Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Grass IS Greener on the Other Side of the Fence

Scout the Ox, July 15th, 2014
Scout gets to graze in the meadow after hauling firewood.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Scout the Ox Gets into Mischief!

Scout the Ox eats the load, clips the gate, and pops a wheelie.

Music: Anon, Medieval Dance Tunes
Source: Musopen

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Autumn Ox Hauling Firewood with a Sled

Video of Scout the Ox bringing in the firewood on a colorful but blustery fall day --- ending in a rain shower. Good demonstration of a single ox yoke and evener at work.

Music: Mozart, String Quartet No.19 in C major
Source: Musopen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scout the Ox Brings in the Wood

We haul firewood on a beautiful October day in northwestern Minnesota.   Music: 10 Variations on a Theme by Salieri (1799) Vadim Chaimovich

Das "Air" von Bach: Musical Ox Cart Ride

Orchestral piece, "Air" by Johann Sebastian Bach, played by the USAF Band (The Air Force Strings) on their album "Collage."  Photos are of a late summer 2013 ox cart ride in northwestern Minnesota.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Harry the Dog Won't Be Ignored

Harry the Dog persists in getting my daughters attention while she' trying to talk on the cell phone.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crazy Dog!

Dogs, cattle and sheep sometimes exhibit this interesting behaviour on cool summer evenings (and cold winter evenings) when it is calm and the sun is going down --- or more often, just after the sun has gone down.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kissed by an Ox

Scout the Ox tastes the baby's feet.

Music: Greensleeves  Performers: Paul Arden-Taylor (descant recorder), Carol Holt (harpsichord) Source:

Summer: Kids, Grass, and Scout the Ox

Two of the grandkids hang out with the ox and dog (and Grandpa) on a summer afternoon.

Music: Stereofloat - Sailing the Aegean Seas from

Girl Rescues Baby Sister's Blanket from the Dog

Harry the Dog steals the baby's blanket right out of her arms, but her big sister comes to the rescue.

Music: Stereofloat - Sailing the Aegean Seas from

Dog Teases Child: Steals Blanket

Happy Harry the Dog teases our grandchild --- and she takes it in stride. They play a little tug-of-war.

Music: Stereofloat - Sailing the Aegean Seas from

Child and Dog Play Ball

Playing is a good bonding time for dogs and children. Being included in the fun and games makes for a happy dog who is safer around children than a dog who has been excluded from family activities. That doesn't mean there might not be minor scratches, bumps or bruises in the rough-and-tumble of play.

Music: Stereofloat - Sailing the Aegean Seas from

Dog and Baby Get Reaquainted

When the newest member of our extended family comes home for a visit, Happy Harry the Dog (and Grandpa and Grandma) get reacquainted.

Making sure the dog is included as a part of the family is an important step in keeping everyone safe. A resentful, disgruntled dog who is excluded from the family is much more likely to pose a threat to unsuspecting children.

Music: Stereofloat - Sailing the Aegean Seas from

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ox-in the Golden Sun

Granary at Sunrise

Pasture and Poplar Trees at Sunrise
Scout the Ox and Me in Silhouette 

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Face-to-Face with a Working Ox

Scout the Ox poses for the camera while skidding poplar tees. Music: French Suite # 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach. Performer: Felipe Sarros  Source:

Wind in the Trees: Ox in the Yoke

Scout the Ox goes through his paces skidding poplar trees.


Scout the Ox playing around

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Smoke Ox

Smoke repels mosquitoes, and cattle are either very quick to catch on to this, or they know it by instinct.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scout the Ox Savours Beverage Can

Scout the Ox eats an aluminum beverage can....ooops!

Maybe I'll find it in the pasture one day.

Pica behaviour?

