December 31, 2012, 10:24 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Winter Woodlot

Winter Woodlot

                                                           December 31, 2012

     Today is the last day of 2012. The year ends no matter how you fared, what you lost or how you celebrated. It was a mixed bag for me. There were indeed many celebrations along with a few disappointments. Later,  I will find some solitude and reflect on the year that was 😮

     My favorite place to find quiet and peacefulness, is in the woods. Time will not permit that today, so I will find a spot in my mind and let everything go. A man once told me that I needed to find a way to manage stress. I struggle still now and then trying to let go of what I cannot change, but the woods makes everything better.

     Yesterday, we worked horses in the woods. We cut firewood, waded deep snow drifts and found peace at every turn. Today, several times, I encountered stress that was almost crippling. I reached deep inside and peace came over me. I found that little corner of my mind where all the good things are ……. I am OK now. I just needed a little solitude.

     The new year is just hours away. I resolve to make changes in myself. I will set aside a little time every day just for me. I will allow myself a minute or two upon waking, to let my mind catch up, my body heal and my soul seek the real answers. … Besides, it’s easier than dieting  😮


Playing in the Woods
December 30, 2012, 5:24 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Helping Jake get a load of wood

Helping Jake get a load of wood

                                                        December 30, 2012

     Last night we had a steady snow. It is about 18 inches deep on the flat. The snow fell slow, so keeping ahead of it while plowing was an easy job. It is starting to pile up though 😮

     We hitched the horses today for a fun ride in the snow. We decided to get a load of wood too. Jake still needs some… I am not sure why we are once again, digging “must have” wood out of the snow! Oh well, the horses make getting wood a fun job.

     It was a beautiful day. The snow fell lightly. The air was calm and cold but not biting. The horses were great and I didn’t even fall down. My gloves did get wet, but I learned to quit sucking on them, so my fingers stayed warm 😮

     I remember going with my grandpa and a team of horses to get wood when I was a boy. It seemed he always needed wood in winter too. I guess the house furnace ate it pretty fast. It was a warm wonderful house though, a safe place that stays in my fondest memories.

     He would travel to the woods with the team and sled. He’d pull up beside a big hulking tree that he had felled or nature had knocked over. The horses stood quiet as he would run the chainsaw. Then the loading would begin.

     By the time we were loading the sled, I was usually frozen or at least my fingers were. Cloth gloves or mittens back in those days had magical power. The snow eaten off of them was as good to eat as cotton candy! I would lick and eat  and even suck the moisture out of those gloves until my fingers were wet and freezing cold.

     It seemed that I knew better, but could not resist sucking on those dang gloves! They were the same gloves that petted dogs and cats, wiped my runny nose, and held the manure fork! Perhaps that cornucopia of flavors is where the cotton candy taste came from?

     Anyway, back to the sled loading. Grandpa would pile the sled with wood while I whined and cried about being cold. Then all of a sudden, my toes would become cold too. I usually cried most of the way home. I am not sure why that patient man would let me go every time. I am thinking that grandma made him take me!

     Grandpa would pull up to the woodpile and unload the sled. I would head off to the house to get warm and whine to grandma, who would baby me and fuss over me to no end. It was a great time. I got a horse-drawn sled ride, cotton candy snow gloves to suck, cookies and hot cocoa at the end…and lots of grandma’s hugs. Talk about getting the most bag for your buck! I had in down to a science!

     Today, we had fun, no whining, no one got cold and not one of us sucked the work gloves on our hands. We did have a great time though … playing in the woods.


The Driving Snow
December 29, 2012, 4:45 pm
Filed under: December 2012
The Holly Bush

The Holly Bush

                                                          December 29, 2012

     The recent snows have made for a winter wonderland. At times the snow was the “driving” type. That is the kind that the wind drives into your eyes… not for driving vechicles…but we do anyway 😮

     We have about eight inches on the ground. The ground is warm still. The Holly Bush shows how much we’d have if the ground had frozen first. There is over 18 inches on the bush. The grass however, is about eight inches with a good layer of slush underneath.

     We have been driven inside these last few days by the snow. The building of the pig pens in the new addition of the pig barn is well underway. In fact, we should finish by the first of the week. We did use part of today to work on an unloading area for our sap. We made a wooden bumper so as to stop in the same spot almost every time.

     The bumper is my idea and my design, I think it will work, but time will tell. A wooden fence will make the horses comfortable as we get close to the bumper. Hopefully the sled will rub along the bumper making unloading a much easier task.

