“Dolly. Step haw. Queenie. Easy, easy. Whoa.” “Back. Whoa.”

“Queenie. Step gee. Dolly. Easy. Whoa.”

Tony made a kissing sound with his lips, signaling the two Belgian draft horses to move forward. Without hesitation, Dolly and Queenie leaned into their traces and jerked the sleigh runners free of the ice crystals bonding them to the frozen, Vermont, snow-pack.

As we ease our way across a field and into the fir forest, I can’t help but think of Robert Frost’s poem,

Whose woods these are I think I know. / His house is in the village, though; / He will not see me stopping here / to watch his woods fill up with snow…. / The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, / but I have promises to keep, / and miles to go before I sleep.

Staring at the two horses, watching their great breath ascend into the fir boughs, I feel linked to Frost’s portrait of New England.

Dolly and Queenie are siblings, born twelve years ago.

During their December check-up, they weighed within twenty-five pounds of each other: Dolly, a slim and trim 1,796 pounds; and Queenie, a bit heftier than her sister, but still curvaceous and svelte at 1,820 pounds.

These two hay-burners dispatch 80 pounds of hay per day—a bale apiece—along with ten pounds of mixed feed to keep the internal fires burning brightly during the Vermont winter.

Next thoughts are about the closeness of friendship...