RicelandMeadows


Anchorman

KNIGHT10819

February 17, 2020

This guy right here is a rock star! He has been my buddy for many years. He can be counted on always! Today, he worked with me testing and training our new Suffolk Punch horses.

redameeknight

Here he is working on the left side with our mare Lakeview Amee as a partner. THey both did great. He does everything I ask. She was good too, but with a big anchor like him beside her, what choice did she have?

redabbyknight

This time, Knight is on the right side. He is an old pro. It makes no difference where he works. He can be counted on to be steady, prompt and reliable.

These new horses are supposed to be broke. I just wanted to be sure that they met my definition of broke. Knight made sure that I didn’t get into any trouble. Once again, I am in his debt.

He and Hoss will soon move to their new home. I am glad that they will be close enough for me to visit. Their new home is a good one, but it is bittersweet that I will say goodbye.

We had a great day of training. Things could not have gone better. Thanks to my son Jake for his help and most especially…thank you to Knight for being my anchorman!



The Ups and Downs
February 13, 2020, 3:41 pm
Filed under: February 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

knightAmee

February 13, 2020

In the photo above compares the size of my Percheron gelding Knight, to our new Suffolk Punch mare Amee. There is a full eight inches of height difference! It seams funny to be able to see her back when I am brushing her. Putting the harness and bridal on is a breeze with the new girls. My old, short body appreciates that fact. My geldings are big. Hoss measures 18 hands. Knight is 17.3 hands. Amee measures 16 hands. Her mate Abby is a bit shorter at 15.3. A “hand” for you non-horse folks, is a unit of measurement of four inches.

My geldings have been sold. They are still here on the farm, while their new owner prepares a stall for them. They will be getting a great new home. They will work some, but have a good retirement home, giving wagon and sled rides, mowing cow pastures and skidding a little firewood. The new owner is kind and calm. He has been driving Knight and Hoss. This gives the horses and the man a chance to meet and get to know each other.

As we transition to the smaller, chunkier Suffolk punch horses, things are going smoothly. The new girls have gotten used to the routine. They will soon be powering the farm 100% of the time, but for now, are sharing the work with the geldings. My own emotions are on a roller coaster ride. It is a bittersweet thing to be making this change. It helps me a bunch, knowing that my guys will be going to a good home. A place that I can even visit from time to time.

Our black Percheron mare, also called Abby will be headed off our farm too. We are in negotiations over her sale now. She is a flashy girl who is broke well too. I will make sure that she too gets a great place to live.

Maple syrup time is at hand. We need horses to power the sugaring operation. So far, things are working out well. I will say though that my emotions, just like the sap in the maple trees, are having their ups and downs!



Suffolk Punch
January 31, 2020, 11:02 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Amee&Abbyday1

January 31, 2020

Well, I did it! I bought a pair of Suffolk Punch mares. These gals are registered, six years old and in foal. The photo above was taken on their first day on our farm yesterday. I am pleased with them. It will be bittersweet to say farewell to my Percheron pals, Knight and Hoss, but these ladies will power our farm just as well.

We are making this change after thirty years of working mostly Percherons. I do really like the breed and have had some wonderful horses. I am simply getting old and throwing the harness up on my black gentle giants, takes too much effort. The Suffolk Punch horse is a chunkier and shorter work horse. These are just two of their attributes.

Amee&abbyday1butts

They are “easy keepers” meaning they make efficient use of their feed…much like me. They have been bred for stamina and gentleness for centuries. The powerful horses are known for their great attitude, willingness to work and calm disposition.

I am continuing to be amazed by this breed. Today the mares got their feet trimmed, bridal path clipped, dewormed and fitted to harness. I guess that is the equivalent to a day at the spa…am I right ladies? In any case, they took it all in stride. They look nice tonight all cleaned up and shining in the barn light.

Big changes for the farm for sure, but the future looks bright! Oh by the way, their names are Abby and Amee. Their DNA tests revealed that they both are unrelated to our little guy Hank.



New Beginning?
January 11, 2020, 3:34 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

jakeannabelle

January 11, 2020

Our youngest son just took the plunge and bought a young pair of draft horses. He settled on the breed known as Suffolk Punch. These are an old breed dating back to the 1500’s in England. The breed became more defined in the 1800’s and came to Canada and America around the 1880’s.