     Today, snizzle is falling. Snizzle is a very small snowflakes falling like drizzle. It is pretty, but does soak a jacket fairly quickly … driving me inside for tea 😮


Waiting on Santa
December 25, 2012, 7:31 am
Filed under: December 2012
King looking for Santa

King looking for Santa

                                                          December 25, 2012

     King is looking for the bearded guy in the red suit. If I would have said the heavy-set guy in boots and a coat…he would know right where to look 😮

     Santa’s belly shook like a bowl full of jelly and everyone was okay with that. I am reaching that point much to my dismay, as well as, a few others. Unlike Santa, I don’t need mine, so after the cookies are gone and the candy has been eaten…I’ll be eating more lettuce!

     Enough diet talk….Mom always said there are no calories in Christmas cookies anyway, so I should be safe. Just enjoy the Holidays..make improvements later…Merry Christmas everyone 😮

Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2012, 2:42 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Merry Christmas form All of us!

Merry Christmas from All of us!

                                                       December 24, 2012

     I am thinking that tomorrow will be a very busy day for both writers and readers, so I will send our Christmas greeting today! We wish for all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

     There are many who will not have the best Christmas ever this year. I ask for a blessing upon them. I hope they will find both comfort and peace in this season that is Christmas. I ask that they look to the “reason” for the season and in HIM, may they find all that they seek 😮

     A beautiful winter day is embracing the farm today. All of the animals are enjoying a romp in the crisp snow. A bit of mud is underneath, but the fluffy white stuff seems to make all of us  kids again!

     The next day or so will find us with family and friends, in person, on the phone or via the internet. These things make our world smaller and this is one time that I am glad it does. Although I wish I could send some Ohio snow to my sister who lives in Florida. I don’t know why she chooses to live in that hot, buggy place. I think is has something to do with her husband and children 😮

     Firewood and woods clean up will be the order of the work in the coming weeks. Maple syrup season will soon be upon us and there is some work to do to get ready for that. The good thing is, there will be lots of horse and farm time involved and I need that!

     Merry Christmas everybody 😮


No End In Sight!
December 21, 2012, 8:32 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Autumn Sunset 2012

Autumn Sunset 2012

                                                          December 21, 2012

     Today is the first day of winter. We are getting pounded with a winter snow storm. All the critters are snug in their beds and I am looking forward to that myself 😮

     Today is also a day the Mayan Calender said the world would end. I didn’t think much about it. The Bible says no one knows that date but God. I just figure when it’s over … it’s over. Sort of like “ready or not here I come!” It’s almost bedtime and there is no end in sight.

     Last week a friend of mine died. He was a business man in our community. He was a good God-fearing man who lived and walked his faith. He was a big man in stature, humble by nature and filled with peace. He was an owner of our local feed mill. We talked farming and politics, weather and life, I will miss him along with many others.

     He and his wife were shopping in a nearby town. Alan became silent as his soul passed from this life suddenly. He had not been sick or complained of anything. I guess it was his time to go home. He leaves many shocked family members and friends, but none of us have any doubt, that he walks with God.

     He was once a leader for boys and girls in our church. I can’t help but wonder if he is in Heaven, comforting the little children from Connecticut and helping with the baby-sitting. They would find a good friend in Alan and Al would be pleased as punch to help with the little ones.

     My heart is a bit heavy as the sadness and horror creeps in from the Sandy Hook school story and the loss of a friend. I am not worried about the Mayans or acting like “Chicken Little” and scampering into a hole in the ground. Instead , I will stand up and help those who need it, teach farm and garden skills and continue to have a great love for children.

     Hopefully, for me, there is no end in sight … but I would not be the first man to go before my plans were completed ……


First Winter Storm Coming?
December 20, 2012, 9:51 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Hey, did you hear a storm is coming?

Hey, did you hear a storm is coming?

                                                          December 20, 2012

     The weatherman says that we are about to get our first winter storm of the year. I usually don’t worry too much about it, but tonight the animals seem to know. They spent the day eating steadily. Tonight, all of them are tucked into their shelters all snuggled up.

     I have to believe that a big one may be bearing down on us. A blizzard is socking parts of the center of the country. Rain and sleet are falling outside and a menacing wind is howling. Last year we had almost no winter at all…this year may be much different.

     A white Christmas would be a nice thing. I think so anyway, but I like snow! The white covers everything even the mud that has become so abundant 😮 The drought is gone for us, but the soaking rains have been well received just the same. Harvest is done almost everywhere. The mud makes it possible for farmers to rest..well, it lessens the guilt a little anyway.

     We shall see what the storm brings, but for tonight, it is all about cuddling up. I will take my que from the animals…after all … they know better anyway!


