Watching the Weather
March 1, 2015, 1:29 pm
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , ,
Max looks for some warm weather

Max looks for some warm weather

March 1, 2015

We are once again being hit with a winter storm. It is warmer than it has been. Today it might even warm up to freezing! Anyway, no maple syrup weather in sight. Sure, there is one or two days next week that may even hit 40 degrees F, but the night temperatures will bottom out in the single digits. The snow is still deep and the trees are frozen solid…it will be a while 😮

So, March comes in like a lion, that can only be a good thing. The temperatures should warm as we head towards the lamb like month end. This is where patience pays off. I am not the best at waiting, but this time it only makes sense not to worry and fret! So I am working on my writings, waiting and watching for the warm weather … Just like everybody else!

Patiently Waiting
Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

February 23, 2015

The temperature plummets as I write. It is -5 F outside, crisp and cool. Chores are done and all the animals are tucked into bed. The barnyard is quiet as the animals begin to slumber, the horses chewing is the only sound. We are all waiting on spring!

The next several days shows us staying below freezing. I too must wait on spring and the busy maple syrup season. There is plenty to do just keeping all my animal charges fed and bedded…not to mention keeping water thawed out 😮

I need to be more like the dogs. They are patient. They find all sorts of ways to rest. They stretch when they rise before thundering off to play in the snow. On cold days they snuggle down and sleep in the soft straw. They don’t spend one minute worrying about anything…especially doing more work!

I Love You
February 13, 2015, 10:03 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , ,


February 13, 2015

St Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. It is a day for lovers and all things sweet. It is not just love, but all things that say love. In my mind loyalty is an awesome thing. A good dog loves his owner beyond words. After all, you never hear them talk, do you? Yet, in their eyes, there is no doubt how much they love and trust you. It is the payback for feeding, caring and loving a pet.

I have a farm full of animals. Many of them could not care less who feeds them. The only thing they care about is that someone does. My horses, on the other hand, look for me, work for me and try to please me. The cats too seem to search me out. Wait to be petted, sometimes not too patiently, but they do wait. The dogs, especially Cinch, are a whole different story.

We adopted Cinch this past summer. He was aloof at first, paying more attention to the animals, than any of us. He loves small children, but his excitement makes them a little mad. They all seem to work it out. Cinch chases stuff for hours even tiring the kids out. He loves our animals and knows who belongs and who doesn’t. He is an asset to our farm.

I guess my favorite part about him, is his love for me. This dog idolizes me. He has wormed his way into my heart among the places where my favorite canines live. I hold him dear like Freckles, Lucy, King and my old friend Queenie. I see them in his quiet honest eyes and I swear, sometimes they look back at me. It is a beautiful thing and if that’s not love… I don’t know what is!

Ready for Summer
January 21, 2015, 3:07 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
Max chills on a hot day

Max chills on a hot day

January 21, 2015

This has been a pretty “open” winter. There has not been too much snow to deal with. The cold is brutal when it comes, but it too has been tolerable. I guess I am spoiled this winter, but I’m still ready for the green grass and warm breezes of summer. Or perhaps I’m just hoping to miss the “mud season”!

Maple syrup season is less than a month away, as long as, Old Man Winter cooperates! We are mostly ready. There is a big job of clean up, even though everything was cleaned up at the end of last year. It helps me get excited as I slop around with hot water and cleaning soap. I get it all clean, but I do make a wet mess. I don’t know if its a guy thing or a Ralph thing, but I get, as wet as, the maple pans.

I found out last year to wait for a day above freezing to do all my clean up. Once I splashed water all over everything in sight, including the cement floor, I realized that ice would be a problem. I discovered this fact as my feet went way over my head and I found myself half under the maple arch with what was left of a bucket of water soaking my coat.

I will say that a half frozen fat man doesn’t crawl out from under a maple syrup pan arch quickly. He also will find it necessary to roll over onto his stomach in the wet gravel to get to his knees. The next problem he will encounter is banging his head on the cold, hard, steel arch that holds the syrup pans. Finally, soaking wet, freezing, covered in frozen gravel, with an aching head, he decides to wait for a warmer day!

So, my clean up job waits for a couple of days off from work and a little warmer temperature on the thermometer. In the meantime, I will search the seed catalogs, prepare for the upcoming maple season and think about the hot days of summer…..when I am longing for the cold quiet days of January!

Herding Cats
November 19, 2014, 8:34 pm
Filed under: November 2014 | Tags: , , , ,
Ugly, helps bring the cows in

Ugly, helps bring the cows in

November 19, 2014

Every night when I bring the cows up, the cats come along too. It started by walking the dogs down the lane. The cats wanted to go. So, now every night, when I head down the lane, two dogs and two cats help bring the cows to the barn. Herding cats is like trying to nail Jello to the wall, but a cat that herds cattle…priceless!

