RicelandMeadows


Steering and Brakes

powercarttongue2

September 23, 2018

A week ago, I broke the old wooden tongue on my powercart. I use this cart to power equipment, while being pulled by my horses. When the tongue snapped, I was only backing it into position. I was in no danger. I unhooked the horses and quit for that day. Upon inspection of my set-up, I realized that I could have been in a bad accident, had the tongue broke while I was working the horses.

I completely revamped my tongue and hitch point. I also looked at what was available to us draft horse guys and changed the way I switch from a two horse hitch to a three horse hitch. The “Z” laying on the ground gets inserted where the tongue is currently. The tongue then gets moved to the “Z” piece. The “Z” is the right spacing to move the horses over and align with a three horse evener.

I also chose to use steel instead of wood for the tongue. There are many times when I am pulling very heavy loads with the power cart, like when picking corn with a wagon behind the picker. I sure don’t want the tongue to break causing me to lose both steering and brakes. The tongue does both jobs on a wagon or in this case powercart. You see, knowing where you are going and knowing you can stop is important in driving and in life! I feel much better now.

powercarttongue1

Hopefully, this is a better view. The lower hitch pin in the picture is where the eveners hook to the cart.

Here is a picture with the powercart hooked to a brush hog, for folks who have not seen one of these carts power tractor equipment. The horses supply the traction power. The powercart supplies the PTO, three-point hitch and hydraulics when needed.

powercartbrushhog



Productive Rainy Days
September 12, 2018, 9:43 am
Filed under: September 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

raspfirstset

September 12, 2018

After oppressive heat and humidity, rain ushered in some cooler weather. The rains fell for three days here giving us 2.75 inches of moisture. I used the wet days to complete a couple of projects. The knife and hatchet set, forged from a farrier’s rasp was a fun project and is now complete. I learned a lot during the process. I will continue to put this new skill/hobby to work for me. I must say I really enjoy it.

newrack

We also completed putting a new wagon rack on my horse drawn wagon. This is the second rack on this same running gear. The last rack was 9 years old. It rotted out even though it had been painted. I now have room to keep this one inside during winter weather. It should last a good long time. The boards were wet as we built from rough cut hemlock lumber. Once it dries out, I will seal it from the elements. It will be all ready to gather firewood and pick our field corn.

The cooler weather also makes me get excited about fall plowing. The horses and I can do more in the cool comfortable days of autumn. This summer’s heat was one for the record books. It did make for a great corn crop. Timely rains and hot weather kept the pastures lush and green. Hay making was a challenge as we would get “pop-up” showers that didn’t do much more than wash the drying hay. It makes the hay dusty, okay for cows, but not for horses. Oh well, we can’t control the weather, but we can work with it…like doing something productive on a rainy day!



Harvesting in Many Ways
September 9, 2018, 12:09 pm
Filed under: September 2018 | Tags: , , ,

caitlynpep

September 9, 2018

We are started with the fall harvest. Our first order of business was to make and preserve memories as most of our family joined us for a reunion. Our granddaughter Caitlin, made friends with Pepper in the photo above. City relatives enjoyed the farm and its animals, as much as we enjoyed seeing them all again. A water balloon fight, pony rides and a walk in the woods were highlights of the day.

The pantry is filling up as the garden is producing in high gear. It looks like we will soon be pulling up the plants and preparing for a fall cover crop, putting the garden to bed for winter. I’ll be glad to click that off the list. The field corn for cows is ripening fast and will take up my attention soon. The first order of business however,  is to prepare and plant the speltz grain for our horses.

sweetcornshock

Sweet corn shocks, cut and tied for decoration. Our son Josh and his family grew pumpkins, squash, gourds and such for a fall roadside stand. They are getting all set up and open for business. Our granddaughter Rachel is selling bouquets of wild and cut flowers. She too is harvesting and gleaning not only plants, but memories as well.

I am inside today as rain falls steadily, the remnants of hurricane Gordon. The rest is good on this sleepy Sunday, as we all prepare to hit high gear very soon!



Pony Boy
August 31, 2018, 7:27 am
Filed under: August 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

judy1

August 31, 2018

Our son has had ponies ever since he was a small boy. We got him his first equine companion one year for Christmas. Her name was of course, “Noel”. She was a very old girl, just right for a small boy. She was gentle and did everything right. Jake loved her. He learned a lot about horses and ponies from her.

