Now that the summer is coming to an end and harvest work keeps us less and less busy, there are all sorts of tasks lining up - one of them is to spread manure in the kitchen garden, to prepare the beds for late autumn planting of onions, garlic and broad beans in November.
Last year, most of this was done with the sledge, pulled by Henry. THe sledge is very low, so loading is relatively easy, but the platform is not very big, so it does not take much more than maybe two wheelbarrow loads. And then you have to unload again...
Whereas this year, now that Henry is back in the cart, that side of the job is so much easier with the tip box!
It still has to be loaded though, which gave Henry his well-earned breaks. Not that the work was very sweaty or hard for him, but the turns in the garden are quite tight, and then he has to back into the beds, and there are so many things he is not allowed to put his hooves on...But he did brilliantly, although the neighbours' connemara mares decided that just for that work period, it would be a great idea to wildly gallop around the field....Henry was not impressed, or was he?
This year, for the first time in who knows how many years, work horses were present again at the annual Agricultural Show in Bantry last Sunday.
Strawberry and Gem, semi-retired work horses from Ballydehob and Borlin, kept Henry, Winnie and Daisy company at our small exhibition space near the pony show ring.
Together, they all made a great sight in their work harnesses, spreading calm and cool amongst the general hectic of show ponies. Many visitors were pleased to find a comfortable break in our little tent on one of the straw bales, being offered tea and flapjacks.
And then, it was time for Henry and Winnie with Daisy for their performance in the show ring. Unfortunately, the weather had turned to rather wet and breezy at around mid-day, and not many visitors were left to admire us all in the ring. Henry and Winnie were stars, pulling the harrow in a routine-like way, and Daisy had her first positive experience of a grand day out.
Overall, it was a successful first time back at the show - a positive start in raising awareness of work horses still being a reliable power source for every-day small farm operations.