Day’s End
January 19, 2013, 9:21 pm
Filed under: January 2013 | Tags: ,
Jake unharnesses Knight and Hoss

Jake unharnesses Knight and Hoss

January 19, 2013

The end of the day is a wonderful time. I like it when you start to unwind. I do it best after supper and my chores are done. I pause in the barn just before turning out the lights to listen to the horses chew. It is peaceful and makes me feel satisfied.

In the picture, you can see Knight with his head down waiting for his bridle to be removed. He is tired after a day of work. I am thinking it must feel like taking off your work boots for the day. You can almost see him saying …ahhhh 😮

Sounds like a winter storm on the way with some very cold temperatures. Yea! I like winter! I am sure it will force me inside the sugarhouse for that clean up job that waits for me. I am actually looking forward to it a bit. There is peace of mind when everything is ready for the maple season..it makes a guy rest easy at the end of the day.

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Just found an article about you and your horses in the Spring 2012 Rural Heritage magazine……I am glad I save all my back issues because I found your blog and it sure is helpful that you write about the very things I am doing or will be doing. We are expanding our sugarbush operation and I have dreamed of using my 3 Belgian geldings to pull the sap collection tank. They are all pretty well behaved and I do drive them quite abit, spreading manure and touring the woods. I was wondering what your sap collection sled looks ..like and if you can give any helpful suggestions for me as a beginner at this. My husband has always used one of our little ford tractors to to pull a cart with two 75 gallon barrels in it to collect sap but now that I am retired, I am wanting to use the horses. Pioneer makes a nice work sled that they suggest for sap collection but it is a bit pricey, at least yhis year anyway. I have lots horsedrawn odds and ends and a talented husbsnd who can build just about anything. Open to suggestions!

Branch. Mi

Comment by Carolyn Dice

I will address your question in today’s post. I will also answer your specific questions right here:
First thing is Absoultely! use those horses in the sugarbush. They are much easier on your woodlot than a tractor. You will make much smaller ruts, if any at all. They will go in any type of weather,,,and It is much more fun!
You may have to drive the horses while other people gather the sap at least for a while until your horses will stand without you holding the lines. My sap tank holds 210 gallons. The tank sits on a wooden seld that is 4 feet by eight feet in size. They ( 2 horses) pull it fine. I do try to work the horses and get them in shape before hauling sap, but it sounds like you are doing that already. Water weighs eight pounds to the gallon. I use that same ratio when figuring the weight of the sap.
Pioneer does indeed make a good work sled, but I don’t think it would work well for a sap sled. You need a bit more clearance underneath. They also sell a “runner” type sled that would work, but as you say is pricy.
I know several folks who gather in a small wagon. The wagon should be narrow and heavy built to take the rigors of the woodlot. I think in your situation, you should try using the cart that you already have pulled by your horses and a forecart.
I hope this helps you in your sugarbush.

Comment by ricelandmeadows

Thanks so much for your reply. I just found it so disregard my 2/5 post. Yep the forecart and wagon will work fine this year. I hope it is not too icy for the horses as i do not shoe them. My farrier said they woud not need shoes to pull with. What do you think?

Comment by Carolyn Dice

I am not sure where you will be gathering. If you will be on asphalt or ice, you may want to shoe them. If you are in field and woodland, they should be fine. The shoes will help them grip. If a big icy hill is a concern, shoes could be suggested.

I shoe mine only because a long driveway that I use, is used by oil well and water trucks. They make that drive a sheet of ice or a long stoney path. If I was just working in the woods, I would not go through the expense of the shoes.

Your farrier knows the horses feet. He sounds comfortable with your going barefoot. I would listen to him as he knows your situation.

I will try to blog today or tomorrow about my sap sled just so you can see it. We have been in a snowy grip of winter. I have avoided pulling everything out of the shed. I will be tapping on Wednesday the 6th, so need to get my butt in gear. The snow has stopped here for now. Spring is knocking on the door 😮

Comment by ricelandmeadows

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