Just years ago, seeing a pair of oxen working the field was not out of the ordinary. Some villages took pride in their dwellers owning even dozens of pairs. Oxen used to help villagers in countless tasks: hay gathering, ploughing the fields, manure spreading, or forest works. The change that the Romanian villages have lately gone through had as side effect a sharp decrease in this cattle population. Nevertheless, there are still places where few families kept oxen in their yards. Either because they had no other help with their works, or purely for nostalgia. “I neither remember, nor can I picture myself without oxen around” I’ve often heard village people saying. Whatever their reasons, a village photographer can only be happy and excited about chance of catching these spectacular animals on camera! They are a small (or big!) reminder of the once beauty of the Romanian village.
A few weeks ago I went looking for them in County of Buzau. Word was that oxen were still there to see. And they were. But there were also unmatched beauty places, lovely people and stories of all kinds. Have a look here for a glimpse of them.
My trip was part of the Global Draft Cattle Network project. I looked for people who still have oxen, in order to interview them. The results will be published soon.