RicelandMeadows


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!



Warm January
January 8, 2019, 11:02 am
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

2019woodshedjan

January 8, 2019

As I write this entry, it is 52F degrees outside. Rain is falling and a winter thunderstorm grumbles and flashes out the window. Our winter has been more springlike than winter. We have had almost no snow and very little cold. Mud abounds making things difficult in the fields or forest.

I continue to work on cutting and stacking wood for the sugarhouse woodshed. It is mostly full. Just a few large pieces remain to be split. I have even started on next year’s wood, thanks to a good friend. The ash tree chunks in the foreground, were from dead trees near a lady’s barn. Now, they are no danger and will be utilized to make maple syrup.

Those ash trees were near a driveway, so we could cut and clean up without being knee deep in mud. I took the above photo last Sunday. The ground is almost drying out, but today, the rains are soaking it all again. We don’t have to shovel rain and I guess its moisture no matter how you look at it!

Cold snap coming for the week’s end. Maybe the ground will freeze and work can continue. In the meantime, I will stay plenty busy…as is a farmer’s life!



Demonstration
January 2, 2019, 3:13 pm
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

forgedemo

January 2, 2019

I want to thank the folks at “Tiller’s International” in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Those guys teach classes on all sorts of old skills from blacksmithing to barrel making, timber framing and tin smithing. The instructors give a very good foundation for learning. I took classes there for blacksmithing and knife making. I am enjoying my new hobbies very much.

Over the Christmas holiday, I was able to give a few demonstrations to friends and family. I feel it is our duty to teach others. I enjoy watching my “students” learn. I am not a master smith, although I do get a little better almost daily. I am able to show and teach  others. Some people want to learn the skill, other folks just like watching. I understand it all, because as a much younger man, I watched a guy doing blacksmithing….I have been “hooked” ever since!

I make all sorts of useful things for the farm. The only limitation is my imagination. I encourage you, dear reader, to teach something that you know to someone else. That someone else could be a friend or stranger, a child or grandchild, but the good you will feel is wonderful.

I learned a lot from my grandparents. Much of what they taught me, I use daily. The best part for me is, that those early days of learning are some of my most treasured memories!

 



New Year
January 1, 2019, 1:11 pm
Filed under: January 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

2018orrnements1

January 1, 2019

As last year came to a close, I spent quite a bit of time in the forge shop. I made gifts for many folks. I worked outside of my comfort zone, but had a great time honing my skills.

exhibitionbowie

Elk handle, a farrier’s rasp and some brass pipe allowed me to make this rustic exhibition Bowie knife. A few old railroad spikes were turned into container gardening tools.

charliegarden

I even forged all the pieces to make a small “Hit and Miss” engine toy. A 3/4 block of steel, a piece of pipe, a rivet, a few washers, a block from the toy box and lots of imagination. It brightened the day of a long time collector and made my heart smile.

novo

The flywheels were taken off a broken toy tractor. It was a fun project.

I made hooks and hangers of several types. I made a few tools to help me make the things shown above. This new hobby for me is very relaxing. It pushes my mind and promotes creativity. My hands are happy near the forge and anvil. My body enjoys the warmth on wet, cold winter days.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope your year is filled with the people and things that make you happy.