RicelandMeadows


Snow Buddies Business
January 16, 2018, 9:16 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

snowbuddies

January 16, 2018

I let the horses and donkey out to play this afternoon. They are fun to watch as they run, jump and roll in the fresh snow. I guess they get bored on these cold snowy days just like we do. The boredom will soon pass. I am healing well and very soon will resume winter farm work. I will be careful. I will have help, but I will soon be working horses again and I can’t wait!

The donkey has bonded with the draft horses. He much prefers to be with them instead of the sheep. He still patrols the sheep pasture, but stays with the horses. He has his own “stall” which is just the spot where he eats his grain, but he goes there every time! He makes me chuckle. I like the little guy.

I actually wonder if he will follow us while we work. I think it will be much easier to take him along, than to have him lonely in the barn. It will be a hoot for sure but time will tell. If I would have known how sweet these critters can be… I would have had one a long time ago!



Winter White
January 15, 2018, 6:54 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

snoplay18

January 15, 2018

Today, the calves were having a ball, running all over the feedlot. The snow covered lot actually looks great. I scraped everything clean thanks to last week’s warm-up. The slush and manure was like cleaning up applesauce, but I did manage to get it all cleaned up. That was one job I was very happy to complete.

The manure collected will compost along with the daily horse droppings and bedding. It takes a while because the cold weather slows down the rotting process. I’m fine with it because the reward of the compost is worth the wait. I also like the look of the feedlot clean and currently covered in a blanket of white!

The cows are not paying much attention to this cold winter weather. They are fed, bedded and content to just chew their cud and wait for spring. Perhaps there is wisdom in what the cows do. The young ones run and play. The rest of the herd simply takes it all in stride. There is much to be said for a full belly and a warm bed. Watching the snow pile up is just a bonus I guess.

winterlot



Cold Snap Warm Bed
January 4, 2018, 11:56 am
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , ,

nitenitecows

January 4, 2018

We are in the midst of a cold batch of weather. The weatherman said that we haven’t had two weeks of consecutive cold days such as these, at this time of year, since the 1880’s. All that I know is that it has been cold, both day and night!

The animals are snug in their barns and sheds. They still get to romp and play outside every day, but most are ready to come in at suppertime. The best way to make four legged critters comfortable is to keep them dry and well fed. The cold bothers them much less that way. Their digestive tracks working on extra hay or food, generates heat. I think it also helps with boredom, eating that is. I know I munch more when its cold!

We have been spoiled by several warm winters in a row. That makes this one tougher on us. I like winter. I think it kills the bugs and resets Mother Nature’s clock. I like mittens and it feels good to sleep under a pile of quilts! So hang on folks it’ll be spring in about 70 days….shortly after that, folks will be complaining about the heat!

So, bundle up and enjoy the winter spectacle. Play in the snow, take a walk, sled ride with the kids….but wait a day or two until the temps get above 0 degrees F. In the meantime, drink hot beverages, watch the snow pile up from inside. If you have to go out, dress warm, be safe and look for the good. It’s out there!



Forging into the New Year
December 31, 2017, 1:12 pm
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

forgesetup

December 31, 2017

What a year 2017 has been for all of us here at the farm and around the country as well. I, of course, have been outfitted with two new knees. The farm has three new building additions. The feedlot was expanded. The female animal numbers have been increased for future breeding prospects with the sheep and cattle…and Abby the Percheron too I guess. The forge shop is all set up for useful future projects and a little fun too. These things make me happy, but one of the most wonderful things that happened in 2017, was having all of our family present at one time, to break bread and make memories! It was awesome and will be repeated at least annually from now on.

We got the forge shop all set up last week. I warmed the chimney and built the first fire in the forge. My sessions are very short, but positive none-the-less. Yesterday, I played around and made a tiny cowboy hat paperweight.

cowboyhat1

It was fun to make this little trinket. I have much to learn, but I had a good time. I even felt a little productive!

2018, will be here in a few hours. I wish for all of my readers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I pray that you can fill it with family and friends. The older that I get, the more I realize that family and friends are what truly matters in life…everything else is fluff. Sure, we need jobs and we have to make a living…but don’t get so caught up in making a living that we forget to make a life!            Happy New Year Everyone!



