Check out the spiffy ear protection handmade by Stewart's Mom! On her recent visit, Mary sewed together these blackfly-proof ear protectors for Stormy and Deedee out of cotton tank tops and shopping bags. A great homemade solution that the horses actually like (they're usually pretty picky about people touching their ears).
Brought this old pile of rusty metal back from Moncton last week, it's an old Oliver two way plow. The two-way's were invented to save time for the plowman on the return trip. Instead of walking back to the beginning of the field, you simply drop the other plowshare and plow your way back - simple and brilliant technology from the height of the horse drawn era (1930's). The trouble is finding any info at all on these old gems. They are rare and parts are even rarer. It really takes someone who has worked them before to help you puzzle through the rebuild to get the plow working properly. Luckily, the internet saved the day - I posted my questions on a horse farming/logging website I frequent called Draft Animal Power.com, and people from all over the place came to my rescue. With a couple of priceless pictures of working plows to help guide me, I spent a couple days this week rebuilding the old thing, and though it's not quite done, I couldn't resist trying it out tonight. I was very pleased with the results. A plow that has been sitting idle for probably 50 or more years, with a little grease and oil, some new wood and bolts, and it's plowing like the day it was built. Talk about good value - we paid $150 for it! Makes you wonder why this kind of technology was ever abandoned. It makes me cringe to think of how much of this brilliant equipment has been melted down for scrap, but some of it is still out there. It's a good time to be a horse farmer!
The beauty of using horse power has been so apparent during these last few weeks of soaring fuel prices. It's an amazing realization that no matter the supply and cost of diesel, our costs don't go up since the horses continue to eat grass. There is a tremendous sense of security and peace that comes with this realization - that we will be able to continue to grow large amounts of food to provide for ourselves and our community. And that's a great feeling!