Gated Community
March 23, 2017, 6:11 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , ,


March 23, 2017

After 18 years of using makeshift gates on my hog pens, we installed these new ones. They were made and installed by Ed Struna, Hickory Nut Fence company. I have known Ed for almost his whole life. I recommend his work highly. He installed most of the fencing around my farm as well.

These are “hog high” and “piglet tight”. I look forward to using them. So far, they work great. The latches are easy to operate. The hinges, latches and the gates themselves are heavy duty, but good looking. I am pleased with the purchase that I made. If you’d like fencing, gates or just more information, call Ed at Hickory Nut Fence Company 440-645-3889.

Second Opinion
March 21, 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,


March 21, 2017

Today, I hauled Abby and Duke to get their horseshoes reset. I want them shod because we are on the gravel drive quite a lot. Abby’s training continues almost daily. As long as I was in the neighborhood, I asked my buddy to hitch Abby with one of his horses and give me a second opinion on her progress.

We hitched her with a steady Belgian horse that belongs to my friend. She went along with him as if she has known him for years. She did well, especially given her short time in training. We even tried to expose her to a few unexpected things, but she paid them no mind and kept her brain “in the game”.

We kept the training lesson short and ended on a good note. She continues to do well. Sure, she is still a little girl with lots to learn. Some days she tries my patience and pushes my buttons, but I continue to win every game she plays. I can see her becoming a valuable asset to the farm. I will try to keep on my guard, keep her lessons short and keep all of us safe.

By the way, my buddy who is shy with his compliments, told me he can tell we’ve been working at it….that’s about as close to an “atta boy” as I will get…and I am fine with that.

I got this handled
March 19, 2017, 9:09 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


March 19, 2017

As I did my chores last night, I strugged with a problem. I worked in the barn and worked out my thoughts. I realized that many times I have worked my problems out while forking manure. My old manure fork handle, the one on the right, has been worn smooth by work and my rough hands. I started using this fork 37 years ago after purchasing it from an old neighbor.

I chose the fork because it has six tines. Horse manure doesn’t fall through it. This is the original handle that came with the fork. I don’t pry with it. I fork with it. I have lifted some heavy loads, but never compromised the wood. The fork was forged from good steel. The handle looks to be made from white oak. It is smaller than the “clunky” handeled, drop forged, junk available today at most farm and hardware stores.

As I cleaned the day’s poop from behind the horses, I was in deep thought. I talked to the horses as if they would answer me at any minute. They didn’t do that of course, but it felt good to tell my troubles to my equine pals. The fork too, was like gripping the hand of an old friend. I toiled easily in the comfort of the warm barn surrounded by my “friends”.

I have to say, by the time the chores were finished, my troubled mind was at peace. I worked my troubles into resolution. I realized that some problems have no solution or perhaps multiple solutions. I came to terms with myself, that in this case, I could not solve the problem. I would have to just move forward, perhaps one day, returning to contemplate this mental struggle again…but for now… I have it handled.

Almost Screwed Up
March 14, 2017, 6:25 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , ,


March 14, 2017

Abby and I have been working on her training. She is doing very well. I decided that since I had my son’s help, I would hitch her with Duke to a sled. Everything went well as we hitched up…everything that is, until we forgot to hook Abby’s outside line. (it would be like trying to ride a horse with just one rein)

Abby didn’t like the sound of the sled on gravel behind her. She took off and even made Duke run for a minute. I had almost no control, other than a right hand turn. It happened quick ans was over almost as quick. I got them stopped and unhooked from the sled. That is when we discovered what had happened. We fastened her line to her bit and drove off again. Everything went much better. We stayed at it awhile so as to end her training on a positive note.

I was glad to have my son there, as well as, Duke who made it all end quickly. He was a little rattled, but know what whoa means. Having brakes is a wonderful thing! The training will continue, hopefully without any more rookie mistakes! That much excitement is rough on an old man’s underwear!

March 9, 2017, 8:03 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,


March 9, 2017

After a very short season, we have the trees untapped. We had to dump full bags of maple sap. The bags were full but the quality was not good. The trees have budded, so the sap has an “off” flavor. I would rather dump it on the ground than make “buddy” syrup. It has a strong offensive taste. I can sell it to a few buyers who use it for pipe tobacco and animal feed, but the price they pay is low. It is so low, that I would be better off selling the firewood it would take to boil the sap. I would get more for the firewood, than I would the maple syrup.

Thanks to the horses and several guys we untapped in a matter of a few hours. It is a great job to have behind us. It has been a funny year. It has been very warm. It was a very early maple season and very short. We did make a good amount, but were hoping to make more than we did. I will get everything cleaned and put away, then wait patiently for next year. It pays to be a Cleveland Browns fan…..there is always next year!

It was a beautiful day to be in the woods. Yesterday, we had high winds that blew at speeds of 50 mph. There are several trees uprooted. The forest floor is littered with down and dead limbs. The whole woodlot could use a good cleaning. I will salvage what I can for lumber and firewood. I will build some nice brush piles for woodland creature habitat and I will burn some of the slash. The old, mostly rotted wood, I will push into piles to finish rotting to enrich the forest. This is one job that I will never complete, but I refuse to stop working at it.

In Like a Lamb
March 5, 2017, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,


March 5, 2017

Yesterday, the first lamb of 2017 arrived. He is a cute little fellow, born to a first time mom. I am fine with my first timers having a single lamb. They learn to be good mommas and only have one youngster to keep under watch. Some are just natural born mothers and can handle twins or triplets without any problem. Others are rather self centered ladies who can’t understand why the little creatures keep hanging on to her…the latter type get “invited to dinner”, if you know what I mean.

I don’t usually lamb at this time of year. I choose early May instead. This year, however, I have some vacation time to use, so it seemed like a good time for lambing. I like to keep an eye on the flock to make sure all is well. The ability to be close by, pleases me very much.

Our month of March came in like a lion this year. The wind blew and storms rattled the area. Now, some cool but nice days are at hand. The lambs are born with nice warm wool coats. They enjoy the weather. Moms are eating on a big new hay field. They only eat hay on the deepest snow days. They have their choice and they prefer the dormant grasses in the field.

My flock has access to a nice three sided pasture building. They use it on rainy days, but mostly choose to be outside. Last night the temperature dipped to 12 F. The sheep were laying in the grass fast asleep, far from the building. I am sure they know what they are doing. I am glad to offer them a choice. They repay be by keeping  the fence rows clipped, the sugarhouse paddock mowed and my freezer stocked with tender young lamb. It is a very fair deal.

In Like a Lion
March 1, 2017, 11:15 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , ,


March 1, 2017

This photo I snapped in late January. Today, I could have snapped the same picture again. We got a big storm, followed by windy , yet mild temperatures. At chore time tonight, sleet , rain and wind were the order of the evening. I found plenty to do, but working horses was not one of them. Perhaps tomorrow when the thermometer drops below freezing, I can harness up and get a little “horse time” into my schedule.

I hauled animals to “freezer camp” today. Then I busied myself with barn cleaning and a few other inside jobs. There is much to do with sugarhouse clean up. I want to get that job done so that I can start plowing with the horses. Ineed to keep them in shape for the spring work that is bearing down upon us.

So, I will take a little hope in the old adage, In like a lion and out like a lamb, for the month of March. I will keep myself busy while I wait for the lamb days, hopefully I won’t have to teach them how to swim!