RicelandMeadows


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!



Bells
August 25, 2016, 2:28 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

bell1

August 25, 2016

This picture is of Abby’s new harness bells. They are an unnecessary part of the harness, but they please me. I enjoy the simple chiming as the horses walk. Using horses makes a person slow down. They are animals, living, breathing creatures just like us. They must stop to rest now and then, but it is remarkable how much work they can accomplish.

As we work, I get to listen to the birds sing. I can even hear the plow slicing through the soil as we turn the sod. I hear the horses breathe and monitor that breathing for signs of when a rest is needed. The sounds of birdsong, slicing earth and breathing horses is enhanced by the ringing of my harness bells…or at least I think so.

I choose to use brass bells, cast in a foundry and made to ring pure and crisp. The sound is like no other. It cuts through the air in a subtle yet pronounced way. I use different sized bells to make the music sound like a melody. I can’t sing along, but it sure makes me smile. The horses pay them no mind. The bells are just part of their harness to them. I even asked them one time if they mind the sound? They just said … “neigh”.

bell2



Dashing Through The Snow
February 10, 2015, 8:40 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Trotting around the barnyard

Trotting around the barnyard

February 10, 2015

When life gives you lemons…make lemonade. When Mother Nature gives you snow…harness up and take a sled ride!

I like to use my horses for sled and wagon rides. It is good exercise for them and it allows me to disguise some goof-off time, into looking productive. Don’t get me wrong. It is a lot of work, getting the horses ready and hooking up. Then putting them away when we are done, but, I love to do it!

I keep bells on my harness year round. I like to hear the tinkling when we are going along, no matter what the job. They sound real nice in the winter. It seems the sound carries on the crisp cold air. In summer the ringing bells just sound neat to me. I guess I’m just a little boy…and I’m ok with that!

These last cold and snowy days, I have not done much except for chores and plow snow. Today, I took the horses for new shoes. We are getting  things ready for the maple syrup season. I want anti-slip footwear on my horses at this time of year. A broken leg means a dead horse…a set of good horse shoes, with drill tech on the bottoms, are cheap insurance. Our stone drive is also hard on horse’s feet, once again the shoes are worth their cost.

Each day, I work towards the maple syrup season. I check a few things off the list every week. The season comes quickly, I want to be ready, breaking the work into small jobs helps out a lot! Using the horses on the sled or wagon, helps to get them in shape for the upcoming work. So, I get to goof-off, the horses get to trot and romp and all of us are one day closer to the syrup season!