It has been an exciting few weeks down on the Evergreen Organic Farm! The plants are growing like crazy, and our CSA is in full swing. On July 31st and August 1st, we were especially lucky to have teamster Lise Hubbe of Sweet Mill Farm with us. Our program first met Lise on our field trip to the Small Farmer’s Journal Horsedrawn Auction and Swap Meet in Madras, Oregon, way back in spring quarter. This time Lise visited us to demonstrate animal draft power on small farms, bringing along her two work horses, Grace and June.
Lise was such an inspirational speaker. She discussed all of the practical topics related to driving a team of horses, from the process of trimming their feet to what equipment and clothing is necessary for a teamster. More than that though, she also explained the spiritual aspects of working with horses. To be a good teamster requires patience, confidence, and groundedness. Lise does not simply tell her horses what to do, she asks them to work, and they cooperate gladly. The relationship is mutually beneficial; Lise cares for them and oversees their wellbeing, while the horses help to prepare and cultivate fields for growing. It is trust more than anything that bolsters their working relationship. Like a good coach, Lise draws her horses to the edge of their ability and then pushes them a little further. In this way the horses gain strength and endurance, expanding out from their comfort zone. If we “shoot for really good,” Lise says, we might not get all the way there, but we sure will be delighted with where we do end up.