RicelandMeadows


What and Awesome Deal
October 1, 2017, 12:57 pm
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

drillshop

October 1, 2017

After a very frosty morning, I found myself in my old “stomping grounds”. I went to see a man about some old antique equipment. He was pretty sure he had want I needed for my forge shop. I am outfitting the shop with old refurbished equipment from the last century. I like that old stuff and giving it a new life for the purpose it was designed, pleases me.

I took a similar drill to trade. Mine worked, but a broken gear prevented it from being 100% accurate. This one that I traded for will work perfect once I give it some tender loving care. I negotiated with the treasure man for this awesome piece of our history. He looked over the old pieces of steel, but he looked deeper into my soul. He could see that I was genuine. He knew that I would care for the old drills for the rest of my life. He too likes the old stuff.

We talked a bit about this equipment and a couple of other pieces as well. Our discussion wandered over the space of time and events, as we talked of days gone by. It was a great visit. It was fun to see him again. The negotiation went well thankfully, because this man taught me how to negotiate. I didn’t have to match skills, he simply took care of me. I am grateful for my new treasure. They will make a good addition to my forge room. The visit…well, that was priceless.



Autumn Frolic
September 30, 2017, 8:29 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

calves2017

September 30, 2017

As the last day of September comes to a close, I am happy to report the calf crop is coming along well. The little black one in the picture was born last night. So far two little bulls (soon to be steers) are running all over the pasture. They will be joined by a couple more babies before foul weather sets in for winter. They are sure having fun!

Last Saturday, we put a new roof on my shop. The shingles were curled up and were in rough shape. They were 18 years old, so rather than wait for a leak, I put on a new roof. My friends helped me. We had a great day. It was an Autumn Frolic too! We finished the day with fellowship and ice cream…Yum!

adminshop

We are working steady to be ready for winter. Projects keep getting marked off the list. The speltz are growing very well. We got a quarter of an inch of rain yesterday and everything seems to have benefited. The speltz especially. They jumped a couple of inches and look real good. The lawn too appears greener. It will have to be cut at least once more. The weatherman says frost for tonight, so, our growing season may end by tomorrow.

The trees are taking on their colorful hues. Some leaves litter the ground, nuts are falling and small animals are gathering for winter. The north wind blew today signaling all of us to take note, turn up your collar and stay busy. A little more wood for the shed and we are good. So, perhaps just one more Autumn frolic and we will be ready to welcome the Winter Wonderland!

 



Find and Opening
September 29, 2017, 7:30 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , ,

feedmanger

September 29, 2017

The hay feeder is taking shape. The cows should be able to find an opening, to munch on the sun cured hay, all winter. We used an old print from a university. I’m guessing it was information first posted in the early part of the last century. The measurements were just right for my cattle. I guess some things don’t change.

The opening at the top is twenty one inches. At the bottom the opening is seven inches. This gave me seven openings on each side. My feeder measures just under seven feet wide and eighteen feet long. I will fill it with round bales using my skid steer.

The hay feeder project is almost complete. Lumber is waiting for another project. I am in high gear. My knee is doing well, but I am still getting much help from family and friends. The next project is for an overhang to store hay and a couple pieces of equipment. That project is well started and should only take a couple more days to complete.

Lastly, we will be making a small addition to the sugarhouse for a large holding tank for maple sap. The tank is stainless steel and will hold just over 2000 gallons. This new tank will make it possible for us to have a storage capacity of well over 4000 gallons. We don’t use reverse osmosis in our operation. We choose instead, to boil the water out of the sap from start to finish. The flavor that develops during that time is awesome.

Our new guard donkey has found an opening in our family. The children are sitting on his back and loving him daily. He is content with the cattle and sheep as they eat, sleep and graze together. He comes when he is called. He is an adorable creature…long ears and all.



Making Old, New Again
September 19, 2017, 2:45 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

postvice

September 19, 2017

It is a wonderful feeling to take something old and make it new again. In the photo above an old Leg Vice is pictured. I bought this thing years ago for $75.00. It was buried in dirt and covered in rust and cobwebs. My wife was pretty sure that I was crazy, but I could see what could be. I just needed time to make it new again. Just as my “new” knee replaced my worn out old one, I knew I could make this old blacksmith vice usable again.

I enlisted the help of my friend Ron to do some welding. I bought the scrap round plate from my friend Dave in Michigan. We assembled the vice so that it can be rolled out when needed and stored against the shop wall, out of the way, the rest of the time. I think it turned out very well. I need to forge a new spring to replace the one that is missing, but that will be a fun future project.

