I drove through Sugar Valley yesterday in search of some photographs ahead of a turn in the weather which promised a mix of rain and snow.  My first stop was Hillside Variety. It’s a small Amish place and I’ve always wanted to photograph the folks that work there. The last time I visited, the older woman behind the counter said that I was welcome to photograph anything in the store – except her. When I visited today there was another woman there, and just as I was about to ask if I could photograph her as she stood behind the counter, the woman I had spoken to on my previous visit entered and what little courage I had left me in an instant. I got back into the truck and took Mill Street to the south. I soon made out a team of six coming at me, they turned east and as they did the driver waved from his position at the front of the manure spreader he was pulling. As I passed I thought he seemed friendly enough so I stopped, turned around, and drove the lane the team had taken. The driver had positioned the spreader’s hatch under the terminal spout of a manure pump, the other end of which disappeared into the depths of the adjacent pit. I asked the young man if he minded if I took some photos of his team. He said that he didn’t know if the Boss Man [sic] would mind but he wasn’t home and he (the driver to whom I was speaking) said I should go ahead … so I did. I have a tremendous appreciation for these working teams and have posted about them before. It took me four minutes to turn off the truck, exchange my sneakers for muck boots, and squeeze off nearly fifty frames. The driver motioned he was ready and that I should move the truck out of the lane … I did so … and the team quickly and efficiently got back to work.



8 thoughts on “Draft

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different shades of brown in one picture. Beautiful image … I love that you can see the hot breath coming out of his nose!

  2. Dirty is right, and probably the weather is too cold for a real bath for them. Spring work is hard on horses, especially if they haven’t had much work over winter, and haven’t shed out their winter coats. Hot, out of shape, and mucky … and still he’s perking up his ears for you … life can’t be all bad 🙂

    • No … these guys weren’t complaining. They were really good. I was able to get right in their faces and all they did was ‘blink-blink,’ not even a shuffle of a hoof – nice boys (and, perhaps, girls … I didn’t look). They were eager to get back to work. As soon as the driver turned off the manure pump they knew it was time to go and it was only then that they began to get a bit fidgety. What they were working in didn’t smell all that good … but they did. Thanks for touching base this morning. D

    • Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was the prettiest portrait of THAT particular horse taken on THAT particular day … what say you? Thanks anyway for your unwavering support … much appreciated. D

  3. Beautiful portrait of the horse! I’m pretty sure “Boss Man” would have approved and wouldn’t mind a framed 8×10 for his home! Those harnesses look like they’ve been well-worn!

    • Thanks. If you’ve got the original image and really enlarge it you can see that all of the leather is coated with a layer of what the team had been spreading on the field. There was a light mist and the stuff got caught up in it. I hope all of the horses and their tack got a very thorough cleaning when the day’s work was done. Farming with draft can be a dirty business, especially in winter. D

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