RicelandMeadows


Speltz Crop 2020
July 13, 2020, 7:50 am
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

speltunload

July 13, 2020

Some folks call this crop spelt. We have always called it speltz. It is a small grain like oats, that we grow for horse feed and straw. This year’s crop was part of an experiment that I won’t try again. I planted them on plowed sod. The grasses tried to overtake the grain. I salvaged what I could by setting the combine head high as I harvested them.

spelthopper

We only got about half a harvest because the grasses choked some of the grain out. It will still make great horse feed, it’s just that our yield was down.

speltgrass

The green in the combined mix shows just how much of a problem the grass turned out to be.

speltstraw

I will make the best of it. I mowed the grass and straw mix. I will take care to get the fluffy stuff dry for baling. The animals can decide what they want to eat, then lie down on the rest. It will all work out, just not like I had planned.

On another note, we got two inches of much needed rain. The pastures, gardens and corn crop all jumped from the moisture. Things are greening up again…including t he lawn. It looks like our corn crop will be a success. It surpassed the knee high by the fourth of July criteria. Here it is yesterday 7-12-2020.

mecorn2020

 



Splish Splash Our First Bath
July 9, 2020, 12:12 pm
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , ,

breebath

July 9, 2020

These hot, oppressive days take the starch out of me! I got the bright idea to give the horses all baths. I included our baby Bree. This is all part of her training. I continually expose her to all sorts of sounds and experiences.

She took the squirting hose very well. She wasn’t actually thrilled by it, but she wasn’t scared either. I put this in the win column. I think she was more upset about being tied just around the corner from mom, than anything the hose did. By the time we were finished, all fear of the hose, the water and the hissing noise was gone.

The gardens and crop fields are doing very well. They could all use some rain, but they are holding up well. The speltz harvest is just days away. Straw bales will soon be stacked in rows near the barn for winter bedding.

Normally, I would be wrapping up the wood splitting job for our sugarhouse, but this heat made me decide to just pick away at it during the cool of morning. Its working okay, but taking a bit longer. No worries, I’ll get it done :o)



Hot as a Firecracker
July 7, 2020, 3:26 pm
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , ,

july42020moon

July 7, 2020

Hard to believe that this picture was taken at night as the moon rose above the trees! This was taken on the 4th of July. It was a beautiful sight and all the “Fireworks” this old man needed.

KK&corn2020

This photo too, was taken on the 4th. Our garden is doing well. The corn meeting the knee high requirement with ease.

I finished our first cutting hay crop late in the day on Independence Day. Who doesn’t like baling hay on 4th of July?  I had a couple breakdowns, but that is okay. It is just part of farming. Thanks to good friends and good horses, we finished up before supper anyway.

The last couple of days have been very warm for us. The temperature is in the 90’s. I have been taking time in the middle of the day to just relax and ponder my next writing projects. I have passed some of the time watching hummingbirds come sit on the hummingbird swing that I made in my forge shop.

hummingbirdswing

So very neat to see these busy little guys taking a break too. It even makes me feel a little less guilty about sitting around myself!



A June Picture for July

a&abeautifulmower

July 3, 2020

This is a picture taken as I finished mowing the last piece of first cutting hay for 2020. I waited until now to let some little birds grow up enough to fly out of the tall grass. Perhaps I am getting soft in my old age, but it was the right thing to do. I am sure the birds think so!

Amee and Abby are wearing old-fashioned fly nets. The green head horseflies are out in force. Homemade fly spray helps some, but in combination with the nets, its a winning combination. The girls got sweaty in the hot sun, but the pesky flies were kept pretty much at bay.

These two are working well on the farm. Every job I give them they do like experts. I am really enjoying their help. We even raked hay yesterday evening with my son’s two year old filly. Her training is progressing well under his patient tutelage.

I call this post, “A June Picture For July”, because my Aunt June gives me the business for always taking pictures from the driver’s seat. So to make her smile, I got off the seat and took this picture of the horse’s heads just for her. I have to say…it is a pretty good picture!



June 2020 What a Month!

Breebackrub

June 27, 2020

What a crazy, wonderful month! Our baby Bree just turned 2 months old. She is learning very fast. She loves a good back rub. She knows her stall. She accompanies mom sometimes when we work and she brings joy wherever she goes.

The covid virus still has us doing things differently. The unrest around the country has us saddened for all involved. We pray for peace and resolution, along with understanding from all sides. It is nice to be able to get lost in the farm happenings if only for a little while.

We shot another episode for RFD-TV, that will air in August, about our new Suffolk Punch horses. Our son Jake introduced his to the world too. We also wrapped up the finishing touches on an episode regarding our recent timber harvest. It was a good day of filming. Little Bree did great too.

We purchased a horse drawn sprayer. We will use it once a year to spray weeds if needed, but mostly to spray liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion, on our crop and pasture fields. Shout out to Boontown Sprayer in Mount Hope, Ohio

sprayer2020

This simple, well built machine, works wonderfully. It is powered by a 5 horsepower Honda engine. The manufacturers have it well designed. It sprays, pulled by horses, at a rate of 20 gallons per acre. Our first outing found this rate to be spot on, as we did our animal corn field.

sprayingweeds2020

I managed to get half of the field cultivated, but the weeds were starting to take over. Ragweed and especially a nasty grass called barnyard grass had gotten a real head start. You can even see the corn beginning to suffer from the weeds stealing all the nourishment.

spraygrass2020

After last nights rain, the gardens, pastures and the field corn all look refreshed. We will be feeding the fields liquid fertilizer in the coming days. The options are many, so research must be done. It has been a long journey making this farm productive and fruitful, but it has been fun!



