Bye Bye July
July 30, 2016, 8:12 pm
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July 30,2016

July 2016, will come to a close tomorrow. Summer is fading fast and what a summer it has been! The project list is getting short and that is a very good feeling. The big tree has been all sliced into rounds, all ready to be split. She will look like firewood in just a few more days. Like July, the tree will soon be just a memory.

The speltz harvest is complete. The grain has been stored and the straw has been baled and put away. The grain provides fuel to power our draft horses, who power our farm. The straw will make great beds for our farms animals, but beyond that…the straw will provide the carbon source for our compost. The animal manures, shavings and this awesome straw are responsible for most of this farms fertility. I am thankful for the harvest.


Amber waves of grain…. it is a beautiful sight.

Tree work to Bee work
July 22, 2016, 3:07 pm
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July 22, 2016

The county bee inspector came the other day. We had just finished working on the big tree for the day. The inspector had an extra bee suit and gave it to our grandson to wear. He got to see and hear the inner workings of a bee hive.

I use “topbar” bee hives. I switched to them a few years ago and would never go back to the commercial style of hives. These are much easier to use and the bees seem to be very content. We mostly use the honey the bees make, but do sell a small quantity every year.

Our hives passed the inspection with “flying colors”. The bee inspector was complimentary. The bees were calm and not too bothered by our intrusion. I got a little honey from the hive. Our grandson got another “sweet” memory to take home. So, from tree work to bee work, I am expanding his outlook on life.

Horses and Hay
July 20, 2016, 11:09 pm
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July 20, 2016

As our harvest here on the farm continues, the horses and I raked some second cutting clover this morning. We waited until the morning dew had been burnt off by the sun. It was still pretty early and even a bit cool at about 60 when the job started. The cool morning made for a great time. We finished before the biting flies woke up and found us.

My grandson from Montana snapped this photo as we walked out to get the hay rake. He rode along while we worked. I am sure it will be a memory that he will take back home with him. The hot sun and dry ground pulled the moisture out of the curing hay pretty fast. We were able to bale it all before supper and mow it away after we ate.


This high protein feed will be fed to calves this coming late winter. It will be a great asset to have when the sucking calves start to pull the weight off of their mothers. I can make a feeder where only the small calves can eat. I can supplement their feed and keep a watchful eye on them too.

The speltz straw is drying and will be baled soon too. The horses will rake and “ted” the straw as we fluff it to dry. It will be next week’s work. Who knows? Perhaps even Miss Abby will get a chance to pull the hay rake as her training continues. It will just depend upon the weather and time…..both of which I have very little control over…but no matter, as long as I have hay and horses… I’ll be fine 🙂

Speltz Harvest 2016
July 19, 2016, 11:05 pm
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July 19, 2016

Today, I completed harvesting our speltz crop for this year. I got enough to feed our four horses for another year. Its like growing your own tractor fuel! The crop was a little light, but we still have enough and that is a very good thing. There is a large amount of straw to be baled. It has been mowed ans is drying in the sun.

Today was a great day. Everything went well. My youngest grandson got to get a view from the driver’s seat.


He likes “Pa-pa’s” big tractors, but also likes the horses and other farm animals. Someday he will be a helper for me too. I love this life and passing it on, thrills me to no end.


The end to a perfect day. Equipment stored, harvest put away and chores almost done. Tonight, I drink from the saucer… because my cup runneth over!

Wood Working 2016
July 17, 2016, 1:58 pm
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July 17, 2016

Well, I’m back at working on the big tree. I have it almost finished now. There are just three big pieces left to go. I will have them worked up over the next week or so. I just need a chainsaw with a three foot bar. Sure, I can do it with my two footer and a whole lot of extra work, but I am content to wait. My friend has the saw, I just need to wait on his schedule.

This was a massive white oak. She was a very old tree.


Two foot off the ground, the stump measured eight feet, seven inches across. The main trunk is over five feet thick. I have almost everything else cut, split and stacked. This has been an awesome project, cleaning up the wind blown tree. It has supplied the wood for heating two households and the fuel needed for boiling our maple syrup for three years. This year will be that third year. I think they may even be a little left over for next year. One thing for sure, she has given her whole life.


Abundance, first with her shade. Then she began to give up acorns for all sorts of wildlife along with her ever growing shade. She had done so for well over 300 years! Even in her death, she still gives of herself. The wood for fuel, one last crop of acorns and the nutrients from the rotting wood of very small branches to the deep roots that held her in place for such a long time, make me say thank you for this grand old matron. I will miss her…

What a Great Day!
July 15, 2016, 9:16 am
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July 15, 2016

Yesterday, we spent the day thrashing speltz with my Amish buddy and his family. It is an annual event, that for me, never gets old. I have a great time. The work is hot, dirty, dusty, and wonderful all at the same time. Water tastes awesome as it cools and wets a dry throat, believe me, we drank gallons yesterday!