Over the years, our son has had quite a few horses and ponies. One of the last ponies he trained, was named “Patches”. He was a small, powerful little guy who hated me. The little imp would do anything for our son, but delighted in making me angry. In fact I saw “Patches” a week ago. He now lives on an Amish farm and gets daily use by a bunch of children. I walked up to the little calico pony, called his name. He ran right over to me and promptly bit me…Just a nip, but just enough for me to be sure he still doesn’t like me.

Our son is teaching his children about horses. He is passing his love for them on to his own children. “Jumping Judy” is becoming my grandchildren’s best friend. They are learning all about her daily care. They realize she needs to be brushed, fed, petted and looked after. Responsibility is good for children, supervised and corrected by an engaged adult, creates many loving bonds.

judy2

This little pony is a gem. I am sure there will be countless hours spent riding, driving and simply just spending time with her. She even tolerates me. Ms. Judy comes over occasionally. She interacts with my horses in the barn. She is polite. Everybody gets along. Judy’s usual day, however, is spent in her own barn. My grandchildren take care of her. They put her in and out of the barn. They clean her stall and fill her water, much like their daddy did…not so many years ago. I think a pony and a child is a connection made in Heaven. Once you see the smile and confidence on a child’s face, while they are caring for a well broke equine…You will think so too.



Rough Around the Edges
August 27, 2018, 9:56 am
Filed under: August 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

rasp1

August 27, 2018

This knife I have been making as time permits over the last week. I made it from a farrier’s rasp that was given to me by my farrier. This is my second knife project. I learned a lot. I had to soften the rasp steel, then forge, grind, harden and temper the knife. The handle fit went much better this time. I still have to sharpen and polish it, but it is coming along quite well.

rasp2

I left the rasp’s character showing as I worked the steel. This knife will be a gift for my farrier. I think he will use it or perhaps just display it, but I am pleased with my efforts. I think leaving it a little rough around the edges makes for a great conversation piece. I say this because those who know me, know that I too am a little rough around the edges…and conversation is my specialty!      (Some may even say that I am a bullshi**er!)



Misty Morning
August 25, 2018, 9:42 am
Filed under: August 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

miststars1

August 24, 2018

There is a nip in the air this morning. How can it be? I still have hay to make, wood to gather and garden crops to harvest. I guess today was just a teaser. The August heat showed up by late afternoon. I think this is just a warning that soon, autumn will be here. I heard the school bus as I closed the gate. It was almost an exclamation point for my thoughts!

Work here at the farm continues, but so does the “fun”. Baby calves have started to be born. We calve in the fall. It’s backwards for most folks but works well for us. Pastures are in good shape with lots of feed for the animals. Plowing will begin soon for our speltz crop planting in the next few weeks….one more sign that fall is close at hand.

The corp crop is looking very well. It is one of our best crops in a long while. The reconditioned corn planter did an awesome job. The stand of corn is spaced just right. The ears are plentiful and well formed. The timely rain allowed the kernels to fill and made for some nice soon to be “hand picked” ears!…If picking corn by hand doesn’t signal fall… then winter… I don’t know what does.

 



Steel Away for the Weekend

tillknif1

August 16, 2018

I had a great time last weekend at Tiller’s International in Scotts Michigan. I took their knife making class. Last year, I took two blacksmithing courses. This was just “continuing education” I guess. I learned a bunch of new stuff thanks to good instruction and hands on learning.

tillknif2

This very simple “clamp” in the photo above, became a good friend as I sanded and rubbed on the steel knife. I forged the blade from 5160 steel, then learned to grind and sand the blade into a functional piece.

tillknif3

We learned to fit a handle on the blade. I am pleased with my first attempt to make a knife, but I see imperfections that I will work on for the next one. This is a good blade… even if it did take me two full days to make it!

tillknif4

I even ventured into file work. I free handed the “X’s” into the back of the blade for my thumb to rest on. Again, I learned things that I will do different, but am satisfied by my efforts. I need to work a bit more on the finish…but… “It will cut” as they say.

Tiller’s International is an institution that strives to bring old, early American methods in farming and homesteading to poor countries. They build small agricultural equipment out of materials found in those poor countries, like rebar, shipping containers, and bicycle parts. They make hand tools and oxen pulled pieces as well.

The international part of the Tiller’s mission, is made possible by training learned from preserving America’s past. I am glad they share. Classes in timber framing, tool making, coopering, tin smithing, commercial barrel making from white oak staves, oxen and draft horse driving basics and more. Check out their website for classes and events at http://www.tillersinternational.org  This non-profit organization can use your help, why not enrich your life while helping them out?  It worked good for me as I was able to “steel away for the weekend!”