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at work

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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new garden-6970

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Clearing Snow, Essex, CT

February 6, 2016

clearing snow-0890

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retreat of the pumpkins-4912

Halloween passes, and the call for pumpkins takes a nosedive. Those that didn’t sell here are headed back from whence they came, LongShot Farms in Old Lyme, where they will be smashed open and fed to the cattle.

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