RicelandMeadows


The work is finally done
October 30, 2016, 7:24 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

wyoniaalmostgone

October 30,2016

After almost three years of work, the old tree has been all turned into firewood. The fence, smashed beyond repair has been replaced and the area around the old tree has been cleaned up. The last job that remains is a tribute to this aged white oak tree. I will plant a nice sapling in the remains of the stump. I will fill the crater with topsoil and compost and plant what I hope will be a legacy for this old tree.

oaktreefence

A few brambles hide the massive stump, all that is left of the old tree. It was a long, worthwhile project. The work was difficult at times due to the size of the old tree’s trunk. Some folks thought that I was crazy to work that hard on wood to burn. I didn’t do it to show off. I didn’t really need a job of that scope. I did it out of respect for that giant old tree.

She gave her life feeding wild creatures for decades, in fact centuries! So, for me utilizing as much of the wood as possible seemed like the right thing to do. My sugarhouse woodshed is full to the brim. I even have a good start on next year. So this old oak will help supply the heat needed to boil our maple sap for four years in all. The wood also heated four different households too!

Having reached the end of this project, I feel a little bittersweet. I’m glad the work is all done, but I will sure miss that old tree, her shade, her acorns and the peace that was found sitting under her giant limbs. Goodbye and thank you, my old friend.



Wood Working 2016
July 17, 2016, 1:58 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wyoniaalmostgone

July 17, 2016

Well, I’m back at working on the big tree. I have it almost finished now. There are just three big pieces left to go. I will have them worked up over the next week or so. I just need a chainsaw with a three foot bar. Sure, I can do it with my two footer and a whole lot of extra work, but I am content to wait. My friend has the saw, I just need to wait on his schedule.

This was a massive white oak. She was a very old tree.

wyoniatape

Two foot off the ground, the stump measured eight feet, seven inches across. The main trunk is over five feet thick. I have almost everything else cut, split and stacked. This has been an awesome project, cleaning up the wind blown tree. It has supplied the wood for heating two households and the fuel needed for boiling our maple syrup for three years. This year will be that third year. I think they may even be a little left over for next year. One thing for sure, she has given her whole life.

ralphwyonia

Abundance, first with her shade. Then she began to give up acorns for all sorts of wildlife along with her ever growing shade. She had done so for well over 300 years! Even in her death, she still gives of herself. The wood for fuel, one last crop of acorns and the nutrients from the rotting wood of very small branches to the deep roots that held her in place for such a long time, make me say thank you for this grand old matron. I will miss her…



Eating an Elephant
December 5, 2014, 11:08 am
Filed under: December 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
One bite at a time

One bite at a time

December 5, 2014

Much of my work is done for this year, corn still stands in the mud waiting to be picked, but other than that and cutting up this old white oak¬†tree… I’m done ūüėģ This is going quite well. I haven’t had much time to work on it. The days that I did, however, have been productive. I will really miss this old tree and am thankful for the abundance she provides.

Imagine the massive shade her branches made. I told my boys, that Indians probably sat under her and ate their lunch, before white men had visited this part of our state. The amount of acorns in one year were immense, just imagine if all the nut crops from all of her living years were put into a pile…it would look like a small mountain. The deer,¬†turkey and other wildlife that benefited from her mast, span centuries. Now, even in her death, she is still giving. This wood will heat homes and make many gallons of maple¬†syrup… even the ashes, swept from the spent fire will enrich the soil of our farm…. Her whole life, given for the benefit of the place where she lived.

There is a lesson here. People travel the world trying to make a difference. Some folks¬†spend huge amounts of money trying to make others or themselves happy. Others tend to live miserably, keeping to themselves always negative and unhappy. I can’t speak for others, but I choose to live like the old tree.

I was born and raised in this little spot on our big planet. My travels have been few and I am okay with that. I try to give of myself, realizing that some will think I am a crazy fool, but many enjoy listening or reading about my life experiences as I share knowledge. I hope that I have sown some “acorns” along the way. I hope that I have provided comfort and safety for a few and enriched the lives of many, by just being me… That way at the end of my life, only¬†my ashes will¬†drift on the wind, because my memories, my¬†hopes and my¬†dreams will live on…. through the lives of those that I have touched… What a wonderful thing!



