RicelandMeadows


Tabletop Farming
July 15, 2017, 9:41 pm
Filed under: July 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

tabletopfarm

July 15, 2017

My farming these days amounts to playing on a table with my grandson. He is a meticulous farmer! The tractors get parked by the barn. The gate must be closed unless you are driving the tractor through it. Hay bales get stacked in the same direction and the animals can be in the same pasture, but the cows are with the cows and the sheep with the sheep. I watch and play with a big smile….this kid takes this stuff serious and he won’t be three until next week!

My days just got a little better. I am allowed to walk around the circle drive around the barn once a day. It is part of my therapy. It also does wonders for my mental health as I peek through the windows at the pigs and monitor the landscape as I walk. Progress is slow but steady as my knee heals.

Today, the cement crew that I hired, completed the feedlot extension. The job went fast. I saved my daily walk until the cement was 99% done, so I could see the completed job. I was very happy with the job they did. The next phase will be gates and fences, but like my knee, progress is slow but steady.

feedlotextcement

This is going to make winter chores a breeze. Hay feeding will now move to a weekly job from a daily job. Cattle comfort will be improved and manure management just got better too. Plus I get to keep all that liquid gold all winter to make crop food for next year’s crops.

So, in between ice packs, great exercises for bending, stretching and sweating, I will take that daily walk and do my farming on the tabletop…for now :o)



Watching the Prep Work
July 13, 2017, 7:43 pm
Filed under: July 2017 | Tags: , , ,

feedlotprep

July 13, 2017

This is very strange for me to be watching out the window while other guys do my work! I still get to have my “discussion” hands in the project. It will all be fine. The guy ramrodding the job worked for me when he was in school. Now, he is making his way in the world and just like my project, he is on course and doing a great job.

I can see the corner of the lot from my window seat in the house. I will have to watch from the window of the car I guess. I got permission from my physical therapist that I can watch for a bit while sitting on the car seat. It isn’t quite the same, but at least I can satisfy my nosey self! My knee is improving. The healing process takes awhile, so I must be patient.

The chores are being done by others too. I can see that all is well and that gives me comfort. This weekend guys will turn out to help with a couple of things. I will visit between ice pack rest periods and watch the work getting done. It is very weird to me to be the one watching…unless I’m leaning on a shovel!



A Different Perspective
July 7, 2017, 1:08 pm
Filed under: July 2017 | Tags: , , ,

backendfarm

July 7, 2017

As I recover from recent knee replacement surgery, I spend quite a bit of time looking out the windows. I can see too much unfinished work. I can see things that will soon need done and even a few things that should be done. I have decided however, to focus on all the things that have been done, are done and are being done by people other than myself. I will be thankful and positive.

The speltz are turning ripe. Soon they will need combined. I have it pretty well under control. My son Jake and a friend will take care of that job. My horse feed will be harvested along with an ample supply of winter bedding for the livestock. My son Josh is helping with pasture mowing and maple sap road maintaining. Our son Don is coming to hang blinds and few other needed repairs around the house. Our neighbor boy is helping with the daily chores and odds and ends. My wife is somehow holding it all together and feeding me too!

In the picture above, the corn can be seen getting over taken by weeds, but I will get some corn. The hayfields that were harvested are growing and looking good. The pastures are holding up well. The grazing animals have plenty to eat. The ponds are staying full. the baby lambs and calves are growing very well.

I roll from room to room with my walker, perfectly content to watch out the windows for now. This healing process is pretty intense. I have a new appreciation for mobility! I will do my best to be patient…and trust me…that is a different perspective!



Making it Easier

feedlotfeeder

June 30, 2017

I am engaged in a project that will make my life easier for the rest of my days. We are adding onto the feedlot and building this hay feeder. This will allow me to keep all of our animals by the barn for the whole winter. I will only have one water trough to keep thawed and clean. I will only have one area of manure to stack and manage and the addition of this “built in” hay feeder, will allow me to only have to handle big round bales weekly,feedlotfeeder instead of almost daily.

I can fill it with the skid steer using four bales at a time. The cows will get some protection from the weather as well as the hay, as they eat. The whole thing can be cleaned out when needed by simply pushing out the opposite end of the feeder. I will add a few gates that will give me flexibility when sorting or confining animals. It will make things easy when using the horses in winter, by being able to isolate the cattle when I want.

