and He is Up to Mischief

Scout the Ox drives well for Amy until he sees an irresistable opportunity to brush off some horn flies --- and perchance, the cart and driver. Is Amy is up to the challenge?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Scout and Amy: Ox Still Growing as He Nears Age Two

At 23-months of age Scout the Ox has graduated from a broom-handle to a shovel-handle. See Training Aid.

Less than two-years ago he rode home in Amy's lap. See Scout in Amy's Lap
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Unloading Ox from Stock Trailer at Night after Exploring "The Big Swamp"

The shake, rattle and roll of hooves on the stock trailer floor brings back memories of the excitement of hauling semi-loads of livestock during my bull-hauling days. More often than not the unloading was done in the dark.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Historic Pembina Trail by Ox Cart

Some sections of the old Red River Ox Cart Trails still exist in northwestern Minnesota. This short video gives a taste of what the trail looks like as it follows the Lake Agassiz beach ridge. The ridge allows a spectacular view of the surrounding Red River Valley in as near native state as is available in Minnesota. The trail is not untouched, as it has been improved by a bulldozer sometime in the past years and there are a number of abandoned gravel pits scattered along the way. An occasional farmstead can be seen in the distance and there are a few tumble down barb wire fences. However, with even a little imagination it's easy to picture the seemingly endless grasslands of previous centuries. The croplands are distant enough that they blend into the grass and aspen landscape. Red River Ox Carts

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ox and Dog on a Summer's Evening

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog take a breather on a township road in northwestern Minnesota. Scout is pulling an antique stud cart that I purchased at Bill and Carl Larson's estate sale. The Larson Brothers were known for their work horses and the cart was used to to drive their stallion from farm to farm to provide stud services.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chautauqua and French Festival 2011

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog visited the Chautauqua and French Festival --- August 27, 2011.      (See also Chautauqua and French Festival 2010)
Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog approach the Chautauqua and French Festival with great caution. The Red Lake River flows on the left. During the years of the Red River Ox Carts the Woods Trail crossed the river at this location.The trails ran from Pembina, on the Canadian border, to St Paul, Minnesota.

Scout the Ox poses by a replica of a Red River Ox Cart.  The oxcarts carried furs on their way south and needed supplies when traveling back north. The carts were driven primarily by the Metis.                           History of the Red River Ox

The annual festival is held at Old Crossing Treaty Park, Huott, Minnesota. Scout the Ox was absent his ox cart when the pictures were taken, though he had pulled it through the park earlier in the afternoon.                    Red River Ox Cart Train 

Harry the Dog greets a fearless pooch. My main objective was to get Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog used to being around lots of people, dogs, horses, and new sights, sounds and smells. We accomplished that. Scout was very excited and quite a handful to control when we arrived, but he had calmed down by the time we left.

Scout the Ox was a hit with many of the kids. It sure would be nice to get an authentic Red River Ox Cart for Scout to pull! I've heard the Metis people in Canada have made some in recent years.  Red River Ox Cart Diagram, Photo, and Cartmaking Video.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Ox-Cart Man

Excellent review of my favorite children's book. I read this book to my kids years ago. It probably influenced my decision to get an ox. Thank you Lady Xeona.

Grandkids Ox Cart Adventures

Kind-a long, but plenty of action.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trailering the Ox: Learning to Load

Scout the Ox checks out the inside of the stock trailer but keeps two feet safely on the ground. Harry the Dog gives wide berth, not taking any chances.

Scout the Ox learns the livestock trailer is a safe place to be. Harry the Dog wants nothing to do with it. I set one of his favorite temptations, cat food, inside the open trailer door where he could reach it with two of his feet still on the ground. After several days he still hadn't touched the cat food.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog, Summer 2011

The dog days of summer. Scout the Ox and Harry the Dog are both 22 months of age. Scout is an Ayrshire steer being trained as an ox. Harry's a Newfoundland/Pit Bull cross dog. Scout and Harry are companion animals to each other.

Grazing on the lawn, by the firewood pile, is one of several rewards Scout might get after an outing with the ox cart. By varying the rewards we avoid getting into a routine with certain expectations that can become entrenched and difficult to vary from. For example, we get Harry to go into the kennel/pasture by offering a treat. He will refuse to go in without the treat and sometimes will hold out on us for a "better" treat. He has us trained pretty well.

Scout the Ox, an Ayrshire steer, grazing by firewood he helped put up.
April Ox Hauling Firewood with a Sled - Click Here
Scout theOx, an Ayrshire steer, wearing a rope cattle halter and lead rope.
The horn of the Ayrshire breed of cattle. Both cows and bulls
have horns, unless they are removed shortly after birth. Oxen
horns are useful, and seldom removed.
Harry the Dog is a cross between a Newfoundland and a Pit Bull Terrier.
He has an even temperment and gets on well with Scout the Ox.
Scout will not be part of a team of oxen, but is being trained as a single ox.

In the tradition of the Red River Ox Carts, Scout works alone.
 As part of training, he enjoys grazing on the lawn as
 a reward for good work.

(See short video clips in the same setting.)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Smart and Clever Cows and Oxen Pump Water for Themselves in India

So, is this animal instinct? And are humans (and apes) still the only ones who use tools? Actually, since the claim that tool use was unique to human beings many other species have been documented as tool users.

Monday, July 25, 2011

An Ox Working a Water Pump, India

I came across this video of an ox pumping water for itself, and remembered the below clipping I'd saved of a cow reportedly doing the same --- way back in the 1800's.

A Cow Working a Pump
Chatterbox Stories of Natural History

Copyright 1880
R. Worthington

My informant writes me as follows: “We have a wonderful cow here—about ten years old, and very clever at opening gates and breaking fences. There is an Abyssinnian pump about three feet high in the center of the field, near my house, over a trough, which is, or ought to be, filled daily. It was on a hot day, when my man had omitted to pump the trough full, that the cow was first observed to help herself: the way in which she managed to pump was by pushing the handle up with her head and then forcing it down with her horns. Very little elevation of the handle is required to get water, and she would work it for five minutes together, and sometimes drank from the spout, and sometimes from the trough.”