October 1, 1990
Pat Wolfe visited us a few weekends ago from his home in Ashton, Ontario. I had seen him drive at the 86 or 87 Woodstock Show, and remembered him as someone who obviously worked a lot with his horse. Pat won some draft classes and also Gambler's Choice, and generally stood out as a skillful handler.
Pat told me he had some Morgans and was not able to decide if he wanted to sell them. So, one day he was working with his Fjord. Ralph (actually "Rolf) unloading a stone boat next to an electric fence. Ralph was standing with his reins loose when a friend's German Shepard went under Ralph to hide. When the dog realized where he was, he backed up and when he hit the electric fence, still under Ralph, he took off screaming. Through all of this Ralph didn't budge. Pat decided on the spot to sell the Morgans, and placed an ad.
Now the point of this is not to malign Morgans, which Pat and I both like. But Pat realized it was the Fjord who fit into his 1ife and work. He told me "There's only one horse for me when you get right down to it."
For ten years that horse has been Ralph, who has worked for Pat on a daily basis almost the whole time. In fact, it is hard to find a part of Pat's life where Ralph does not play a role. Pat met his wife, Jane, at a work horse workshop which they (Pat and Ralph) were teaching. Ralph pulled Jane and Pat home from the church in a cutter (in 20 below temperatures!) when they got married. Ralph helped raise his daughter. Pat says when his daughter was nine he would harness him and she'd drive Ralph to visit a friend three miles away. Ralph would wait while they played, then bring her home.
Ralph worked day to day in Pat's business, the Pat Wolfe Log Building School. Since 1975, Pat has run 10-week courses to teach building skills. He has had students from Japan, Germany, Switzerland, every U.S. state and most provinces, who come to learn his log building techniques. Pat invented a scribe tool which enables him to fit logs so tightly that as he says "You can't get a credit card between them," let alone an Ontario winter draft.