Traditional ploughing on a smallholding

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Swing Swang

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Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« on: March 29, 2011, 20:43 »
I though that you might like to see a picture of my friend Jacó and his donkey, Caroço.

I took the picture last week, Jacó is in his 60s and he hasn't changed the way he tends his smallholding for over 50 years. He's got enough ploughs and ploughshares to see him to the end of his days, but I do wonder what will happen to these country skills when all the equipment is in museums and the old boys have all passed on.

SS
Ploughman.jpg

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Gandan57

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 22:24 »
Not in Hampshire surely?
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John

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 23:34 »
Not in Hampshire surely?

Looks more like Surrey to me :)
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arugula

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 06:26 »
I do wonder what will happen to these country skills when all the equipment is in museums and the old boys have all passed on.

SS

Competetive ploughing is still quite an activity in certain parts of the UK and the horse ploughing section is well followed with participants travelling all over. There are younger people on the circuit too, so the skills won't disappear just yet. :)
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Casey76

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 07:53 »
At the agricultural shows in France, they often have competitions, not only of ploughng, but of logging too.  It's amazing to see these tough little horses negotiate an obstacle course with a tree trunk attatched to their harness!

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joyfull

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 07:57 »
logging with horses is making quite a big comeback as the horses and ponies do less damage to the ground  :).
Yes ploughing with horses is alive and well in competions over here as is ploughing with the old pairs of steam ploughing engines which make a fantastic site at sunset  :D.
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Swing Swang

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 08:55 »
Neither Hampshire nor Surrey - Alentejo region of Portugal. Jaco lives next door to Dad and Mum.

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Swing Swang

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 18:00 »
Thanks for that Argillie - does that mean that modern versions of 'antique' ploughs are still being made or do they have to mend and make do with historic machinery?

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arugula

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2011, 10:58 »
I'm not sure of the answer to that Swing Swang, but I have a couple of local farmers who participate who I can ask, including the one our Collie came from. :)

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Trillium

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2011, 16:15 »
Over here we have two European religious groups who stick with the old ways in everything - no electricity, no cars/trucks/tractors, children stay in their own schools, modest clothing, and most are dedicated farmers. The Mennonites, for the most part, and all the Amish (as in the movie Witness) still farm the old way. They go to all sorts of farm auctions buying up the old discarded horse drawn implements and machinery, repair them, and put them to work. Occasionally they'll adapt something modern if needed.

I love stopping by farms where the team of 4 horses are pulling the plough and the farmer, or sometimes even a young son, is directing them. All seems in perfect harmony with them and they're definitely not contributing to pollution. Through them and their skills we know we won't lose the old ways as these farmers are very willing to share their knowledge with interested people. Farmers around here tend to use 4 horse teams.

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John

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 20:04 »
And come the peak oil crunch, guess who will be carrying on as normal?

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Swing Swang

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2011, 07:23 »
John - considering Partugal's 'bail out' and the inevitable 'swinging cuts' Jaco WILL just carry on as normal, as will many others in this region (which is still one of the poorest in Europe) who have lived on virtually nothing all their lives but who are tied to the land. This particular area of the Alentejo is quite interesting in that a very altruistic estate owner gave all of his workers 'small' parcels of land (up to about 8 hectares each) which in most cases have been kept in the families, not sub-divided too much, and are still farmed traditionally. I think that it's important that we don't view this through rose-tinted spectacles - many Portuguese labourers lived very difficult lives, but al least some still have the means and the skills to weather the storm.

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John

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2011, 10:01 »
I know grow your own and smallholding are hard work, no rose tinted specs. Part of the general problem is that in the pursuit of cheap food farming has become efficient economically but at the cost of being very fossil fuel dependent.

Cheaper food in the shops is good but at the cost of the ecology and the quality in terms of chemical residues if not appearance. It's not as if we benefit that much from cheaper food, any money we save is going into crazy housing costs. Rented or mortgage, still far higher proportion of income than they were in the 1950s.

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Swing Swang

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Re: Traditional ploughing on a smallholding
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2011, 07:22 »
Too true - and unfortunatly it's skewing the economy there too. Since the motorway was built this part of the Alentejo is now 'closer' to the Algarve and foreign buyers have snapped up the more desirable plots and pusehed up land prices. Not only that, but as incomers tend to build larger houses, when the economy does take a downturn (and they want to sell) the larger properties are still out of reach (even when they are discounted).

When Mum went back 'home' (admittedly with an English husband in tow), they were the only overseas couple in the vacintiy - they kept their property 'traditional' and tilled the land (or allowed it to be tilled by a neighbour). Seven years later there are nearly a dozen couples from overseas and things have changed. Incomers' land all gets fenced off, there are no crops or livestock (except for the olives and cork oaks that are already there), and the shepherd can no longer graze his sheep and goats (on what would have been open space) so he has to buy in fodder which pushes up his production costs and reduces the flavour so it's not worth as much on the open market (a double wammy). Sad days.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 07:25 by Swing Swang »


 

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