Opened the field
October 31, 2016, 10:45 pm
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October 31, 2016

Some people spent today working on Halloween decorations. Me, I worked on several projects, but opening the corn field was my most important one. I have to pick around the field so that the horses and wagon can fit between the fence and the row I will be picking. This year I will be picking with a “two row, one man” picker. In other words, I will pick down two rows by hand while the horses move the wagon ahead as I ask.

This small load in the picture I picked by hand, while my wife drove the side by side ahead of me. I will never win a corn husking contest, but the work goes pretty quick. The horses make the job fairly easy. Especially this year with all of our recent rains making the field very muddy. The horses don’t get stuck and only the wagon will make ruts.

Once the field has been picked, the cows will be turned into the field to eat the fodder. Fodder is the remaining plant, husks and all. The cows will graze it down pretty well. A sow will also graze with the cows. She will eat any corn the cows and I miss as well as, weeds and grass around the edges. This field will be plowed in the spring, so all winter the animals will exercise on this sacrificial plot until spring.

My hands will get rough and sore. The ends of my fingers may split. I will probably get a few paper like cuts from the dry leaves, but my heart swells with every load. There is nothing like a corn harvest, planted, tended and picked by hand. It’s only three acres, but the crib will be full and I will have enough….a guy can’t ask for much more than that!

The work is finally done
October 30, 2016, 7:24 pm
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October 30,2016

After almost three years of work, the old tree has been all turned into firewood. The fence, smashed beyond repair has been replaced and the area around the old tree has been cleaned up. The last job that remains is a tribute to this aged white oak tree. I will plant a nice sapling in the remains of the stump. I will fill the crater with topsoil and compost and plant what I hope will be a legacy for this old tree.


A few brambles hide the massive stump, all that is left of the old tree. It was a long, worthwhile project. The work was difficult at times due to the size of the old tree’s trunk. Some folks thought that I was crazy to work that hard on wood to burn. I didn’t do it to show off. I didn’t really need a job of that scope. I did it out of respect for that giant old tree.

She gave her life feeding wild creatures for decades, in fact centuries! So, for me utilizing as much of the wood as possible seemed like the right thing to do. My sugarhouse woodshed is full to the brim. I even have a good start on next year. So this old oak will help supply the heat needed to boil our maple sap for four years in all. The wood also heated four different households too!

Having reached the end of this project, I feel a little bittersweet. I’m glad the work is all done, but I will sure miss that old tree, her shade, her acorns and the peace that was found sitting under her giant limbs. Goodbye and thank you, my old friend.

Autumn is in the Air
October 20, 2016, 9:20 pm
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October 20,2016

This evening while doing chores, I had to wear a jacket. The rain was a fine mist, almost snow like. It was just windy enough to be cold. I pulled my jacket closed against the wind and looked at the sights around me. The woods was beautiful tonight. The slick colorful leaves shimmered in the fading light, as I stepped into the horse barn. The warmth and light made me smile. Autumn is in the air for sure, but peace filled my heart.

The horses spent this cold rainy day indoors. I had planned to give them haircuts after supper, but my plans changed. I busied myself with all sorts of rainy day projects until the day was gone. Doing chores at dark, I realized just how much beauty surrounds us here on the farm. I almost forgot to notice. I stood in the mist for a minute or two longer than I needed to, just to savor the beauty laid out before me…it was breathtaking.

The last of the year’s jobs are almost complete. I need to pick the animal corn and split a few loads of firewood. The speltz are coming up. The field is turning green against a colorful backdrop. I have a few pieces of machinery to clean and put away for the season. As my farm year winds down, I feel very good about what I have accomplished so far. The autumn leaves are almost like fireworks signalling the end of something great…but not the end, just a pause to rest.





Tire Tank for Livestock Watering


October 17, 2016

Well, I have given myself another project. I first saw this idea in an old SWCS (Soil and Water Service)  bulletin. These old road grader tires make great water troughs for livestock. I was able to scrounge up two of them for my next projects. I will give step by step instructions along with photos so stay tuned.

This tire, will hold many gallons of water. The tire is almost six feet in diameter and two feet tall. The side wall will be removed on the top side to allow better access for the livestock. This one pictured will be used in my permanent horse pasture. They are tough on things. I think this will be almost indestructible.

