Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Friday, 1 November 2013

Guest Post #1 A little background on the Horricks family ,by Ron Horricks

For many years growing up on the Horricks dairy farm I was exposed to 2 amazing people, namely my father George, and his younger brother Charlie.Many stories were told of the years growing up on the family farm which was started by their father William in 1899. 
George lost his right hand of the age of 14 in a farming accident but was still able to take on near impossible projects, including driving a 12 horse team! Charlie, lost his left arm above the elbow in a trucking accident at the age of 21.
Both men were known for their great strength. George, at age 16 could lift  1650 pounds, and pick up the rear wheel of the tractor! 
I can remember at the age of 56,Dad(George) was at a John Deere dealership and asked by the owner if he would show the the staff how he could pick up the rear wheel on a tractor,I was with him and he said he would try.Dad then backed up to the rear axle of the tractor and picked up the wheel off the ground! 
My uncle likewise was a very powerful man, as well as regular farm work he also was known around the district for his blacksmith work, done  with special handmade tools he could use with his hook.

Both men were known for their innovations, I grew up with some of their inventions dad George was also involved in setting up the first rural electric program in Alberta as president of the Namao Light and power Coop
Also the  Rural telephone cooperators
He was also president of the Natural Milk Producers Association, later served on many agricultural organizations, including the Federation of Agriculture,Edmonton Milk Foundation,Dairy Farmers of Canada, director and president of the Northern Alberta Dairy Pool, and Alberta Dairy  farmers.

He received an award from the province of Alberta for excellence in the field of agriculture
More recently the Horricks family received recognition by the city of Edmonton and the province of Alberta by presentation of a large rock with a bronze plaque showing the history of the family in Alberta.
Sherry's motto of, "if it is possible I will do it.If it is impossible it will take me some time" goes back many years, no one  ever considered George or Charlie to be handicapped.

In the early 50s were  was going around about some of the things we had built, a farm paper came out to the farm to take pictures of some of the equipment to be shown as "new ideas" they included a loading chute on wheels first put together in the 1920s by dad and  my uncle which we still use today. An all steel cattle squeeze, a truck mounted manure spreader that was first mounted on a modelA 2 1/2 ton truck, later mounted on newer trucks and finally converted to a side discharge for feeding silage.And  of  course, the Hay Mobile, within very  short order of this article most  items  were in  production  by  large  manufacturers.

We converted a 1919 Fordson tractor to  rubber tires including putting on a live power takeoff.
At around age 14 was the first engine overhaul that my brother Bill was involved in.Mine was age 13, I overhauled the engine in 1937 Ford car which I drove to school picking up other children along the way.

The Alberta government brought out a drive safely license plate for the front bumper and I had one on the front and the rear.

One day when I got to the Turnip Lake school the RCMP were there for another matter,when one of the members saw me arriving and all the kids getting out, he came over to look at the car,and saw the license plates he then called the other member over just as my friend Jimmy came in with more kids in his 1920 Essex car.
That was too much and both officers broke out in laughter we were then told to drive safely as it  said on  the  plates. Now what would happen today?

Getting back to the reason I started to write this,the hay mobile , but first I must mention the stook loader which was first made to be pulled by horses.
My older brothers Albert and Bud  did most of the work to change it over to rubber tires and self-propelled, the engine was out of and old Hupmobile car, looking back we should have kept the car, but oh well hindsight is always 20/20. The last time it was used with our wooden threshing machine was in 1957 and CFRN TV came out and took pictures for the news I wonder if they still have them. 

This stook loader picked up the stooks, divided them up and dropped them into a large rack about 10 feet wide 12 feet long and 12 feet high, it had a false front which with chains  tied  to the wheel  of  the  tractor, open the rear doors and pulled the load out neatly beside the extended feeder on the threshing machine. It saved having having several bundle crews and wagons loaded by hand.

The next installment I will try to tell how the Hay Mobile evolved from overshot stackers, Jayhawk stackers and finally  our Hay Mobile.
to be  continued ...
Ps. I saved  the Hupmobile  name plate and it  hangs above the bar in my  basement

Thanks  Dad,  for  writing this, and I hope  you  will continue to share  your stories  of our  family's  proud  heritage. 
and  to my  fellow  bloggers and  readers, as  always  friends, stay  safe 


Shirley said...

Hey Sherry- you come from a long line of good folks! I'm really enjoying this and will make sure Ted reads it too.

Buttons Thoughts said...

First thing Thank you Mr. Horricks for taking the time to tell us your stories. Your family is indeed a strong clever family who make all farmers look good. I am going to be showing this to my husband who also had a Dad that built what he needed and my husband used to build motor cars to drive kids around. I love this post and I do hope you keep doing more. We should never let the skills of the farmers past and present be forgotten. You and your family should be very proud you built this country. Thank you thank you I look forward to reading more.
By the way your daughter is awesome but I am sure you know that:) HUG B

Willow said...

What a great inventive family and great history of your heritage . Thanks so much for sharing . I look forward to hearing more !

phaedra96 said...

Great story! Just proves once again that necessity was the mother of invention. They made what they had work for what they needed.

kden said...

Now I see where Sherry gets her tenacity! Great stories. I especially liked the one about your 'school bus' car. Looking forward to the next installments.

Ami said...

Awesome! I love knowing the stories that made MY family unique and the amazing people I descended from. I am sure Sherry feels the same way. Thank you for sharing your memories and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.

And I love the added photos, too. Would love to see more.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Ron. Looking forward to more.

Country Gal said...

Wonderful photo and story of piece of your family history and heritage ! Have a good weekend !

GoLightly said...

That was fascinating. kden beat me to it, apples sure don't fall far from trees! and what an amazing tree it is:)

Thank you so much!
I hope you won't mind if I send this link to my husband, who will understand all the farmer tech-talk far better than I.

What a handsome picture!

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Thank you so much Ron for writing up this History - Dairy Farming today is tough, I couldnt even imagine how difficult it was back then! I bet the best thing was getting electricity out to the farm... or was it running water in the house ;).

The inventions your dad and uncle made were necessities - they probably didnt think of themselves as geniuses, they were more concerning about getting the work done! And the strength thing - isnt that because they were working on the farm since they were five? Got to build up strength for the decades ahead :D

And tearing apart an engine to rebuild it? Todays kids would have to wait for the electronic boards and plastic parts to come in - you cant tear anything apart today without having a phone in hand to replace the part you broke LOL

Thank you again! and Looking forward to reading more!

aurora said...

Very interesting! Things sure have changed. Your families perseverance & contributions are commendable.

Crystal said...

Very cool to have that history! Sure would be interesting to see some of those pictures too.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stuff to read - hope there's more soon!

GoLightly said...

14th, for the next installment :)