They were bred exclusively for farm work. They are a chunky powerful horse with stamina and gentleness. They are of moderate size (16-17 hands) for a draft breed. They are easy keepers and willing workers. I have known about the breed for years, but never really gave them much thought. They are a rare breed. Thirty years ago, when I bought my first draft horse, none of these were available in my price range. I settled on Percherons and have had them since.

Recently, I was reintroduced to this breed on the internet and in person. My son has been researching the breed and a few other breeds that are smaller in stature. Not many of the other breeds can match the easy going, yet willingness found in the Suffolk breed.

My son bought a pair of full sisters, a weanling and a yearling. I went with him to haul his team home. While we were there, I met a weanling stud colt who followed me home! The stud colt is unrelated to my sons fillies. He may just become a great gelding, but the potential exists.

Our saga may change as I look  more serious at this endearing breed. I am very impressed so far.

hank1

Ridgewind Aethling Hank of Indian Mound … Long handle for a youngster, but “Hank” is a bit of a celebrity. His daddy is from Virginia, owned by Jason Rutledge, named Eyke Sovereign. A horse imported from England in 2010, I believe.

hank2

Hank is a handsome fellow. We shall see if he grows into his name. Born last April, he is a growthy colt. He is a quick learner with a trusting manner. We are becoming fast friends. Who knows what the future holds? Stay tuned.



Around the Fire
January 6, 2020, 1:46 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

forge2020

January 6, 2020

Our current weather can be explained in just one word…mud. The temperatures have been mostly warm (40’s F), but very unseasonable. We get frequent rain showers instead of our usual winter snows. Some folks are happily saying, ” at least we don’t have to shovel rain.” As for me, I am ready for colder temps and frozen ground.

We work horses when we can doing odd jobs and monkey business. It helps make the doldrums of the dreary days pass. On other days, I have been working in the forge shop. I get enjoyment in creating things. I am working on a set of shelf brackets in the photo.

I have a few other projects ready to go. The steel has been cut to length and my crude drawings litter my workbench. I enjoy this hobby very much. It is nice to have a place to work on these winter days. After all, who doesn’t like sitting around a fire?

 



Welcoming in the New Year
January 3, 2020, 2:44 pm
Filed under: January 2020 | Tags: , , ,

cooler2

January 3, 2020

What a fast and furious holiday season! Happy New Year to all!

We spent part of a day butchering a beef. The new cooler is working out great. I was worried about the rail system. I wanted it to be easy to get the meat into the cooler by using our skidsteer. The new system worked out well.

We butcher the animals outside, using the skidsteer to lift up the carcasses. Once the animal chills outside a bit, we transfer them inside. The new rail system allows me to pull up close, insert a hook and roll the quarter right inside. No lifting or yanking involved.

The rail is also high enough that hogs, lambs or deer can be transferred just as easily, all in one piece. We welcome this addition to our sustainable way of life. Having a secure, cool place to hang meat until further processing takes place is wonderful. The cats may not be as happy, but we sure are!



Accomplishments 2019
December 28, 2019, 12:37 pm
Filed under: December 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

cooler1

December 28, 2019

As our year comes to a close, I think it is good to look back upon the year that was. 2019, was a year filled with challenging times. A very wet spring made for delayed planting, but the hay crop was fantastic. I couldn’t cultivate the corn because of the wet weather at the time, yet we have enough corn to feed the animals for another year.

Pastures were very good, so the animals enjoyed many months of grazing. The sheep, even today are grazing the last pasture. They haven’t eaten any hay yet this season, saving me time, fuel and resources. The speltz crop is in and growing. The manure pit is only a quarter full. So, when bad weather confines the animals, there is plenty of room to hold all the manure.

My sister passed away last spring. A sad day for us all, but her “celebration of life” gathering, brought family in from all over the country. Many of the younger children had not seen the place where their grandmother had grown up. They even got to experience a brief sleety/snow mix! The happy memories made, softened the the blow of losing a loved one a little bit.

After many years of butchering our meat here on the farm, we are finally able to add a walk-in cooler. Our crazy, undependable weather makes the cooler a necessity. My buddy Marvin, helped to build this structure from my crude drawings. A whole article about the build, will appear in an upcoming Rural Heritage magazine.

So, for us here on the farm, 2019 closes with some bittersweet memories. Those memories are all made sweeter by focusing on the positives. In 2020, stay positive, be kind and teach someone a skill. Share of yourself and be the “light” in the world.

Happy New Year everyone!