Sunday, January 12, 2014

Horsepower in 2014

 The world has changed a lot in the past one-hundred years! In 1914 almost every farm in America was powered by horses, not tractors. At first glance these monster tractors look like a vast improvement over farming with horses, but are they?
Let's stop and go over the pro's and con's:
Tractors... one man can farm hundreds of acres alone. Horses... more people needed but that means more people with jobs.
Tractors... although they use expensive fuel, they don't need to be fed when not working. Horses... they have to be fed everyday but they can raise their own renewable, environmentally safe fuel.
Tractors... don't get sick and die. Horses... can reproduce their own replacements.
Tractors... don't have personality flaws. Horses... actually have a personality, many that you can fall in love with.
Tractors... will make you more dollars (True, that modern farmers spend more money on luxury items but almost all of them are strapped with a debt load their huge tractors can't pull them out of.)  Horses... will save you more dollars (Most Amish who farm with horses operate with zero debt.)
In the end, it is obvious that tractors are more convenient and make it possible to raise more food with less labor. If you ever visit an Amish farm, where they are using good old-fashion horsepower, you will find that with our "convenience" we have lost a lot of what makes life rich and meaningful.
What if, instead of one man farming a thousand acres alone, there were eight families working that same land. And those eight families helped each other daily in a close knit community. Welcome to the world of the Amish.

Does this fascinate you? Check out my novel, Under the Heavens, it will give you a chance to feel what it is like to spend a summer on one of these farms.


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