I cut down a dead oak last year that’s about 22 inches at the base and the rain has kept me from trying to snake it out with the mules until today. I thought I’d let Jane have a shot at it, since she’s been cooperative of late. She was, until I managed to get her hooked to the singletree and skidding tongs, whereupon she got a crazy look in her eyes and bolted for the house, knocking me down and dragging the skidding tongs directly over my ass.

My life didn’t flash before my eyes, but for a second I was genuinely concerned Jane and the tongs would pluck my head off the way you might grab an olive from a jar, or drag me through the woods pinned through the temples leaving me shouting confused obscenities from an Adirondack chair outside a rest home, in all sorts of weather, for the remainder of my life.  Jane was not rewarded with a treat. In fact, I had some harsh words for her.

I harnessed Fred and he didn’t even need the lines or his blinders. We just whiskered him with his halter and a lead. He brought the log up the hill, and when we hit a stump, or the tongs lost the log, he waited and even stepped back on command to grab the log again. While he was getting his scoopful of sweet feed he needled Jane: “I guess logging ain’t for everybody, freak!”

Fred’s coarse that way.