Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter on the Farm

Wild horses thrive out west, even in the worst conditions. Yet, people worry about horses on a farm getting cold. Horses are as tough as deer or buffalo. They have it made on a farm where people are providing food and shelter.

Up until around 1920 almost everyone depended on the horse for transportation year around. The Amish help us "Englishers" get an idea of what our great-grandparents lives were like. It wasn't quite like... getting in a warm car, in a heated garage, and jumping out to run into the mall.  Someone has to harness up a horse and hitch it to the buggy before going anywhere. Those buggies don't have a heater in them either.

When you get home, no matter how late, someone has to un-harness, brush and feed the horse. Wintertime is get-by mode on a farm. Amish are hardworking people, who are rarely caught unprepared for cold weather. Barn full of hay, crib full of corn, pantry loaded with canned goods, woodpile heaped up, they are ready for whatever winter brings. When the weather is really bad, chores can take all day. 

You might have to use an Ax to chop open the water tank. Spend extra time bedding down livestock with a fresh layer of straw. Plow snow or shovel the walk. Imagine how nice it is, to finally get inside after fighting the cold for hours, and then sit close to a wood burning stove with the smell of homemade bread circling around you like a wreath. 

 In the picture below, you can see that we have a few Amish homes in Kalona. The city is accommodating for Amish, even providing a shelter for tying horses while shopping.

James (pictured below) is using a team of draft horses to plow snow out of a drive. He is 16 and not sitting on a couch, playing video games, or texting his buds. It was -4 when this picture was taken and this young man is getting a job done. Molly and Mary (his team of Belgians) are more-than-likely happy to have something interesting to do, rather than standing around looking over a fence.
Photo courtesy of Laurie Erwin Gabbert
Interested in reading about Draft Horses and Amish? Read my novel...
Under the Heavens

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