Crops & Horses
In the arable fields next the estuary of the River Ribble, we worked hoeing turnips and cutting kale on the flat cold, wind and rain swept Lancashire Plain, weather coming straight off the Irish Sea. For ploughing, harrowing and sowing we were trained to use horses and it was a joy to work with those so very patient and hard working creatures. We learnt how to harness them, groom, feed and stable them. I’m sure too we spoilt them. But a happy horse is a good working horse and I always liked working with horses.
We were also taught to drive tractors, and how to do basic maintenance. These tractors were Fordsons, iron wheeled, no cab and with a crude metal seat on lengths of iron, that was the springing. Built for gasoline, diesel and kerosene (paraffin) fuels, our units ran on paraffin, but you were required to start them with gasoline, priming them by means of a small glass container showing the fuel. After priming, you hand cranked the engine, minding it didn’t kick back and break your wrist. And getting one to start on a cold day, or any day for that matter did try one’s temper. I always enjoyed the sensation of driving a powerful tractor with its plough, rake or other item of equipment and trailers. However I always found the time with the horses more agreeable.