RicelandMeadows


Farm to Fork

fork2table

July 17, 2018

Several years ago, a young man stopped to visit with me. He was full of excitement about living a homesteading lifestyle. We had many talks about farming, gardening and family. He was a well read man, who knew what he wanted. It was easy for me to expand his knowledge. At the time, he was very interested in trying to raise his own pork.

I talked with him, showed him and encouraged him to try raising pigs. I explained what I believe to be the best methods. Buy young pigs at weaning called feeder pigs. Keep the pigs in a pen on full feed and water ration. Give them treats like apples, garden leftovers even weeds. Keep their pen clean and keep the pigs comfortable, shade for summer, deep bedding and a warm hut for cool fall days.

The young man, Mark, went home to try and convince his wife that they could grow their own hogs. Sure enough, he wore her down and pigs soon graced the landscape at their farmstead. I went over that autumn and taught him how to humanely butcher his pigs. He learned well and was a quick study. They have raised their own pork now for seven years.

Mark has a young family. He is teaching his children all about gardening and animal husbandry. Mark’s wife too has a hand in teaching. She cans and freezes their food. They make cider, raise chickens for eggs and meat, and produce lots of vegetables in their raised bed gardens.

After using a makeshift yet sturdy pen for a number of years, Mark built this nice permanent pen. At the gate where the pigs enter the pen, he set a stainless steel fork into the concrete. The pigs pass this fork twice. Once when they enter the pen and the last time as they are slaughtered for food.

The fork keeps everyone grounded. The children know that the pigs are not pets. Sure, pet them, scratch their ears and rub them down, but keep in mind the purpose of the pig is to sustain the farmer and his family. The fork also signifies that the pork will be going into their mouths, so the pigs will be only fed wholesome grain, vegetables and other gleaned produce from the farm like apples and pumpkins.

I am pleased to have helped this young man out. He is paying it forward by helping others return to the land. This makes me very happy. We must teach the young ones where our food comes from. They learn kindness, responsibility, nurturing and become self-reliant. They learn patience and tolerance. They learn many things about “farm to fork”. Congratulations on your homestead Mark. Thanks for being such a good student, but most of all, thanks for helping others.



Hay What a Busy Week
July 16, 2018, 9:04 am
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haymow1

July 16, 2018

The last week has been a whirlwind! Hay dried very nice in the sun. We raked and baled, hauled and stacked until we got it all in off the fields without any of it getting wet.

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I modified the the hay loft door and am able to set the hay bales up into the loft with the skidsteer. I can set 5 bales up before I have to go up and roll them out of the way. This makes haying much easier for me. Most importantly, I don’t need help. Hay help is getting harder and harder to find, having overcome this fact is awesome! I can store the equivalent of 400 small square bales by doing it this new way. I will unroll the bale at feeding time and fork the hay down chutes to the horse mangers below.

The speltz straw also had to be mowed and made ready to bale

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The horses and I fluffed the straw with our hay tedder. There was a lot of nice, new seeded grasses in the straw. I treated this bounty as hay. The animals will get to eat anything they want, then sleep on the rest. It gives new meaning to “bed and breakfast”. It was a hot week. The temperatures were 90F and above for many of them. The horses and I both sweated together, but we made 42 nice bales. Those bales have all been hauled in and stacked near where they will be used.

We are now ready for some needed rain. We are thankful that it held off while we scrambled to get the last of the first cutting hay harvested, the speltz combined and the straw gleaned as well. Today, it’s hot and sticky, but all of us will rest and wait for the rain…while I make a new list of work for us all.



Oh What a Harvest!
July 9, 2018, 1:15 pm
Filed under: July 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

speltz2018

July 9, 2018

The 2018 Speltz harvest is done. It was a good crop. This will meet the grain requirements for my horses for the next year. The straw will be clipped and baled soon as well. The weather was perfect, the combine worked great and the field was in great condition.

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The crop grew well with no lodging. (Lodging is when the crop goes flat to the ground) Wind can sometimes knock the crop over, but lodging usually comes from weak stems.  I am very pleased with the speltz crop, but also with the emerging hay that the speltz “nursed” through the winter. The new seeding hay is robust and doing very well.

I was busy combining the speltz, while my daughter-in-law was busy too. We welcomed a new baby girl to our family. She is sweet as ever…of course she is made from… ” sugar and spice and everything nice”!

