RicelandMeadows


New Beginning?
January 11, 2020, 3:34 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

jakeannabelle

January 11, 2020

Our youngest son just took the plunge and bought a young pair of draft horses. He settled on the breed known as Suffolk Punch. These are an old breed dating back to the 1500’s in England. The breed became more defined in the 1800’s and came to Canada and America around the 1880’s.

They were bred exclusively for farm work. They are a chunky powerful horse with stamina and gentleness. They are of moderate size (16-17 hands) for a draft breed. They are easy keepers and willing workers. I have known about the breed for years, but never really gave them much thought. They are a rare breed. Thirty years ago, when I bought my first draft horse, none of these were available in my price range. I settled on Percherons and have had them since.

Recently, I was reintroduced to this breed on the internet and in person. My son has been researching the breed and a few other breeds that are smaller in stature. Not many of the other breeds can match the easy going, yet willingness found in the Suffolk breed.

My son bought a pair of full sisters, a weanling and a yearling. I went with him to haul his team home. While we were there, I met a weanling stud colt who followed me home! The stud colt is unrelated to my sons fillies. He may just become a great gelding, but the potential exists.

Our saga may change as I look  more serious at this endearing breed. I am very impressed so far.

hank1

Ridgewind Aethling Hank of Indian Mound … Long handle for a youngster, but “Hank” is a bit of a celebrity. His daddy is from Virginia, owned by Jason Rutledge, named Eyke Sovereign. A horse imported from England in 2010, I believe.

hank2

Hank is a handsome fellow. We shall see if he grows into his name. Born last April, he is a growthy colt. He is a quick learner with a trusting manner. We are becoming fast friends. Who knows what the future holds? Stay tuned.



Around the Fire
January 6, 2020, 1:46 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

forge2020

January 6, 2020

Our current weather can be explained in just one word…mud. The temperatures have been mostly warm (40’s F), but very unseasonable. We get frequent rain showers instead of our usual winter snows. Some folks are happily saying, ” at least we don’t have to shovel rain.” As for me, I am ready for colder temps and frozen ground.

We work horses when we can doing odd jobs and monkey business. It helps make the doldrums of the dreary days pass. On other days, I have been working in the forge shop. I get enjoyment in creating things. I am working on a set of shelf brackets in the photo.

I have a few other projects ready to go. The steel has been cut to length and my crude drawings litter my workbench. I enjoy this hobby very much. It is nice to have a place to work on these winter days. After all, who doesn’t like sitting around a fire?

 



Welcoming in the New Year
January 3, 2020, 2:44 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , ,

cooler2

January 3, 2020

What a fast and furious holiday season! Happy New Year to all!

We spent part of a day butchering a beef. The new cooler is working out great. I was worried about the rail system. I wanted it to be easy to get the meat into the cooler by using our skidsteer. The new system worked out well.

We butcher the animals outside, using the skidsteer to lift up the carcasses. Once the animal chills outside a bit, we transfer them inside. The new rail system allows me to pull up close, insert a hook and roll the quarter right inside. No lifting or yanking involved.

The rail is also high enough that hogs, lambs or deer can be transferred just as easily, all in one piece. We welcome this addition to our sustainable way of life. Having a secure, cool place to hang meat until further processing takes place is wonderful. The cats may not be as happy, but we sure are!



Accomplishments 2019
December 28, 2019, 12:37 pm
Filed under: December 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

cooler1

December 28, 2019

As our year comes to a close, I think it is good to look back upon the year that was. 2019, was a year filled with challenging times. A very wet spring made for delayed planting, but the hay crop was fantastic. I couldn’t cultivate the corn because of the wet weather at the time, yet we have enough corn to feed the animals for another year.

Pastures were very good, so the animals enjoyed many months of grazing. The sheep, even today are grazing the last pasture. They haven’t eaten any hay yet this season, saving me time, fuel and resources. The speltz crop is in and growing. The manure pit is only a quarter full. So, when bad weather confines the animals, there is plenty of room to hold all the manure.

My sister passed away last spring. A sad day for us all, but her “celebration of life” gathering, brought family in from all over the country. Many of the younger children had not seen the place where their grandmother had grown up. They even got to experience a brief sleety/snow mix! The happy memories made, softened the the blow of losing a loved one a little bit.

