RicelandMeadows


Nite Nite
December 3, 2018, 12:15 pm
Filed under: December 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

niteK&H

December 3, 2018

As a dad, there isn’t any feeling much better than tucking your children into bed at night. It is wonderful knowing that all is well. Everyone is safe and warm in their beds. As a farmer, the same holds true for animals in our care.

I like the barn at night. The animals chew their food and a calm fills the barn and barnyard. The cattle move to the overhang to lie down in a warm dry bed. The calves follow mom. All of them rest and chew their cud.

nitenitecows

I don’t know what they dream about, but I know they are comfortable and at peace.

The hogs too, nestle down in warm beds of straw. Their bellies are full. Their bodies are warm. No stress enters their lives or thoughts. They can slumber along with the other animals, snug, warm and safe.

nitenitepig

I choose to raise animals. I choose to work and be a good steward of the land. I chose this life almost at my birth…in fact, I think God chose this life for me. He knows that I am content, taking care of his animal charges.

Isn’t that what we want for our children? That they find their life’s work, that contentment follows them all the days of their lives and they never forget our love for them?

As a hush falls on the farm and nighttime makes us sleepy, I give thanks for the peace found here on this farm. With a glad heart, I walk to the house filled with gladness, knowing that my animals are tucked into bed. I am reminded of those times, not so very long ago, when sleepy voices whispered, nite, nite daddy…I love you.



Harvest and Thanksgiving
November 27, 2018, 10:31 am
Filed under: November 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

snak18

November 27, 2018

November has been a very busy time here on the farm. The ear corn for the animal feed has all been harvested. The animals are tucked in for the winter. Butchering season is upon us now. This job is the last one for the year. The meat sticks in the photo above, were made from venison. Our 9 year old grandson bagged his first deer. His request was for snack sticks and jerky.

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We made jerky from the ground meat. There is now a family, happily munching meat snacks!

Thanksgiving, is a big word for a great holiday. It is set aside for us to count our blessings and give thanks for them. This post is delayed, because I have been busy counting!

I have been busy in the forge shop making Christmas gifts. Sorry no photos of those gifts  for a while, I don’t want to spoil the suprizes. I am really enjoying this new venture. It forces me to think and allows me to work with my hands in a very different way. In fact, it lets me “harvest” from steel!



Laying It On Thin

KH2018july

October 29, 2018

In the photo above, I am hooking up to my powercart. Hoss looks like he is about to talk out the side of his mouth. Fear not, I am not being cruel with my lines or his bit, the camera just caught that moment when line pressure tells a horse where to stand.

They were watching the cattle, who had just been moved to new pasture. The cattle were running and jumping, playing if you will, checking out their new paddock. The horses were so focused on the cattle, that they weren’t listening to my voice. Usually they plod over to whatever they are to be hooked to, sidle up and stand. They move right or left when I say, “Gee or Haw”. This day they were wide awake, yet waiting for my signal.

KHCompost

Once we were all hooked up, we took this load of compost out to the field. I spread it on thin. The thin application is absorbed quickly by the soil. The nutrients stay in place and are used as food. Composted manure applied in this manner is of in little danger of running off into streams and waterways. It is also important to spread on dry days when rain or snow is of little concern.

I also make sure there are grass filter strips along stream borders. These strips collect any potential manure from becoming a problem. It takes a little planning to farm the way I do, but it is worth it. To know that my farm is not having a negative impact on my neighbors or any person downstream is pleasing to me.

This year, I was able to spread 40 loads of compost like the one in the photo above. The black gold was spread on a field that will grow next season’s corn. It was spread on a field where the speltz were harvested to give the growing newly seeded hay crop a boost. Lastly, it was spread on an older hay field that will soon be put into pasture. The compost applications are done as part of our crop rotations. We try to put the nutrients where they will be needed most. By spreading the compost thin, it goes farther, stays in place and gives us the most “bang for our buck”! Good farm husbandry goes hand and hand with good environmental stewardship. I believe that is not only my responsibility, but my duty as well.



Hand Picked

cornpicking2018

October 27, 2018

I grabbed some random ears from the corn crib to show how well the corn crop is this year. Today, I am sidelined by a steady, all day, rain. The picking will resume once the rain stops. I managed to pick around a wet spot and the last end rows. I pick these areas first to make turning at the ends of the field easier and to keep from running corn over.

The wildlife like deer and raccoons are hitting my field pretty hard. I don’t mind them eating some, but I hate it when they waste it. They knock ears to the ground, take two bites, then move on to the next ear! The corn on the wet ground spoils very quickly. I need to stay on task to get my crop harvested, before those rascals ruin more of it.