Whistle While You Work
June 15, 2020, 9:18 am
Filed under: June 2020 | Tags: , ,

peacefulevening2020

June 15, 2020

I snapped this picture last night. The horses were all grazing on recently mowed pastures. The scene was peaceful to me. The pasture weeds have been throttled back, giving the grass room to grow and thrive. Brush hogging is boring work, but worth the effort.

garden2020

The old style garden is off to a good start. Potatoes, corn, tomatoes, a few peppers and two hills of squash, getting ready to grow. Potatoes and corn require a bit of room. This garden used to be all the way to the white fence. We garden a bit smaller now as our nest got empty.

raisedbedgarden2020

The raised beds too have been planted. The bed or the right will get most of the year off. It has been planted to a cover crop of buckwheat. The buckwheat will suppress weeds, enrich the soil and provide food for visiting bees. The bed on the left has been mostly planted to heirloom vegetables for our fresh eating pleasure.

Haying will commence again once a few nesting birds have fledged . We have about five acres of first cutting to go. There is no shortage of jobs to be done, but I just smile and whistle while I work.



Whew, Busy June
June 10, 2020, 9:42 am
Filed under: June 2020 | Tags: , , ,

cultivate2020

June 10, 2020

What a crazy start to the month! It seems our snow just melted and now things are busting wide open! We cultivated corn the other night. Baby Bree went along with us. She is tied to mom to keep her safe and out of harms way. I still have to do a little more tweaking on the modified cultivator, but things went well.

wrap2020

Our hay making season is in full swing. We wrapped this nice clover and grass hay for winter feeding the sheep. It is beautiful stuff. We made some dry hay too. One field seemed to have LOTS of nesting ground birds in it. I only made about four rounds. I will wait another week for the baby birds to better be able to fly, before cutting it. It is early June.  I am not in that big of a hurry.

redgate

“Red”, the stallion will be going home soon. He and Amee appear to have had a successful mating. This handsome guy will be headed south. I am not sure yet, but I am thinking about using him again next year. Time and his offspring will tell the whole story by next year.

jakebelle2

Our son Jake continues training his 2 year old Suffolk Punch horse Belle. She is coming along very well. He is a quiet man with a calming voice. It shows in the way this filly is responding to her training. His choice of footwear will never be mine, but I can’t say anything negative about his training methods!

Our growing season is in full swing. Crops, gardens and baby animals are all growing like mad…and so are the weeds! This farming life is a wonderful thing, you just have to work with Mother Nature. Sometimes “mom” pushes a little hard, but it’s worth it!



The Days Ahead

Bree5weeks

June 1, 2020

We are all preparing, watching and waiting for the days ahead. Unsettling times seem to surround us presently. Keep in mind that God is in control. This too shall pass. It will take patience, forgiveness and love. I am at a loss for words over the current unrest. The protests are valid, the rioting and destruction are a sad aftershock.  Covid-19 had us in its grip and now an old ugly wound has been scratched open again. We need healing. We need resolution and we need prayer.

Bree, our five week old baby horse, continues to grow and learn. Her training amounts to simple lessons, kept short and always ending on a high note. She will join her mom at work soon. She will walk along beside and learn all sorts of things.

carpenterbees

We were getting swarmed by wood boring carpenter bees. I hate to spray poison around.  My wife read somewhere that a paper bag hung up will mimic a hornet’s nest and keep the bees away. I humored her and hung up the bag. To my amazement, I haven’t seen even one bee since hanging it up! I don’t know if it is because of this bag or not, but I’m not taking it down!  (Thank you honey)

Yesterday, I hauled many loads of composted manure and applied it to last year’s corn field. Today, I worked up that field. I disced it up, then broadcast sorghum/Sudan grass and some rape seed. The seed will provide summer grazing for our sheep flock. The grass grows quickly and rank. The rape is a forage that the sheep love too. The combination can be grazed off and on all summer long. It is a warm season grass that winter kills. I will however, plow it down in very late summer. This field will be planted to speltz in very early autumn.

cowcandy2020

We rushed to beat tonight’s coming rain. I was pleased to get it in. Sam the border collie kept me company. Now we wait and watch for new growth in the days ahead.



Planting and Growing Season

opcorn2020

May 29, 2020

If you strain your eyes a bit, you can see this year’s corn peeping through the ground. The hot weather and recent rains have done their magic. Weeding by cultivation begins soon. More on that in the coming weeks.

Obviously, the field corn for the animals has been planted, but also a little sweet corn for us is also ready to emerge. We have more gardens to plant, but the season is well underway. Potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are planted and enjoying our recent weather.

Horse training and daily chores continue and hay making is right around the corner. Our busy season has begun!

jakebelle

My son Jake’s two-year old coming along nicely. She will join my girls for several jobs soon, like raking hay and hauling round bales. Yes, tis the season!



It’s Dinner Time
May 25, 2020, 10:40 pm
Filed under: May 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

4dinner

May 26, 2020

As we celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic, good food, friends and family, lets not forget the men and women who died making it all possible.

My gang of four, all of them grabbing a bite to eat on the way to the big pasture. It has been a crazy time with babies, weather and heat cycles. Heat cycles in the weather and in our open mare Amee. We got her an ultrasound to make sure that all was well with her female parts. We got the green light to move towards breeding her.

Orchardhillredblaze

So, this handsome redhead came to visit. I am pleased to say that their honeymoon went well. They are now just enjoying vacation time as the calendar days count down to 21. Once we know that Amee is settled and in foal, this redheaded stranger will be headed back home. His name is Orchard Hill Red Blaze

Hopefully, we will see another Suffolk Punch baby here on the farm next April.