RicelandMeadows


It Runs In Families
June 4, 2018, 5:39 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

Finleysniff

June 4, 2018

In her grandpa’s shadow, my granddaughter sniffs the flowers. She is smart enough to stop and “smell the roses”. I have the good fortune of seeing the effects of my leadership in my children and grandchildren. Some like the farm and animals. Some like the woodlands and protecting it. There are hunters and fishermen and horse lovers alike. It is awesome to see your children enjoying things such as keeping backyard chickens or making maple syrup.

It struck me funny watching Finley sniff the flowers, after I had just posted about taking time out for such things. The little ones are more in tune to what matters. They will play with kittens or pet the dog. They will lay on the grass and look up at the clouds. They will nap when they are tired. It is neat to notice such things, now that my eyes have been opened again.

It is very easy to get so busy making a living that we forget to make a life. I am an advocate for hard work and its benefits. I see now however, making a little time for the “little things” is absolutely necessary! It brings balance to a happy life. It sets a great example for those watching your every move. Lastly, it can make smiles last a lifetime and beyond.



My Country Life
May 21, 2017, 2:27 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

countrylife

May 21, 2017

As a young boy, I spent many hours playing on a swing such as this. It was tied to a limb on a big maple tree in my grandpa and grandma Rice’s front yard. I remember my dad giving us “underducks” where he would push us very fast and duck under the wooden board swing sending us skyward like a rocket…or so it seemed. The laughter of those happy times still echo in my memories.

My grandchildren and their friends are swinging in the photo above. You don’t see “I-pads, phones or earbuds”, just four children playing using their imagination. I don’t know if they are Jedi Knights, dragon flies or rockets, but even from the photo, I can see they are having fun. This, in my mind, explains my country life.

It is not about material things. It is about bonfires, sled rides, baby lambs and garden vegetables. It is about hard work done together with family, followed by a cold drink or dish of ice cream. It is the simple things like woods walks and lightening bugs, even pollywogs in a jar. The smell of fresh mowed hay or the soft mew of a kitten in the mow of the barn, these are the things that bring joy.

City children play “bottle flip” with water bottles. We drank water from a garden hose, at times from a pump pumped by hand. Water tasted so very good on a hot day after some type of work, especially during haying. One of the most refreshing drinks I ever had, came from a hand dug well. I gulped down mouthfuls of the cool water after having been working on a thrashing machine with my Amish friends. I’m not sure if it was the water or the friendship that made it so sweet, but every swallow made me praise God.

The common denominator in a country life is the country or green space of course, but the real key, is family and friends. Keep in mind, you can have a country life in the city if you choose to do so. Put friends and family first. Hold the door for a stranger. Offer your seat to another. If all else fails, smile. In fact if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. Kindness goes a long way. Being kind does not make you weak, in fact, it probably makes you stronger.

I hope that I can always have time to spare a minute, to listen to a bird sing or listen to the dreams shared by a child. I hope I can dig fishing worms, smell wildflowers and eat strawberries off a dew covered vine for a long time yet. It’s not the amount of days in your life…it’s the amount of life in your days. So, live county my friends!

 

 



Time Marches On
February 27, 2017, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

jake3

February 27, 2017

Our maple syrup season for 2017 is over. This photo, I snapped of my youngest son as he drove the horses back into the woods for another load of maple sap. It is a bittersweet photo for me. He is driving my horses every bit as well as I can. I asked him if he needed any help hitching up. He smiled and said, “Dad after you teaching me for 30 years… I got it.”

He was right. He had everything perfect. The horses can sense when someone is not confident when handling the lines. They were real sure that Jake was in charge. He is quiet with them and uses a soft hand, but they feel his inner strength as he drives them. His thoughts are telegraphed through the leather lines to the bits in their mouths. This gentle guidance along with an encouraging voice, makes for great teamwork of man and horses.

I held my little grandson’s hand as we watched dad go off down the sap road. I was proud and humbled at the same time. The little hand inside of mine made me think back that 30 years ago. I could see my son looking up, asking questions and learning things that I didn’t even know I was teaching. My heart was full to almost overflowing, then my grandson said, “I’m gonna drive your horses some day Pa-Pa” My heart overflowed a little bit as a tear spilled down my cheek.

My how fast time does fly!



Farm Play Date
December 31, 2016, 10:40 am
Filed under: December 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

jakbarn

December 31, 2016

Last night, I stopped to see my youngest son. My grandson asked, “play farm, Pa-pa?” I couldn’t resist. It’s awesome to play with my grandchildren. Over Christmas I got to play suction cup arrows and bullets, as I target shot with John and Rachel. That never gets old!

What I thought was wonderful about last night’s play date, was the way my grandson and his daddy had set up their farmstead. A big old wooden barn stood close to a new plastic one. We played awhile, setting up animals and moving them from pasture to pasture. There was no doubt that my grandson preferred the old barn to the newer one. The little wooden stalls inside were where the horses lived.

