old farm plow

Whether an old farm implement or a one-horse sleigh, perhaps a lyric from a song, or even a familiar smell, our senses of sight, hearing and smell can bring back memories of places and events.

A one-horse sleigh (or cutter) now resting on the Inukshuk farm lawn is just a relic, now weathered, but spilling over with memories. That old cutter, a 19th century sleigh, reminds me of the horses that pulled it, of my daughters when they were young, and it reminds me of the last sleigh ride my father had. It was a lovely winter family in horse drawn sleighday at his farm and I thought it would be nice to take him for a ride across the snowy landscape and help him revisit better times in his life, when he was driving and I was the passenger.

Another fond memory of that old cutter: It was a day when a devastating snow storm caused school closures, and to make the day special I decided to hitch up my mare and take the old cutter for a spin down the snowy road. In the meantime, the snowplough went through, normally a welcomed event, except in this case it deposited a large snow bank blocking our driveway.  My horse was not a truly great harness horse and as such needed our help getting the cutter through the newly deposited tall bank of snow.   I was told later that our neighbours had a good chuckle watching us unhitch the mare, and with the help of my daughter, drag that cutter through the snow; my horse was probably chuckling too!

Today there is a refurbished cutter stored in our garage. It boasts beautiful velvety seats, shiny runners and brass sleigh bells. This cutter is fun for our family to sit in during family events and we enjoy putting lights on it at Christmas. But perhaps like old barns that are near falling down, and like our weathered relic on the lawn, the beauty is more in the story – in the weathered bones of what is left behind, and the memories those bones share.   

Submitted by Janice Ecclestone, Inukshuk Farm

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