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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share
Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Teri Sardinia of Winlock, WA (Best Lady Plowman) moves her 9-horse hitch down the furrow as her husband, Mike, and friend, Art Sporseen (owner of the 3 leaders), walk alongside. (Photo by Kelly Mahoney)

Happ’s Plowing: A Chance to Share

by Maureen Harkcom of Ethel, WA

Thirty-nine horses plowing in one field is quite a sight! Compound that with the fact that there were 8 breeds represented in 2, 3, 4 and 9-horse hitches, pulling single-bottom up to 3-bottom plows of walking and riding types from various manufacturers, driven by males and females ranging in age from 16 to 80+.

Spectators (estimated at 300 by the organizers and up to 400 by others) had a great time as they watched for the first time or relived old memories of their days behind a plow. Many actually got their hands onto plow handles for a chance to relive history. One gentleman (whose name unfortunately was forgotten) saw publicity announcing the Plowing Competition just a few days after having seen pictures of his grandfather plowing with teams of horses. He decided to come and see first-hand what his grandfather had done and maybe get a feel for what his grandfather’s life might have been like. Talking to competitors, following them up and down furrows, and finally getting to try it for himself, he spent hours in the beautiful western Washington sunshine learning and making new friends. Smiles on the faces of so many told the story of the kind of day it was. One spectator sought me out to thank us for providing such a wholesome, family-type event (I know at least one family came with 3 generations together) and to express his pleasure in attending an event of those numbers with a very obvious lack of law enforcement – and with no need for its presence.

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Pat, Tom and Violet (Suffolk gelding, Belgian gelding and Shire mare) on their way to earning the title of Best Going Team with Gean Courtney riding back there behind them someplace. (Photo by Kelly Mahoney)

Experienced plowmen mentored beginners or others with less experience. I even got to take time out to try my hand at a walking plow behind a fast-walking pair (as my torn rotator cuff can attest to, thanks to the only rock anyone saw all day — thank you Gean Courtney) and then on a riding plow behind four Shire mares who obviously knew more than I did about what they were doing (thank you John Erskine).

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Organizer Maureen Harkcom (under the watchful eye, and hand, of John Erskine of Monroe, WA) gets a chance to try plowing behind John’s wonderful Shire mares Sydnie, Sam, Icky and Libby (Photo by Triana Elan)

Three o’clock “off the field” time came and went and dinnertime rolled around before we could get people and horses off the field so that results of judging could be announced. I learned a lot that day, one thing being that people were there to share; not many took the competition side of the competition very seriously. Don Anderson of Toledo, WA was our judge — with a tough job handed to him. Everyone was helping each other so he had to really stay on his toes to know who had done what on the various plots. Don brought years of experience and hours of time with lines in his hands to the event and his knowledge of horses and equipment coupled with his watchful eyes saw all he needed to make his decisions.

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Clarence Stancil of Tenino, WA drives Jerry and Bird, his pair of Percherons, as Larry Livingston tries his hand at plowing. (Photo by Triana Elan)

When the ribbons were finally presented at dinner (because we couldn’t get competitors off the field at 3 as planned) the following were recognized: Best Looking Lady Plowman, Cathi Greatorex of Longview, WA; Best Looking Male Plowman, Wayne Buckner of Duvall, WA; Youngest Plowhorse, “Eastes” a 2 year old Norwegian Fjord gelding owned by Woody Hoopes of Monroe, WA; Oldest Plowhorse, “Duchess” a 17 year old Suffolk mare owned by Cathi Greatorex; Longest Hauled Horses “Jake” and “Tony” a pair of 8 year old Percheron geldings who made the ferry ride off the island with owner Buzz Larson of Freeland, WA; Best Junior Plowman, Nita Sporseen of Tenino, WA; Best Lady Plowman, Teri Sardinia of Winlock, WA (driving 9 head); Best Open Plowman, Gean Courtney of Oregon City, OR; Best Senior Plowman, Clarence Stancil of Tenino, WA; Best Crown, Clarence Stancil; Best Finish, Clarence Stancil; Best Going Team, Gean Courtney.

Happs Plowing A Chance to Share

Clarence Stancil took honors at Happ’s Plowing, here he lets someone try the handles. (Photo by Wendi Ross)

Spotlight On: Livestock

Fjordworks: Zen and the Art of Training the Novice Teamster Part 2

Fjordworks: Zen and the Art of Training the Novice Teamster Part 2

In the practice of Zen sitting meditation, a special emphasis is placed on maintaining a relaxed but upright sitting posture, in which the vertical and horizontal axis of the body meet at a center point. Finding this core of gravity within can restore a sense of well-being and ease to the practitioner. This balanced seat of ease is not all that different from the state of relaxed concentration we need to achieve to effectively ride or drive horses.

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.

A Greenhorn Tries Draft Horses

A Greenhorn Tries Draft Horses

by:
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We have tried a workhorse, and for our needs he has proven quite satisfactory as well as satisfying to use. Thus we feel it is possible for someone with little or no experience to learn to care for and use a horse or a team for farm and woods work, although, obviously, this is not a process to be undertaken lightly. One of the basic aims of the farm operation for us is self-sufficiency, and we thought that the horse would be more efficient than a tractor in achieving this aim.

