May 27, 2011

The Voices of Horsemen

My husband Terry usually lumps computers and "social networking" into the same pile that is, from time to time, spread on the fields by the manure spreader. His wife (me), on the other hand finds the computer and the internet in particular, to be a very useful art medium. Blogging is no different from sketchbook journaling, social networking is so much better than the telephone. Facebook has allowed me to meet so many fabulous characters from all over the world who have important stories to tell about their own horses. I have decided to share some of them here, and hope eventually to compile them into a book. The voices of horsemen, chapter one...

From Michigan horse farmer, Fred Brooks (the photo above is of Fred's grandfather and his team of Percheron mules, circa 1936)...

Cool this morning, but no frost. There was a freeze warning last
night, the cherry orchard folks were up most of the night getting heat
inductors and massive fans ready...but they didn't need them...though
we aren't quite out of the danger area just yet....
Since it has been so wet and cool I haven't gotten anything planted,
though I will travel over to see the Prince this afternoon to pick up
his middlebuster for planting potatoes. I also got seed from him, a
very thick skinned baker that he had no idea on variety...I'll try them.

Traveled to the Jordan River Valley last night, scene of my unproductive
youth, to East Jordan. I visited my Folks, and went over and talked to
Jack Wilson. Jack, if you remember is the guy who had the team harness
for sale. He didn't exactly jump into the car to go out to his son's place,
Neil's, who I grew up with...Jack had problems getting his shoes back on,
and since his last stroke talks to himself a bit.

Jack gew up out in the Valley....tough people out that way, though on
the very strange side. The ol' man had a first name that was
unpronounceable so he went by the name of "Spike."
Jack had a brother by the name of Glen, who I worked with, and went to
school with his boy, Steve, who is now dead, cancer killed him, though
he was left for dead several times; one of those times they found him
froze to the Peninsula Road north of town, nearly bled to death....he
took on the Wiser Brother's by himself, a story for another time.
Glen is still alive, and like his son is lucky to be left up
alive...he has a nasty scare across his throat...back in the 60's he
was working in the woods and fell over backwards with his finger still
on the throttle of the chainsaw, cutting his throat...guess Jack was
out there with him. Glen also owned a horse logging business for a
short while, after he retired from construction, went back to his
roots...Jack owned his own construction company....but he helped
Glen once and a while.

Anyway-I looked over the harness, I think it dates back to the logging
era, I mean the massive logging era...the traces attach to the hames
with eye bolts, I have never seen that before...but everything looked
solid enough to pull out firewood with...and for 60.00 it was a
steal...I told Jack that too. He just told me when he seen the
harness he thought of me and just wanted what he paid.

Another thing about Jack...I never heard him really tell a story...but
he loves listening to them...he has a very infectious laugh, one of
the nicest guys I knew growing up. He could also be a terror in the
bar room.

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