RicelandMeadows


Corn 2018
May 27, 2018, 9:48 am
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , ,

corn2018

May 27, 2018

With overcast skies looming and a few scattered raindrops falling, I managed to get my 2018 corn field planted. It was a mad dash. The field was still a bit too wet in places, but I planted anyway. The newly reconditioned corn planter worked wonderfully. I wasn’t able to use the horses, but the corn is in and the animals will thank me later this year.

My corn planter has been fitted with “plateless” seed boxes. This will allow me to plant seeds of any size, one at a time, in any spacing that I decide. It will be great for open pollenated  varieties. I will plant with the horses and powercart next year. I will have more time for planning and preparation without the undertow of an off farm job.

I backed The corn planter into the shed, shut the tractor down and walked to the house. As I was walking, the rain started falling. Whew, not enough to soak us, but just enough to delay any field work…thank God, I got the field planted.

Yesterday morning, I cleaned up a fallen tree in one of my neighbor’s yards. I was hustling around trying to finish the work, knowing that I needed to be working in the field. I saw my elderly neighbor wave from his window and I realized that I needed to do the tree. I think I may have been blessed for my efforts, because it rained all around me as I fitted and planted. I kept going and it all turned out perfect!



Artistic?
May 26, 2018, 12:32 pm
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

coldcowboy

May 26, 2018

I worked in the forge room the other night. I scavenged a couple old horseshoes, a rock and a washer. I made this old cowboy warming himself by the fire. My daughter-in-law says that his fire needs some help, but you get the idea. I thought he was neat. One of my friends said that he could see my artistic side coming out! I never thought about it that way. I can usually just bend words in a pleasing way…this steel bending is very new to me.

ralphforge

I will say that I am enjoying this new hobby. Now that I am retired, I have more time to work and play with it. I can see a whole world opening up. This hobby is only limited by a man’s imagination. I should be fine, because my imagination is practically limitless!

The fields are drying out. Our planting will commence soon. The garden too will be off and growing soon. Hay fields are looking very good and the pastures are lush with grass. The timber harvest is started, so my forge time is on hold a bit. I don’t mind. I waited for a long time to do this, so working it in around my other passions, is no problem.



The Next Chapter
May 24, 2018, 11:19 am
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

cowretire

May 24, 2018

I am stepping into the next chapter of my life. Retirement is upon me. I have been working to adjust. It is nice to sleep at night, all night, every night. Many years of swinging shifts around the clock make my body wonder what the heck is up…but mostly we are liking it a lot!

Rain keeps coming just about the time we can work in the fields again. I’m not worried. I only have a little to do and plenty of time to do it. I no longer have to worry about an off farm work schedule…man this is different! Like the sleep…I am liking it!

I came down with an awful virus, that had me laid low for a day or two. I am back on the mend and almost ready for whatever comes. I have been in the forge shop working a bit, daily chores and getting things all ready for our timber harvest, as we remove the dead and dying ash trees. In any case, I’m moving into the next chapter, of what I hope will be, a very long and happy book!



I Made It!
May 17, 2018, 10:13 pm
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

retirecake

May 17, 2018

After 27 years working an off farm job, I have made it to retirement! I can now spend my time working draft horses and this farm. Of course, I will now have more time for family and friends, as well as, other passions of mine. All those years of swing shift and missing out on things are over…it was worth it!

Three years after I hired in, I took a job in salary. I had a few people give me great advice, but I took the job anyway. You see, I thought that I could make a difference. After all those years and countless ups and downs, I was reflecting upon my career and thought that I hadn’t made much of a difference at all…that was until these last few days.

People at work sought me out to say good-bye. I shook hands with lots of folks, shared a hug or two as well. I got to have some one-on-one time with several guys and each time, I felt humbled. The comments made me choke up at times. Guys thanked me for my leadership, my candor, my honesty and for keeping them safe. It was a team effort people, we did those things together. I thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart for your help, your kindness and the respect that you showed me over these past years.

I thank you for the laughs, the memories and even those moments that made me grow! I missed some of you due to our crazy schedules, but fear not, I wish you all well and I know that you too send good feelings my way.

It is still a big place with lots of opportunities, but  this afternoon, as I walked out the gate for the last time…I realized that I had indeed made a difference…thanks to all of you!

 



Making Ready
May 15, 2018, 9:12 am
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

sawmillphil

May 15, 2018

The rain has stopped all field work for now. I will be switching gears from spring field work to woods work. Our ash trees have all been killed by the emerald ash borer. An insect brought to us from Asia/China. It has decimated the ash trees in several states. There is no predator for them. The woodpeckers go after the larva, but by then, it’s too late for the tree.

It is my hope to harvest the dead and dying ash trees before they rot away. I went in search of a market for the logs. I have found a sawmill willing to take the logs and pay a fair price for the wood. I will have to get busy before I lose my market. I have a few nice logs. The rest of the tree will become firewood for the sugarhouse. It will be used for boiling maple sap next spring.

So, while the rain keeps us out of the fields, we will continue to work. The horses impact in our woodlot is minimal…even in the muddy conditions from the recent rains. We just have a small plot (3 acres) to plant to animal corn and our gardens to get ready for planting. I will switch back and forth between jobs as the weather dictates. It will all go smooth. I just have to make sure everything is ready to go. So far…So good!



Spring Chores
May 8, 2018, 2:04 pm
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

hammeringJohn

May 8, 2018

Our spring continued to be evasive. Long hours and too many days at my off farm job has caused delays in getting into the fields. It’s no big deal. The soil is just starting to warm and dry enough to work it anyway. I am spending time with family, especially the little ones.

My grandson continues to like blacksmithing. He is coming along very well. He started banging and bending horseshoe nails. He has now moved up to steel stock. He likes the coal forge and turning the blower crank, but hammering hot iron is his favorite!

Two of our grandchildren live here on the farm with us. They live next door, but seek out Pa-pa and Grammy often. They like feeding the chickens ear corn. They would shell corn until the chickens burst, but understand why we don’t.

sissychick

So spring is here…finally. The horses and I will soon be in the fields. The animals are grazing spring pastures, but are still munching a little hay. The leaves on the trees are starting to pop. Most of the shedding winter coats is a memory and garden planting looms on the horizon. I can’t say that I have wasted one minute…but it is sure time for Spring Chores.



Give Us a Break!
April 13, 2018, 10:43 am
Filed under: April 2018 | Tags: , , ,

bhivupset

April 13, 2018

Well, my ladies made it through a long winter, a crazy spring and were doing quite well. This morning, I find this. I first thought it was bear damage, but have decided that it is thanks to the wind and raccoons. I am beating myself up for allowing the wind to be a factor. The raccoons are just taking advantage of an opportunity. The bees however, have all died.

I will clean up the mess, assemble the hive after cleaning it all out and get it ready for a new batch of bees. I just am disgusted with this event. Folks, the honeybees need our help. They do provide honey, but the honey is a by product of pollenating our food! No bees…no food. This is perhaps a bit of an extreme statement, but is very close to the truth.

I will keep trying. I will upgrade my setup for the bee yard. I will even look at a better way to stabilize the topbar hives. I’m not going to give up, but I can say that I am mad about this!