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Monday, 16 August 2010 10:53

25 Years Ago Winter/Early Spring 1984

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From general news sources of the day and issues of The Draft Horse Journal)

It was very much the Cold War era with our Marines dispatched to or stationed at hot spots on the globe, here, there and yonder. Ronald Reagan, the ex-movie actor and sports announcer from our neck of the woods, was in the White House. In the spring of '84, he announced that the job wasn't unbearable and that he could stand a second term. I think he phrased it somewhat differently than that. This, no doubt, pleased Britain's Maggie Thatcher who had kind of a crush on Ronnie (I think). Only two former Iowans have occupied the White House. They were Reagan and Herbert Hoover. Reagan inherited the Cold War and Hoover the Great Depression of the early '30s. The two men were about as "un-alike" as a coon dog and a Dachshund.

Dean Geiman cutting the grain in 1983 at the Ford Museum. (photo courtesy of the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan)
 
A COUPLE SCENES FROM “HERE AT HOME” 25 YEARS AGO
We sheared the ewes on January 28 and immediately got into some stormy weather. In a couple days there was no way for the wool buyer to get his

Down in the state of Texas the Texas Board of Education repealed a decade-old rule that required textbooks used in the state's public schools to describe evolution as "only one of several explanations" of the origin of human beings and to present it "as theory rather than fact." So there. That settled that.

I think I'll let the big stuff from Spring 1984 take a walk and go directly to the Spring 1984 issue.

The magazine was 20 years old and spring, with its annual brood mare issue, was just around the corner. I absolutely loved spring and its oats seeding with the rackety old endgate seeder. Any Iowan who didn't enjoy planting corn and digging around in the garden was miscast for farming … better for him to be an accountant or a mechanic for the likes of Henry Ford. I was usually (as in always) accompanied by a Border Collie or two in those days. The dogs never bothered the horse. They knew better than to do that. They didn't help either ... but they were constant companions.

My team of choice in 1984 was Annie and Rose. Rose was as black as she could be and Annie was as white as they come. An occasional dummy would tell me that team wasn't well matched. They were wrong. Those two mares were gaited just alike and it always made it easy to tell them apart. They even liked each other. Rose produced several good foals while Annie spurned motherhood, but she tolerated kids on her back like they were her own. I loved both those mares and they died here … buried back in the middle of the section. Sort of our own little Gettysburg for Percheron favorites.

I was always told by my parents that my dad was out planting corn the day I was born. It was the 8th of May, 1928. He had left mom that morning in the competent hands of old Doc Lundvick … each to his own specialty. Lundvick didn't worry about planting and dad didn't worry about birthing. They didn't call it specialization in 1928, but just common sense.

Anyhow, since I was in fact planting corn in May, 1984, and Jim Meyer was working with us at the time, I just asked him to take a picture and we used it on that Spring '84 cover.

As for 25 years ago, we had an article on the Ford Museum in that issue. Interestingly enough, there were 16 geldings in residence there at the time. Most of them were Belgians, a few Morgans, and some of mixed breeding. A good horseman, Dean Geiman from nearby Carleton, Michigan, was the supervisor. The horses were to demonstrate field work being done with live horsepower.

In the Autumn 1998 issue of the DHJ you will find another article on Ford's Greenfield Village. "Unlike any place you have ever visited," was the sub-title. That one was written by Lynn. There is no getting around it ... Greenfield Village has the vote of at least two generations that it is a mighty interesting place.

I think after reading Logsdon's Country Rover article on the Henry Ford legacy to American Agriculture which appears elsewhere in this issue we can safely retire this particular subject. Time to move on to other items from that Spring '84 issue.

We will start out with that by running a couple photos taken here at home 25 years ago. A reminder that the winter of 25 years ago was just as cold, icy and unforgiving as the current one. And we still live on the same place, but the farm is rented out. We don't even have a dog, except when some of the kids visit.

With foaling just around the corner, our main features were about brood mares. There was a really fine article entitled "The Brood Mare, Conception Through Foaling" by G. Marvin Beeman, D.V.M., from Littleton, Colorado.

Also featured were Bob & Marilyn Robinson from Michigan with a story about their Percherons; Roy Curtis from Iowa with his 65 years as a Belgian breeder; followed by a Round Table featuring Everett Steege, Iowa; Danny Kline, Ohio; and Ray Bast, Wisconsin, on stallion management. All in all, it was a very good
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