Today, we are back at work here on the farm. The recent teaser rains we got, have made the clover and corn grow a little bit. I’m sure some second cutting hay is in our near future. Our speltz are almost ready. We will combine in a day or two. Its not as much fun as thrashing, but it’s quicker.

The horses and I will skid some firewood today. It will be a good day to be in the cool shade of the woods. It’s hard to believe that summer is half over. The fields could use some water. The pastures are holding out for now, but a cool refreshing drink would do wonders. It’s just like the hot job of yesterday….water refreshes all….just one reason why I protect it every way that I can.

Peach Time !
July 13, 2016, 7:37 pm
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July 13, 2016

It’s a favorite time of year for me. The peaches are ripe! These are fresh, hand picked, succulent, juicy pieces of heaven. They are sweet and so juicy that you have to suck when you bite and the sweet nectar still drips off your elbow! If there is any better fruit than this, God kept it for himself!

Connie has canned just under thirty quarts of these beauties and managed to even freeze the contents for five pies. This is a tough job especially when I am hanging off her arm eating almost as fast as she peels. I simply can’t get sick of them. The freestone variety that she is canning now is edible right down to the pit. They pop out allowing this ravenous farmer to enjoy the seasonal treat all the way to my fingers and I’ve licked a sore spot on them!


This pie filling gets frozen for now, but will be wrapped in two flaky crusts and served with ice cold, ice cream. This is one treat that makes for an awesome evening, sitting on the porch, while my eyes drink in the sights of my farm. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Old Hickory
July 6, 2016, 3:12 pm
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July 6, 2016

This old hickory tree has been standing in my pasture for a very long time. When I came to this place, only her crown could be seen above the brush and thorns. Once I had tackled the dense underbrush, I discovered that this tree had been the corner post for a very old fence. I cleaned the fence post, broken steel rods, wire and a host of trash from around this awesome tree.

Every year she sheds a whole bunch of hickory nuts. The hogs love them. The nuts are hard but very sweet. We get some too,but the hogs seem to know when they are falling and gobble them up quickly. The sows crunch through the hard shells with their powerful jaws, enjoying the sweet nutmeat inside. We have many of these trees on the farm, so the hogs eating these, still leaves plenty for us.

I also strip the shaggy bark of these trees to be used as fuel for the smokehouse. It is nice to add one more layer of comfort on a slab of bacon. What I mean is this; farm raised pork, butchered, cut and cured in our slaughterhouse, tastes just a bit better when smoked with wood grown here….all part of the bounty of our farm.

This wood has gained favor in recent years for its unique beauty in furniture and cabinets. It has many imperfections that look beautiful when opened, sanded and finished. It is a hardwood, stringy in nature. It is very tough and dense. It was used for single trees and evener blanks for the horses to pull equipment with in days of old. It has the highest BTUs of any of our native hardwoods, almost equaling that of coal.

One more awesome thing about a tree such as this is the amount of shade it provides. The ground is cool underneath her branches. A cool breeze will almost always be found whispering near her trunk. I like to sit now an then, pausing to enjoy the shade and listen to the soft woodsong drifting on the breeze.

A Little Rain, Please
July 5, 2016, 3:00 pm
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July 5, 2016

The sheep and cows are grazing a field where the hay has been cut already. The regrowth is good, but a little rain would sure help. It seems us farmers are always fretting about the weather. It’s too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold, I guess we just need to enjoy the day no matter what and just relax. God knows what he is doing, we just have to be patient.

The sheep and cows make good use of the grass. They each eat different kinds, making the best use of the forage. They consume a lot of feeds between the two species. The pastures are holding up for now, so I will watch and wait. The nice thing is that I have these animals to watch as I wait.

Hot muggy weather is upon us this week. We may get a little rain from all the moisture in the air. The humid air makes the biting flies go crazy. The biting flies make the horses go crazy. No big deal for me, folks have said I’ve been crazy for years!

Moving Men
July 4, 2016, 3:33 pm
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July 4, 2016

Our grandson is spending most of the summer with us. He is from Montana. He is fifteen years old. He is learning all sorts of things like animal husbandry, field and forestry management and moving round bales with the skidsteer. He moves bales, while I move a boy closer to manhood.

He will be good for me. I explain things as we do them. I forgot how many questions a young man can ask, but so far I have been able to keep up. We are accomplishing things in short order. I am looking forward to teaching him more things. We will get acquainted with the small square baler next week. He thinks it will be great fun because of some “farm app” on his phone. I will not push too hard, but let’s just say the work is much different than a game on a phone.

After that the woodshed will get filled. We will have a lot of fun with that, because we make a game of it and invite lots of friends to help. Sure we work, but we do have a frolic while doing it. The summer will fly by, much too fast, but we will have a great time. I have had the good fortune to make a positive difference in quite a few young men. I am proud of all of them!