And So It Continues…
December 23, 2017, 10:35 am
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

hammeringjohnny

December 23, 2017

As a small farmer, especially one who uses draft horses for much of our farm’s power requirements, it is thrilling when a son, grandson or any family member asks me how to do something. I get asked questions about gardening, animal husbandry, woodlands, and many things relating to the vocation that I love. When my grandson John asked me about forging, I was pleased.

I can’t really do too much yet due to my recent knee replacements, but I managed to sit in the shop and guide John as he made some hooks out of horseshoe nails. I got him a hammer better sized for him. Pliers took the place of a set of tongs. Our heat source was a propane torch. That small torch supplied ample heat to make the thin nails red hot, much to the delight of my grandson.

In no time at all he had mastered the skill of hitting a target with the hammer multiple times in the same spot. He is a fan of the television show, “Forged In Fire”. He was sure hammering steel was an easy task, he soon learned differently. As his skills improved, he moved on to using a pair of needle nosed pliers to scroll the hot metal into hooks. After just a couple lessons from me, he had it. He did a great job for a seven year old boy who had never set foot in a shop.

I am sure that we have discovered a “thing” to do. Sure we will talk about metal and projects, but we will also talk about how to treat a woman, the value of giving and keeping your word, the power in an honest man’s eye and that thanks to God above, men as well as steel, get second chances. I hope to guide him as he becomes a man.

I am so blessed to have been able to bond with many, in special relationships. I have taught skills, exposed some to unknown adventures that became life passions and kept a few from doing bad things. I am grateful for these connections. I look forward to passing on my skills, my experiences, my advice and my lifestyle, especially to lose I love and who love me back. The fact that I get to share with folks outside of the family is a wonderful thing as well.

I am elated when I get a note from a friend who has just butchered his first farm raised pig or ate a meal from their garden. I like it when someone lets me know how much they appreciate me helping them make a plan for their woodlot or lay out a farming plan. I gathered my knowledge over time and from folks who could stand the questions from a little boy, and trialing those things in my own life. It is my life’s mission to share these things as often as I can…..and so it continues!



Bird’s Eye View
December 22, 2017, 12:03 pm
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Dronefarmblds

December 22, 2017

Last October during a family harvest party, our grandson Jonathan brought his drone and took pictures of the farm. As I look at the pictures, I am very pleased. The harvest is complete. The compost has been spread on the fields where needed. The speltz crop is up and growing well. The pastures have all been clipped and stand ready for winter.

I am very thankful to family and friends who helped to get the farm ready for winter. My knee replacements are healing and doing well. It helps me mentally to know that things are well, jobs are complete and the promise of spring can be seen all over the farm.

The back of the farm too shows the work that has been done and the beauty that is this farm. A pile of lumber in the photo, is now a barn addition that houses the last of the equipment that once had to sit outside all winter long. Again, friends and family pitched in to make this all happen.

drone 2

As we close in on Christmas and the end of the year, I am very happy to share the gift of this farm with everyone. We are blessed, I, most certainly am! I pray that this farm and the example I set here, helps not only the people closest to me, but reaches out to others too. These photos are not meant to brag, but rather to say thank you to many and to show that anything is possible….Dream, Believe, Achieve!



It’s Kind Of Like This!
December 15, 2017, 6:35 pm
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sugarhousesnow

December 15, 2017

Snow on the ground, snow piled up and more snow falling. I think winter is here. Christmas is just around the corner. My birthday for another year has come and gone. Work on the farm is greatly reduced, mostly made up of animal care. Those jobs are my most favorite.

I am still pretty much housebound due to knee replacement surgery, but walking in the barn at the end of the day, listening to my animals chew, is great therapy. These creatures who depend upon us, complete my life. The snow is falling, yet all the animals are well fed, warm and dry. This farmer has a warm grateful heart to all of the folks helping to make their comfort possible.

Soon, I will be back in usual form, pitchfork in hand. I will say, it will be a good trade for the cane I’ve been using. In any case, my recovery is made much easier, by breathing on my four-legged friends, on this dark and snowy night. Yep, it’s kind of a day like that!