Farm life on Oakwood Grange

A Really Rather English Summer


After last year’s drought and grasshoppers, this year we’ve had moist and cooler weather. Quite ideal for our farm, a really rather English summer with lots of grass and hay. If it weren’t for the Canadian border being closed to exports to the United States, for both our beef and lamb, this would be one of those rare

good years in farming. Unfortunately, such possibilities have been crucified by U.S. policies and so our markets for both our calves and our lambs are non-existent, with our prices plunging to the mid 1970s.

The Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremonies from The Percheron Congress

It’s been an interesting year, though, with my video production work. In April things appeared fairly slim with very few programs looming on the horizon. And then I was approached by a number of different groups, two of which were the organizers of the World Percheron Congress, 2004 and also the Allis Chalmers folk, and their Gathering of the Orange. Both organizations were interested in producing programs on these events. Then, along came a few more programs and so we ended up with a very busy summer.

Six Horse Hitch

Strawberry Lanes Percherons in the 6 Horse Hitch Class

The World Percheron Congress 2004 was held at the Keystone Center in Brandon in July and with 2 cameras, we ended up with over 60 hours of footage from the 5 days of the event. Since that time, Katherine and I have spent about a month editing the different classes, events, and demonstrations at the World Percheron Congress and have finished up with our initial program, from this show, of some 105 minutes. All that is left to be done now, is to insert edit Ivan Strain’s narration and we’ll be set to go. This will be called the World Percheron Congress 2004 – HIGHLIGHTS video. We are also going to produce a few more programs from the World Percheron Congress, one video will include the Super Team competition, plus the 3 classes of weight pulls and the log skid competition. We are also looking at two other program possibilities, one being a program on the hitch classes and another program on the line classes. As per usual these programs will be priced at US$29.95.

The Gathering of the Orange was held at the end of August, in Portage La Prairie, and featured 3 days of yesteryear farming demonstrations all under the Allis Chalmers brand. Of course this also included Hart Parr tractors, Rumleys, Garr Scott steamers and Gleaner combines, plus the full line of Allis Chalmers tractors and equipment dating back to the early 1900s. Some of the demonstrations and footage, which will be included in the video, will be potato harvesting, binder and threshing work, swathing and combining, with a wide assortment of different combines, both Allis and Gleaner, plus round baling with the early Allis Rotobaler, bale picking and then moving on through to field work with both Rumleys and steam power. Also included in this video will be part of the journey taken by 20 some American enthusiasts, who drove for 4 days on their tractors, through North Dakota, across the border at Windygates and on up to Portage la Prairie, in time for all three days of the Gathering of the Orange festival. The script is written and once I come back from my upcoming trip to the International Sheepdog Society Championships, I will start working away at the edit.

Yes, tomorrow I am off to Wales. It’s that time of the year again for my annual pilgrimage to Britain to shoot the footage for the International Sheepdog Society Championship and the ISDS. This year the ISDS Supreme will be held in Carmarthenshire.

With all the work that is involved in producing these programs, I had to make the tough decision this summer to finish producing my annual program with the United States Border Collie Handlers Association and their Championship event. The feedback from these U.S.B.C.H.A. finals programs has always been very positive and I have always appreciated the kind words sent our way. Unfortunately, sales of these videos have been marginal, and so with all the other demands on my time, it seemed like the right time to move on. I would like to thank Mike Canaday and Francis Raley and the USBCHA for their support and encouragement over the past 5 years.

In between all this video production work we have found time to make hay and silage and have grown a small amount of crop. Another full summer and now a complete winter of farm chores and editing ahead of us!

DVDs.. This is something we are moving into producing. In the near future we will be offering all of our new programs in the DVD format and, in time, we will have many of our existing programs available this way as well.

We continue to have a good interest in our existing videos and enjoy reading the feedback from our customers. Thanks for all your support without which it would be impossible to be in business.

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