RicelandMeadows


Enjoying a Little Rest
November 12, 2020, 11:10 am
Filed under: November 2020 | Tags: , , ,
Break time!

November 12, 2020

Whew! We had an amazing stretch of warm sunny weather in the mid and upper 70″s. This is very unusual for us here in northeast Ohio at this time of year! We worked on several projects as we prepare for winter. Hard stuff like; putting away patio furniture, rolling up hoses, mowing the lawn for the last time and putting garden tools away. Ok it wasn’t hard, but the hot weather made us sweat like it was still summer!

The horses weren’t impressed with the hot weather either. They are putting on their winter coats. I kept the jobs light for them. It will cool down soon and our outside will continue and be more comfortable to boot.

Rain felt a little good

The girls and I spent time working with the wagon. Daily work keeps us all fit and in tune. We hope to do a little plowing next week. We will try out our walking plow. The first time since having my knees replaced two years ago. Stay tuned for details.

It has been an amazing autumn. The recent rains, before the dry stretch, caused much concern, as farmer scrambling to harvest crops came to a stop. The welcomed wonderful weather, got everyone back into their fields. You could almost hear the big sigh of relief, as the combines roared to life again.

It is a wonderful feeling to have our harvest complete and be working on the little things. It is even better to be able to slow down, take breaks and enjoy the season. Thanksgiving will soon be here and what a great year to be thankful!



Autumn Bounty
November 3, 2020, 1:12 pm
Filed under: November 2020 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Yum

November 3, 2020

Autumn brings much bounty. The last of the harvest is gathered. I accidently tripped the breaker on our freezer, causing some chicken parts to thaw. We spent a day cooking chicken and making broth. The shredded chicken will be nice too, but I am sure that it wasn’t on my wife’s agenda for that day. Oops!

Our apple order came in last week. We are busy getting them put up. The eating part is wonderful, but I look forward to pies and applesauce. It makes for a few long days in the kitchen, but it is well worth it! I pitch in quite a bit. My wife even praises me, telling me she wonders how she ever got along without me…telling her how to do everything!

A few jars of pie filling hot off the stove

The deer are starting to move, as their breeding time is here. Hunting season is in full swing for archery. Hunters are bagging a few. We haven’t been out much, but we hope to get some venison for the freezer this fall.

We had a skiff of snow on the ground yesterday. My great grandpa called it “squaw winter” and now we should get some very nice “Indian summer” days. The days for putting the lawn and porch furniture away, rolling up hoses and tipping unused water troughs over. All in preparation for the coming winter.

We have had a very rainy period. We got 7.25 inches of rain in 15 days. We are wet now for sure. I am glad to have our fall harvest all in. The blessings abound and for that we are thankful.



Gleaning The Corn Fodder
October 28, 2020, 11:05 am
Filed under: October 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,
Yum

October 28, 2020

We finished husking/picking our corn last week. We got done just in time to beat a whole lot of rain. We have gotten six inches of rain the last ten days. The dry ground sucked up quite a bit of the moisture, but now the ground is saturated. I am glad that I don’t have to navigate the the mud!

We turned five growing pigs into the corn field. They are gleaning any missed ears and those knocked to the ground by raccoons and deer. They are happily munching and rooting. They have a shed, where dry bedding is supplied, to lay in to sleep. They are also fed additional grain as needed, but so far are mostly just eating from the corn field and surrounding pasture and fence line weeds.

laying flock

Our hens are still enjoying their lot even though it too shows the effects of the recent rains. They have been eating the last of our cull garden produce as treats to supplement their diets. They reward us with nice brown eggs for our efforts.

pig carcasses cooling

Autumn and cool weather allows us to start butchering our hogs. The family’s meat for winter, grown here, processed here. We have been blessed with an amazing autumn. The crops did well all summer, in spite of the mid summer drought. Now, the wet, cool, days of late autumn, are proving beneficial too.

Winter is just around the corner. A few outside jobs remain, but for the first autumn in a long time, I am caught up. I owe this success to a great wife, wonderful family, good weather and good work horses to help me get the crops out and the harvest gathered. To everyone involved, I say Thank You!



