RicelandMeadows


Dump Wagon Complete
February 16, 2019, 5:45 pm
Filed under: February 2019 | Tags: , ,

KMHybrid4

February 16, 2019

The dump wagon project has been completed. This little work saver will be pulled with my horses behind a forecart. The gooseneck design will allow me to turn very sharp, almost in its own footprint.

The manual lift to raise and lower the bed, is easy to operate. It goes up very quickly and comes down smooth. The bed measures six feet by eight feet, with one foot sides. I am excited to use it on firewood and all sorts of hauling jobs around the farm.

Hats off to E Miller Repair in Burton Ohio for the fabrication and build. I will be doing a detailed article for Rural Heritage magazine in an upcoming issue.



Little Wagon Project
February 5, 2019, 4:28 pm
Filed under: February 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

KMHybrid3

February 5, 2019

I am working on a project. I am replacing my big old style hay wagon, with a small more versatile one. This one will be pulled by horses with one of my forecarts. It is small enough to be able to get into small areas, including using my sap roads in the woods. I will use it not only for hay, but for all sorts of things including firewood.

The little wagon will also be a dump wagon. A cylinder will be activated by a hand pump.  I can move dirt, gravel compost and a host of other things. Then once I get to the place I want them, I just raise the bed and dump the material. This will save me time and effort.

My old hay wagon is very high off the ground, getting on and off, is a problem. A step will make it possible to simply climb up on this one with ease. It will be pulled by cart and horses, so I will have a seat. The dump handle will be in easy reach from the seat. Stake pockets will allow for any arrangement of sides.

I am even working out a design for the tailgate to have a small door like on a semi trailer. The little door will come in handy when I am hauling ear corn or grain. I can back up to the elevator and control the load that I am dumping. This is a fun project, nearing completion. I am very excited. Finished pictures coming soon.

KMHybrid1



February Warm Up
February 2, 2019, 4:25 pm
Filed under: February 2019 | Tags: , , ,

woodshedselfie2019

February 2, 2019

The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so he predicts an early spring. It is warming up after some very cold days. One of the days last week our high was -4 degrees F. Today, here at the farm the sun is shining bright and the temperature is on the rise. Soon we will be tapping maple trees for syrup. Days like this make me very anxious.

Our woodshed is full and we are ready for the season to start. Experience has taught me that starting too early, using the old time methods we use, makes for a big headache. Our buckets and bags freeze quickly when the trees just drip a little. The containers are soon a frozen block of ice…then a big sap run comes along and we lose all that sap. Patience is our best friend. The guys with tubing can get away with starting a little early, but I’m sure that ice can be a big problem for them too.

Another thing that happens when you tap early, is that the tap holes dry out. You see the tap hole is a small wound in the tree. The tree sends sap to heal itself. The spile keeps the hole open, but mother nature is a wonderful thing and will heal the tree in spite of the spile. The hole dries out, no sap runs. So, as you race against time and weather, you battle mother nature too.

I will continue to prepare and try to relax. Once the time is right, we will pounce. It is a big job, but to me, worth the sweet rewards. The aroma of boiling maple sap will soon fill the air. The golden maple syrup will fill our jugs and the memories from days gone by will fill my mind and heart.



Heat on a Cold Day
January 29, 2019, 11:54 am
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , ,

heattreat1

January 29, 2019

I am trying to get over a winter cold. I felt better, so I decided a day in the shop was in order. I did accomplish a few things, but did not kick my cold…so the sniffles continue.

I have a couple knife projects in the works. I decided to heat treat the blades as I move through the knife making process. I had spent a little time making some door handles. My fire was mostly clean coke and very even. This is the ideal time for jobs like forge welding or heat treating, because of the absence of impurities in the fire.

heattreat2

After the steel has reached critical temperature, I plunge the hot blade into the quench oil. This hardens the knife, giving it the property to hold an edge and stay sharp.

heattreat3

This job must not be done by children and should be done in a well ventilated area. Careful consideration to ensure no flammables are nearby. You can see in the photo one of three fire extinguishers in the shop. They are overkill, but give peace of mind. I also have a cover for the quench pan for snuffing out any flame that may pop up.

