RicelandMeadows


Change is Good
July 11, 2019, 9:09 am
Filed under: July 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

raking2019

July 11, 2019

Everyone tells us that change is good. I continue to believe that change is bullsh*t! I do adapt, but I hate it. It takes me out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to “try something new”, I like the old stuff and the old ways…but change does help us grow in knowledge and experience. I grumble, but I do it.

This is Abby’s second time raking hay. She is learning many new things. Her world is full of change. The first day that I hooked her to the hay rake, she was a nervous wreck. It rattled and banged behind her. The dry hay made a swishing sound that she couldn’t see. I kept a firm hand on the lines reassuring her, that everything was okay. Knight, her teammate, walked along paying no attention to the “rattling, swishing monster” coming right behind them. This soon gave Abby confidence.

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This photo shows the horses making their first round. By the time we got to the other end of the field, Abby couldn’t have cared less about the hay rake or the job at hand. Her frothy sweat dried by the second round and she settled in for the day. The next day there was no fear in her eye. She exhibited nothing but confidence. She knew her job and seemed to enjoy doing it. I guess she trusted me not to put her in harm’s way. She did trust me, but I think she verified that trust, by keeping one eye on Knight.

In life, I too get concerned about new things. I think I have actually broken out in a frothy sweat a time or two! I wanted to resist, but settled in and made the best of it. Pretty soon, the new became the old and change became the norm. I don’t have to like it, but I can control how I react to it. I just think about God on the lines, my “teammates” walking beside me, adapting as we go…and the quiet, confident voice of my wife, telling me that everything will be okay…. And you know…it usually is.



WOW

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July 2, 2019

Our local artist Bob DeJohn at AGS Graphics, finished lettering my recently restored tank wagon. I am very pleased with his efforts.

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His attention to detail is amazing. He captured the time period from the days of yore when wagons were the billboards of the day.

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He used new materials from today, but followed designs from the past. He even thought ahead enough so that any lettering done below the sides of the wagon, were done with reflective tape. A safety feature, built right in to the design.

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So, a big shout out to Bob at AGS Graphics for a job well done!

 



Ewww…Bird Poo
June 29, 2019, 4:44 pm
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , ,

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June 29, 2019

I allow, actually encourage, nesting birds, especially barn swallows. They are great bug and fly eaters. I love to watch their acrobatic flights as they dive for water, skimming a drink at high speed. I leave doors open when necessary, supply a few strategic platforms and make it difficult for cats to reach the nests. The above photo shows how I am repaid!

It was no big deal. It cleaned right off. I just grabbed a big handful of grass and rubbed until the poop was mostly gone. The residual avian manure was easy to remove with my bib overalls as I drove the tractor…In other words, I got what I could, then sat on the seat and went about my business. At the end of the day, the seat was clean!

I will gladly put up with a little poo, in exchange for these winged mosquito eaters, keeping the farm population of the blood sucking insects under control. I like to watch them teach their babies to fly. It seems it happens almost over night!

Wildlife on a farm can be a problem, but I will take the bad with the good. There are a lot more good things. Watching the birds and small animals makes me smile. Listening to the birdsong while I work the horses, completes a perfect picture. So, I say its a fair trade to have the birds, even if they leave me a few “presents” once in awhile. I haven’t asked my dear wife, who does the laundry, but I think she too would approve!



Another Load
June 27, 2019, 8:42 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , ,

anotherload

June 27, 2019

I can’t seem to hit hay weather yet, so I have been working hard on firewood for the sugarhouse. This job really never ends. I work at the main part to fill the woodshed as soon as the maple season ends. I like to have that job completed by July 1st.

I will hit that goal again this year. Having well seasoned, dry wood makes the job of boiling maple sap go much better! I fill the woodshed, then work on getting ahead for the following year. I don’t usually work real hard at this job once the shed is full, but having some extra, is never a waste of time.

I have a little firewood to make for my shop stove. I enjoy the warm, constant heat from my little stove as I putter in my work shop on cold winter days. These hot, muggy summer days, makes wood work a little tough, but the reward comes in winter.

My haying tools and horses stand ready to make hay. The weather is a bit stingy. It is also easy to look back and say, “I should have cut two days ago!”. I am just going to be patient. The days have been dry for the last three, but my fields are wet. Water still stands in places, but I know that , “this too shall pass”. Hay season will soon be in full swing. In the meantime I will simply work on another load of firewood.