The tire is placed on packed gravel, just as in the photo above. Dry “sacrete” ready mix concrete is tamped into the space where the rim would go on the bottom side. The dry concrete is packed under the bead area and brought up to the level of the bead just off the ground about 5 inches. Once the cement has been packed/tamped in place, water is put into the tire to a depth of a few inches above the dry mix, Let the water stand for three days, then fill and use the tank.

I was able to secure two tires and will be putting them in service as soon as next year’s wood is all in and this year’s corn has been picked. I have a full plate, but am looking forward to trying this simple, effective idea.


These are my two tires in the back of my 8 by 14 foot trailer. I’m thinking the skidsteer will be a great help in moving them around. They are very heavy. I am not the first to do this and the internet has plenty of information. I will offer as much detail as I can, including how well they work in our cold snowy winters.

2016 Spelt Has Been Planted
October 7, 2016, 8:52 pm
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October 7, 2016

Wow, after pushing hard from dark until dark for the last three days, the spelt crop for this year has been planted. I had to use the tractor some, but the horses and I pushed through it. This back field is usually our pig herd pasture. I needed to renovate it. Spelt and hay is planted at the same time. I will frost seed clover into this field in February or March, but in the meantime, the spelt will nurse the fescue hay seedlings.

This is a field of about five acres including a small wooded section and several small groves of trees. I farm around the trees for the benefit of the animals and even for the look of the grassy hamlet. The spelt field is about three acres, so well worth the effort. Next July, the grain and straw from this piece will meet our farm needs for a year.

The straw when mixed with the animals manure, after providing them a warm bed, is the foundation for our compost providing much of the carbon source needed. The grain fuels” the horses for an entire year, providing all goes well with the crop. We have not had to buy commercial horse feed for over eight years. Spelt and salt and mineral are all that is needed to keep working horses in good condition, along with good hay of course.

As I type these words, I am tired from the last three days, but I am very satisfied. Now, I just have to clean up the grain drill, grease and put away the disc and other tools while I wait for the seed to sprout. :o)

Oats and Buckwheat
October 6, 2016, 1:56 pm
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October 6, 2016

This little field is located at the back of my farm. It is where the cows will spend the winter. I planted oats and buckwheat here to extend the grazing season. The little field is much better with a cover crop on it. The cows will soon eat this, leaving rich manure behind. It’s nice when they spread their own!

I spent $24.00 on the buckwheat seed. The oats were right out of my feed bin. We disced the area to cut some grooves into the hard ground. We next broadcasted the oats and buckwheat on top of the ground and waited. The rains finally came and sprouted the seed. The buckwheat bloomed and provided a nice autumn crop for the bees. The standing forage will make my cows very happy.

The oats and buckwheat are not frost hardy. They will die once winter gets here, but the cows will have this all eaten before then. The plants have “mined” the soil of trace elements. The cows will eat the plants and deposit the digested minerals back on the ground. Next spring I will plant corn in this small place. The corn will benefit from this crop and from the cows too. It will prove to be a very good way to have spent $24.00.

Harvest Time
October 4, 2016, 9:52 am
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October 4, 2016

Its that time of year again. We are all scrambling to get the harvest in before winter. I started yesterday opening up the corn field for picking. I go along the edge and pick the corn so that the team and wagon has room between the fence and the row being picked. I was surprised at just how dry the corn had become in just a week. It will now keep in my crib without spoiling.

My time commitments at my off farm job have been almost overwhelming this year. It takes away from my farm time, my blog time and even my life. It is a necessary evil at this time, but someday……… 🙂  Anyway, I did not grow pumpkins this year because I knew that I would not have time to take care of them. I bought this load from a friend. There are plenty here beyond the needs of my grandchildren, so some will be fed to the livestock.

My buddy makes these cute little straw bales for harvest decorations. I couldn’t resist them for the ladies in our family who love to decorate their yards and homes. I also got a bin of pie pumpkins. The kids can paint them, but I will enjoy pie and cookies made from this sweet treat. The kids will too…. sorry “Libby’s” but homemade is best.

I am scrambling to get my speltz planted this week before the next big rain. In between I am hand picking corn. I have a few days off so farm and horse time is just what I need to heal body and soul. The fact that I get to bring in the harvest, spend time with family and friends, just makes this awesome time of year even sweeter!