RicelandMeadows


Making Old, New Again
September 19, 2017, 2:45 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

postvice

September 19, 2017

It is a wonderful feeling to take something old and make it new again. In the photo above an old Leg Vice is pictured. I bought this thing years ago for $75.00. It was buried in dirt and covered in rust and cobwebs. My wife was pretty sure that I was crazy, but I could see what could be. I just needed time to make it new again. Just as my “new” knee replaced my worn out old one, I knew I could make this old blacksmith vice usable again.

I enlisted the help of my friend Ron to do some welding. I bought the scrap round plate from my friend Dave in Michigan. We assembled the vice so that it can be rolled out when needed and stored against the shop wall, out of the way, the rest of the time. I think it turned out very well. I need to forge a new spring to replace the one that is missing, but that will be a fun future project.

I spent almost three days disassembling and cleaning the old vice ( probably should have taken only half a day). I move real slow at the moment. Lifting is a challenge and speed is a memory, but the progress is wonderful. I am thinking very soon I will be using the old vice to make ornamental hooks, latches, candle holders and all sorts of stuff. I am getting excited or perhaps it’s just because all this downtime is making me stir crazy?! Oh well, These little projects are keeping me busy and helping me to do useful things as well! That for sure is making something old new again!



Forging Ahead
September 17, 2017, 10:19 pm
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forgeroom

September 17, 2017

I continue to heal and am starting to get around a little. I sit a lot and move slow, but mostly in a forward direction! Progress is slow but steady. I have been working in my old shop. I am slowly turning it into a forge room. I want to do blacksmithing in my retirement years. It is a hobby that I have embraced for years but have not had the time to devote to it.

I have been acquiring tools and equipment for the last 30 years. These last few days, I have been wire brushing tools, hanging up stuff and restoring order. I had to move a bunch of junk (also known as treasure :o)  Some of the stuff my wife has been helping me sort and move. The heavy stuff, I have been relying on friends and family to move as I direct. I am very sure EVERYONE will be happy when my knee replacement is finally healed!

I am pretty impressed with my use of wood. An oak log made good anvil stands. One stump is almost thirty years old. A pair of horses of mine dragged it out of the woods in 1991. My small anvil has sat on it since. I painted it down with boiled linseed oil again today. I think it made it look almost new again.

The cone mandrel ( the dunce looking thing) is actually one that goes in a hardy hole in an anvil. I took a log, shaved it down with my chainsaw and placed the mandrel on top. I’m sure it will work fine to make an occasional ring when needed. I can roll it around the shop as needed when needed. I have less than $80.00 invested, A real one made for the purpose of forming rings costs well over a thousand dollars if you can find one.

I’m pretty happy with my efforts so far. Last week this stuff was covered in rust and dust. I used a bunch of rags, lots of WD-40 and a wire wheel on a drill. I wore out a pair of pants from sitting so long. I messed up an apron, trying to keep some of the grime off me. I’m not sure it worked, because it took almost half a bar of lava soap to clean my face and arms. Oh well, I’m keeping busy and forging ahead.

 



Sargent Pepper
September 15, 2017, 9:51 pm
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pepper

September 15, 2017

We got this little donkey to protect our sheep flock from the increasing coyote population. This little guy is a sweetheart. He is seven years old. He has no known vices, loves people and can be ridden by small children. His name is Sargent Pepper. It seemed like a great name for a guard!

He has been introduced to the calves and lambs. I don’t think anyone has bonded to him yet, but they all are getting along very well. Herd animals like to have company, Pepper is no different. Today, I saw every one of the animals resting in the shade, Pepper was among them. I think the first hurdle has been crossed.

He does have a loud bray, but is not obnoxious with it. He comes when we call him. We do give him a treat for coming, but what a great thing. I was afraid that he might be hard to catch or a problem animal. This is simply not the case. He is a great little guy. We will continue to pet and make over him. I want him to like us and continue to be an asset on our farm.

There is peace of mind knowing that while I’m sleeping, Sargent Pepper will be watching over the flock.



Labor Day 2017
September 4, 2017, 11:18 pm
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howdygang

September 4, 2017

Walking on the flat ground, without my cane. My grandson was concerned that I didn’t have the cane. He has been a great watch dog for me. My knee is healing and I am working on strengthening the new stainless joint. Our horses greeted my grandson and I not caring in the least about my plight, but looking for love.

Today, I watched from my truck as my buddy Ken, planted our speltz crop. It is a little earlier than usual, but still right on time. He finished right at dark, just ahead of much needed rain! Whew, what a great day!