Fruits of Our Labor
June 15, 2019, 7:21 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , ,

strawberry2019

June 15, 2019

This was our first picking of strawberries for 2019…well not counting a few early ripe ones, eaten while weeding 😮  The wet weather has made it possible to have berries such as these, without any added irrigation. The raised bed also kept the plants from becoming waterlogged, with muddy fruit. I would say that the raised beds were perfect this year…not to mention no bending over for weeding or picking!

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Here is a picture of our raised beds. We have two , side by side, one we keep a kitchen garden in, the other is planted with strawberries. We switch beds every three years. The switching allows us to fill the beds with soil and compost and amend with any nutrients needed, like lime.

The bed above is boasting a late summer growth cover crop of buckwheat. The buckwheat suppresses weeds and attracts all sorts of “good” bees. These beds produce lots of vegetables for us. In fact, one day we probably won’t need the main garden at all. Until then, we will garden in a traditional garden and tend to these wonderful raised beds and enjoy the fruits of our labor.



Whew, That Was Close!
June 13, 2019, 11:26 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

hayrake2019

June 13, 2019

Whew, that was close! The field above was the first dry hay of this year. We mowed last week. It was almost ready when the rain rinsed it off. I had left the grass laying flat, fearing the coming rain. The day after the rain hit, the horses and I went to work.

We fluffed the hay Tuesday morning just after the dew had dried off. The hay was mostly cured, but the bottom layer was still green and fresh cut looking. The hay was allowed to dry for several hours. We then raked the hay, flipping that bottom layer to the top. The sun and wind dried it throughout the rest of that day.

Wednesday morning, we were back at again. We fluffed the hay again with our tedder, a piece of equipment designed to pick the hay up and fluff the windrows. We stopped for lunch when we finished the fluffing job. The horses and I ate lunch, drank water, then headed out to the field again.

We raked the hay a second time, turning the windrows over yet again. The hay was light and airy. The cured, fresh hay smelled wonderful. We finished raking about two pm. The horses were unharnessed and left in the cool barn while the hay dried a bit more.

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I started round baling the hay at 4 pm. The hay had dried well and the baling was complete by 6:30 pm. This is the first dry hay of the season. This year has been a challenge for us farmers as we work around the wet weather. This hay will be fed to the cows. Its quality didn’t suffer much from the rain, but I fear it might be a little dusty for the horses. The horses get the very best hay that I can produce.

It was well after dark as I moved the last bale off the hay field. I was pleased with our efforts over the last few days. The horses worked very well and once again, proved superior over a tractor, as I worked on the drying hay. Their feet walked alongside the windrows as the rake flipped and fluffed the hay. No tractor tires to push the hay down into the soggy ground or compact the soil.

We have much more hay to cut, cure and store, but we are off and running. The equipment and horses have been tested and found to all be sound. The weather, we can’t control, so I will just wait patiently and be ready to go again at the next opportunity.

As I crawled into bed last night after a warm shower, the rain could be heard falling on the roof. My hay was baled. The bales were off the field. The equipment was parked back in the barns again. I smiled sweetly as I drifted off to sleep….

 



Signs of Summer
June 8, 2019, 10:07 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

foggysunrise

June 8, 2019

The sun came up through the fog this day. It was a warm morning, as the sun started to peek through. The hay stands ready for mowing, but the weather is a bit unstable. I struggled with the decision to cut the standing grass or wait for dryer days. The weathermen have lost their ability to forecast the weather. I think they are trying to predict for too large an area, but whatever it is, for us, they don’t come close very often.

I decided, based on wisdom from an old farmer friend who once told me, ” if you don’t cut it, it will never dry”, to just go for it. I mowed the first field of about 3 acres. It’s looking like the Lord may wash it once before I get it cured and rolled up, but it will still make feed for the cows. In another bit of country folklore the adage of, “it’s better than snowballs” will play in here. The hay may lose a little quality, but it will make feed.

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The horses and new mower did a good job. The mower worked like a sewing machine. It ran quiet. Its sharp blades slicing through the standing grass making a swishing sound. The horseflies started to bite about the time we were finishing up. I even was able to relearn the seasonal job of running the mower while driving the horses. Once they settled in to a nice gait, the job went very smoothly.

The cutter bar on my #9 regular gear mower, measures six feet in length. A round of the field pares it down by twelve feet. It didn’t take long to make short work of this field. A sign of summer is surely the sight of freshly mowed hay. The smell that comes from the lush, curing hay, is sweet and pleasing. Summer is about the bust upon the scene. All the work of harvesting hay, cultivating corn and mowing pastures will soon be in full swing. I will try to be ready, trusting in my own judgement, and predicting weather like a weathermen…after all I only have to be right part of the time!