April 15, 2008

Daffodils and Mules

One nice thing about a cool spring is that the daffodils last a very long time. Above is "Albert Einstein", below is "Ice Follies". Both are from original digital pictures, printed onto cotton, edged with vintage fabric, and stitched.

Living in Lancaster County, I have become a bit blase about many of the sights the tourists thrill to, but one thing I still find extraordinary is the spring plowing. There are many Amish and Mennonite sects that employ technology and machinery in varying degrees, but the most conservative of them still employ mules for plowing.

I saw several mule teams out in the fields today as I was going about my errands. I didn't take pictures, out of respect for their desire (based on their religious principles) not to be photographed. But imagine if you will a team of 6 large and sturdy mules, hitched side by side, walking at a brisk pace through the field. They are harnessed to a plow, which turns over a broad swath of earth, and where the farmer stands and handles the reins. The most impressive part is when they reach the end of the field and need to turn around and head in the other direction. The outside mule makes a large 180 degree arc, the inside mule turns in place, and the four in between keep pace according to their position. I am so impressed by the amount of training and skill that must be involved in choreographing these sometimes stubborn animals.

1 comment:

margaret said...

The mules turning conjures up a vivid mental picture, and I too am in awe at this traditional skill.