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BC Democrat Online - Las Animas, CO
  • Thirty-first annual Farm Days

  • In recent years, Farm Days has drawn up to 70 teams of draft horses, mules, and plow horses brought by their owners from all over Colorado at the invitation of Delbert “Doc” Jones, who wants to revisit the use of old-time farm machinery pulled by farm animals to cultivate ground for spring planting.
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  • In recent years, Farm Days has drawn up to 70 teams of draft horses, mules, and plow horses brought by their owners from all over Colorado at the invitation of Delbert “Doc” Jones, who wants to revisit the use of old-time farm machinery pulled by farm animals to cultivate ground for spring planting.
    Visitors are invited to come out to watch and learn and take part in a real Western experience. There is no admission charge for any part of the weekend, although, says Jones, anyone attending might plan to bring snacks drinks, and cameras.
    Beginning on Friday, and continuing through the day Saturday, Farm Days will take place at Jones’ Bunk House and the plowing field immediately to the west. At the field, owners of horses and farm machinery will practice horse-drawn farming as they have learned it or as old-timers have said it should be done. Harnessing of horses and use of discs, harrows, spring tooth harrows, manure spreaders, and many other implements will be features on that site.
    “We hope to have horses and equipment and Old Guys to show us how to use them,” says Jones, who has had a lifetime of experiences with many such implements of rural Western life.
    “It’s all a learning deal!” says Jones. “It’s all about education. It involves oral history,” he says, remembering groups of older farmers standing by his field, telling how it was done, “buttin’ heads” about how to “hook horses up” or go about the myriad of “how-tos” that were a big part of farming before mechanized equipment.
    Jones says he often hears fellows say,“I can remember when Dad was doing this.” And, he says, “Dad” was one of the “Old Guys,” part of generations who are taking this knowledge with them as they pass away. Some of the Old Guys still attend and tell important stories, he says, “but we who are left are pretty much the Old Guys now.” Jones wants to keep that heritage alive by sharing these practices with others.
    With this event taking place beside and on acres of land under cultivation in March, Jones suggests that visitors be prepared for dust, dirt, and wind. Water and soft drinks will be provided free of charge.
    At the Bunk House Friday and Saturday, visitors can watch and participate in campfire cooking, forge working, horse shoeing, Dutch oven cooking, and butter churning. Saturday activities begin at 6 a.m. and continue through the day.
    On Saturday evening, in the Bunk House yard, visitors are invited to a Pot Luck Supper beginning at 6:00. It should be noted that everyone expecting to eat supper will need to bring a covered dish, a side dish, or a dessert. “Meat and drinks will be provided,” says Jones, who goes on to say, “It’s strictly a bring-whatever-you-want deal.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Through Saturday evening, live Western music will be played and sung on the Bunk House porch. All hoping to provide music must bring their instruments. Cowboy Poetry and Old-Time Stories will also be given the microphone. A “Sunday Morning Church Service on the Farm” is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. at the Bunk House porch March 16.
    Visitors planning to eat more than a snack during the day Friday and Saturday should bring “sandwich fixin’s,” says Jones, “or ingredients to cook in the Dutch ovens.”
    There is no charge for attending any and all of these featured events during the weekend. It is Jones’ wish to bring to the La Junta area “experiences they will never forget,” a community get-together similar to the “Doc” Jones Chuck Wagon Cook-off that drew a huge crowd in the fall and is planned to be repeated in October 2014.
    “To reach the Bunk House and Farm Site, drive north across the Arkansas River bridge into North La Junta. Continue directly north on U.S. 109 until you get to the canal at the top of the hill. Turn left on the paved canal road; drive west until you can cross the canal bridge, and continue west on the unpaved road. There will be signs to direct you. You can’t miss it.” If you do, just call Jones at (719) 469-3030.
    Jones, who has ridden in rodeos, cooked for trail rides, worked cattle, and wrangled teams and trains of wagons for Western films and parades in a five-state area, has big plans for his ranch acreage north of the Arkansas. Not only is he already planning a Second Annual “Doc” Jones Chuck Wagon Cook-off, he is already well into the realization of staging a “Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering” scheduled for May 24, 2014, at his Bunk House.
    He, with his wife Rhonda, thinks big when it comes to bringing visitors and tourist dollars to the La Junta area. “Food and lodging have to be bought,” he says. “These folks who come to Farm Days, if they come with a team and trailer, they’ll have to buy a lot of gas to get out of town. Many will start coming by mid-week. They’ve got to buy meals somewhere, sleep somewhere. They’re going to spend a lot of money here,” he concludes.
    If La Junta treats them right, and if La Junta supports these “Doc” Jones and Company Productions, visitors will keep coming back.

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