Monday

Ask A Teamster Learning Gee and Haw

Ask A Teamster: Learning Gee and Haw

Teaching horses to swing right (“gee” – to remember, right has a “g” in it) or left (“haw”) without moving forward (or backward) can actually be quite easy with some patience, finesse, timing and cheating. I recommend waiting to teach gee and haw until a young horse has some experience and is working well in other respects, as yours seems to be. In my opinion, horses that will not stand quietly and patiently for grooming, harnessing, and hitching are not ready to be hitched and driven. By the same token, if they don’t consistently start, stop, turn both ways, back up and stand stopped in a comfortable, relaxed and willing manner, I feel they are not yet ready for gee and haw.

Cultivating Questions Grassfed Potatoes

Cultivating Questions: Grassfed Potatoes

Typically, we skimplow an overwintering cover crop of rye and vetch the beginning of April in preparation for this planting window. Shallowly undercutting the live cover crop at that time of year prevents the rye and vetch from removing the winter accumulation of moisture from the ground and preserves the soil structure created by the cover crop by leaving most of its root system intact.

Horse Hays

Horse Hays

What is a horse owner to do when hay is in limited supply and/or very expensive? Drought has resulted in an extremely short supply of hay in some areas in recent years. Naturally, hay prices increase in these situations. Extremely wet weather can also negatively impact horse owners. These conditions make it difficult to make good-quality hay. Moldy hay should not be fed to horses. Horse owners have several management alternatives in these situations.

LittleField Notes True Stories from France

LittleField Notes: True Stories from France

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Despite the law, Papa would take a horse and cart loaded with butter and go to the weekly market in Arras calling out, “Who wants butter!” Because of the accusations of Mr. Cabouat, he was thrown in jail again, this time for selling butter. Finally, the law changed, and he was released from jail. When he arrived in the village everyone was there to greet him, children stood in the schoolyard with flowers; they had picked so many flowers! Someone had made a large sign that read: Liberation of M. D’Hollander! Liberation of the butter market!

Meat A Benign Extravagance

Meat: A Benign Extravagance

If you are looking for the most complete set of observations and salient arguments around a future for livestock in farming, this book belongs on your shelf. If however your mission is to fuel the argument of veganism versus meat-eating, you will likely find yourself in the wrong room. I’m not interested in why you don’t want to eat meat, or why you do. I find that small talk unless you lived the life of either. What I am interested in is the health of our biological universe and how it is that the best farming will protect that and see it improve. Inside that sphere belong all of the plant and animal species available to the process.

Mexican Immigration

Mexican Immigration

I have seen both sides of Mexican “immigration” — their homes and villages in Mexico and their struggle to survive here. I think “displacement” would be a better word. Most Mexicans don’t want to leave their country and most of those who are here hope to return. They line up to send money orders back home. They dream about making enough money so that they can leave a land where they are often lonely, isolated and without an official identity.

Oranges

Oranges

The Orange is one of the oldest of cultivated fruits. Its nativity is still in doubt, but it is probable that it is indigenous to the Indo-Chinese region. It is now widely distributed in all warm-temperate and tropical countries, in many of which it has run wild and behaves like a native plant. In parts of Florida the Orange was found wild when permanent settlements were made, but it had probably spread from stock that was introduced by the early Spaniards.

Ostrich Eggs for Breakfast

Ostrich Eggs for Breakfast

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“We gather the ostrich eggs which weigh about 3 and ½ pounds each,” says Angelica. “We also help get the ostrich chicks in their pens. I help Grandpa by collecting the money from the fair customers when we take our stand wagon to the local fairs. We sell ostrich burgers, ostrich hot dogs, ostrich jerky, ostrich steak, and ostrich sticks.”

Reconstruction by Way of the Soil Part 4

Reconstruction by Way of the Soil Part 4

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The word primitive is defined by Annandale’s Concise Dictionary as ‘characterized by the simplicity of the old times.’ The lexicographer, with this definition, hits off with happy ease an exact description of the primitive peoples of this chapter and of the two that follow it. ‘The simplicity of old times’ just fits, for the lexicographer informs us under the word ‘simple’ that it derives ‘from a root meaning one or unity.’ We can now paraphrase our heading of Primitive Farmers, as Farmers characterized by unity. We must do this quickly before going on to read other definitions of ‘simple,’ for we shall find that one of them is ‘easily intelligible,’ and farmers characterized by unity are not a bit easily understood by modern peoples. It is because they have so rarely been understood that so many troubles have come to them from the moderns.

