Mother and Father grew up in homes without electricity and on farms without tractors, and they began farming in the same way. He loved horses and used them for planting, cultivating, haying, threshing, and picking corn even after he and his brother jointly purchased their fine tractor for plowing in 1945. He gave his team oats, hay, and plenty of water when working them hard. He kept them shod and trimmed their hooves periodically because they walked on a gravel road between fields. As Father acquired more efficient tractors, his team could no longer justify their keep. After planting corn with Belle and Dolly in 1954, he reluctantly sold them to a horse trader, who promised he had a buyer that would treat them well. Horse traders ranked even below used-car salesmen for integrity, and Father did not believe what he had been told. Tears filled his eyes as he loaded his last team on the stock truck and it drove away. I would not see similar emotion from him until he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis years later.
Excerpt from "Farm," in Carroll Engelhart's The Farm at Holstein Dip