Northeast Animal-Power Field Days
September 30, 2008, 6:07 pm
Filed under: Farm

Since life on the farm has been more or less business-as-usual, with a couple of exceptions, I had to wait for something newsworthy to post about.  That happened this weekend, when I went with a couple of neighbor friends, Donn and Julie, to the 2nd annual Northeast Animal-Power Field Days (NEAPFD) in Tunbridge, VT.  My main interest was in seeing working oxen for the first time, and I got to see some beautiful teams and amazing teamsters.

Frank & Jessie, Ray Ludwigs Devon Team

Frank & Jessie, Ray Ludwig's Devon Team

Howie Van Ord Training the Raffle Holstein Calves, Lewis & Clark

Howie Van Ord Training the Raffle Holstein Calves, Lewis & Clark

I got to try driving another, slightly older, team of Holsteins, and Julie drove a two-year old team of devons that looked sweet, but I was too scared of their long horns, which grazed her stomach between her ribs and hip…

Although I loved the oxen best, the most exciting and emotional thing I saw was this:

I was sitting in a workshop Sunday morning and heard a loud jingling and left to go see what it was.  As I turned a corner, I saw four horses hitched abreast, followed closely by another four, and I started running after them.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I’d heard that driving 4-up was hard.  Super impressive, and so awesome that I actually started to cry.  Later, Donn gave driving them a shot:

Those horses were gorgeous, but there were lots of beautiful horses there:

Jay Bailey & Fair Winds Farms Suffolk Punches

Jay Bailey & Fair Winds Farm's Suffolk Punches

and mules:

Percheron Mules Pulling a Wagon

Percheron Mules Pulling a Wagon

It was a great weekend despite the rain all day Friday (soaking our tent and bedding through) and overcast weather the rest of the weekend (not letting anything– tent, bedding, clothes, etc.– dry).  I brought a bunch of food, and we picnicked, several times with Mark & Kristen Kimball, with whom I’m rather enchanted, and somewhat tempted to try working at their Essex Farm.  They served us an excellent dinner Friday night, and we collaborated on a couple of breakfasts the next two mornings.  Their bacon (nice and salty) and milk (how else could I have gotten raw milk while traveling?) both rock, as do they.

We got home late-ish Sunday night to find Sunday dinner waiting for us, including a cake for Julie, whose birthday it was, and a visitor from the city, our friend Mike.  Oh, yes, and a gift from Cheryl of Bellwether Cidery, a bottle of my favorite cider in the whole wide world, King Baldwin!  A great evening, with ice cream and homemade chocolate syrup to top it off.

1 Comment so far
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This is amazing to see!

Comment by nwlimited

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