Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Plowing with Draft Horses

A heavy, wet snowstorm last night pulled down our birdfeeder, collapsed our kayak stand, and snapped an ash tree, which fell across the town road.

The electricity quit, so we made coffee on the camp stove, bundled up, and chainsawed the downed tree.

Then we took a walk down the road and into the nineteenth century. At the farm, Lenny was hitching up Sophie and Abby to try out the new plow that he bought recently from the Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.

We’ll get back to color wheels in the next post.


jeff said...

This is great, plowing with draft horses. I understand that you have to put snow shoes on horses in the winter so they don't slip.

Steve said...

One of my favorite writers, Wendell Berry, has farmed/logged/plowed with horses for years. His most recent collection of poems begins with this extremely short one, appropriate for your day:

"Like Snow"

Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.

So, Jim, in the absence of electricity, did you post this from the library? Or was current restored by late afternoon?

Rebecca S. said...

Lovely images (and I love the poem Steve shared). My grandpa used to log with horses in the 1940's. I'll bet the plow worked fine. Did it?

James Gurney said...

Jeff, One of the horses only had shoes on the front hooves. The other had all four. Don't know why.

Steve, we love WB, too. We posted from the library parking lot--as the library was closed. When we went to restart the car, the battery was dead. So we called AAA and took the bus home.

Rebecca, it took Lenny a while to get the plow height right, but once he did, it worked great. The horses had plenty of power.

Mike said...

You should check out the snow clearing plow boards used by ice harvesters. those were horse draw too.

Janet Oliver said...

I'm going back and reading your color wheel posts, but this one intrigued me. James the reason one of the plow horses only had shoes on the front hooves may be that perhaps he kicks. Shoes on the back hooves do a lot more damage than just the hooves themselves, which are damaging enough!