SweetWell Farm

SweetWell Farm

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In general, farming is part of my genetic heritage and also my personal lifestyle focus. Choosing horses was a step-by-step process of self-realization and expanding world-view. It makes sense to me: economically, ecologically, and emotionally. This is the best way I’ve found for me to work to correct the imbalances I see in the world around me, while shaping a life that makes me happy. Farming in general, and horse-farming in particular, pull together and call on my core values and essential qualities. No part of me is left hungry. I love it.

The Anatomy of the Farm Wagon Brake System

The Anatomy of the Farm Wagon Brake System

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Historically, wagons were sold with brakes as an extra or special ordered, like extra side boards, heavier wheels and running gear, or a CD player. In some regions of the country that were hilly, like the south, local manufacturers would put brakes on every wagon. But if you were to order a new wagon from the Sears or Wards catalogue, the brakes were a special order.

The Austrian Haflinger

The Austrian Haflinger

The Haflinger horse is often mistaken for other breeds by people unfamiliar with them: it must be a “baby Belgian” or better yet “a freeze-dried Belgian – just add water.” Their size and build brings to mind the Norwegian Fjord, but their coloring differs considerably. We’ve been asked if the name meant that the Haflinger is “half a horse” or “where are the quarterlingers and the wholingers?” We enjoy the guessing game particularly because once someone has met a Haflinger, or better yet, has seen one work, they will never forget this powerful little horse.

The Old Woodstove

The Old Woodstove

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The decision to put in a cook stove was actually not made quite so lightly. We try to minimize our use of fossil fuels if alternative energy sources can be found. For many energy uses, alternatives are readily available, but cooking is a tough issue. However, we all need to cook, and many of our foods don’t have the same nutrition if they aren’t cooked. Many are certainly less palatable. Solar ovens work well under the right temperature and culinary conditions, but early morning is not the right time or place to make granola in one. Solar electricity may be an option, but resistance heating eats up precious solar-produced watts faster than anything.

The Thresher

The Thresher

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Mr. Schadel rumbled up with the grain wagon, sacks flung over the box edge and flapping. His two boys balanced their pitchforks against the sway of the wagon. After that Mr. Dunkel came, slow with his oxen; with him Mr. Marchen with Snoose and the two older brothers, Jack and Bill, in a wide-tired wagon. Behind them drove Mr. Nussbaum and his boys, proud of their sorrels, and sometimes a hired hand – a small circle of neighbors then who gathered to set the machine and stake down the power. Uncle Herm giddapped the team and pulled the separator between the stacks.

Tied in Knots

Tied in Knots

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Old barb wire fences usually enjoy long stretches of loneliness. An occasional break requiring attention, otherwise the barb wire just hangs around the fields from post to post. That’s not the case on our current operation. As mentioned, elk for twenty years were jumping through at night to get at our crops and pastures, but for most of that time they did it walking and grazing. These days they do it running often forgetting to jump, and they do it for the entire growing season. So the fence wires, strands which ought to be occasionally tightened like you would tune a guitar, now have to be tied back together – repaired over and over again, at or near the spots where wires were tied originally. The result is something akin to scar tissue. Our fences look angry, all tied in knots.

What the Old Horses Knew

What the Old Horses Knew

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We learn to notice how calm this gelding is standing for a new hitching procedure, just as we notice that the filly is nervously watching everything around her, jumpy with each new experience. How do we value those two different circumstances? Most of us dedicate time and concern to the skittish filly and allow that the calm gelding is nothing to worry about, nothing to concern ourselves with. Perhaps we would do well to even that out, to see if we can pick up on why the calm horse is that way. After all, he is the best example we have, in that moment, of where we would like the filly to end up, yes? And perhaps, just perhaps, that solid quiet gelding has it in his nature and makeup to assist you in bringing the filly to calm? Such aid is available IF we are aware and open to it.