I spent almost three days disassembling and cleaning the old vice ( probably should have taken only half a day). I move real slow at the moment. Lifting is a challenge and speed is a memory, but the progress is wonderful. I am thinking very soon I will be using the old vice to make ornamental hooks, latches, candle holders and all sorts of stuff. I am getting excited or perhaps it’s just because all this downtime is making me stir crazy?! Oh well, These little projects are keeping me busy and helping me to do useful things as well! That for sure is making something old new again!



Forging Ahead
September 17, 2017, 10:19 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

forgeroom

September 17, 2017

I continue to heal and am starting to get around a little. I sit a lot and move slow, but mostly in a forward direction! Progress is slow but steady. I have been working in my old shop. I am slowly turning it into a forge room. I want to do blacksmithing in my retirement years. It is a hobby that I have embraced for years but have not had the time to devote to it.

I have been acquiring tools and equipment for the last 30 years. These last few days, I have been wire brushing tools, hanging up stuff and restoring order. I had to move a bunch of junk (also known as treasure :o)  Some of the stuff my wife has been helping me sort and move. The heavy stuff, I have been relying on friends and family to move as I direct. I am very sure EVERYONE will be happy when my knee replacement is finally healed!

I am pretty impressed with my use of wood. An oak log made good anvil stands. One stump is almost thirty years old. A pair of horses of mine dragged it out of the woods in 1991. My small anvil has sat on it since. I painted it down with boiled linseed oil again today. I think it made it look almost new again.

The cone mandrel ( the dunce looking thing) is actually one that goes in a hardy hole in an anvil. I took a log, shaved it down with my chainsaw and placed the mandrel on top. I’m sure it will work fine to make an occasional ring when needed. I can roll it around the shop as needed when needed. I have less than $80.00 invested, A real one made for the purpose of forming rings costs well over a thousand dollars if you can find one.

I’m pretty happy with my efforts so far. Last week this stuff was covered in rust and dust. I used a bunch of rags, lots of WD-40 and a wire wheel on a drill. I wore out a pair of pants from sitting so long. I messed up an apron, trying to keep some of the grime off me. I’m not sure it worked, because it took almost half a bar of lava soap to clean my face and arms. Oh well, I’m keeping busy and forging ahead.

 



Sargent Pepper
September 15, 2017, 9:51 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

pepper

September 15, 2017

We got this little donkey to protect our sheep flock from the increasing coyote population. This little guy is a sweetheart. He is seven years old. He has no known vices, loves people and can be ridden by small children. His name is Sargent Pepper. It seemed like a great name for a guard!

He has been introduced to the calves and lambs. I don’t think anyone has bonded to him yet, but they all are getting along very well. Herd animals like to have company, Pepper is no different. Today, I saw every one of the animals resting in the shade, Pepper was among them. I think the first hurdle has been crossed.

He does have a loud bray, but is not obnoxious with it. He comes when we call him. We do give him a treat for coming, but what a great thing. I was afraid that he might be hard to catch or a problem animal. This is simply not the case. He is a great little guy. We will continue to pet and make over him. I want him to like us and continue to be an asset on our farm.

There is peace of mind knowing that while I’m sleeping, Sargent Pepper will be watching over the flock.



Labor Day 2017
September 4, 2017, 11:18 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

howdygang

September 4, 2017

Walking on the flat ground, without my cane. My grandson was concerned that I didn’t have the cane. He has been a great watch dog for me. My knee is healing and I am working on strengthening the new stainless joint. Our horses greeted my grandson and I not caring in the least about my plight, but looking for love.

Today, I watched from my truck as my buddy Ken, planted our speltz crop. It is a little earlier than usual, but still right on time. He finished right at dark, just ahead of much needed rain! Whew, what a great day!

As most of the country relaxed from their labor, many folks worked. Policemen, firemen, doctors nurses and factory workers in some places, labored on, in spite of the holiday. My friend was no different. I am grateful to him as well as the safety folks who work on tirelessly, holiday or not. Perhaps that is why the call it “Labor Day”?

In any case, it was a great day. The only work remaining is to cut and split a little more wood for the sugarhouse, clean and lubricate the farm equipment to put them away for winter and lastly, plow a few acres for next spring. Summer is over as signified by the calendar. Hopefully, autumn will cooperate along with my new knee, so that I can labor soon, much to my delight.