We had a great day out in Mcminnville at the Yamhill Valley Historical Center Farm fest and Plowing competition. The great Duane Van Dyke loaned us a team of shires, and Clare and Sara and Sarah and Lucy and I all plowed a demonstration plot together. Sara Van Dyke got us started and showed us how it is done (and took the edge off our team), and then Clare took over the lines for most of the rest of the day. Sarah H and Lucy and I all got to practice running the plow and also helped out as general swampers for One Mile Shires…Duane and his extended family had at least 4 teams in the competition. I had my hands too full to take pictures, but there are some great shots of our end of the field on Clare’s blog.
Many thanks to the Oregon Draft Horse Breeders Association and the Yamhill Valley Heritage center for putting on this great event. There were 1300 spectators that turned out to watch us plow!
There were a lot of great high points of the day, one of the best for me was when Lisa Hubbe from down in Scio won the Supreme Plowman award, as best teamster and team on the field. Clare calls her the Zen Master of draft horses, and she truly is masterful in the way she handles horses, she literally never raises her voice and her team would try to pull down the sky if she asked them to. She is also one of the most humble and kindhearted people one would ever care to meet. Another high point was helping Duane hitch six up to his double bottom sulky plow (including the team we used all day) and watch him finish out the plowing at the end of the day.
It didn’t hurt that there were lots of beautiful teams to admire, and it was very exciting to work with full sized drafts (and pretty snorty ones at that) after working with haflingers.
This week is the Small Farmers Journal Auction in central Oregon….if you love farm equipment, work horses, and the best collection of characters the Pacific Northwest has to offer, you should head over to Madras and check it out. I will be there for sure next year (assuming the auction continues), possibly looking for a draft pony of my own. Or at least a good looking cowgirl hat.