RicelandMeadows


Oh Poop!
April 30, 2014, 7:51 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
Compost all spread on our 2014 corn field

Compost all spread on our 2014 corn field

April 29, 2014

I spent last weekend, before the current rainy weather, spreading all of our manure. The manure has been piled and rotting since last fall. I don’t like to spread raw manure. I feel that I lose too much when doing that. The manure, composted or even partially composted, is much better for the soil and the soon to be growing plants. The nutrients are more readily available to the plants after it has been composted.

I use a lot of straw and bedding material. This carbon material, ties up the ammonia in the manure. That ammonia smell, is the nitrogen escaping from that manure. Once it is stabilized by the straw and bedding, the nitrogen is tied up. The plants can use it. It also makes spreading manure a good job, the smell is much less and almost earthy…rather than unbearable 😮

I also leave room at the end of the field for a grassy strip to absorb any runoff that might escape the field. I believe that environmental stewardship is the responsibility of every farmer or landowner. I try to practice what I preach and farm by example. I got to share my experiences and my efforts with some kids today from our local technical school. It was a great day!

The kids and I walked our woodland and the buffer zones around our farm. The rain had been falling much of the morning, so it was a perfect day to show my successes and even a failure or two. I am not perfect, but I keep trying… I wanted to impart that philosophy with the young people. All it takes is “try” with a little “umph” to triumph in everything you do…. I know they left here thinking positive thoughts… because not one kid said, “oh poop” to anything that I said 😮



On The Move
April 29, 2014, 4:43 am
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
Here they come!

Here they come!

April 29, 2014

Our flock has been increased by double. The baby lambs have all been born. We lost a few in the bad winter storm ten days ago, but the rest are doing pretty good. There are always a few weak ones that die along the way, but so far so good 😮

We usually lamb in mid May, but this year are about a month early. We raise grass-fed lamb. The lambs eat our good pasture and mom’s milk. They grow fast and are ready for “freezer camp’ in four to five months. Lambs raised in this manner, make mild and tasty meat.

The grass in May grows quite fast, keeping up with the hungry ewes. April grass is a bit slower, so moving the flock often is necessary. Yesterday, we made our first move. It went well. The babies got a little scared at first, but the moms restored order in no time.

Once all of the sheep got the idea of what was happening, they followed along just fine. Once we got to the back lane, the mothers knew exactly where they were going. They walked right past me, paying me little attention… the babies? Well, they go where mom goes, at least for now. Independence will rule the lambs in a few weeks, but for now, they know that mom has all the answers and all the milk!!

And there they go!

And there they go!



Pooling My Thoughts
April 28, 2014, 9:52 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Reflections on the back pond

Reflections on the back pond


April 28, 2014

Recently, I have been doing a lot of deep thinking. I think about goals, plans and failures. I look towards the future with a bright outlook, but can’t help dwelling in the past now and then. There is much to learn from our past experiences, especially where we have failed. It is good to revisit those failures now and then to examine what went wrong, be it love, jobs or field trials.

I have failed at all three. I am not sure if that makes be a “home run hitter” or just a normal guy, but when it comes to falling on my face now and then, I am an expert! I am also resilient. I have enough optimism for three people. I can find the good in most things and many people… but sometimes I struggle to see the good in me. So, these are the times when I need to pause and reflect.

I think these times are good for all of us. We need to look backwards every now and then to see just how far we have come. It is good to reset our compass, align new goals and define a path forward. It is a time to dig deep, sort things out and move forward. It may even mean setting new goals and embracing a whole new plan… that is OK. The only thing that matters is that you have a plan, a dream or a goal. If these things are missing from your life, it can be very empty.

Lastly, I know we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Many things that don’t turn out like we thought they should…were simply not meant to be. We cannot fix those things. We can only remember them, learn from them, cherish what we want and forget about the rest. I draw from my memories in many things that I do, even the bad things have value. I farm and make maple syrup because of great memories, some surrounded in tragedy. These things make me whole and help define who I am 😮



The promise of Spring
April 23, 2014, 8:56 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , ,
Lovely

Lovely

A promise kept is a wonderful thing. A broken promise will shake a life. I try to always keep my word. There was a time, when all I had in this world was a $35.00 truck with no motor and my word. I found out just how valuable my word and good name was. I vowed to never compromise either.

The promise of spring is a wonderful thing. This year after a long old-fashioned winter, that promise warms my heart. The flowers are beginning to bloom, baby lambs are bouncing around the pasture and the grass is turning bright green. My hay is starting to run out…so come on grass…even if it means mowing the lawn!