As most of the country relaxed from their labor, many folks worked. Policemen, firemen, doctors nurses and factory workers in some places, labored on, in spite of the holiday. My friend was no different. I am grateful to him as well as the safety folks who work on tirelessly, holiday or not. Perhaps that is why the call it “Labor Day”?

In any case, it was a great day. The only work remaining is to cut and split a little more wood for the sugarhouse, clean and lubricate the farm equipment to put them away for winter and lastly, plow a few acres for next spring. Summer is over as signified by the calendar. Hopefully, autumn will cooperate along with my new knee, so that I can labor soon, much to my delight.



Nature’s Bounty

casperapple

August 31, 2017

Where did summer go? This last day of August, I am pleased to have plenty of grass left in our pastures. The cattle and all of the farm’s livestock are looking great. Now, we are getting another nice bonus as we share in Nature’s Bounty. Wild apple trees are dropping their fruit. The cattle love the sweet treats. Our dairy steer in the picture above seems to delight in eating them.

When I was a boy, the old farmer that I worked for thought apples would make his cows choke. So, we cut every wild apple tree we saw. It has been my experience that the livestock, as well as, the wild animals benefit from this wild fruit. I think there are enough nice apples to make applesauce or cider for us. The trees could be trimmed to enhance the fruit, making them grow bigger and easier to peel. Sounds like a great idea, especially by selecting the trees with the best tasting fruit.

The hickory nuts are dropping in the woods as well. I have one wooded pasture where the hickory trees are plentiful. There are apple trees there as well. My sow herd really enjoys spending a couple of weeks in that pasture. They munch on clover, nuts and apples, barely eating the corn I give them for those two weeks. There is much to be said about farming “with” nature instead of trying to fight “against” her. She is the boss and when you respect her, the bounty abounds.



Farm Wife
August 25, 2017, 10:59 am
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farmwife

August 25, 2017

My wife grew up in Mentor Ohio. She was a city girl who had moved out to this rural area where we met. She has learned all sorts of things from this country boy. Over the years she has milked a cow by hand, helped castrate animals, deworm and tend to medical animal emergencies. She gardens and processes our food. She is an almost expert parts runner and flashlight holder. (Where I’m looking, he says!)

Where she excels the most is nurturing all creatures, two-legged and four-legged. She closes and opens gates. She hand feeds, bottle feeds and forks hay. She has shoveled more than her share of manure and turned the water off to overflowing water troughs way too many times!

The remarkable part to me is that she does all of those things while keeping a clean house, washing a mountain of clothes, cooking, dish washing and nest building, making our house a home. She keeps her finger on the pulse of our family. She keeps tabs on Facebook, remembers birthdays and such and keeps all of us covered in her homemade quilts.

On Sunday August 27, we will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage. I am not an easy guy to love. I come with baggage, strange smells and a menagerie of farm animals. I can be abrupt to a fault and very bossy. She takes it in stride choosing to look past my faults and into parts of me that I can’t see.

So, today, I will use this public forum to say thank you for not only choosing me, but for staying with me after learning all my faults and shortcomings. Thank you for loving me and my whole brood. Thank you for helping me blend our crazy group even when it seems the wheels have fallen off. You are my hope, my love and my best friend. I ask that you continue to hold my hand as we walk through life. Wherever and however far our journey takes us, together forever no matter what…I will love you.



How About a Hug
August 19, 2017, 10:26 am
Filed under: August 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

balehug

August 19, 2017

Once again, friends came forward to do my farm work while I recover from knee replacement. This time, one friend donated the use of his bale “grabber” and another friend donated his time to haul and stack all of our wrapped bales. The day went very well. Now, all the second cutting has been stored right next to the feedlot for winter feeding.

I can’t help but think the bale “grabber” should be called a bale “hugger”. It squeezes the bales just right. They can then be lifted, moved and stacked with care. No holes get ripped in the plastic. This is important, because a hole with cause spoilage in the bale. This machine attachment along with our skid steer, made easy work of the job. It hugged the bales one by one and set them into place.

Who wouldn’t rather be hugged than grabbed?!

balehug2

The attachment works like a pair of big smooth tongs. It doesn’t pinch, it doesn’t grab, it gently squeezes. The Welsh people would called it “cwtch”  A very special hug saved for the ones we truly love, creating more than a snuggle, but a safe place as well. So, as I click one more job of the farm list, I hope you’ll agree a hug is much better than a grab!