Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Une Collection Etonnante

Saturday 25th October, and overhead long skeins of Canadian geese were flying south for the winter, as they have been doing for a couple of weeks..
  After another dawn start (7.30am!), I was glad to find a local shop in the nearby village of St Pierre with a coffee machine, so was able to stop for a coffee and muffin breakfast while Lady grazed.
The majority of general stores have a coffee machine - the challenge is to find one on my route that is also open!
Everyone has been taking advantage of the dry weather for a final harvest before the winter closes in, and the quiet country roads were busy with agricultural vehicles tearing past at surprising speeds..
 Apart from silage, two of the main crops are maize and soya.
 A lovely old Quebec farmhouse, sadly abandoned ....
The hosts at my next stop La Durantaye were the very hospitable Denis and Aline Bolduc, who provided a restful bedroom and completely spoilt me during my stay. They were out for the evening, but I had a welcome laze, gorging on food Aline had left in the fridge for me and watching Men In Black on telly.  Aline has travelled abroad and speaks some English so we were able to communicate very effectively.
Dennis keeps a few Canadian horses, a breed which has declined in numbers but now has a small but enthusiastic following. It was originally used as an all-round ride and drive working animal, like the Welsh cob to which it bears a strong resemblance, and the Morgan horse which is apparently a descendant.  As a former dealer in agricultural machinery who also works his Canadian horses in harness, Denis has an amazing collection of old horse powered apparatus.  The contraption behind Denis is a treadmill which powers agricultural equipment...
To see it in action, click on this link.    If you wish (though it is quite entertaining) you can ignore Denis with the rather gawky Jersey cow at the beginning and fast forward to 3.30 to see his black Canadian horses smoothly at work.  A relatively small but stocky breed of horse, Canadian horses are predominantly dark colours such as black.
For a demonstration of his horse-powered machinery being used to mow, ted (turn hay to dry it) and transport hay  click on this link .  The chestnut and black horses are Denis's Canadian horses, the grey is a Percheron.  Commentary by the man himself, shown below with Aline.

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