Hickory Nuts and Ear Corn
October 15, 2014, 7:04 pm
Filed under: October 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,
One of our gilts enjoying her pasture

One of our gilts enjoying her pasture

October 15, 2014

Our gilts are out on a wooded pasture with a boar. They are enjoying freedom, hickory nuts and ear corn. I guess they must be enjoying each other too, because I see the incriminating hoof marks on their backs…and that is a very good thing!

The pasture measures about four acres. This is much more area than they need, but there is plenty to eat, so this breeding season is costing me almost nothing. I am picking the ear corn on the ends and edges of the field, The pigs get a big helping every night. They usually have it cleaned up by morning, but don’t come running for it due to all the fallen hickory nuts.

Sunday’s frost along with Tuesdays wind has loosened the bounty in the hickory trees. The squirrels are even shaking their little fists at the hogs, as the hogs¬†gobble up the nuts. The pigs are in great shape and eating less than half a normal ration, thanks to the pasture and all of feed it provides.

Each sow will get her own pen and recess for 40 minutes a day, once they return to the barn. The pasture is a better place, but I lack the time to make a place for them to spend the winter on pasture. I do have a portable pen for late autumn so they can glean the picked corn field, but litters will arrive in late December. I like to have the mommas and babies close where I can watch and care as needed….but for now it’s hickory nuts and ear corn!



How Now Brown Cow?
October 12, 2014, 7:42 am
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

 

Rachel chills out

Rachel chills out

October 12, 2014

This morning we woke up to a very hard frost. Today marks the end of the growing season here on our farm. The leaves have been turning for a couple of weeks, but this frost will turn the woods into a colorful bouquet. The cows pasture will now quit growing and the lawns can be mowed for the last time.

We have a brown steer. I call him Charlie Brown. His purpose is to fill our freezer with… ground “Chuck”. He is ready to go, so now that the summer grazing season is coming to a close, Charlie and a few others will be moved off the pastures permanently. Some of our cows are calving now. We have one new baby on the ground as I write. She is camera-shy, so no photo…yet.

I still plan to move and replant some strawberries, divide the rhubarb and get a bed ready for some asparagus roots in the spring. Also , I have plans for a place for some concord grape rootstock. It seems funny to be planting at the end of the growing season, but that is how it goes, nature too plans for next year…ever notice all the acorns?

 



Childhood Favorites
September 16, 2014, 2:18 pm
Filed under: September 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Candy Corn

Candy Corn


September 16, 2014
Nothing says fall to me, like oak acorns and candy corn. I remember waiting for the school bus under a big white oak tree. The ground was littered with two things, colorful leaves from the maples and scores of acorns. I just loved the look and feel of them. The acorn nuts with their little beret hats, cracked me up… pun intended, it’s a nut joke ūüėģ

My mother would also get us kids candy corn. We loved it, or at least I loved it. We didn’t eat too much because candy was a luxury. I would look forward to it all day long at school. I have been known to carry an acorn or two to class, but the candy corn never even survived the school bus ride! So, now I am all grown up, but when the air turns cool and the leaves start to fall, I go on a quest to find acorns….and usually with some candy corn in my pocket.

The simple times of childhood, when your biggest responsibility was to feed the dog, were made sweeter by mom’s apple crisp, her hugs and the little orange and white candies. The candy and apple crisp were seasonal. Mom’s hugs were forever. Every time I see an acorn, I think of those cool mornings and waiting for the school bus. When I eat apple crisp, I always think of my mother. When I eat a few pieces of candy corn, I remember all the sweet times of my childhood. Those are the best memories!

I remember getting the sweet treat in my trick-or-treat bag on Halloween. I can see my cousin making buckteeth out of a couple of pieces or even playing Dracula. I like the way it melts in your mouth, as you chew it up. I also like it that it is a seasonal thing. It tastes so good, those first few pieces of the year. I still am not sure if it’s the candy or the memories that please me so, because both of them are sweet.