James L. Michael
The “Old Man” had finally bred his Belgian mares enough times that he was out of barn space. This was what I had been waiting for, to work the charm. You see, I had been wanting to have my own team for a long time; but I couldn’t hardly bring in my own horses when Dad was getting new foals out of his mares every spring. I had grown up on horses and broken several saddle horses, but Grandpa and Dad had always been justifiably particular about “just everyone” driving their teams. That meant, for Dad as well as me, that “the boy” got to help but he didn’t get to drive. We both took our turn, but with Grandpa gone and Dad with six young horses on his side of the farm to train and me with an empty barn, I figured it was about my time.
I got this idea for a hydraulic post splitter in my mind a few years ago and it just wouldn’t leave. Laziness is the father of invention. Twenty-some years of polishing a hickory maul handle with my grub shovelers was beginning to make me inventive. There just had to be some way to turn seven foot cuts off a locust tree into usable split fence posts without spending long sweaty days in too close association with a maul and wedges. We had tried sawn posts some time before and found that they rot out much sooner than a conventionally split post. Fence, on this farm, has to be bull strong, horse high, hog tight, and arrow straight, so sawing was out.