RicelandMeadows


Here Comes the Cold
January 15, 2022, 1:43 pm
Filed under: January 2022 | Tags: , , ,

January 15, 2022

Hank, our herd stallion and me clowning around for the camera. He wasn’t impressed with the flash too much. We have been busy training with Hank, keeping him on track to become a great work horse.

He is growing well and will turn three years old in April. He has a deep, wide chest. I like this quality in a horse. It is our hope that Hank will pass this trait along to his offspring.

His best quality is his mind. He is a very likeable horse who has great manners. He doesn’t bother the ladies. Well, he may walk by close enough to get a squeal out of them, but he is just teasing. The mares are serious about no monkey business. He just walks away and minds his own business. When we work, he keeps to himself too. I really like this guy. He is a model stallion for any breed, but exemplifies the Suffolk Punch breed.

I expect him to reach 17 hands tall, with plenty of bone. He will start expanding into his body over the next two years as he matures. He has been a good horse to raise. I hope that our progress remains positive. I wouldn’t recommend a stallion for everyone, but this guy has been good for us. His first baby is due in April. We are getting excited to see what he passes on to his children.

The January cold is upon us. It is nice to have the mud frozen. The ground can be driven on anywhere on the farm. This moves many of our projects along well. I spread some compost last week and will complete that job later today. We are spreading only on paddocks with good green buffers on all sides to ensure our runoff stays put. We wouldn’t normally spread on frozen ground, but our manure pile is huge and we are simply out of room.

We plan to harvest a few trees next week for the lumber for a project we are working on. The frozen ground makes that job a joy to do. We must dress for it. I take a few extra breaks in to warm shop to warm fingers and hands, but I sure am enjoying being out of the mud!



Cold Days, Warm Meals
January 11, 2022, 11:06 am
Filed under: January 2022 | Tags: , , , ,

January 11, 2022

Well, winter has finally come to northeast Ohio. After months of mud, we are getting some relief as the ground freezes. It went from the 40’s to the single digits overnight. The up and down still persists, but the cold appears to mostly be here to stay for awhile. The animals are all eating a bit extra feed to stay warm and comfortable. I too have enjoy the holidays a bit too much in the food department!

I shot this picture of a hawk eating a field mouse yesterday, out of our kitchen window. He was a handsome fellow, but my phone couldn’t catch all of his splendor. I didn’t see him grab his prey, but I watched him quite awhile as he devoured his meal. The cycle of life played out for us to see.

We have almost completed our family butchering job for the year. Just a little bit to do remains. I am thankful for the harvest and the meals to come. The woodshed is full. Now, our woodland job will shift to that of harvesting a few pine trees to be sawed out for lumber. That job will be good for Hank, our young stallion. He needs to learn to walk and work in the woodlot.

I guess this month is for my downtime. I get to play around with my hobbies before the start of maple season and the spring work that follows. I have a few projects in mind to make in the forge. I also want to build a wall on the north end of the newly constructed hoop building. This building is for bedding materials like straw and sawdust as well as, providing some extra storage.

It is a good sized building measuring 20 feet wide, 20 feet high and 36 feet long. I put a large apron on the southeast facing end. My plan is to dump sawdust on the apron then push it in with the skid steer. The wall I intend to build on the north end is to keep the worst winds at bay, while still allowing for plenty of air circulation.

Sawdust is plentiful and cheap during the summer months. This building will allow for the storage needed to house some of that cheap bedding material, along with our farm raised spelt straw. These carbon sources are critical to stabilizing our compost made from our animal’s manure. The compost is paramount in completing the fertilizer needs of our soils. All of our farm fields benefit from this black gold we help create. Just another warm meal made here on the farm!