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Draft Horse Club holds weekend outdoor farming museum in Fowler

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FOWLER — Members of the St. Lawrence Valley Draft Horse Club and people from all over Northern New York brought their antique farming equipment to Edward C. Siebels’s farm, 362 County Route 22, for an annual weekend known as Plow Days.

Children and families young and old crowded around old pieces of equipment used for plowing, hay cutting, threshing and corn cutting that cluttered the front of the property.

Club President Liston C. Willard of Hermon said the club has been having Plow Days the weekend after Labor Day for about 24 years.

“Some older teamsters got together and wanted people to see how things were done back when equipment wasn’t so technical,” he said. “It was hard work, and they wanted to preserve that knowledge for the younger generation.”

Mr. Willard said the Draft Horse Club consists mostly of farmers, horse lovers and people with hobbies that incorporate horses.

“We have members that don’t have horses, but most of them do or have come from a horse background,” he said.

Organizers lined up horses harnessed with different pieces of equipment to parade around the grounds at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Richard A. Clement Sr., Fowler, a member of the club’s board of directors, had four different stations set up for old equipment he was showing.

He had a wooden wagon wheel booth along with an antique wood planer, a cider mill and a blacksmith shop set up in a row.

An old sawmill also was part of the equipment show and belonged to Edward Siebels’s brother Andrew.

Wagons rides were given to children and adults who wanted a tour of the property. As the wagon tour approached the back of the property, people could see the cornfields and watch demonstrations of hand plows in action.

Also in the back of the farm was a patch of potatoes for children to dig up.

“We have a lot of school-age kids here,” he said. “I’m amazed at how many kids can’t believe the potatoes coming out of the ground over there.”

There also was a small arena of miniature horses for children to lead around.

Six-year-old Alex B. Farney and his younger brother, Caleb M., 4, have enjoyed Plow Days every year of their lives. Their grandmother, Paula M. Farney, brings them each year to ride in the wagons, see the miniature horses and learn about all the different machines and plows that farmers used years ago.

“Now at 6 years old, Alex is really getting into it and can really understand because he’s got uncles that have farms,” Mrs. Farney said. “We’ve been on the wagon rides already and Caleb led the mini horses around.”

Although Plow Days has been a tradition for more than 20 years, Edward Siebels has been hosting it for about seven.

His farm used to be run by his father, William J., who is also the treasurer of the Draft Horse Club.

He said the annual weekend event is one of the club’s biggest fundraisers and has been well-received by the community over the years.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” he said Sunday. “Yesterday there was a group of Canadians here, and they were really impressed with it.”

Gail P. Aldous, Canton, was managing a raffle table under a large white tent. She said dozens of raffle tickets were sold, along with bags of freshly dug potatoes, cabbages and bags of oats and straw.



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