Mule Powered Wrecker Service

Mule Drawn Wrecker Service

This will only add fuel to those late night discoursians about the relative merits of horses over mules or viciversy. Is the horse the smarter one for hitching a ride or is the mule the smarter one for recognizing the political opportunity which this all represents? In any event these boys know what they are doing, or should, so don’t try this at home without horse tranquilizers. Remember that politics is a luke warm bowl of thin soup.

Sheep A Logical Choice

Sheep: A Logical Choice

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Sheep have numerous uses on a smallholding. They are excellent grazers and are ideal at revitalizing old pastures as well as an excellent follower of the cows in a rotational grazing system. Cropping the grass at 2-3 inches that the cows have left at 8 inches encourages new growth in the spring. Their manure is usually in pellet form and is spread throughout a pasture as they graze. A sheep shares a ton a year of fertilizer with the earth.

On The Anatomy of Thrift Fat & Slat

On the Anatomy of Thrift Part 3: Fat & Salt

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals. Fat & Salt is the third and final video in the series. It is the conceptual conclusion to the illustrated, narrated story that weaves throughout the entire series, and deals instructionally in the matters of preserving pork.

The Brabants Farm

The Brabants’ Farm

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The Brabants’ Farm is a multi purpose farming operation whose main goal is to promote “horsefarming.” Our philosophy is to support the transformation of regional conventional agriculture and forestry into a sustainable, socially responsible, and less petroleum dependent based agriculture, by utilizing animal drawn technology (“horsefarming”), and by meeting key challenges in 21st century small scale agriculture and forestry in Colombia and throughout South America.

Calves that Don't Breathe at Birth

Calves that Don’t Breathe at Birth

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Heart rate is one way to tell if the calf is in respiratory distress, since it drops as the body is deprived of oxygen. Normal heart rate in a newborn calf is 100 to 120 beats per minute. Place your hand over the lower left side of the ribcage, just behind and above the elbow of his front leg. If heart rate has dropped as low as 40, the calf ’s condition is critical; he needs to start breathing immediately.

Hay Making with a Single Horse Part 1

Hay Making with a Single Horse Part 1

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For the last ten years, I have made hay mostly with a single horse. This has not necessarily been out of choice, as at one time I had hoped to be farming on a larger scale with more horses. Anyway, it does little good to dwell on ‘what if ’. The reality is that I am able to make hay, and through making and modifying machinery, I probably have a better understanding of hay making and the mechanics of draught.

Chicken

How To Cure Chicken Roup: Then and Now

How To Cure The Common (Chicken) Cold

Walsh No Buckle Harness

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When first you become familiar with North American working harness you might come to the erroneous conclusion that, except for minor style variations, all harnesses are much the same. While quality and material issues are accounting for substantive differences in the modern harness, there were also interesting and important variations back in the early twentieth century which many of us today either have forgotten or never knew about. Perhaps the most significant example is the Walsh No Buckle Harness.

A Year of Contract Grazing

A Year of Contract Grazing

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Contract grazing involves the use of livestock to control specific undesirable plants, primarily for ecological restoration and wildfire prevention purposes. The landowners we worked for saw grazing as an ecologically friendly alternative to mowing, mechanical brush removal, and herbicide application.

Ask A Teamster Halters Off

Ask A Teamster: Halters Off!

When my friend and mentor, the late Addie Funk, first started helping me with my horses, he suggested that we get rid of my halter ropes with snaps and braid lead ropes on to all the halters permanently. Actually as I think about it, it was more than a suggestion. Knowing him, he probably just braided the new ropes on, confident that anyone with any sense would be pleased with the improvement. In any case, when the task was completed I clearly remember him saying to me, “Now nobody will turn a horse loose around here with a halter on.”

Horseshoeing Part 6A

Horseshoeing Part 6A

The boundary between health and disease of the hoof is difficult to determine, especially when we have to deal with minor defects of structure or shape of the hoof. Ordinarily, we first consider a hoof diseased when it causes lameness. However, we know that diseases of the hoof may exist without lameness. Therefore, a hoof should be regarded as diseased or defective when it deviates from what we consider as normal or healthy, whether the service of the animal is influenced by it or not.

Horseshoeing Part 5A

Horseshoeing Part 5A

All shoes whose ground-surface is provided with contrivances to prevent slipping upon snow and ice are called winter shoes. These various contrivances are produced by several processes called “methods of sharpening.” All methods may be gathered into two groups, – namely, practical sharp-shoeing and impractical. Only the first will be considered.

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Horseshoeing Part 4B

Forging is that defect of the horse’s gait by reason of which, at a trot, he strikes the ends of the branches or the under surface of the front shoe with the toe of the hind shoe or hoof of the same side. Forging is unpleasant to hear and dangerous to the horse. It is liable to wound the heels of the forefeet, damages the toes or the coronet of the hind hoofs, and often pulls off the front shoes.

Living With Horses

Living With Horses

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The French breed of Ardennes is closer to what the breed has been in the past. The Ardennes has always been a stockier type of horse, rude as its environment. Today the breed has dramatically changed into a real heavy horse. If the Ardennes had an average weight between 550 and 700kg in the first part of the last century, the balance shows today 1000kg and more. Thus the difference between the Ardennes and their “big” sisters, the Brabants in Belgium, or the Trait du Nord in France, has gone.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT