RicelandMeadows


Dressed in Autumn Colors
October 29, 2017, 10:30 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

sugarhouseautmn2017

October 29, 2017

As I was hauling compost the other day, I snapped this photo of our sugarhouse. She is draped with the colors of autumn, framed by the lush pastures left from summer. Winter will follow soon, but spring is only four months away. So, we get to see this color followed by a blanket of white, leading to the “sweet” days of spring!

Winter, if you let it, can be a long season. Sure, it has it’s downside, but focus on the beauty and fun instead. Take a sled ride, go look at Christmas lights, spend time with family and friends drinking hot cocoa and winter becomes much shorter. In just three weeks, the days will start to get longer again! So fear not Spring is just around the corner.

 



Stocking Up
October 28, 2017, 7:00 pm
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

bacon

October 28, 2017

The harvest time is upon us, in fact, its waning. Lots of woodland creatures are busy gathering the last of their winter stores. We keep working towards a full pantry ourselves. This smoked meat will provide many meals. It is made from our hogs slaughtered and processed here on the farm. The smokehouse ran for over twelve hours, but it was worth it.

bonelessham

We make our hams boneless. They cure well and taste wonderful. I de-bone them then inject a salt brine into thick parts. Next they soak in that same sugar/salt brine mixture for 6 or 7 days. I then roll and tie them with string. Once they are tied, I place them in the cotton nets seen in the photo above. The netting helps them congeal as they smoke and cook. This makes for a very nice product. They are very tasty too.

As I look around the farm, I am pleased with what I see. The compost has all been spread on the fields, making room for the coming winter manure. The farm equipment has been cleaned , lubricated and stored for the winter. The bull and ram are in with their respective ladies, the woodshed is full and the speltz are up and growing well.

The animals graze the last of our pastures. It was a great grazing year, with timely rains and fertile soil. The autumn leaves are in their finest color, though many have fallen from the trees. Winter is knocking. Soon, a blanket of white will greet us, but until then, we will continue to make ready.

A long time ago, my grandma read me a story about “The ant and the grasshopper”. I will never forget her telling me, “Be like the ant. Stay busy. Work hard and prepare for the coming storm”. I follow that advice. It gives me a great feeling and peace of mind. Thanks grandma Rice for setting the example and showing us all the way.



OMG Somebody Goofed
October 27, 2017, 7:44 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

penoops

October 27, 2017

Every now and then I see advertising that is funny, clever or even crazy. This week someone sent my wife a sample of pens to pass out for her business. I am not sure who’s in charge there for quality control, but I think this pen may have slipped through the cracks! I mean hey…. I’m not the one who quilts! That is Connie’s job 🙂

In all seriousness, it is breeding season here. I put the ram in with the ewes and our bull goes in with the cows and heifers later today. Maybe that is what the pen company is referring to? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure not many ladies want to whip out a pen to write a check in a department store, advertising “stud” service for anyone!

OK….nobody writes checks anymore, most folks don’t know what a department store is and my stud days are pretty far in the past too…but I still think somebody made a mistake!

The pen should have read, Riceland Meadows Quilting Studio …. I guess it does matter when we abbreviate sometimes!



Abby Gets Her Bells

bell2

October 23, 2017

Abby, our Percheron filly, continues to embrace her training. She “won her spurs” so to speak, this week as she starred in an upcoming episode filmed for RFD-TV, by Rural Heritage. The shows they filmed will begin airing early next year. Abby pulled a sled with Duke as we drove around the pasture. She stood while being groomed and hammed it up for the camera in her stall.

She has been exposed to harness and sleigh bells as part of her training. She pays them no mind. I decided to add these two to her harness , as she has now become one of the gang! She is a great addition to the power needs of our farm. I look forward to many years of working with her.

Abby made me look good as I talked about her training. She lowered her head as I talked about her old ways and the displeasure she had over having her ears touched. Now, she gets regular haircuts between her ears. She actually enjoys me brushing and petting her ears. Just one more “boogyman” eliminated from her memory. The new bells will chime as she walks, adding a musical component to our work day. This pleases me as much as she does.



My Turn
October 22, 2017, 8:48 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , ,

Kennywood

October 22, 2017

After a summer filled with help from other people, it’s my turn to pay folks back. I spent a day and a half cutting and hauling firewood to my buddy Ken’s house. I hauled seven dump trailer loads. Much of it will need further processing, but it is in his drive and near the stove. This was one job where my skidsteer was very valuable!

I also butchered hogs and gave away meat to another family as I traded “in kind” for labor or goods. His family and mine both made out. The last thing that I want to do before the snow flies, is to give a day’s labor with my skidsteer, to another friend who helped me this summer.

Work is winding down. Winter will soon be knocking on the door. I hope to put the last of my equipment away this afternoon. A dead tree waits for me to harvest it for a building project, but thanks to friends and family, I am caught up after being laid up all summer. Thanks to all of you for your help!



Log On
October 18, 2017, 8:46 pm
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101_0941

October 18, 2017

Yesterday, we were filming for RFD-TV. My son Jake drove the horses in the video. In the photo above, he drives Knight and Hoss, put to the logcart skidding some red oak logs four years ago. They all performed like stars then, just like yesterday.

We hauled out some pine logs. I couldn’t take a picture, as I was cutting trees and logs. The logs we brought out yesterday, will become siding for a wall on the back barn addition. The filming went well. I made and corrected a mistake while felling the first tree. It was good to catch it on film and show what not to do! It’s easy when everything goes right, but we all learn from our mistakes. I know that I do!

The filming took all of yesterday and much of today. We shot enough footage for several episodes for “Rural Heritage” on RFD-TV. The shows will begin airing in early 2018. I’ll do my best to keep you all posted. We had a good time. Miss Abby made her film debut and looked stunning in her black coat. She was joined by a cast of many, even Sgt. Pepper got introduced. It was a great couple of days.



Got Nuts?
October 16, 2017, 10:16 pm
Filed under: October 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

nut2

October 16,2017

Chris Pidcock asked me, “You got any big hickory nuts up by you?” I said, “yes, we have one real nice tree. The nuts are good sized and very sweet.” He told me that he would give me some nuts from a tree that his grandfather had planted, if I wanted any. Then he showed them to me. Holy Crap!!! I don’t have anything like these at home!

I made my way home from Nelsonville, Ohio with a bag of these babies on the floor of my truck. I smiled all the way to Akron! I have just the spot to plant a “Pidcock Hickory orchard” on the farm. I don’t know if I will live to eat from those trees, but hopefully my grandchildren will.

These hickory nuts are almost the size of walnuts. The meat inside is light and sweet. The hull opens easy and the nuts are pretty easy to crack, especially for a hickory nut. My son’s great grandfather on their mother’s side, used to sit and crack hickory nuts much of the winter. His wife would make sweet, yummy, hickory nut cake. I so wish I could have shared some of these awesome nuts with him.

I will be stomping these nuts into the mud over the next few days. I will however, map out a sort of grid pattern, spacing them evenly. They will not all come up. The deer will eat a few I bet. If any squirrels hear about these wonder nuts…they will be hitchhiking in from Pittsburgh just to steal some! So, I will space them carefully, but mother nature will put them how she wants them anyway. That sort of “cracks me up”!