Autumn Views
October 19, 2020, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
Hank getting used to his harness

October 19, 2020

October is fading fast. We keep working through the jobs at hand, but every now and then we pause to look at the beauty around us. The corn harvest is almost complete. The leaves are in peak color. The young horses continue to grow and learn. It is good to enjoy the sights along the way.

The emerging speltz looks pretty good.

Our recent rain is helping the landscape too. The pastures have greened up. The speltz crop is growing well and I think even the trees appreciate the moisture.

Beautiful

As we wrap up the farm work leading into winter, it is with a blessed spirit that I say thank you! We have had an awesome year for crops and animals. The work is slowing down and I see some rest and relaxation in our future.

I will work with the young stallion, “Hank” and get him started in harness. I plan some time in the forge shop to make a few items and of course some home butchering is in the future, but for now, I will take some time to just enjoy the view!



Corn Harvest 2020
Abby, Amee and me

October 10, 2020

The corn harvest is going very well so far this fall. The ground is dry instead of our usual mud at harvest time. The Suffolk horses are doing a great job and the corn is husking fairly easy.

I added a nose guard on Amee. Its a wire basket that keeps her from eating corn the whole time we are working. I wouldn’t mind if she grabs a leaf or stalk once in a while, but she is a hog! The worst thing is, she gets her head into the next row, then when I ask them to move up, she heads down the wrong row! This did not please me at all!

The wire basket cured her bad behavior. She now walks and stops just as expected with no unexpected movement of the wagon as I walk alongside. They have settled in and are doing great.

We pick 8 to 12 rows a day. My cousin has been helping me do it. We share laughs and chuckles along the way. We also enjoy finding the different colored or very large ears. It has been a wonderful season so far!

Time for a late lunch



Open Pollinated Corn Harvest
A few random ears

October 7, 2020

I have begun picking our 2020 ear corn crop. I am picking an open pollinated variety called “Dublin” from Green Haven seed company in New York.

I have planted open pollinated corn many times in the past, but I have finally found one that is very well suited to our micro-climate here in the snowbelt of lake Erie.

Some of it is quite tall. The ears are large. A few require me to reach up to pick! It is fun husking these whoppers. The horses walk beside the rows as I pick and toss the big ears into the wagon. The ground is still dry, even with the recent rains. So far, this has been a wonderful harvest.

A few ears selected for nest year’s seed

I am saving some nice ears for next year’s seed. It is fun to choose. The small ears are nine inches long. Many ears are a foot long and every now and then we get a Whopper that measures fourteen inches and more!

I have a couple weeks to go before I will be finished, but this job, so far, has been nothing but fun.

Hank, our young stallion just turned 17 months old. He is growing well and will soon join the mares as we pick corn. Currently, he waits in the barn with our filly Bree, but his training is progressing and it’s almost time to accompany our main team. He won’t have to work. He will just walk along, starting , stopping and standing, as I pick. It teaches patience.

Hank October 3, 2020



30 Days Hath September
September 30, 2020, 12:55 pm
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
September sunset

September 30, 2020

What a crazy, full month it has been! Plenty of work got done and as always plenty remains, as we wrap things up before the winter snow flies. Our baby horse has now been weaned. She had a few unhappy days, but now has adjusted to the absence of milk. Her appetite has always been good, so switching to a diet without mom’s milk, still has her in good flesh

We got our speltz crop all planted. Soil prep and planting went well, but the ground was very dry. Last night we got 3/4 inch of needed rain. The pastures and the newly planted speltz all benefited from the moisture. Now, it is time to focus on picking our ear corn for the animals.

I attended a draft horse, mule and pony fun day in southern Ohio last week. The crowd and participants were condensed due to Covid, but it was still a beautiful time to be outside and around horses. This little team pulled a small wagon, giving children rides. They made me smile.

September closes today, as we look towards the corn harvest and the butchering days of fall. A nip is in the air on this cloudy afternoon. The corn field has been opened up so as to make turning the team and wagon much easier. The main harvest will happen in these next few weeks of October. The horses and I are ready. The corn just needs to dry down a little more so it will “keep” in our crib without spoiling. So, goodbye September, thank you for the nice weather, the final garden harvest and the memories made with family.



Working in the Tree Tops
September 10, 2020, 10:05 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
One of three large piles.

