The Nostalgia of Plowing
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Pete cut the handles to size, then made two stretcher rods from three-quarter-inch-diameter wooden dowels and installed the tension rod between them. He sanded the wooden parts and pained them with three coats of boiled linseed oil.
Pete's total cost for plow restoration was around $35 for the quadrant, handles, square nuts and paint.
Pete now practices plowing with the restored plow and a John Deere 10-inch walking plow. He also tills the garden using a Planet Jr. one-horse cultivator. Power is supplied by Babe, a Percheron mare.
But, if you really want to plow, it's hard to beat David Wolfe of Arcadia, Wis., who owns over 20 old working plows, mostly John Deeres.
Recalling the fall of 1963, David says he was first exposed to actual plow operation at that time on his father's small Wisconsin dairy farm. Most of the farm work was done in the evenings and on the weekends, as his father had another job.
"I was only eight years old, but knew that silo filling was finished, so it was time for fall plowing,' David remembers. 'My father said that plowing could start in a week, but my younger sister and I jumped the gun. Next Monday night after school, she and I installed the side-hill hitch on the John Deere A and hooked up the two-bottom plow and greased it up. Dad came home and I talked him into opening up the field. I rode with him and we made two rounds that evening."
The next evening David asked his mother if he could go plowing after he was done with his chores. "She asked if I knew how and I told her it was just like raking hay. Only one of the tractor tires had to be in the furrow, so it is hard to do it wrong. Well, it must have been a good line,' he says, 'because, after my chores were finished, I was out there plowing."
When David's father got home, he went looking for David in the barn and asked his wife who was plowing. "Mom said, 'That's David out there.' Dad told mom that I did not belong on the tractor plowing," David recalls. "Mom told him, after you tell him why he cannot be plowing, then come and explain it to me why he can't.
"When dad met me at the end of the field, I slowed the tractor down and the plow came out of the ground as I stopped the tractor. I expected the worst. Dad grabbed the side hill hitch lever and slid the drawbar over. He looked at me and said to make one more round and then call it quits for tonight.