My husking peg, shown on my hand in the picture, makes picking by hand easier. I poke the pointed end down into the husk at the top of the ear. My thumb holds a portion of the husk as I rip it down, while snapping the ear off the stalk. I am not as quick as some men that I have seen, but I am effective. Corn stored with minimal husks will keep better in the corn crib. It stays drier and lacks the nesting materials that vermin like so well.

So, I will poke along husking corn by hand. My horses walk and stand as I go around the field. They make the job much easier than getting on and off the tractor each time to move the wagon ahead. In the way of farmers from days gone by, I harvest my crop. I am so happy to have been shown how to do this job by my great grandpa and others. If I was to rely on tractor and machine this year, I would make incredible ruts in the sea of mud that has become my corn field. Husking around the field with team and wagon, I am barely making tracks. Those tracks will be easily removed during seedbed preparation next spring. So, thank you great grandpa Case and grandpa Rice, for passing your knowledge on to me. Once again, I am in your debt.



Duel Jobs
October 26, 2018, 9:14 am
Filed under: October 2018 | Tags: , , ,

samK&H

October 26, 2018

I am working on two jobs. We are trying to finish filling the woodshed at the sugarhouse. We are also picking our corn for the animals (maize). I pick by hand when the fields are wet. Believe me, this year, my field is very wet. The horses navigate the sloppy ground with ease. They do not get stuck and their impact on the land is light compared to the spinning wheels on a tractor.

I pick two rows at a time. This way the horses and wagon move over to a new place to walk, every trip around the field. Once I have picked all the corn ears off the stalks, the livestock will be turned in to glean the field. The cows will search out any nubbin ears that I missed, as will the hogs. All of the animals will eat the leftover plant called stover or fodder depending upon what part of the country you are from.

I will graze this field all winter once the ground has frozen. The animals will eat much of the spent plants. The field will then plow easy in the spring. I hope to plant oats here in early spring 2019. That is the life of a farmer, plant, weed, harvest and repeat. The little things along the way like making use of corn fodder, just help the farmer out.

Picking corn by hand is a boring job to some. To me, it is a nice quiet time spent with the horses. I can pick along and solve all sorts of problems, plan things out and enjoy some nice autumn days. Winter will soon be here. I must push hard to get the corn harvested and the woodshed filled, but thanks to good horses, good friends and family, I’m sure I will get it all done.



Cooped Up
October 24, 2018, 4:54 pm
Filed under: October 2018 | Tags: , , ,

coop1

October 24, 2018

I don’t think there is much better food than farm fresh eggs for breakfast! These ladies keep us supplied. They have the run of their fenced yard along with a spacious coop. The coop I designed myself to look like a “monitor style” horse barn. I built it this way to allow for great ventilation and lots of natural light. It turned out great. It has been in service for many years now. It functions well in all seasons.

coop2

The little bump out shown here on the front is where the hens lay their eggs. The eggs can be gathered from the outside without entering the coop. Windows let in light and a nice cross breeze through the screens.

coop3

I bed the house with pine shavings. The screen under the feeder catches the feed the hens knock out. I get a second chance to feed the spilled grain. The chickens foul the coop most under their roost. It can be easily cleaned, making best use of the pine shavings.

coop4

Gathering eggs is easy and a great reward for keeping a few hens, safe and happy!



Cool Weather Wrap-Up
October 22, 2018, 9:35 am
Filed under: October 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

snugK&H

October 22, 2018

This past Saturday night, we got a late autumn storm. The wind driven rain and sleet pounded on the walls and roof of every building. The animals were snug, as was I, inside warm and dry. We woke to a light covering of snow that had followed an inch of rain. The cold and wet continued into Sunday, but at least the rain had stopped.

cowherd2018

The cow herd continues to graze the wooded paddock on the north side of the farm. All of them are fat and happy. The young calves are little butterballs! Winter is crowding in hard, but so far we are on schedule to be prepared.

filling2018

The sugarhouse woodshed is filling up fast. Most years this would be behind me, but I chose to not work on the hottest summer days. This year we had a lot of those hot days. As I look back, I wont make that mistake again. A little sweat in June and July, would have this job much farther along, perhaps even finished. It’s time to be picking corn, not still messing around with the wood…unless it was for a year ahead.

In any case, I will get it all done. I just need to keep reminding myself to stay focused. I am enjoying retirement, but it is easy to get sidetracked. I need to just make a list to guide me….then remember to look at the list!