Thursday, December 11, 2008

Working with Horses

After looking at some of the PT clips, I was thinking about some of the other things that played a big part in the lives of all of your grandparents. I tried to find some clips showing sugar beet cultivation and harvest by hand, but I think those days are truly gone. I did find some clips that showed early sugar beet tractor harvesting, which I suppose looks crude and primitive compared with today's harvesting equipment. Still, even the most elementary of the tractor powered machines would have been beyond imagination to Grandpa. They did it all by hand and by horse, at least for many years. They started in the spring and plowed, disked, harrowed, planted, blocked, thinned, weeded, irrigated, lifted, topped and loaded the beets into a wagon, all without engines.

I did find a few clips on doing farm work with horses. In our minds, we know that our forefathers powered their farms with horses, and think of the horses working quietly along. There aren't any run-aways in these clips, but as you watch them, you might imagine the excitement that could show up in an instant if the horse spooked, or was stung by a wasp or bee, or even a horse fly. Some of the little buggy seats are actually in front of the machine. I think that in the old days, most of seats were mounted so that they were in back of the load, and the driver could jump off to safety if the horses took off.

It was a whole different world, and a different way of looking at things in those days. If you haven't farmed with tractors, you probably won't be struck by the quiet that remains undisturbed when you farm with horses. It's very tranquil, and probably was lonely at times too. It makes you think of Matthew Cuthbert from Anne (with an 'e') of Green Gables. He was well cast, and you can imagine him working in the silent fields for seasons on end.

A plowing 'match':

Disking with a double team:


Binding Corn:

A Day in the Hayfields (1904): This was pretty good, and showed the mowing, raking, and loading on the wagon, then the transfer to the haystack of the loose hay.

Logging and Moving Wood:

Harnessing and Hitching:

Old Tractor-powered hay baler:

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Cool clips. I would never think to look for stuff like that on YouTube. Good finds.

One of the kid's favorite stories is that of camping on the Uncompahgre and getting bucked off of Smoky.

Oh, and totally getting rained out. Good times.