Tonight as I went to bring the cattle in, my gang of herders trailed with me. I got to the gate, called the cows and everyone headed to the barn quickly. Everyone that is, except the new gray, white-faced calf. Her momma took off with the rest of the herd, but she stayed put. My trusty companion Cinch, the border collie, laid down right at the gate. The little calf would not go near the “wolf”.

I tried to convince Cinch to come with me. He dutifully did just that…scaring the crap out of the calf, literally and figuratively 😮 The little calf ran for the thorn apple thicket. We coaxed her out and to the gate twice. Every time we got near the gate, Cinch would lay in the opening and the little calf would hightail it back to the thicket. Darkness was closing in and I am not the running cow herder I once was… So a new plan was hatched.

Cinch, the cat and I went to the barn to get the cows. I named the little calf “Shirley” .. for surely you have got to be kidding me! The calf’s mom and the rest of the herd went back to the field. Mom and baby had a great reunion. Mom was much more interested in grain just moments ago, but now her baby was her only focus. The gang reunited, I marched them all back to the barn again. The three little calves led the way. Cinch the cat and I brought up the rear.

It’s a Cinch!
August 20, 2014, 9:17 pm
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: , , ,

Cinch checks out a kitty

Cinch checks out a kitty

August 20, 2014

Our dog Max is so spoiled…we got him a pet! Well, not really, a little boy in North Perry wanted his five year old Border Collie to live on a farm. Cinch came today, to live with us…and Max of course.

What a wet, hot, stormy day it was today! we now have gotten almost three inches of rain since Monday. It is very wet. Frogs are sitting on our patio to dry their feet off and ducks are carrying umbrellas!

Farming has stopped for now, but this is when I plan and rest up. All is well at Riceland, in fact you could say …it’s a cinch!

Spending Time With Max
June 21, 2014, 10:04 pm
Filed under: June 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

My Buddy Max

My Buddy Max

June 21, 2014

I think that it was fitting to spend the longest day of 2014, playing with Max. I know he liked it. I too had some fun, enjoying a little down time! I have plenty to do, but took a little time off just to rest mind and body.

I have one more small field to plant. I am planning on an experiment for “dry” hay. I will be planting sorghum, oats and buckwheat on a small paddock behind the barn. I don’t know how it will work, but if it goes badly, I’ll plow the whole thing down in late summer as a green manure crop.

Max and I walked the fields checking things out, finding more work and celebrating a few “wins” along the way. Max is my constant companion, just as I had hoped. I think he will be a great dog…he sure is a smart one!

Max and I checked out the hayfields while we walked too. They are ready to cut. The hay tools are ready to go, now for some nice sunny weather. I need a minimum of three dry days to get my hay made. Perhaps I err on the dry side, but it makes good hay that way. The kind I need to feed my horses, no mold, no dust.

The farm is green, the corn is up, the pastures are looking good. Yep, I think a day for reflection was just what I needed…to have a good dog along, just made it sweeter….like the strawberries freshly picked, from our raised beds!

Back on Top
June 13, 2014, 8:50 am
Filed under: June 2014 | Tags: , , ,

Our repaired horse , runs again!

Our repaired horse , runs again!

June 13, 2014

Today is Friday the 13th, big deal. It’s Friday. I am off work and I am not superstitious…so, I am going to have a good day no matter what!

Yesterday, we got our weathervane put back in order. Our horse got beat up by the wind. He had come loose from his moorings and looked as if he was standing on his head. He had simply lost his direction. I know how he felt. After too many long shifts and too much time away from the farm, I too was starting to lose my direction.

It is amazing what a true craftsman can do. Our weathervane is as good as new. I also got some much needed rest and after just one relaxing evening around my animals and fields, I too am re-charged and “Back on Top.”

After six months of grieving over our dog King, we bought a new pup. We are the proud owners of a black and white Border Collie named Max. He is a year old. He is full of excitement and wonder. He was very timid and shy at first, but is coming into his own with encouragement and praise from us.

It is fun to watch as this little guy learns his place. He has it pretty much figured out that I am the top dog and he is my helper. He tries just a bit too hard to help now and then, but is learning quickly. He is a bit jealous of the cats and Vincent the goat when they get some of my attention. He waits patiently…well sort of patiently, at least he is learning to share 😮

So it is with a rested mind, a new pup and the love of family, that I embrace my farm work. I feel so much better! The horses can sense it too. The farm work waits in fear of us, with our new found vigor, even work knows we are about to slay it. 😮