Teamsters and plowmen apparently from another time will look right at home on the fields of Skyline Farm in North Yarmouth Saturday when the third annual Plow Day begins at 9 a.m.

There will be pony rides between 10 a.m. and noon; hamburgers for the grill will fill you up, ensuring plenty of fun for young and old. An ongoing blacksmith demonstration using the farm’s antique forge and methods of food preserving will also be featured. It seems Plow Day grows larger each and every year.

The plowing event will run through early afternoon and is possible largely through the efforts of the Farmers Draft Horse, Mule and Pony Club. Members will be out with their teams in all their glory. Luther Gray of Monmouth is one of the club’s directors and says horses will be the main attraction, but a team of oxen may be hitched as well.

“The biggest difference between plowing with horses and oxen,” Gray says, “is you sit and ride with horses, while you have to lead oxen.”

If you know this part of our agricultural heritage, you’ll recognize that oxen were the power of choice for farms until about 1800. Gray said horses were too expensive for the common farmer, while other accounts say horses were considered too weak for many chores. But the greater speed with which work could be carried out with horses soon found them carrying the day.

“Many people, especially young folks,” Gray said, “have no idea how our landscape was created; it was all cleared and shaped by horses and oxen.”

Gray grew up on a farm and has the skills of a plowman in his blood. Today, in his 70s, he still logs with animals and pulls wagons and sleighs through downtown Portland during Christmas each year with a beautiful pair of Black Percherons that will be working here at the farm. A pair of his Belgian draft horses will be here too.

Admission is free, but donations toward Skyline’s nonprofit efforts are always welcome. Pony rides are five dollars. A horse-drawn wagon will shuttle spectators out to the fields for a closer look.

And if you haven’t seen the old sleigh and carriage exhibits at Skyline, you’ll get an early preview of its latest display of horse-drawn summer delivery vehicles. Hay wagons, postal buggies, early oil delivery wagons and a hearse will be some of the items featured. More than a dozen antique hitching posts are on display as well.

Did you or anyone in your family ever work at the Sanford and Springvale mills owned by Thomas Goodall? If so you’ll be especially interested in viewing some of the lap blankets the company made; items that kept drivers and passengers warm on a crisp Maine wagon ride.

The fields at Skyline aren’t simply being plowed for demonstration purposes. Food is grown here by Justin and Vivian Deri who run a cooperative called Deri Farm. Part of Skyline’s nonprofit mission is to put the farmland, which had been a horse riding school, back in operation. This is the third season the Deries have worked the land and offered its produce to the public.

If needed, a rain date of May 14 is planned. Skyline Farm is located in the Walnut Hill section of North Yarmouth just off the junction of Routes 9 and 115. For more information visit www.skylinefarm.org.

Don Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Raymond. He can be reached at:

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