RicelandMeadows


Wrapping up the season
October 9, 2014, 5:28 pm
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Josh and his wife help with the hay

Josh and his wife help with the hay


October 9,2014

The season will soon be closing in, with snow all around us. We are taking advantage of these nice October days to wrap things up. We spent much of yesterday making small square bales out of larger round ones. It seems like a lot of work, but the effort is well worth it. Those small square bales come in very handy on a wet, freezing, rainy night. I only do the horse hay this way and a few second cutting bales for the baby calves.

It is peace of mind in summer as I rush around the field making large round bales, as I make hay while the sun shines. It is mostly a one man show here, so making round bales lets me get our hay made all by myself. However, it does make things very nice when we can have extra hands to make the small square bales. We had a good time. It was cool and breezy. The children played all day and even helped some too. It is real nice to be in a hay mow when its cool and comfortable, still the same amount of work,but the coolness makes it a nice job.

Another wonderful thing that happened yesterday, was finding out that I had fixed the baler. I had recently replaced a broken spring. That spring. That $8.00 spring has caused me aggravation for over 3 seasons! I simply couldn’t figure it out. Wow, what a difference! We only missed tieing two bales yesterday and both of them were my fault!

This job continues but we made great progress. I think I will have it all squared away before the weather turns wet again…at least that’s my hope



The Beauty Around Us
October 5, 2014, 11:11 am
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Back porch mums

Back porch mums


October 5, 2014

In my rush to catch up on chores, get speltz planted and come up with a plan for wood cutting, I have almost missed some very pretty things. The mums around the back porch are in full bloom. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn color and the corn is fading from bright green to golden harvest brown. The animals are in great condition from the green grass. Their coats shine in the sun and in the meadows, red clover and goldenrod bloom in a blaze of color.

Even the farm looks good with it’s patchwork of fields. The green pastures never faded this year because of the rains. The hayfields are lush as they await the coming frost. The recently planted speltz fields provide a dark contrast in the neat landscape. The wood line border awash in autumn color gives the scene a final touch….and to think that I almost missed it!

My main focus this week will be on cutting wood. I want to finish that job before the weather shuts me down. I don’t mind working at it in the winter, as long as it for a coming year and not the year we are in! I have a few friends coming next week to share a days labor. I want as many logs stacked up as I can get. Five men can make a whopper pile of cut and split wood in no time!

One last job that I have a keen eye on is the job of bringing in my corn. I want to shock some for use later this winter. The rest will get picked once it dries down enough to store on the cob in my crib. Sure, there is still plenty to do to keep me busy, but today I will putter around, rest up and enjoy the sights around me…maybe I’ll even get to see a grandchild or two 😮



A Celebration!
October 3, 2014, 6:39 pm
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One of the planted spelt fields

One of the planted spelt fields


October 3, 2014

Against many odds, after losing sleep and pushing through, my eight acres of speltz are planted and fertilized. I worked into the darkness last night after a long day of field work to get the planting all done. I ran out of steam a little after nine pm last light. I closed the barn doors and headed for a shower and a soft bed.

This morning, with rain looming, I attacked the task of spreading soil amendments onto the recently planted seedbed. My younger sister gave me a hand. I would not have beaten the rain without her help. As I made the last round, the rain started to fall. My shirt got wet, my glasses got spotted, but nothing could dampen the jubilation I felt in my soul! All that hard work and loss of sleep, was worth every minute!

I cannot take all of the credit. My son helped me plow. My sister helped me beat the rain. My wife had meals ready, lunches packed and a thousand other details in order, so that I could focus on getting this crop in the ground. This crop provides the horses grain for the entire year. It gives us valuable straw for the animal’s bedding. The carbon source of this straw is the foundation of our compost pile, the main fertility of our farm.

Last year, the fall rains made getting a crop of speltz in impossible for me. I had to buy horse grain. We are running short on straw and are in search of some. It is hard to believe just how important this crop is to our operation. The grain is the fuel source for our horse powered farm. The straw a key building block in our sustainability. To say that I am happy is an understatement.

Even Cinch is Smiling

Even Cinch is Smiling



Behind Closed Doors
October 2, 2014, 11:11 am
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Machinery Shed

Machinery Shed

October 2, 2014

Finally, after several years, I scraped together the money to build doors for the machinery shed. This building was built on a shoe string. It has quite a bit of recycled lumber in it. The siding was made from pine trees grown and milled here on the farm. The steel roof was constructed from “seconds” destined for the scrapyard. I built it so it is facing south and open to that side. Most of our wet and snowy weather stayed out, but every now and then, everything inside got covered in moisture. I wanted doors.

Last year, I managed to dig out the dirt floor and pour concrete inside the building. It made it so much better to move things around and kept the equipment out of the mud. My equipment is old, but in good condition. I want to take care of it. Keeping it inside just makes sense. It took me quite a while to acquire what I have by trading up, being patient and saving before I purchase. It takes longer, but is very much worth the wait to avoid the burden of debt.

I am actually excited to put my stuff away this fall. It takes a whole day to organize everything and it never fails one piece will be in the very back the day you need it most 😮 Oh well, I just love to see it inside, clean, dry, greased and ready to go when needed. I am sure my farming grandparents would be, pleased with my efforts and that pleases me too.

The building measures 24×48 with a 16 foot lean-to. I built it for much under current construction prices. I did pay for some help and materials, but by taking my time, the costs have been greatly reduced. Recycled lumber and home grown siding also knocked the heck out of the bottom line. I will recommend, keeping your tools stored inside when possible and thinking outside of the box when considering a building project…. and most of all…don’t be in a big hurry!



Fall…ing Behind
October 1, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Knight,Hoss and Duke enjoy a nice afternoon

Knight,Hoss and Duke enjoy a nice afternoon


October 1, 2014

Wow, it is October already! After a very long month that was September 2014, I am about to enjoy some needed time off from work. The extra shifts are winding down and I am very ready. I missed almost all of those wonderful dry, late September days we just had. Sadly, my speltz are not planted yet, but much of the prep work is done. Looks like a rainy period coming, so I hope to get the seeds in the ground in the next day or so.

Even with lots of extra shifts under my belt, I am pretty much caught up, but without deep drive, I could easily “Fall” behind as autumn closes in. The corn is ripening and the sow herd is enjoying falling nuts and crabapples, along with their grain. I think they enjoy the woodland pasture and fresh air as much as the feed 😮

The leaves on the trees are starting to turn and the chill is in the air. Apple cider and hot tea are my favorite drinks this time of year. Very soon it will be flannel shirt and soup time, talk about the comforts of home…that is it for me! Autumn horse sales are starting and I am resisting…I do not need more horses. (repeat several times a day!)

Folks all around are cutting corn and making silage as the harvest is underway. I will be picking my corn, so I will wait awhile for it to dry down more. Work is everywhere that I look, but so is the beauty of autumn. I vow to stay busy, but take some time to enjoy life as I go and nothing stirs me like fall foliage…unless it is the beauty of SNOW …and that will be here soon too!

YUM

YUM