Organizational Maintenance
December 19, 2012, 1:51 pm
Filed under: December 2012
Farm Roll-A-Dex

Farm Roll-A-Dex

                                                          December 19, 2012

     I , like almost everyone else, have been very busy. It is the time of year. Winter is here.  Christmas is almost here. Piglets had to be weaned, wormed and sorted. Oh yea, there is that full-time job thing, that sometimes gets in the way 😮

     Today, I landed in the kitchen for a hot cup of tea and a Christmas cookie. My wife promptly entered the kitchen with a whole arm full of small pieces of paper. There were notes of all shapes and sizes, tablets large and small and all of it … in my handwriting!

     I am guilty of making notes, taking down phone numbers and addresses on slips of paper, notebooks, an old envelope, paper towel and even the back of my hand. It is not a good system and it is a bit trashy. This method of record keeping drives my wife crazy. In all fairness to her, it’s usually because I ask her, “Do you know where sand so’s number is?” 

     I sat and worked on organizational maintenance today. I went through a pile of paper adding contact information to our roll-a-dex. I located many numbers that had gone missing and were thought to be lost. I made it possible to recycle two small trees worth of scrap paper…much to the delight of my very neat wife 😮

     It is the end of the year. I guess I can now start 2013 with a clean slate. We are going to try a “working tablet” a place for all of my “important” numbers for that moment in time. It might work…as long as I can find a pen 😮



The Sceene of the Crime
December 10, 2012, 9:03 am
Filed under: December 2012 | Tags: , , ,
Only Feathers Remain

Only Feathers Remain

                                                          December 10, 2012

     The other day our neighbor’s dog killed one of our chickens. The old hen was not laying and probably should have been culled, but I would have preferred to have it done more humanely. I guess it is death, no matter the cause, but I am thinking that the “PETA” folks should take notice.

     When I butcher an animal, it has been treated with kindness and respect right up to the last-minute. I stun the animal quickly and bleed it out. The event takes a mere spilt second. I am not cruel in any part of that animal’s life or death.

     Now, let’s see what happens in nature; dogs having morphed from wolves, still have a killing instinct. I truly believe that some of them kill..then wonder what came over them?! It is no less traumatic for the chicken though…weather the dog meant to or not.

     How about deer, overcrowded in some urban areas. They are starving, surviving by eating landscape plants and anything they can reach. I have seen the damage to flora and fauna, from starving deer. Endangered woodland plants destroyed because a few loud mouth, well-meaning people, prevent the deer herd from being managed by hunters.

     So, think about it…. a well placed shot or arrow dispatches an animal. Can anyone really think that this method is more traumatic than the slow painful death of starvation? How about that old hen, her dying breath, squeezed out of her, in the jaws of a playful dog. Her entrails ripped from her rear end while she tried to get away from “Fido”… makes me sad in both cases.

     Animal husbandry is an art. I bear as much blame as the dog. I was the one who let the old hens free range our barnyard. I thought they would be safe outside of their fence. They could run a new area. They could find bugs, grasses and bits of grain, much to their delight as they played in a new place. I didn’t expect the harmful intruder…. So dogs being dogs, and scared worried hens racing around the yard, led to the unexpected.

     I took the playful dog home ….. this time.


Waking with a Start
December 9, 2012, 11:20 am
Filed under: December 2012
Little pigs springing from their beds

Little pigs springing from their beds

                                                        December 9, 2012

     Yesterday, when I caught the piglets napping, I rattled the door. I just wanted to see that all was well. They sprang from their beds, when I made the clatter, to see just what the heck was the matter 😮

     Seventeen piggies scrambled out of the straw. They looked like little Keystone Cops as they banged into each other in fright. Once they knew it was me, they were more annoyed than scared. I guess I can’t blame them either!

     I think it was probably the same feeling for the pigs as when I wake up startled, thinking that I missed the alarm. It may have been more like a large bang in the night, or a ruckus made by cows as they run past the bedroom window in an escape attempt 😮  All I know is…. those little guys were rattled.

     Warm , unseasonable weather continues to hang around us. Today,  I will finish every job that I was worried about getting done before winter. I even snuck in a couple of extra things. I am pleased to be able to concentrate on the wash-house and cutting 2014 firewood for the sugarhouse. Horse work now becomes fun and there will be lots of that.

     I woke with a start this morning… bounded out to the kitchen and had breakfast. I sat there thinking just how lucky I am to be caught up on my work. I put the pencil to paper and started a new list…I am now busy again 😮

… Just the way I like it.