Hello Little Girl
January 31, 2015, 10:06 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
My granddaughter named her "cow"

My granddaughter named her “cow”

January 31, 2015

This little girl was born one night when the temperature was below zero. The wind chill the next day was minus 30 F. This little girl and her siblings stayed warm in a large nest of straw next to mom and a couple of aunts! She is three weeks old today and the ruler of the nest. She will be a replacement gilt in our sow herd. She has great confirmation. She is out of one of our best mothers and she is as cute as they come!

My dog Cinch thinks she is sweeter than honey. He stares at her by the hour. She plays in the straw with her brothers and sisters. She is the leader. She is adventurous, but when it’s time to eat…she is first to the “table”

January wraps up tonight. One of the longest months of winter comes to a close. I had a long month at my off farm job and am glad to see it gone. The cold weather has added extra chores, but everyone is well fed and well bedded…including the farmer 😮

A snowstorm is forecast for the next day and a half. I guess we are as ready as we can get. They are talking numbers up to twelve inches of wind driven snow. We shall see. Our winter this far has been cold, but the snow has not been bad at all. If we get some to make us remember what northeast Ohio winters are like, I guess I will simply take it in stride. First I will dig us out, then harness the horses for a sled ride!

Cinch introduces himself

Cinch introduces himself

Sleeping In
January 25, 2015, 11:51 am
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
I'm awake...honest!

I’m awake…honest!

January 25, 2015

After an eight day stretch of work at my off farm job, I am resting up. I do have pens to clean and hay to move, but I enjoyed a morning of sleeping in, eating a late breakfast and just sitting around doing nothing. I guess its good for all of us to recharge our batteries. Even the animals do it now and then.

When the sun shines bright and warm on a still winter day, many of the animals will lay about soaking up the suns warm rays. I’m sure it feels as good on their coats as a warm quilt covered bed feels to me. I don’t do it often but when I indulge, it feels wonderful!

I am sure that I get more done after I have rested. It seems that pushing myself forward, while dragging my ass behind me, makes no sense at all. A few hours, stolen from time, that refreshes my mind and body, is well worth the time spent. I am invigorated with a new sense of purpose, energy and mental health. Rest is a wonderful thing!

When life pushes too hard, we fail to live. We get so caught up in problems, concerns and deadlines, that we miss the birds singing, the laughter of children or the peace found in a quiet room. We must embrace down time now and then. We must create this time for ourselves. Rest and relaxation gives life balance. I don’t allow myself enough of this kind of time.

When I was a young boy I remember a day working in the hayfield. It was hot and dusty. I was helping an older boy who was struggling to keep up with a fast paced machine. The machine was being driven by an angry old man who spent most of his life hollering and mistrusting people. I asked the man to stop for a minute so we could get a drink. I wasn’t really thirsty, but knew the older boy could use the water and a minute to catch his breath.

That mean, little old man’s face got all screwed up with rage and he bellowed at me. He yelled and chastised me severely. He told me that I was a spoiled, lazy kid, damn near worthless…just like my father! I was about thirteen years old, but that old man summoned my Scotch/Irish temper. I didn’t say a word, but the look I gave that rotten bastard made him walk back to the tractor…. and I have never forgotten that day.

I have made sure that no one can call me lazy. They may call me other things 😮  but not lazy! That old man went on to live into his old age. Not many folks think very much of him. I don’t know what causes a man to hate so much that it destroys a person from the inside out…but I am glad that I find ways to enjoy life…just like my father! I much prefer to smile and laugh. I work hard, I play hard and every now and then… I allow myself to rest!

As for that old man… I say piss on him!

Ready for Summer
January 21, 2015, 3:07 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
Max chills on a hot day

Max chills on a hot day

January 21, 2015

This has been a pretty “open” winter. There has not been too much snow to deal with. The cold is brutal when it comes, but it too has been tolerable. I guess I am spoiled this winter, but I’m still ready for the green grass and warm breezes of summer. Or perhaps I’m just hoping to miss the “mud season”!

Maple syrup season is less than a month away, as long as, Old Man Winter cooperates! We are mostly ready. There is a big job of clean up, even though everything was cleaned up at the end of last year. It helps me get excited as I slop around with hot water and cleaning soap. I get it all clean, but I do make a wet mess. I don’t know if its a guy thing or a Ralph thing, but I get, as wet as, the maple pans.

I found out last year to wait for a day above freezing to do all my clean up. Once I splashed water all over everything in sight, including the cement floor, I realized that ice would be a problem. I discovered this fact as my feet went way over my head and I found myself half under the maple arch with what was left of a bucket of water soaking my coat.

I will say that a half frozen fat man doesn’t crawl out from under a maple syrup pan arch quickly. He also will find it necessary to roll over onto his stomach in the wet gravel to get to his knees. The next problem he will encounter is banging his head on the cold, hard, steel arch that holds the syrup pans. Finally, soaking wet, freezing, covered in frozen gravel, with an aching head, he decides to wait for a warmer day!

So, my clean up job waits for a couple of days off from work and a little warmer temperature on the thermometer. In the meantime, I will search the seed catalogs, prepare for the upcoming maple season and think about the hot days of summer…..when I am longing for the cold quiet days of January!

Too Shy
January 18, 2015, 7:56 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Hello little fellow

Hello little fellow

January 18, 2015

After a cold first half of the month along with a sore back, things at Riceland are returning to normal. A new calf was born just before the New Year. He is a shy little guy who hides behind his mom every chance he gets. After just two weeks, he is strong, very healthy and can run like a deer. He started out slow and small, but there is toughness in his spirit…and tenderness in his genes.

Winter work is good work. It is done under cool conditions, many times below zero, and often inside. The manure clean up is a daily job as is feeding. A guy once told me that to stop the manure clean up job… just quit feeding them 😮 I suppose he may be right, but not the least bit serious!

I am still working on the wood cutting and splitting at the big tree. Maple syrup season is just a month away. We are starting to prepare for that job too. Old man winter will soon be losing his icy grip, but he sure squeezed tight a week ago. Oh well, we will like the warm days even more after being in the deep freeze.

Two small bulls need castrated as well as a few baby boar piglets. Those jobs will be done very soon… Then that little guy really will be …”two” shy!