The old wooden barn belonged to my son. We bought it for him when he was about three year’s old. It was made by an Amish boy who was afflicted by mental retardation. The young Amish man made toys and wooden eveners for horse drawn equipment. I had gone there to buy a set of eveners, also called double trees, when I spotted the handmade wooden barn.

The old barn has doors on both sides that open and close. Inside there are two tie stalls for a team of draft horses. There is also a short row manger where the cows would stand to be milked. The large haymow has a loose hay trolley system that used eye hooks, string and a metal piece that served as the “harpoon” for the hay. A rod goes from end to end in the haymow. When the string is threaded through the eye hooks and out the opposite end from the large hay door, the “harpoon” can be let down to the wagon and pulled up, then in to the barn as it slides along the rod in the peak of the barn. This worked just as the old Louden hay carriers did.

I brought the old barn out of our basement and gave it to my grandson. He is almost three now too. There was just as much excitement on his face, when he saw they barn, as there was twenty seven years ago when his daddy first got it. The memory was priceless.

As I kneeled on the ground to play farm, my thoughts drifted to “Elmer” the toy maker who worked steadily on his wooden toys. Elmer passed many years ago, but his kindness and the joy from his handmade toys, will last for generations. Elmer had only “ability”, not “disability”, may God bless his soul.

jakbarani



Speltz Harvest 2016
July 19, 2016, 11:05 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

combine2016

July 19, 2016

Today, I completed harvesting our speltz crop for this year. I got enough to feed our four horses for another year. Its like growing your own tractor fuel! The crop was a little light, but we still have enough and that is a very good thing. There is a large amount of straw to be baled. It has been mowed ans is drying in the sun.

Today was a great day. Everything went well. My youngest grandson got to get a view from the driver’s seat.

keagancombine

He likes “Pa-pa’s” big tractors, but also likes the horses and other farm animals. Someday he will be a helper for me too. I love this life and passing it on, thrills me to no end.

calfkeajak

The end to a perfect day. Equipment stored, harvest put away and chores almost done. Tonight, I drink from the saucer… because my cup runneth over!



The Little Ones
March 27, 2016, 9:20 pm
Filed under: March 2016 | Tags: , , ,

Grammy says Hi

March 27, 2016

As I continue to farm, I include the little ones. It is good to expose them to the animals, the work and the joy that comes on  farm. They are the ones who will ensure this way of life continues. They might not choose it for themselves, but they will have an understanding for those who do.

Today, my wife and my youngest grandson were visiting the draft horses. He is not fearful, but he respects their size. Getting to know the gentle giants, in the safe arms of grammy, is a great way to be introduced. He had a ball. He talked to them and pointed. I am sure he approved.

I have a faded black and white photo of me sitting on the back of a milk cow. I was about a year old. My smile was almost as big as my face. I was bitten by the farming bug at a very early age. I have not, nor will I ever, get over it. The love of farming runs deep in me.

I enjoy talking to just about anyone who will listen about farming. I especially enjoy the children. The excitement they have is hard to contain. Some like to see the farm babies, others like the big horses, a few just like the dog and cats, but all of them take a memory when they leave. I think that the memories are the important things, the things that really matter.



Back Home Again
November 7, 2015, 9:14 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Solomon, back with his gals

Solomon, back with his gals

November 7, 2015

Solomon is back here on our farm. I own him with another like-minded farmer, I get him for half the year, my friend gets him the other half. Solomon is glad to be home. He is familiar with the paddocks and shelters. He understands the “drill” as we move every day from paddock to barn lot. I get to check everyone over and it teaches the babies to follow mom and get used to moving and coming when I call.

Our 2015 calf crop will be arriving soon. We should have new babies from now through December. Solomon checks each calf over and even licks the newborns. It is strange behavior for some dads, but for others it is natural to want to be with their children. I fit in the last category, but I wonder if I did enough. They grew up so fast, I fear that I missed too much of their childhood. I don’t put on much of a show, but I love them more than they know.

Solomon got out of the trailer, walked up to each of the cows and made sure he knew them. They all greeted each other, then walked off to graze. Tonight he follows the herd walking the fence line checking out the young heifers in the paddock next to his. I think the little girls have a crush on him 😮  He struts his manliness and curls his lip… I, like all dads, check the fence, admonish him and remind him they are too young, but love knows no bounds….I hope the solar fence charger keeps him in check!

Solomon, like me, is comfortable here.  The old John Denver song… “It’s good to be back home again”  plays in my mind. I see the big bull content, almost smiling and strolling through his pastures and I realize that I too feel that way every time I pull back into the drive. I really don’t need to go anywhere else on Earth … “and hey it’s good, to be back home again!”