We got a yoke made for our Dexter calves by a local blacksmith. I kid you not. He delivered it yesterday and we tried it out on sweet tubby Fiona and cranky pants Charlotte. Fiona is sweet and tubby because she gets out of the fence whenever she pleases and eats 24/7. Charlotte is a cranky pants, doubtless due to pure envy.
Anyway, we bought the calves instead of a garden tractor so as to have some way to do heavy work, like clearing snow, hilling spuds, etc. As expected, Charlotte acted as if the yoke was made of poo dipped in hot lava and Fiona merely didn’t care for it. Once the yoke was on, we had a tiny bit of a rodeo at first. They took off around the round pen for a minute, but failed utterly to get away, either from us, or from each other. The yoke is made from a single piece of 4×4, planed, edged and waxed and the neck hoops from PVC pipe stuffed with wooden dowels. We tore around the yard for a while fairly calmly. Our blacksmith remarked that if these were ponies, we wouldn’t have gotten this far in calmness and obedience in two months. I can’t wait till we get a bunch more work into them. I can actually see how this oxen thing could be ten times easier than a stupid tractor. Yeah, we want to be all green and environmentally friendly. But what garden tractor is this quiet, is self-replicating, is fuelled only by the grass it cuts, and never needs to be started even when it’s 40 below?