Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Art of Farming




Riding a Sulky Plow is quite an experience. I would compare it to the delight cutting a nice furrow is to painting as a brush is to canvas until you get to the end of the furrows and it's like riding a bucking horse and just staying in the saddle is a challenge in the rough sea of sod. I can understand the term, "sodbuster" and have a new found respect for the term.


Plowing a field takes planning if you want to save yourself some work. The first furrow dictates what the rest of the day will go like. Even with a single bottom sulky plow you want long straight rows. Turns get the team out of the furrow and onto rough plowed sod and that's like riding a cork in white water rapids. I usually get off and SLOWLY turn the horses. I've been bucked off a time or two but ended up on my feet yelling "WHOA!!!!"


After we get the plowing done, we'll disk it all up and seed it to an oat hay cover crop with pasture mix seeded for next year. The price of seed is 3 times higher than previous years but then so is the crop. I may even put in some spuds. Do some Yukon Golds and Peruvian Purples. I don't mind if I can weed them with the horses. I'd much rather make my own fuel. Talk about a small 'carbon footprint', I'd rather a footprint of a horse "U".


There's not much that beats a good team of horses plowing on a sunny spring day. You can watch the trees turn green. The birds are great after the long winter we had. After each furrow we get a breather because the horses are getting in shape and cutting sod is a real chore. I take out my little sketch book and sketch the pond or the ol wagon wheel laying burned in the river bank, maybe the rear view of the team or the wall of canyon we live in. Eagles fish the river and swallows fill the air. Mixing Art and Life.

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