Mail Call: March/April 2012
Letters to the editor written by GRIT readers include a Victorian carriage, a homemade feeder made from a tire and an old pickup bed liner, tasty grape tomatoes and more.
Buddy, Karen and the Victorian, also known as Karen’s Carriage.
Courtesy Karen Grosheim
My good life
I have been a subscriber for several years now, and I always look forward to my new copy of GRIT. I have been living a natural life since 1982 when I picked up my first copy of Mother Earth News. I started with quail in a large cage under my apartment window. I had enough fresh eggs to enjoy on weekends — the only time I had to enjoy breakfast. As time passed, I raised a family on a private three-quarter-acre lot in southwestern Ohio. We had a large garden, and I would can up to 300 quarts of produce a season. My husband hunted and fished, and I raised rabbits and chickens. I put in all kinds of fruit trees, and we always had plenty of food.
Here it is years later, and I’m off on a new venture. I now have six acres, and I still garden, can, and raise our own food. However, realizing I would probably not get to retire as one would normally conceptualize retirement (I’m 54 and plan to retire at 62), I have started a new business for supplemental income now and in the future.
I have always dreamed of driving a carriage, and I have owned horses for the last 15 years, so keeping one more equine would be no problem. So, when a neighbor had a runabout cart and harness for sale, I bought them and let everyone know I was looking for a horse to drive. The same neighbor called me two years ago and told me about a horse.
When I went to look at the horse, there was a fellow riding it. Well, I didn’t want a horse to ride, and I had brought long reins with me, so I took the reins off the horse’s bridle, ran my long reins through the stirrups and hooked them to the bit. I drove him around enough to know that he would drive, and away I went with a Haflinger.
The horse, Buddy, had been trained by the Amish, but was afraid of a lot of things – mailboxes, bicycles, manhole covers and street markings to name a few. I drove him with the cart for more than a year, getting him used to a not-so-rural life.
Then my sister, who drove a carriage in a nearby city, called and told me about a Victorian carriage for sale by the company she drove for. The city had changed its requirements, and the company could no longer use a four-passenger vehicle. They required a six-passenger vehicle, which meant they no longer had a use for the Victorian, also known as a Wedding Carriage. I went to look at it, and it was the carriage of my dreams. My dear husband helped me acquire it, and home it went. I drove Buddy and the Victorian all winter and was sure we were up to being a carriage for hire.
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