Scout the Ox Pulling Cart

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Swampin' with Scout the Ox

Things get a little dicey when we take a shortcut across the river bottom.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bella Adores Harry-the-Dog

Harry-the-Dog, and Bella, with Scout-the-Ox.
Bella and Harry-the-Dog
Bella whispers sweet nothings into Harry-the-Dog's ear.
We did some dog sitting for Oliver the Standard Poodle in the previous post and for Bella who is a young Australian /German Shepherd cross. Both dogs belong to one of my daughters, and her family. Harry-the-Dog likes it when they come to visit. See Bella's puppy picture here.
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Carriage Dog

Standard Poodle: Carriage Dog

My daughters Standard Poodle seems to have it in his blood to follow the cart wheel, behaviour you'd expect from a Dalmatian (known to be carriage dogs).  It's not chasing behaviour but contented following. He is so different than Harry the Dog who is way out front exploring the countryside. 
Standard Poodle
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ox-on Alert

Scout the Ox: Is there a bear in the woods?
Scout the Ox: Hyper-alert.
I'm not sure what they were onto this day, but the ox and dog were both onto something. I have observed Scout the Ox is very keen to sounds, smells, and movement. He doesn't seem to miss anything!
In these pictures we were downwind from the point-of-interest.  

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Big. . . .but not that Big!

Scout the Ox checks out Swenson Seed Farm tractor.

They had just finished seeding a field of soybeans, May 27th, 2013.
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ox Meets Hidebehind (Fearsome Critter of the Deep Woods)

Harry the Dog gets too far ahead and Scout the Ox meets face-to-face with a Hidebehind, fearsome critter of the deep woods. Scout loses his usual cool, acts like a horse, and gets himself in a pickle.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ox-n-Fire: Controlled Burn

Scout the Ox reacts to the grass fire. After the sun sets, the rising humidity puts the fire out.

Fire and Mice: Hot Dog!

Harry the Dog thinks grass fires make good mouse hunting. He gets a little too close to the fire but never seems to notice.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Scout the Ox Helping Prepare Tree Cuttings --- Herd-Mates?

What cattle do when they are not eating is hang-out together. When I have a portable project to work on I use the opportunity to give Scout the Ox some "herd" time.  It helps makes for a happy ox. Here I'm preparing willow tree cuttings for planting, with Scout looking over my shoulder.

Just as dogs are pack animals, cattle are herd animals. A healthy dog and a healthy cow both like a small circle of family and friends. When we people, by the use of fences, barns and kennels, take that away from them, I think it our due to provide some substitute. Scout's herd mates consist of me and Harry the Dog. As unlikely as two predators keeping company with a prey animal is, by my estimation, he seems quite happy with the arrangement. As a qualifier, I might add that these are two highly domesticated animals, I wouldn't expect this to work with say  --- a wolf and a white tailed deer, though, I am aware of  dogs being kept with lions. A further qualifier: I don't favor wild animals being kept
Good Friends-Lion and Dog
published 1893
Paul Friedrich Meyerheim, artist   and     Richard Brend'amour, engraver
Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dog Escapes Pasture He Shares With Ox

Harry the Dog is not built for jumping or digging, but for a while now he has been showing up, on occasion, outside the pasture fence. I walked the fence line in the deep snow, looking for tracks that would tell me where he was getting out, but found none. One day watching from the house I saw him climb over the hay feeder. So I set up the camera, tempted him with his deer skin, and waited. It didn't take long before I got this video.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Memorable Things Lost Which were in Use Among the Ancients: Oxen

Below is the title page of book published in 1715 but first issued in 1589.

Below is a quote from the above book.

" . . . .ships, . . . and six oxen within, which by turning an engine stirred the [paddle] wheels. . . . "

This is a related illustration, but from a different book.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oxen Powered Paddlewheelers Used by Romans in Maritime Battles

15th century illustration of  4th or 5th century oxen powered paddlewheeler.

Oxen powered paddle-wheelers were apparently more than just a concept.  Following is the translation of a quote from De Rebus Bellciis, an anonymous 4th or 5th century (A.D.) writing.

“. . . .oxen, yoked in pairs to capstans, turn wheels attached to the sides of the ship; paddles, projecting above the circumference or curved surface of the wheels, beating the water with their strokes like oar-blades as the wheels revolve, work with an amazing and ingenious effect, their action producing rapid motion. . . .” 

The Roman Army is said to have used the oxen powered paddlewheelers on the Mediterranean Sea. The paddle wheels were used in combination with sails. Because of the ship's heavy weight, and it's increased  speed over short distances, the Romans had an advantage over the enemy. By overtaking the enemy they were able to smash their lighter sailing ships with the sturdy bows of the oxen powered paddlewheelers.

The paddlewheelers must have been larger than the fanciful one illustrated above. The oxen would have needed room to get their footing and to travel efficiently around the capstans. The vertical shafted capstans turned whatever machinery was used to transfer the work to the horizontal shafted wheels.

