Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Tractor Revolution

Of course, we would still continue to do a tremendous amount of work by hand as we always have, but a tractor with a good set of implements would revolutionize the setting in which we produce our horses and administer our ever growing programs.

It is not so much that it would make the work easier, it is the fact that it would make things go so much faster. I can dig post holes by hand all day long. I am only fifty seven and I expect to be able to do so for years to come. But the progress that I can make is 6 hours of digging by hand is eclipsed by what can be done with a tractor in an hour.

With a tractor we could:

1. keep the sacrifice pastures scraped clear of manure and create wind row compost lines.
2. dig two small ponds on the new land.
3. complete the clearing of the new land at a much faster pace.
4. ring the lower side of the pastures on the old land in a half mile of hugeleculture mounds.
5. build mounds, trenches, and water coursing obstacles in the training portion of the old land.
6. drill annual winter forage seed into the pastures.
7. keep our nearly 1/2 mile path back to the tack shed in good driving condition.
8. maintain a maze of trails through Jacob's woods for riding during hunting season.

Such a revolution would be expensive. Our deep well and sprinkler system was expensive and it has given us our first summer in which water did not need to be hauled to the horses and, most importantly, it has allowed us to maintain lush pasture though the summer. That has been great for the horses and has reduced our hay bill several thousand dollars.

The tractor and implements that we would need would likely cost between twenty and twenty five thousand dollars. Just a few short years ago that last sentence would have been the end of the analysis. In those years years Beth and I covered monthly program deficits and what equipment was purchased was generally purchased by the two of us.

As our program has attracted more regional, and even national, exposure I have learned that we can raise money.

 That would be a lot of money to raise, but it would be worth it.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Livestock Conservancy: Heritage Breeders Tell Your Story

In November the national annual meeting of the Livestock Conservancy will be held in Williamsburg and on the Friday session of that meeting will be held at our horse lot. We will be presenting sessions on how we bring the horses that we are working to preserve before the eye of the public. The bottom line is that we have a lot of programs that attract a wide array of people to see the horses.

These programs give us a lot of volunteers and active participants, but the publicity about what we do is the first step in bringing those people in. We have a story to tell and we tell it, using social media, using our blog, in presentations to civic organizations and on tv and in print media. Kay Kerr has done tremendous work traveling across the nation promoting her children's book about Croatoan.

I have a link below to Margaret Matry's tremendous article from the Virginian-Pilot from several years go. If you have not read this article make sure you do.

If you have already read it many times, read it again.

And share the article.

It helps us tell our story. At the Livestock Conservancy meeting we hope to be able to tell other preservationists how to tell their story.