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Newtonville: Plowing

May 26th, 2008

Christopher van Donkelaar

Henry on his Tractor

With my neighbour’s land being made available, my biggest problem was solved, but there was still a lot of work to do.

The evening after I had received permission to plant my woad in the back of Chip’s Garage, I walked around the small field and wondered if I could make this land ready using only my shovel and a lot of sweat.  I decided I couldn’t.

This land has never been used for plants and is hard, stoney and even has the odd left-over bit of a car lying about.  So, I called Henry Brubacher, a local Mennonite who has helped me in the past when I had a project that required farm tools.  Calling him was a bit of an eye-opener to me: After saying hello he greeted me with, “So, what are you up to now?” and then laughed.  My crushing stones and painting with eggs has led to more than one person from the Mennonite community stopping by my studio to see what is going on and I guess that sort of thing has led to a bit of a reputation of playful oddity …
Nevertheless, Henry was more than happy to come that very evening and help turn my bit of rough earth into a field.  Watching him work I again had to marvel at how expert he is with his tractor and with every careful turn the ground opened up.
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