Saturday, April 12, 2008

The best day I could imigine!!

Many of you know I've been thinking dreaming and working towards farm work with horses for a while now and yesterday I felt one step closer...

I've spoken of Duane VanDyke several times well yesterday with he, his daughter in law Sara and "adopted daughter" Maria I went to a "historic farming day" at the Yamhill Museum... I couldn't have imaged a better day!

The tractors and old time farm equipment where awesome.. and most of you know I have a thing for old tractors...

but today they where superseded by the horses : ) ...

"The Girls"

Duane Driving - see one hand : ) for plow and one for horses... (some day I'll get there)

So I have had a little driving time with duane's horses but never with a plow... And let me tell you it was thrilling!

It's a pretty amazing feeling to have this team in front of and the plow between you swiftly churning! The thing that surprised me the most was how "fast it feels" when you see plowing it looks so peaceful, quite and slow... well at least for now as a beginner it's NOT SLOW !! and takes a lot of focus and also you have to remember to relax too as the hoses pick up everything of course!!

so there you are behind this team with a big heavy piece of equipment and "your up!"... so you ask and of course Duane's horses are serious well trained workers so these guys (actually girls in this case) get right to work there's no "plodding" along slow and steady... imagine football players running at the big heavy bags and pushing them there's speed and power and focus on these horses part! it's awesome..

and there there's the plow!... that reminded me of steering a boat but with a little more muscle behind it... if you over correct there's a tiny lag and then your plow is careening off the wrong way quickly! and then that "mistake in your row" will cost you for the next few passes as you correct it... then there are rocks and things in the ground that toss you around too... again quickly correcting that slow gently image I had now that I've actually put my hand to the plow.

The end of the row ... now I will say this is my favorite part! there's a little rush of "man that was a good one" or "ok now I got to fix this or that"... as you get to the end you sort of "toss" your plow on it's side then stop and turn your horses and when Duane does it let me tell you it's pretty darn smooth!! When I got to the end of my first furrow I got my plow over and then pretty much yelled my "whoa" to the team I was so worked up!! I was not looking like the calm peaceful farmer let me tell you : ) I look forward to someday being good enough to be able to whisper my whoa .. : )

Sara worked along side of me and was sooo patient THANK YOU SARA!!!... she's a pro! The first few passes she worked the team along side of me so I could get the feel of the plow and then she gave me the lines! She's been at this a while and has a natural feel for the whole process!! I'm learning a ton from her...

So my deep thanks to Duane for all his time patience and kindness!! and to Maria and Sarah for all the tips and helpful guidance as we work with the horses!! I'm learning so much and LOVING every second!...

Maria is my "teacher" for learning to be calm in all situations... I've never met a woman who is more unflappable - if I could learn just a tiny but of her calmness and peace around the horses I'd be a way better horse woman!!

These mules where great - funny and hard working!!

Sara and Sadie

The plows we used

Sara on the plow

Maria on the plow

Duane's "finish" ... feast your eyes on that straight perfect finish!!!


Lois said...

So inspiring, Clare! You look very happy, and very intense, as well you should be. Wow, those horses are big and serious! Thanks so much for sharing - you go girl!

Lois said...

My great uncle worked the fields behind a horse drawn thresher during harvest for most of his youth. It was a 16 horse team pulling the thresher. He was also the World's Champion Cowboy around the turn of the (last) century. Just my little bit of historical info.
Lois (Ms. Blabby today, it seems)