We started the day with learning about some of the resources that are available out there for us. The Tillers International website has some great material on it, and then some other books.
The plan for the day was to learn how to plough. We went out and got a few of the teams from pasture and got them ready to work.
I got to go and get Toad. Toad does not like people, and really didn’t want me to get him. After a little bit, I got the halter on him and everything was fine. Part of the challenge was learning the names of all the Oxen and their personalities.
Some of the other Oxen that we were using were Walker and Hershall, Badger (and Toad) and then Zeus and Hermes. Zeus and Hermes were Rob’s team that he had trained. The Dexters also got yoked.
We learned about the plough and got it hooked up. We went over to the field to plough and I watched and followed. It looked like it could be difficult. So I took my first attempt. It was easier than I thought. Dick was driving the tam (Walker and Hershall) and I was on the plough. It went well. I then let others have a few tries and went and worked with Zeus and Hermes. We hooked up a cart and pulled around the stoneboat. I enjoyed working with Rob and his team. They are 3 years old and still learning so it was great for me.
After lunch I went back out and worked with Rob’s team again. This time the cart was put on. It is different seeing how it is to drive them with different things on. After that I thought I would try and tackle the plowing again. I thought the first time was good, but lets do it a couple more times. I tried, and it wasn’t near as easy the second time. It was hard work. I could feel it in my arms pretty quick after getting to the end of the row. I still had to go back. I think one of the hardest things to do was to turn the plough onto its side at the end of the row to quit plowing. It was very difficult to time it just right.
Also trying to remember that if I wanted to adjust my row to the right I had to tilt to the left and vice versa. Do the opposite of what is needed. Lots of little things to do and keep your eyes on. After a few more rows I had enough. I learned that to plough a 1-acre field it is equivalent to walking 11 miles.
I really enjoyed my time at Tillers. The staff were great. I got some one-on-one training to help me reach my goals, and also got to learn from watching others.
I hope to stay in touch with the others, and see how the Dexters are doing. At 6 and 9 months old, and over the weekend they learned how to pull. They started with the stoneboat and were pulling a cart by the end. I am excited to see how well out team does by the end of the summer. I can’t wait to get home and start working with ours.
Now for the flights home. Four flights, should be fun.More pictures are available on Facebook.