The knife blades are next annealed to give them some flexibility. All that remains to complete the projects are polishing and handle fitting. These jobs take the longest for me. I can’t even say that I like doing them. I like the finished product, but the countless hours of sanding and buffing I find very tedious.

I am sure things will get better as I learn more. Like any job, the tricks and shortcuts make them go better. In any case, it is a warm job on a cold day. I like the forge and the expression it allows, so I will continue to heat, beat and repeat.



Another Training Day
January 21, 2019, 11:35 am
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , ,

abbyright

January 21, 2019

Abby, shown above on the right hand side, continues her training. She continues to do well. There is no doubt that she will be working in the maple sugar woods in a few weeks. This will also have her ready for spring plowing soon. Today, all of us are tucked in where it’s warm. The temperature is hovering below 10F with a brisk wind. All of us will eat a little more and wait for better weather to be outside.

Abby learns quickly. I think it is because she learns from the other horses. She seems to know to just do what they do and “go with it”. When the load gets a bit tough to pull, she leans into her collar more, pulling harder. When some unexpected object scares her, she watches it, but doesn’t shy away from it. She takes her cues from her teammates. They have both seen many things and are confident that as long as I am near, everything will be alright, scary or not.

The winter has finally arrived. We have snow piled up all around the farm driveways. The ground is covered a foot deep with snow. The landscape is beautiful. The white snow covers every unsightly thing… even our constant mud. Shop work and training fill our days, but soon it will be maple syrup time.



Great Day for Three

abby3

January 17, 2019

Yesterday, I hitched my young filly “Abby” in a three abreast hitch, for the first time. She has been learning very well. Her training has been going very well. This is just part of the training program. She will soon learn to work single too. She is doing well and I am very pleased.

She is the middle horse in the photo above. She is paying attention and learning from me and from her teammates. The nice thing about having Knight and Hoss to teach her, is they can become two very big anchors if needed. She must go where they go, when they go. When I want them to stop and stand, she must do that too. Sometimes, she thinks she’d rather do something else, but good teamwork prevents her from getting into trouble.

I worked earlier this week butchering a steer for my Amish buddy. We had a good day of socializing, and coffee drinking. The steer will be worked up into cuts and burger in the coming days. I traded work with my buddy’s son, for my pat of the butchering. He in turn helped me finish filling the sugarhouse woodshed, yesterday afternoon, just before dark. What a great day!

marvsteer

Our weather is about to turn very cold, close to 0 degrees F. It will be nice to have a good day, inside cutting the meat and visiting. There isn’t much work to that job when many hands help. Good food and conversation is enjoyed by all.

Maple syrup season is under a month away. Abby will help this year. Three on a sap sled is a bit overkill, but having plenty of horsepower is much like cutting meat…many hands make light work. The sled can pull hard at times, but with three horses, leaning into the work together, it’s no job at all.



Something to Do
January 11, 2019, 3:43 pm
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , ,

hairpile

January 11, 2019

Our weather has finally turned to winter. The wind howled outside, while snow fell heavy, wet and quickly. This made for a good day to work inside the barn. I decided to give the horses haircuts. It makes for something to do. You can see by the pile of black hair, that it had been awhile since the last trim!

I cut the hair close where their bridals and halters sit behind their ears. Their manes and tails I just thin. I want to make sure where the collar rests on their necks, the hair is thin so as not to make a sore spot when working. The thinned manes and tails makes for a good look… at least in my opinion.

When the rains fall or the wind blows, having a project is a good thing. Otherwise I find myself sucked into some time wasting endeavor like watching TV. It’s much better to have something to do and if that something to do involves draft horses…count me in!