We are now proud owners of a seed drill!
What a long day though...9 hours driving through grey and sometimes very rainy weather to return back home in the dark, with a trailerload of what others would describe as a rather rusty vintage item. But no - we are not going to put this thing onto our front lawn, painted bright blue and red, with pansies growing out of the seed box! Instead, we are going to make this thing work again and hitch the horses to it! That's the plan anyway....
The drill must be a good fifty years old, and has probably never seen a horse, but breathed in (if drills do that...) a lot of tractor fumes in it's lifetime. It is one of the first models built with tractors in mind, but that doesn't mean we could not try to adapt it to horse-power. The pressure is on, as we hope to get winter cereals in soon!
It's nearly time for Flora to be weaned and leave us for the winter. She'll be spending the dark months at a friend's stud near Cork where she'll get to hang out with other youngsters like herself. So plenty of opportunity to play, socialise, run about...With so much engery and time on her hands - hooves I should say - she seems a bit bored here with her parents ignoring her attempts to engage them in any silly play whatsoever.
After weeks of looking oddly chocolate-and-cream speckled, Flora now turned a nice rich dark brown. I still wonder whether she'll end up black eventually, or grey, as the vet has predicted, or just stays brown, like her dad?
Thanks to the help from friends (humans and horses), all our potaotes are safely in the barn already!
After looking at the clouds inquiringly and doing a test dig in the field we decided to go ahead yesterday afternoon with the potato harvest as part of our first meitheal this season.
The first job was to pull out the potato haulms and weeds growing amongst them. Then the field was ready for the horses to move in. They pulled our potato harvesting plough along the centre of each ridge to split it and bring up the potatoes. Instead of mouldboards, the plough has long spikes attached to the shares which throw the potatoes out along both sides of the split ridge. Many helping hands picked and sorted the potatoes in piles. When this part of the job was done, Winnie was finished for the day, but Henry was hitched to the tip cart and helped to bring the potatoes from the field into the barn.
The sun just started disappearing behind clouds when the last potato rolled into place, and whilst there was juicy gras waiting for the horses, it was soup and potatoes for us human lot!
For the second time in a row, we went along to our local Agricultural Show, to promote working with horses in harness.
Henry, Winnie and Flora had brought a big portion of easy-going and patience with them, nibbling their hay, listening to the show noises, to await visitors to our spot, who started to arrive in waves from mid-day on. Not many appeared to have been put off by the torrential rain earlier in the morning, and everybody enjoyed the bright warm sunshine, although we were all very aware of the showers waiting to move in from the bay in intervals later on.
There was much interest in Henry the placid stallion and Flora the cute foal, and of course Winnie the watchful mum. Henry showed off his strength and skills with the chain harrow and stone boat, and then it was time to go as a team into the show ring for a few rounds.
People were interested to hear about the Irish Work Horse Association (which we represented with brochures), and also about more hands-on issues of harnessing, horse drawn tools and how best to hide from an atlantic squall behind a small trailer...
Never mind the wet weather, we had a good day out with lots of positive feed-back!