Renovation & Design

Wow, check out this plow

Antique farm gear makes perfect yard art

Check out the blacksmith work on this beefy piece of Prairie history.

Photos by Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

This vintage plow is now a work of art in Laurie Mustard’s field of dreams.

Prepping the garden for winter is a lot easier than it used to be. These days we just start up the self-propelled rototiller, point it at the garden, and pretty much all we have to do is steer.

Not so easy in the good old-old days when there were no gas-powered rototillers, and in fact, nothing tiller-like period to tackle the job.

Then what?

Well, if you’ve got the skills and ingenuity this old-school homeowner obviously did, you figure out what you need, and build it.

I am absolutely knocked out by the craftsmanship used to create this amazing old plow I picked up at an estate sale a few days ago.

We’re talking repurposing at it’s finest. There’s recycled everything in this plow, and I love that the genius who built it even used an actual tree for the wooden components required. I mean, this isn’t purchased lumber, this is cut-a-tree-down and fashion whatever is needed straight from nature.

The handles are identically curved branches, one with bark still remaining, which I will be sure stays there.

When I first hauled this home, I thought it would make a nice bit of yard art somewhere. Not now. It’s coming in the house. Wonder if it’s too big for the coffee table?

All the metal pieces used were previously part of something else, except for the hitch, which was hand-forged blacksmith style.

Even the way the wood and metal parts connect is done log cabin style, and the long pulling timber has an artsy curve to it.

Yard art? Hardly. This is now wall art at the very least, who knows how I’ll incorporate it, but it will be preserved as is, and nary a bit of paint will ever stain its patina.

I’d welcome any suggestions you brilliant people out there might offer up for preserving this wood as is, without altering the look of it. I’ll have to secure the bark somehow, but hate to use modern day glue to do so. That just seems so unworthy. Maybe a bit of flour and water paste would do it. I’m open to any and all suggestions.

I have a big oval glass table top I’ve been holding onto for future use. Maybe I could find a way to set it up over the plow, and hang plants from the handles. That might be the perfect use for this.

It’s at this point that I imagine at least one of you reading this today saying, "Hey Wally, Mustard’s talking about putting a plow in his house. Next he’ll be buying Trigger (Roy Roger’s stuffed horse) to put in front of it. This guy, at the very least, is a bubble off plumb."

I think not. I’m aware that some might call my home decorating style Early Hoard but I disagree completely.

I, with a shout out to so many out there like me, love the richness and interest, and energy, that historical artifacts, unique art, and non-traditional furnishings bring to a home. I am the very opposite of a minimalist, which to me feels so boring. That dry, sterile, almost cold ambience, with old hospital colours, feels anything but homey.

Homes need to contain that which stirs your soul. Speaking of which, I just recently brought home another old pump organ, it’s in my living room, and was lovingly and meticulously refinished by a grandpa some years ago. The music part doesn’t work presently, but it’s so gorgeous, I just don’t care. I get a rush of appreciation every time I look at it.

I know I’ll feel some of that with this dear old plow, and hope the person who built it is looking down from somewhere thinking, "that idiot put the old plow I built in his house. What’s wrong with some people."

Yeah well, at least he’ll know it’s appreciated, and preserved. Happy weekend!

Comments and feedback welcome!


Browse Homes

Browse by Building Type