Crandall Farm Hay Rides, Part 2

Mr. Crandall gave tacit approval by nodding his head, and the boys began to spend every spare moment working on the old wagons. Mr. Crandall purchased supplies and was soon infected with their excitement. He looked forward to the day of inspection.

"Looks like you three did a good job," said Mr. Crandall. "Let's hitch up the horses and take a test drive."

The boys placed some hay bales in the middle of the wagon bed for seating. A pair of mares was hitched to the refurbished wagon, and they all got aboard. Mr. Crandall's cast had been removed the preceding week, and he was grateful for the opportunity to get behind his beloved horses once more.

The black horses flicked their ears backward and forward as they paid attention to Mr. Crandall. They were familiar with his handling of the reins.

"Simon, mark the time. The rides should take about an hour when we have passengers. Let's see how far we need to go to fill up that time."

The Shire mares moved out of the barnyard at a steady walk. They went down the farm lane beside the barn. Then they swung down the logging road through the woods near the back of the property. Finally, they circled around the old apple orchard. Some of the tree limbs were bent down, and many apples were peeking out from under the leaves, each one with bright red cheeks.

"Looks like a good year for apples," said Simon as he checked his watch. "I think we'll be just a little bit over an hour by the time we make it back to the barn again."

"That will be good," said Mr. Crandall. "There is still a lot to be done if we want this business to work. We need to cut back the brush in the woods, and then we'll need to throw some gravel down in some places near the bottom of the hill by the orchard. It wouldn't do to have a wagon get stuck in the muck."

Once the horses had been turned out in their paddock and the wagon was put away, they all went back to the house. The three boys and Mr. Crandall sat on the wide front porch holding glasses of iced tea while they talked about their business prospects.

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