Sunday, April 10, 2011


I ground-drove my mule, Frisbee, today - first time in over a year that she's been in harness.  I decided to take her out today in anticipation of cultivating our garden.  I'm hoping to use her exclusively - no fossil fuels shall be harmed in the preparation of our soil.

We did fairly well - after about 5 minutes of wanting to go fast, she settled in and listened.  I think she'll be ready to pull the springtooth harrow after a few more sessions.  I was struck once again by the challenge of communicating with animals.  Since we don't share a common language, we have to figure out (on both sides) how to talk to one another.  Since an animal's response is more instinctive than a humans (we seem to have lost or suppressed many of our instincts), I think it's more difficult for us to communicate than it is for our animals - we need to understand them and talk back in a way that they can understand.  In thinking about my relationship with my border collies, I realize that the challenges are largely the same.  My oldest dog, Taff, works better for me today than he did when I got him 4 years ago - not because he's a better dog, but because I'm a better communicator.

Working with animals is inherently humbling (if we're paying attention) - everyone should have the chance!

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