The years slip by quickly. Too quickly. Mark sent me a reminder of that today.
Let me put a little perspective on this little flashback. It was the mid 90’s. We still had a couple of our 6 kids living at home. We had just been through the 20+ percent interest of the 1980’s with almost more debt than we could survive.
After we sold the dairy, we worked at haying half the hay fields around the area, ran a silage operation, had up to 140 head of cows calving, raised a fair number of horses, tended a big garden, and raised kids. We never seemed to have enough money but we certainly had enough to do. And on the subject of years slipping by quickly – some of those years went by way too fast. Could use a rerun. There were a lot of good times.
Then Dave hurt his back. The surgeon asked him if he “had to keep farming”. Well, that was a dumb question. Of course Dave had to keep farming. That was what Dave did. But every time he drove the tractor or the cutter or the truck for too long, he was back laying on the floor.
I’m pretty handy with the animals. I did most of the calving and foaling and feeding but to me machinery is either “working” or “broken”. I can drive a tractor. I can figure out what hydraulic lever does what. Pulling on wrenches just makes my wrists hurt and my knuckles bleed. I’m also not the best fencer. I’m like a horse, it is best not to mix me up with too much barbed wire.
So things weren’t working out all that well. Our kids were involved in the farming operation from younger than some folks probably would even approve of and they were a big asset as they grew older but as they graduated they had to go chase their own dreams. None wanted to be farmers. And, we probably couldn’t have afforded to partner up with any of them anyway.
We were having enough trouble supporting ourselves.
Computers were a pretty new thing. The internet didn’t exist in our area at least. I had been keeping graphs by hand for the dairy cows and when I read about computers I had to have one. I taught myself to program – one of my first “business” programs would calculate each cow’s ration depending on stage of lactation, production, etc.
We tried lots of jobs. Whatever we could find basically. Dave worked for Montgomery Auctions and Harriman Lumber along with other odd jobs. I managed to get a good paying (if term) job with the company building the Shell Caroline Plant. They were just introducing computers. My previous computer experience was a great asset.
That job lasted a couple of years. Then I did some bookkeeping and some graphic work and when the internet came along I found a couple of “horse sites” in the U.S. and thought we needed one here for our Canadian ranches and horses. But I needed another geek-inclined person to make this work.
Mark, who is now a partner in the company, was a good friend of one of our sons. He was fascinated by the internet. The internet was new, some of my friends even said it was a passing fad. Here was a brilliant young man whose parents expected to attend University and we were encouraging him to learn programming (there was no school for programming – it changed faster than you could make up a curriculum) and fool around on a computer all day. His parents were a little disappointed and concerned about his future. Great programmers are great problem solvers. Mark is a great problem solver. Soon he was developing code and solving problems on the web that no one else had done yet.
Dave likes the bookkeeping part and is actually the main keeper of the Northernhorse Classifieds. His years of dairying makes him get up early and the first thing he does is “checks to see if any of my people need me”.
So it all began. Seems like a very few years ago still. Things never stand still on the web. We are constantly learning new stuff. Change is the normal.
But in the end, I suppose it all does the same thing. The Classifieds in the 1990’s helped our clients market their horses and get their stallions seen and the websites we built helped them show off their ranches and programs. In 2017 it really isn’t much different. A good website is still the core of a good marketing program.
When you check out these old pages, you are reminded of some of the horses and people who have been the foundation of our present Canadian horse industry. You could always find the best ranches, horses and equine businesses on Northernhorse. Canadian horse people were early adopters of the internet compared to many industries. Many of those early adopters still advertise with Northernhorse.
Would you like to see a flashback of the old Northernhorse Classifieds sites? Lots of the links don’t work. Most of these sites don’t live on a server anymore – just on the Way Back Machine, a site that started archiving websites soon after we started.
Do you remember any of these horses? From 1999- 2001 I think. Be sure to comment if you do.
This was the first version of the Classifieds. The internet was built on tables in those days. I put some images of the sites on here but you can see more on the waybackmachine version here
Then things got a little more graphical although the waybackmachine is missing some of our “pretty” decoration in this version. If you check this out on the waybackmachine most of the links in the right column still work and there are many more horses that were for sale at that time.
We get attached to some of our “projects” and leave parts of them on the server for old times sake. This is an image of the link Mark sent me that started all this. Click here to go to the site. Only the first 3 links on this still work – do you remember clicking on those little arrows in the top right? Give them a try. A little time machine back to 2000. Seems like yesterday.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you remember our early classifieds or any of the horses in them.