A New Way of Looking at Old Things

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This issue of Farm Collector has changed the way I look at things. First it was Josephine Roberts, writing about Welsh horses. At least one Welsh Cob — the one owned by Josephine’s brother — is on the job in a traditional application: herding sheep.

To tend his herd, Andrew Roberts has replaced a quad bike with a horse. In making the change, economy was important. As Josephine notes, :a horse has to be fed even if it isn’t being used, whereas a quad bike doesn’t. But a horse can live on the same grazing land as the sheep, and during the winter she eats the hay cut from the land, just the same as the sheep do, so in that respect … costs are minimal.:

For years now, I’ve been visiting with folks who recalled that glorious day when Dad got his first tractor — and all the chores associated with workhorses ended. “You don’t have to feed a tractor every day,” they’d say.

But for this young stockman, anyway, going against conventional wisdom seems to be working. Perhaps progress at any price isn’t always a bargain. Could it be that, in some applications, some of the old ways are better? Then there’s Clell G. Ballard’s look back at something as simple and as essential as a shed door. Through acquaintance with a century-old barn, I’ve come to understand the importance of door orientation, to both maximize summer breezes and minimize the impact of northern winds in the winter, but the evolution of doors had somehow escaped my attention.

The advent of ever-larger and more costly equipment played a role in door size and placement, and made it more and more difficult for farmers to build their own. About the time push came to shove, things changed in a few important ways. Check out Clell’s article to learn more!

And finally, there’s the ill-fated Snow Cruiser, the topic of Sam Moore’s column this month. With nearly 80 years’ hindsight, the Snow Cruiser seems almost laughably fantastical. Yet it was built in 1939, just three years after Hoover Dam was completed — a product of an era when people tackled big problems with big solutions.

And reading about Antarctica — in a summer when we’ve had a bumper crop of heat — was an undeniably cool diversion. Here’s hoping this issue of Farm Collector helps you find a new way of looking at old things! FC

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment