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at work

The traffic through the channel here at the Clothesline Dock in North Cove is mostly pleasure boats, but every decade or so, a vehicle like this comes through to clean up the silty sediment that accumulates over time. The work itself seems to be synced to the tides; bringing new sound – not unpleasant – to sleep and dreams.

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The Last Leg, Old Saybrook, CT

November 30, 2017

Here’s one from the article that captures the gestalt of the whole day nicely – coming into the barnyard for the drop off – the day’s work nearly done, for the oxen anyway.

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Team Of Six Article

November 29, 2017

The November 2017 issue of INK magazine carried my article, Team of Six, which I will share in its entirety as soon as the publisher sends off the PDF version. It’s a six page spread, with sixteen photographs in all. For now, you can still get the issue around the area (free!), and see some of the photographs from my visit to Earl’s farm here.

ADDENDUM: full PDF can now be found here.

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Red and Rock in action; Red (foreground) seems to be more tuned in to Earl’s direction, and also seems to be the harder worker of the pair.

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After a tree is felled (in the back), it’s cut up into sections and dragged over and on to the skidder. Note the uneven cut on the log; Earl had to go full old school – cutting with an ax – after his chainsaw hung up before the tree fell.

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Tom, on the right, checking out Earl’s bag, while Lucky, on the left, off in a bit of an oxen trance.

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Which I would certainly want if I was pulling a third of my weight up a hill, even if I had help.

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The back pair of oxen are young ones basically along for the ride/walk; it’s a training technique to acclimate them to actual pulling. The brunt of the work is being done by the lead oxen. The empty sled weighs about 500 lbs; fully loaded, probably 4000. Back home is mostly downhill.

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Earl’s family first settled this place in 1868, making him the fifth generation to work the land. The oxen are Red and Rock; Red (horns up) is a milking Devon, and Rock (horns out straight) is a beef Devon. They’re both about 7 years old, and just coming into their prime.

This stop at the watering hole is the prelude to their work day, which might encompass some six hours of logging, the oxen mostly on standby.

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old barn, new garden-7042

This barn looks even better today than in 2007 when I took this picture. It’s been freshened up with red paint, and looks, well, 30 years younger and even more photogenic. The garden – from a distance anyway – looks like it’s just been marking time over the years.

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