One can imagine the advantage of oxen powered ships if the winds were calm, and the enemies sails were hanging limp.

Oxen consume a lot of hay and fresh water, so the ships must have operated close to home. Large haystacks and water-tanks on board ships would have hampered progress on the open sea.

The Chinese are said to have had a similar invention.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Team of Oxen Battle the Tide in 'The Golden Days'

Vol. XIII—No. 51             November 12, 1892.

Excerpt from

Matt and Natt's Venture

By Wm. Pendleton Chipman


     On examining the heap of seaweed, he became convinced that by loading heavily he could carry what remained in two loads.

        He therefore pitched away until in his judgment half of the heap was upon the cart. It made a big load, but the oxen were stout, and, bending their necks to the yoke, they, at Matt’s command, started slowly off. As he approached the narrow roadway, he noticed the tide had gained rapidly and was now sweeping over it with considerable force and depth.

        Jumping upon the tongue of the cart, he urged his oxen through the tossing waves. To his consternation, the water came well up around the patient animals’ backs, and had he not quickly scrambled to the top of his load he would have been thoroughly drenched.

        The cattle, however, raised their noses high as possible and plunged bravely through the flood, soon emerging on the other side with their load unharmed.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

White on White: Oxen and Apple Blossoms

Team of White Oxen in Apple Orchard
Eastern United States
Photographer: Leslie Jones,  (1886-1967)
We also have white-on-white here in Minnesota today, April 21st, 2013, but unfortunately its neither oxen nor apple blossoms. 
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snow on the Ground, Spring in the Air

An oxcart ride in Eden Township, Polk County, Minnesota, set to Nature's of Winter music by ChuckBerglund, lyrics, Winter Glow by Emily Richards.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oxcart Odyssey

Grandkids travel through time and across the universe in an oxcart.

Snow and Ice: Grooming After the Storm

Helping Scout the Ox stay warm by removing the snow and ice in his coat, with a curry-comb.

Preventing Accidental Learning of Undesirable Behaviors

A psychology primer. 

The concept of accidental learning illustrated by Scout the Ox. Preventing undesirable behavior is the key to eliminating the natural reinforcement that would result in accidental learning. Prevention requires seeing in advance what may happen next.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ox and Dog: Snow Friends

Scout the Ox and Happy-Harry the Dog spend a lot of their day just hanging out, passing time. They keep each other company as seen in this video on a snowy day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Melancholy Ox-Cart Journey

Winter ox-carting near Trail, Minnesota. Includes Trail Hills, round barn, and the small town of Trail.

Free Desktop Background: Wide Screen Monitor
Ox and Round Barn
Trail Hills, Trail, Minnesota

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Ox and Round Barn
Trail Hills, Trail, Minnesota

Friday, February 15, 2013

Audio: Squeaky Cold Snow

When we lived on the coast in Oregon, for a time, I missed the sound of squeaky, cold snow. So here's an audio of the sound, for all the unfortunate folks who live in warmer climes!   ;-)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Job for the Dog

Happy Harry, a.k.a. Harry-the-Dog, destroyed a lot of dropped gloves and tool handles before I tried to change his bad-boy behavior into good. I started trading a little cat food, or a bit of rawhide chew, for dropped gloves. He quickly learned that some items were more useful for exchange than others. When he finds a glove or a soft handled tool he'll bring it near me and tease me with it until I come up with the proper currency. No currency, no deal!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

History Link: World's Largest Oxen

Worlds Largest Oxen: Mt. Katahdin and Granger

Combined weight 9800 pounds (avg. 4900 pounds each)
Mr. A.S. Rand, breeder
 Stetson, Maine
Photo taken August 24, 1930
Interesting history and more photos of the worlds largest oxen in 1930, Creambrook Farm, Stetson, Maine
Click Here
Maine Memory Network

Flatbed Work: Scout the Ox

Scout the Ox pulls a flatbed trailer for work around the farm.  Notice, at about the middle of the video, I have tied one rein to the trailer to prevent Scout from walking off with the dog.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Snapshot in the Dark

Recently, I bedded the ox and the dogs stall with shredded paper that happened to be bright-colored pink, orange, and green. I thought to get a flash picture of Harry sleeping in his gaudy nest. In the dark I quietly approached and opened the top half of the stall door and fired off this shot. Harry met me at the door and this picture resulted.
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