Cancer is an all-consuming disease, which we are fighting hard and winning. The battle is long, but I have so much to do and no time to sit around. Last Wednesday Lorraine and I headed for Oregon. We drove to Kalamath Falls and stayed overnight to break up the eight-hour journey to save my back. The next day we drove to Madras, Oregon where the annual Small Farmers Auction and Swap Meet is held. The auction lasts three days. Everything from old farm tools, horse tack, saddles, trailers to stagecoaches are sold to the highest bidder. We were there to figure out how can we fit horses sensibly into the farming operation here at Eatwell Farm. We currently use diesel to drive our tractors and pumps. We can replace some of that with veggie oil and biodiesel, but we still have to find a way to farm efficiently and use much less fossil fuel. Many years ago, Jose suggested that we use a horse and trailer to bring the harvest out of the field into the pack house. On wet days this would help us protect the soil from the weight of our heavy tractors. Ricardo says he can pull his pipe trailer around the farm moving pipes for irrigation just as well with a horse as a pick up truck. Of course there is the opportunity to give horse drawn tours of the farm during our events.
We went looking for the right equipment and to try and make contact with people who breed and sell draft horse teams. We met with fellow farmers from Sebastopol, who bought a new and quite sophisticated cultivation tool made by an Amish company in Ohio. It seems that the revival in farming with horses has spurred some new innovations. I could see how we would be able attach our finger-weeders to cultivate many of the crops we grow on our farm. Time is needed to attach horses to different tools/trailers, but now there are forecarts to which the horses remain harnessed and an easy hitch can change what you are towing very quickly.
We also met a local cheese maker who invited us to have dinner with her family. They make a raw cheddar cheese from Jersey cow milk fed only on grass. We just missed a birth by a couple of hours. You can visit their website at cadadiacheese.com.
Our search for a draft horse team led us only to decide that we wanted small draft horses such as the Halflinger. Now we have to sit down make our plans and budgets to see how we can make all this come together. If you want to help in any way please let us know.