Thursday

Ask A Teamster Tongue Length

Ask A Teamster: Tongue Length

My forecart pole is set up for draft horses. My husband thinks we should cut the pole off to permanently make it fit better to these smaller horses. What would be your opinion? Like your husband, my preference would be a shorter tongue for a small team like your Fjords. The dynamics and efficiency of draft are better if we have our horse(s) close to the load. A shorter tongue will also reduce the overall length of your outfit, thereby giving you better maneuverability and turning dynamics.

Calving Knowing When to Check a Cow Can Save Calves

Calving: Knowing When to Check a Cow Can Save Calves

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Most cows progress normally through the stages of labor; uterine contractions in early labor get the calf aimed toward the birth canal, the cervix dilates and the calf starts through. The calf entering the birth canal stimulates abdominal straining and second stage (active) labor begins – to push him on out. Sometimes, however, the calf does not start into the birth canal and the cow does not begin hard straining. If you don’t intervene, you’ve lost the calf (and the cow, if you don’t get the dead calf out of her). Knowing when to check a cow is crucial – and you have to be watching her to know how long she’s been in early labor.

Farewell to Danny

Farewell to Danny

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She was a devoted cook and frequently told us the recipes she would use in her weekly meals. We saw her every week at the market and she was the kind of person that would tell us if she was going to be out of town and not be at the market the following week. We have a lot of customers like this, people we see every week that love our food and it becomes a serious reason for doing what we do. The feedback is generally very positive and in kind, rewarding on many levels.

Gyps Adopted Pup

Gyp’s Adopted Pup

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Gyp was not a dog to invite overly familiar ear-scratches, and with strangers, the careful back of a hand offered for sniffing seemed to define the limits of his comfort zone. His name spoke about gypsy wandering while nosing down a hot scent, and of ‘gyppo’ loggers, the independent catch-as-catch-can lumberjacks of the Western states, who sometimes followed their hounds on midnight rambles.

Horse-Logging with a Scoot

Horse-Logging with a Scoot

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From time to time, someone will ask me what method I use for skidding logs. My answer is: “Whatever fits the situation”. To me it is not about skidding logs, it’s about working horses in the woods. To that end, I have spent fifteen years logging, and learning how to employ different types of equipment that augment the efficiency of working animals. I have two logging carts, a bobsled, a set of bob-wheels, a scoot, and I have twitched many logs with a single horse, as well as with a team of horses, or oxen.

Parlin and Orendorff Cultivators

Parlin & Orendorff Cultivators

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The Parlin Cultivator represents our best medium priced walking cultivators, and when we say medium price, we do not mean to convey the idea that there is any element of cheapness in their construction. It is one of our oldest makes, and owing to the fact that it can be equipped with any style of gang, it is a very popular implement wherever used.

Photo Album from a Champion Plowman

Photo Album from a Champion Plowman

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Day two of the match: You make your crown or head land, plow 6 rounds total then you wait for the man next to you to get his 6 rounds made, then you go to his last furrow. You have 2 rounds to straighten up his, if need be, but they were always straight. Then plow around till the last 2 rounds, turn to crown or head land side. I came in 2nd place this day. I swear middle mule has GPS. Watch the line.

Rabbits in the Northern Orchard and Forest

Rabbits in the Northern Orchard and Forest

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Winter is the time when rabbits become a problem. Trees are a favorite food when other sources are hidden beneath the snow. Rabbits will eat twigs and small branches in their entirety. They will girdle larger stock, up to about an inch and a half in diameter, to obtain the nutritious inner bark, but this is fatal to the rest of the branch or tree. And they walk on top of the snow, which reaches depths of over four feet here, giving them access to much of the young forest as food.

Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Gardening

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Raised beds may not be right for everyone, and our way is not the only way. I have seen raised beds made from rows of 5’ diameter kiddy pools, and heard of a fellow who collected junk refrigerators from the dump and lined them up on their backs into a rainbow of colored enameled steel raised beds. Even rows of five-gallon pails filled with plants count as raised beds in my estimation. Do it any way you care to, but do it if it’s right for you.

Russells Workhorse Workshop

Russell’s Workhorse Workshop

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The lessons of farming are no different from those of any other study. In order to internalize a lesson and make it a skill, you have to go through the motions, and more – you have to grab the business end of the pitchfork, and sense cause and effect to know what it consists of in this new setting, how it operates. So when one seasoned teamster says to another that driving the buckrake is counter-intuitive, it’s a caution and a challenge for both men and horses. And a thing of beauty when horses and teamster catch on, and it works.

Sit and Spin or Cornspiracy

Sit-and-Spin or Cornspiracy?

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As an example of Research & Development, this study is actually an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment where most farmers already know from experience what the study’s findings will be. The lobbying and advertising dictates of Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill notwithstanding, their products don’t make good economic sense, and haven’t for a long while. Where we find ourselves is eye-deep in Roundup-resistant superweeds, with no easy fixes in sight.

Cayuse Vineyards

Small Farm, USA: Cayuse Vineyards

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How did the grape find itself here on the outskirts of Milton? If you ask one man, Christophe Baron, the answer is simple. “It’s the cobblestone. (The ground) reminds me of home”. For Christophe, home refers to France and the stone littered earth from which many famous French wines grow. Hailing from a family of vigneron champenois, Mr. Baron came upon this corner of the state by chance, saw its signature geology, and decided to establish his domaine right here in northeast Oregon.

Thinking Small

Thinking Small

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One place to start is to look at how you relate to your community. If you stay on your homestead and don’t connect with your larger community or neighborhood, you deprive yourself of opportunities for many kinds of mutual support. On the other hand, if you freely help and/or fairly barter with your neighbors and local businesses, your chances of long term success will be greater, and you’ll have a community that actively cares about your well-being.

Water Requirements of Horses

Water Requirements of Horses

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Water is an important ingredient of the horse’s diet, since it is crucial for proper function of the body. This “nutrient” makes up 65 to 85 percent of a foal’s body weight, and about 68 to 72 percent of an adult horse’s body weight. A 1000 pound horse’s body contains about 80 gallons of water. Even small changes in total body water can have a negative impact on a horse’s health and well being. Water is contained within all body cells, between cells, and is an important component of blood, joint fluid and lymph.

Fire in the Hole

“Fire in the Hole!”

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Despite Frank Dean’s 84 years he is still a practising farrier, and determined not to allow the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday to pass uncelebrated he could think of no better way to mark the occasion than with the blacksmith’s tradition of firing the anvil, watched by close friends and villagers at his forge in Rodmell near Lewes.