Sheep can be offered the protection of the barn, while keeping them out of the way of the cattle by simply making a portion where only the sheep will have access. I can bed the area with chips, sawdust or straw all kept nearby. Chore time in winter will be reduced by hours, giving me more time for important things like talking to friends, breathing on horses or sipping coffee.

The real goal, however, is to make doing chores easy for me well up into my advancing age. I am currently recovering from knee replacement surgery. Yep, it was a surprise for me too! I will be down for three months. Projects such as this have been put on hold. They are only moving forward thanks to the help of family and friends. I ice my knee, stretch my muscles and watch from the window…these are some of the hardest things I have ever done!



The Old is New
June 20, 2017, 10:22 pm
Filed under: June 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

cultivatorretrofit

June 20, 2017

The photo above is of an old John Deere cultivator that I recently upgraded. This same unit is being made by a new company using the old pattern. They are a bit pricey. I found this old piece shed kept but rusty. I cleaned it up and had it painted. Last week, we added these new style “S” tines. They get the weeds but are a bit more gentle on the crop being weeded.

This unit is made for two horses to cultivate two rows at a time. I get to ride in the back on a seat riding on a dolly wheel. I am excited to try it out. I am even already thinking of adding a homemade fertilizer side dress applicator to this next year. Projects keep my mind and hands busy!

This cultivator replaces an old McCormick Deering one that I recently sold. The old one had served me for over thirty years. It worked great and was in great shape. My only reason for selling it, was due to the way I had to sort of climb down in to it to use it. As I get older, I find that I am not as spry as I once was! If I should get into trouble while using this piece of equipment, I could almost just fall off the back, out of harm’s way. The old one, I would almost be trapped, especially now when my old knees don’t work as well as they once did.

Taking something old and making it new again, pleases me very much. I have a few pieces of reworked equipment, even a few homemade pieces. It is things such as these, that keep our farm profitable. By the way, I have a total of $425.00 invested, counting the initial purchase, painting and now the retro-fit. Those new ones that I talked about cost over $4000.00  I think that I did good!

cult2

If you look close you can see my seat and even the old toolbar in the background. This was a great project. Many thanks to my friend Ervin R Miller!



Four Stars
June 17, 2017, 7:40 am
Filed under: June 2017 | Tags: , , ,

 

fourstars

In order; Duke, Knight, Hoss and Abby

 

June 17, 2017

What a great morning. My babies came to meet me at the gate this morning. Talk about a four star morning!

I remember as a schoolboy, it was a great thing to get a star on a paper from a teacher. It was even better if that paper was a tough one, or from a teacher who didn’t usually notice me. I would rush home with the graded work and proudly post it on the refrigerator. Now, all these years later, I still like the look of stars. My horses all display them on their foreheads and I never get tired of looking at them.

It’s funny how things stick with us from childhood. My love of horses comes from my boyhood years. My grandpa Rice always had horses and I hope that I always do too. I like everything about a good draft horse. They are truly stars in  my book!



Little Help Please

kmanpets

June 16, 2017

In the photo, two friends enjoy a drink after work. If you look close, you’ll see a little helper. If you look even closer, you’ll see a tiny hand about to pet the face of our draft horse. It doesn’t get much better than that.

We here on the farm are extremely busy with mowing and hoeing, to name two jobs. This week, with the help of family and friends, we made 90% of our first cutting hay. The horse barn is full to the brim with some of the nicest hay that we have ever made. The day was very hot and muggy. Water and sweat flowed freely. When the last rays of sunlight were fading, I was backing the baler into the barn, tired, happy and very thankful.

2017Ted

The horses and I sweated together as we fluffed the hay for drying with our tedder. The best thing about that day was the cool stiff breeze. It was a nice quiet time, listening to the machine as it softly flipped the drying gasses into the air. The harness bells and birdsong complemented the light chatter of the machine’s metal parts. The sweet smell of the curing hay filled my nostrils, as the big animals easily pulled me around the field. Their power and grace never ceases to amaze me.

Hay making on a small farm takes many hands. I am grateful for all of you who helped. The main day was Tuesday, but a lot of work was done in the days leading up to then and even the days that followed. Two small fields remain. Those fields will be rolled into round bales for the cows winter feeding. I will still need the sun, some dry weather and help from the horses, but the hands on portion of small bales for this year, is now over! I could not have done it without all the help. Thank You!