Fernbday

 



Under His Watchful Eyes

saoirise6

July 7, 2018

We had this Highland War Chief carved from a dying sycamore tree stump. The man who carved it, Bob Anderson, from Rock Creek, Ohio did an amazing job. We chose the Highlander due to my Scottish heritage. We picked the pose. This war chief now stands to watch over the farm.

There is much more to this story… Bob credits his talent to our Heavenly Father, but also to his Earthly father. You see, Bob was taught as a small boy to whittle small animals and people by his dad. They would whittle faces into walking sticks as they talked about life and all the things that turn small boys into men. Bob has taken a fun hobby to the next level. He is an artist, a true craftsman and a humble man.

He started with this stump

Saoirse1

He painted some crude lines and reference points on the face of the stump

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He would look at a picture of the Highland dress as he chainsawed from time to time

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Our War Chief started to take shape. Bob worked steadily, pausing to look at the wood and ponder his next move.

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The tree grew close to the sugarhouse making it a little difficult for Bob to work on the back side, but you would never know. He carved onward reaching inside himself for skills that were learned many years ago.

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Once he had shaped the sculpture as far as he wanted with the chainsaw, he went to work with small tools, sanders and his vivid set of skills. What was once a dying stump has been turned in to a work of art. We are very pleased. I think my ancestors are pleased as well. I had the vision, but Bob Anderson has the expertise. His wood carving prowess exemplified under the watchful eye of his father, now taken to the next level by his own desires, is an awesome thing to see.

saorise7

saoirise6

I recommend Bob Anderson highly. He creates many wooden sculptures in his studio just north of Rock Creek on state route 45. He will do commissioned pieces as well. Look for his pieces at places like the Medievel Faire  or even on the square in Mesopotamia Ohio. Bob carved Paul Bunyan  in the white oak stump by the “End of the Commons” General Store.



Potential
July 2, 2018, 3:29 pm
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keagancorn2018

July 2, 2018

I ask myself if I am measuring up? Soon, corn is supposed to be “knee high”. This field was a forlorn space on our farm just a few years ago. It still has a very long way to go. It needs drainage, fertility, pH adjustment and gentleness. I need to continue my efforts, but go slowly on this sensitive part of the farm. The corn here, where the cows fed on round bales last winter, looks real good. The rest of the field is behind, but looks like it will make a crop.

The corn in the picture proves that the field has potential, it just needs more tender loving care. Our grandson, the row monitor, shows much potential too. Like the field, he needs time, gentleness and tender loving care. I hope to see him reach his potential too. We owe it to ourselves, our family and friends to be the best that we can be. Inside of each of us is a light. We must let that light shine!

I am working on a few writing projects. The heat outside makes me want to work in the house. I am working at writing much more now that retirement has afforded me the time. I hope to use the gift I have been given to reach others through my printed words, to share and to teach. I will work hard each day to push myself, like the small field and the little boy, to attain our full purpose!

I think a guy has two birthdays. The first is the day he was born…the second is when he realizes why!

 



Horse Progress Days 2018

wirehorse

July 1, 2018

I spent the last few days in Clare Michigan, attending an annual draft horse event called Horse Progress Days. It is an event that showcases draft horses and draft animal power paired up with modern farm equipment. But wait…there is more! Vendors galore, a whole program for the lady homesteader, pony equipment, saddle horse stuff, blacksmithing and farrier tools, oxen, and great food.

The wire horse in the picture is a creation of an artist named Jeff Best. It was made mostly from barbed wire. Jeff lives in Clare Michigan. This work of art is just one interesting thing to see. Equipment manufactures were on hand demonstrating their equipment and answering all sorts of questions. Many breeds of horses were represented at this amazing event.

Seminars were given on many subjects for the farmer, grower, horse lover and even aspiring beekeepers! Produce, even ripened tomatoes in a hoop house, were to be marveled by this attendee. I do these types of things daily, yet I was amazed at the innovation, simplicity and complexity of many items demonstrated.

24mower

In this photo, a hay mower capable of mowing 24 feet in one pass, was a big hit with us farmers. A 20 horsepower motor ran a hydraulic pump that powered the machine. The horses only supplied the traction power to make the mower go forward or backward. This machine is much too big for me, but man can it lay hay down!

This was the twenty-fifth year for Horse Progress Days. I hope it will still be growing strong in another twenty -five years. Judging from what I saw and the young people in attendance, I’d say the future is very bright.

Next year HPD will be held in Arcola, Illinois…. then here in Mount Hope, Ohio in 2020