Mom’s Place
April 22, 2014, 8:51 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Mom's Final Resting Place

Mom’s Final Resting Place

April 22, 2014

Who doesn’t like to go to mom’s place? There are many happy memories there. I remember the smells of dinner cooking, fresh-baked cookies and Estee Lauder perfume. I remember hugs, comfort and a certain look…a look that could stop traffic, or at least a teenage boy from doing wrong. I remember love above all.

All of us have memory triggers that will fill our minds with thoughts, both good and bad. I am pleased to say, that most of my memories about mom’s place are happy ones. Now, since my mom has passed away, she rests here on my farm on a little hill next to the sugarhouse. I visit this place often.

Sometimes I talk to mom as if she were sitting next to me. Other times I just talk aloud complaining about some trivial thing that doesn’t matter in the big picture of life, but I feel better after I vent awhile. Often is the time when I simply sit quiet listening to the world around me. The peacefulness that surrounds me is as comforting as a hug.

My dad rests on this farm too. He lays under a hickory tree in my pasture. I discuss all things farming with him. I enjoy the time spent there, but I do wish that I could spend a few more hours with him, listening to his stories and corny jokes. I am sure that both he and mom are proud of my accomplishments and I take comfort that even though they are both gone, they are still very close.

I get to visit my parents graves without leaving my farm. I have had countless cups of coffee with them as I work out a problem or pour my heart out when life kicks me in the teeth. When I am depressed, cranky or heart-broken, I always feel better after visiting mom’s place. Some things never change I guess, and for that, I am very grateful.

The little hamlet where mom rests, is a spot she picked out. I chose the spot for dad. I know he would like to watch the animals, walk the furrows with me when I plow and feel the lines in my hands as I drive the horses. My mom loved maple syrup time, but I think it is more the laughter from the children who visit and the fact that I spend a lot of time in and around the sugarhouse, that caused her to pick her place.

My lambs are being born right now. The mother’s are doting over their babies. They keep them close and bleat when they get too far away. They nurse them and rest beside them. The lambs don’t stray too far…at least for now. The babies will grow fast and like all babies, will one day leave mom behind…we all did. Mom, will watch them go with a special sadness in her heart, as they make their way in the world.

Then comes the day when mom is gone, life is forever changed…A longing for the “good old days” will smack us in the head now and then, when we stop to remember her. The bond between mother and child is never broken. It might get bent sometimes, but a mother’s love is pure and everlasting … that is why, she is never really gone… just absent.

My mom has two places here on my farm. One place is that quiet place by the sugarhouse. The other place is deep in my heart where only goodness is found…..which according to some…is buried pretty deep. I hold her dear, remember her often and always feel pleased when I take the time to visit Mom’s Place.



A Day of Rest
April 20, 2014, 9:25 am
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
John 3:16

John 3:16

April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday, what a wonderful day! The significance for Christians is unmeasurable as this is the day that Jesus Christ conquered death. Small children look for gifts from the Easter Bunny, but like a sign I recently read said, Silly Wabbit Easter is for God.

The ewes were all sleeping in this morning. They laid quietly, chewing their cud. The sun was warm upon their coats. I’m sure that it felt good, especially after such a long cold winter, to just soak up the warm sunshine.

The week ahead looks long and tiresome, but I will attack it one day at a time. I will sleep well when I lay my tired body down. I will take comfort in knowing that I am healthy and still “hitting on all cylinders”. The work I choose tires me sometimes, but to me it is worth it! 😮



Lambing Time
April 19, 2014, 6:13 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , ,
April Babies

April Babies

April 19, 2014

It’s time for the 2014 lamb crop. The weather is beautiful. We lost three little ones born the night of the winter storm. So far, these babies are doing great. We have several more moms to lamb yet. Soon, the pasture will be jumping with cute little fluffy lambs.

The sugarhouse clean-up continues. I am very slow I guess. It seems that I have been working for a week, but it looks like I have only been a couple of hours. Maybe, I’m just too picky, but I want it clean, not sticky and neat…even the woodpile 😮

A walk through the woods revealed a whole list of things that I would like to do. I had a great walk. The ramps, wild onion, trillium and other small wild flowers were blooming. It warms my heart to see the signals of spring and the beginning of another life cycle.

The sun has been warm these last few days. The soil is drying out some. I can’t plow yet, but it won’t be long. I will keep working on my clean-up job while I plan for manure spreading and plowing. In the meantime, the lambs will play, racing and chasing one another around the pasture…. I will watch, laugh and remember my grandpa Rice.

4-19-14 007