After many years of butchering our meat here on the farm, we are finally able to add a walk-in cooler. Our crazy, undependable weather makes the cooler a necessity. My buddy Marvin, helped to build this structure from my crude drawings. A whole article about the build, will appear in an upcoming Rural Heritage magazine.

So, for us here on the farm, 2019 closes with some bittersweet memories. Those memories are all made sweeter by focusing on the positives. In 2020, stay positive, be kind and teach someone a skill. Share of yourself and be the “light” in the world.

Happy New Year everyone!



Dashing Through The Mud

muddash

December 23, 2019

Our weather the last two or three days has been unseasonably warm and sunny. It feels good on the skin, but sure melts snow fast. We have only had one freeze up. That freeze up only lasted two days. We did pick corn on that second day, until the sun once again warmed the soil. We fell through the frozen crust and down into the mud in mere seconds.

A long chain and the tractor had to pull the wagon and then the corn picker out of the mud. We made a few ruts, but stopped before the field became a mess. We managed to pick over half of the field before the frost was gone. One more frosty morning, when the ground is hard enough to hold equipment, is all we need to finish the corn field picking.

The horses have been enjoying too much off time. They like to work and exercise. The mud has made it tough to do much of anything. So, I obtained an old tire. I drilled holes in the tire and installed a chain hook-up. I can now drag the old tire behind my cart or wagon. The tire makes for just enough load to require a steady pull. The exercise done in this way is just right for the horses. I can stay on the drive and simply make several trips around the farmyard.

Yesterday after church, two of my grandchildren and my son, came by to help hitch and drive. The horses, the kids and this old man had a fun day. Christmas will be here in two days. The snowy Christmas’ of my youth are a memory as well the horse drawn sled rides, but I think I am still making memories…even in the mud!

muddash2



Lights and Smiles
December 7, 2019, 4:31 pm
Filed under: December 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

christmas2019

December 7, 2019

Last night, we finished decorating our tree. Our youngest son and his family helped us get the decorations to the living room. They set up our tree and even stated decorating it. The grandkids were smiling from ear to ear.

After they went home, my wife and I continued with the job. We put the ornaments on the tree, often commenting on one that has special meaning. There were several that made us smile. Tis the season!

It’s a little early to be putting up our tree. We usually wait until the middle of the month, closer to my birthday. This year however, we welcomed the help. My wife has been nursing a sore hip and I am limping around after having a disagreement with a bull.

The bull wasn’t mean. He just decided that he wasn’t going to go where I wanted him to go. He and I squared off. I crowded him with a gate. I stretched out and pushed with all of my strength. He simply pushed the gate backwards and me with it, like he was moving air. I stood in disbelief wondering where my strength had evaporated?! The bull weighs in at 1400#. He stood there wondering why I had even tried to “muscle” him. He even shook his head!

The bull is now where I wanted him to be. Patience, along with some tasty grain, paid off. He is with a new group of ladies flexing his muscles and laughing at me over the fence. My new friends are ice and rest, but my heel tendon feels better every day. Christmas is coming. I’m sure I will be all well by then.

The lights on the tree and the smiles on children’s faces light up my life. The animals all in their places getting ready for the cold winter are content. The bull has the biggest smile of all. I’m not sure if it is due to his new girlfriends or his knowledge that he is the king of the farm? One thing I know, is that pepperoni and salami make great holiday treats, along with some cheese. Every time I walk by the bull, I remind him of that!



What a Thanksgiving!
November 27, 2019, 8:48 pm
Filed under: November 2019 | Tags: , , ,

KHandJakes

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving, a day, set aside, for giving thanks. What an awesome time to pause and reflect on the past year. My list is long and filled with memories, people and things. In the photo above, our youngest son drives our horses giving his children a ride. It is things like this that makes my heart soar.

We have family close and far. It is a wonderful thing to think about each of them doing what they love to do. We have a few family members that have gone to the eternal table above. We remember them fondly too.

November comes to a close with family and friends gathering to eat, meet and talk. It is my hope that all of them will give thanks and share a memory of what they are thankful for. I am most thankful for my family. We have quirks, ripples and rifts along with faults and shortcomings, but I love and am thankful for each and every one of them.

Let’s all find the good in every day. Celebrate a little all year long for the little things…like a beautiful sunset 🙂

sunset112019