September 10, 2020

Many people think that working in the tree tops requires a person to be up in the air, at the top of a tree. I am working in the tree tops that are laying on the ground from my recent tree harvest. I am salvaging firewood to be used to boil maple sap, to make maple syrup.

I am cutting everything three inches or larger, that didn’t make lumber logs and hauling them out to be cut to length and split. The brush and smaller limbs are being left for homes for small woodland creatures and to rot to enrich the forest floor.

Our harvest consisted of about 60 mature trees. The trees were removed to allow the growth of many smaller trees, predominantly maple, both hard and soft varieties. The trees removed, also allow for mature maples to have more open canopy for crown growth. It also lets in light and air to the forest floor. I can direct some water puddles towards the nearby stream, allowing the water to runoff through the existing leaf litter. This drys the forest, but assures that water quality is improved by the filtering effects of the leaf litter.

Bree is learning lessons as we work towards her weaning. She is not always happy with me. Here she learns patience. I tied her to a fence post far from mom. She did not like it, but soon realized that she would have to wait on me. This was a short lesson of about 35 minutes. It was good for her. She can be strong willed, but yields fairly quickly. Her training continues.

The garden harvest continues. Our animal corn harvest is starting, as I build shocks. Hand picking will begin soon. I picked a few random ears last night. I am happy with what I see so far.

The crop should fill my crib.

A busy time is coming, but we look forward to the dash to winter!



Woodshed 2020
September 2, 2020, 9:17 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Ateamwood2020

September 2, 2020

On the last day of August, We finished filling the woodshed. The wood will now have many months to dry and cure. The fire will burn hot under the boiling maple sap next spring.

woodshed2020

This is a great job to have behind us. Corn harvest will start soon, along with getting the soil ready for our fall planted crop of speltz. I will also continue to work on firewood during the autumn season. I hope to be a year ahead by late winter.

I have started to shock corn. These small shocks I made in the garden from our sweet corn. I will open my animal corn field in the coming days, by making shocks down the center. The shocks make good feed and protect the corn just like a dry crib. The best thing is, shocking the corn divides my field into two small rectangles instead of one big square. It makes harvesting more efficient. I don’t spend a lot of time driving around the ends of the field this way.

shock2020

We hope to wrap up the tomato season in the next two weeks. The potatoes are wonderful this year too. We have been enjoying all of our garden produce. It has been a good year for gardens and gardeners.

Late summer jobs and early fall work is commencing nicely. The horses are working well. The young stock is growing on the good pastures. Our stallion is learning manners and how to be a work horse. Our young filly is about to be weaned from her momma. Hank, our young stallion, will accompany our mares as we harvest the corn crop. He will mostly just walk along learning to behave and work. I like him very much. Here he is looking over the fence at us last Sunday morning.

hanklisa



Time to Harvest

ralphtulip2020

August 23, 2020

Recently, I was involved in a tree harvest in a woodlot that I had thinned and improved over ten years ago. The light and space created by my thinning and removing undesirable trees, allowed many trees to grow like mad. This Tulip Poplar that I am standing in front of, was only 18 to 20 inches in diameter ten years ago. It is a beautiful timber tree and has reached its time for cutting.

ralphtulip20202

It is a very sound and healthy tree. One of the main reasons for harvesting this tree was due to a recent clear cutting on the next door neighbor’s property. The absence of trees next door, caused these beauties to start blowing over. The selection method we used this time, was to take down the tallest, most vulnerable trees that were prone to blow over.

ralphtulip20203

This was a very tall tree. In her understory were several nice hard maple saplings. The next harvest in this woodlot will be that of mostly hard maple. In the meantime, the land owner can tap those trees for maple syrup. This sort of planning, preparing and good stewardship, will make a pay day several times before the next trees need harvested.

As sad as it was to see these giants come down, the promise of sweet things to come made it worth it. Horses pulled the logs out of the woods. Directional felling protected the growing young trees and good environmental stewardship protected the streams and wetlands found in the woodlot.

I am pleased to have been part of this harvest, but even more delighted to see my earlier efforts have such a positive effect on this forest. Now, I will guide the landowner in matters of maple syrup. What a wonderful life!