Is there anything more picturesque than a pair of Belgian’s hooked up to a corn binder cutting corn? That was the scene I witnessed at the Pam and Marvin Brisk farm where they do all their farming with horse power. “I started farming with horses around 1979,” Marvin said. “I grew up with them so they weren’t a new concept for me.”
Timothy Bishop of Baker City Tourism and I had the chance to visit the farm and see some of Marvin’s horse pulling equipment up close. As a girl who loves old iron, this was a wonderful stop. Pam and Marvin showed us some antique equipment, but on the Brisk farm, it was operational iron that they use, like the lovely 1909 McCormick corn binder used to cut his corn. The Brisk’s grow sweet corn and once the corn was past its prime, it was used as feed for their Scottish Highland cattle.
It was a thrill for me, and I think Timothy when Marvin hooked up a team of Belgians to a wooden sled and said, “Hop on!”
We rode out to the field or corn and watched Marvin go to work
After Marvin cut one row of corn, Marvin, Pam and their daughter Anna loaded up the bundles onto the sled that Marvin had hooked back up. Then Marvin took the fresh-cut corn out to the cattle. The remainder of the corn that wasn’t used went to feed the hogs. Nothing goes to waste at the Brisk horse powered farm!
Pam raises chickens, geese and goats too and she has goat milk and eggs. “I just started making goat cheese too, it is so much fun!”
In this mountain valley Marvin said this used to be a big peach growing area, but he added that it didn’t last. “Peach orchards were big business, then dairy, but shipping out of the valley is too costly. Now it is mostly ranching.”
I was fascinated to learn that if Marvin doesn’t find the farming equipment he needs, he makes it. Marvin has created a horse-drawn root lifter.
This entrepreneurial couple seems to do it all. As a farm wife where we use not the latest, but newer technology I found myself in awe. What a beautiful day and a wonderful experience. Keep an eye out for an upcoming story in Farm World and Farm Show about this horse powered farm!
Note Transportation and accommodations were provided.