Another block quilt telling the story of the area has been installed at the home of Ray and Fran Lowery on County Rd 21 West. This traditional quilt pattern is the oddly named “Spinning Star”; and its origins are unclear. However, with only a little imagination the rays of the spinning star become the spokes of wheels of the farm machinery and, especially for Ray Lowery, the spokes of the sulky’s wheels. You see, Ray’s passion is standard-bred horse racing. Look closely to see the green of the jockey’s outfit. This was the colour that Ray was pleased to wear when he jockeyed. The colours of the quilt pattern were chosen to compliment the green of the barn on which the block is mounted. But equally importantly the red, orange and yellow echo the plumage of the laying hens that Fran Lowery keeps. She proudly continues the long tradition of farmers’ wives keeping chickens for eggs: food for the family and a source of income.
Lowerys were early settlers in this Township; the first was Maria Lowery in 1824. The historic 1861 map of this Township (Tremaine) clearly shows this land being owned by Ray’s great-grandfather, William. The historic 1878 map (Belden) shows the same property as Lowery’s but divided: Ray’s grandfather, Reid, having bought half. Because farming goes back a long way in the Lowery history, there have been a succession of barns on the property. The green barn that displays the quilt was built in 1982.
Alongside farming, Ray was and is an enthusiastic horseman, raising and racing horses. And he comes by this passion honestly from his father and his uncles before him! The type of horse Ray is especially keen on is the Standardbred. This is the kind you race with sulkies, hence the silhouette on this barn quilt. In fact in 1986 Ray built a half-size racetrack on his property. Ray also has the distinction of being a founding member of the Kawartha Downs racetrack in nearby Fraserville. Kawartha Downs subsequently expanded to include Ontario Lottery and Gaming slot machines. This facility employed many people and attracted visitors from a wide area. The Lowery farm manages to maintain a balance between the hard work of farming and the leisure and enjoyment of horse racing.
By Glen Spurrell