RicelandMeadows


Amaryllis by morning…. LOL
September 12, 2016, 9:04 pm
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

amaryliss

September 12, 2016

Okay, so we had this crazy plant blooming in our living room last Christmas. It was a pretty thing, showing off in the dead of winter. I read up on the care of the plant. I thought I had done everything right. The last step is to move it to a darkened basement for sixty days. Then it will once again bloom in late December.

So, we put it on the porch where it would get sun and fresh air. The greenery is supposed to be feeding the bulb now. Apparently, it was so happy out there it decided to bloom. I don’t know, perhaps it has been talking to our Christmas cactus. That crazy cactus also blooms two or three times a year! I guess like me, they are happy here on this farm, in this time.

I learned a long time ago not to hold anything back. I don’t want to stifle ideas, deeds or works. I have found that love unlimited is more valuable than gold. Any living thing that is happy with its surroundings will excel in any manner that it chooses. We raise and sell meat that is raised stress free. The animals are well cared for at all times.My horses look for me each day. They welcome me to the barn or pasture. The woodlands open up and share shade and the peace and quiet found there with me. This little plant is blooming her heart out. I will take that as a compliment and just enjoy the view!



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!



Ready for Work
June 17, 2016, 2:26 pm
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

hosswork

June 17, 2016

Why is it that when it’s time for work we all move a little slower? I, like my horses, move like a snail until the last minute. Then I rush around and try to beat the clock. I usually lose, because,  “the time and the tides wait for no man”!

Once I get started work is no big deal. I will say that this all goes out the window when it comes to working here on the farm. I jump out of bed and start my day with a big smile. Even when things don’t go exactly as planned, i just adapt, move on and complete almost any task. In the corporate world, too many stumbling blocks prevent me from being as efficient as I would like. There is no doubt that putting your hand where your heart lies is the answer.

Hoss, in the photo above, waits patiently to finish getting ready for work. He and Knight were worked yesterday as a team. It was the first time in a long time that I only worked two horses. The job I had only required two. It was in a tight spot where three horses would have been a bother to navigate. As Abby gets into her training, I will be using two teams daily. That gives all of them a break while allowing me more “horsepower”  🙂

I must get moving because its time for me to get …..ready for work 😦



I’m Tired
All tuckered out from playing with the tire swing!

All tuckered out from playing with the tire swing!

June 30, 2015

Today, as I waited for more rain to fall, I installed tire swings for my pigs playtime. “What?”, you ask. Yes, tire swings. The pigs love to play with them. They bite on them. They push them around with their noses. They even crawl through them and rub their bellies. It is funny as heck to watch them play. In the past I have also used old bowling balls to give them something to do. I will say though, they like the tires best 😮

Often our pigs are outside. The sow herd is currently enjoying a big pasture from which to graze, play and wallow in the mud. These smaller ones would cause a big fight if I was to put them in with the sows. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. It is much better for these fattening pigs to have recess on the feedlot and play on the tire swings for fun. They do get to go out and play in the mud in a little paddock next to the barn. I guess they just like being pigs, eating , playing and resting…and best of all growing, in a stress free environment.

We have been using sawdust for bedding this summer. We tried chips, but they weren’t absorbent enough. The sawdust gets damp and stays cool. We scoop out the poop and strip the stalls when needed. The pigs like the damp cool sawdust on hot days. They stay comfortable and clean. The pen smells like sawdust too, a much better odor than pig poop!

The horses got their feet trimmed today. Knight has soft hooves, so he keeps shoes on all year. Duke and Hoss have hard feet that just need trimmed usually. I do put steel shoes on when working on the road or heavy work where they could slip. Our jobs for the next few months are light. We will mostly work in the hay fields. Well, that is the hope anyway 😮

One of our gilts watches a bird

One of our gilts watches a bird



Making Progress
May 7, 2015, 9:23 pm
Filed under: May 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
Newly planted raspberries

Newly planted raspberries

May 7, 2015

What a week! I have been busier than a one-armed wall paper hanger 😮  I took pigs off to freezer camp today. We were up and moving early. Chores got done and my horses all got a spring time haircut. We mowed the lawn and trimmed it too. I spent quality time with my cousin whom I haven’t seen in months due to his demanding job.

We continue to lay out our new garden plans with the raised beds. Some of our beds will become the home for our homestead fruit crops. The strawberries have worked out well, so other fruit plants will follow. Today we moved some raspberry plants to one of the new beds. They look well, nicely planted and covered with a bark mulch.

We will be off in search for blueberry plants next. I am fussy. I prefer locally grown berry bushes over farm store and department store “cheap” ones. I will pay a little more, after all, these will be the last ones I will ever plant. By the time they are spent, old and done…so I will be 😮

The rhubarb that we planted weeks ago is doing great. It has rooted in well. It takes all the willpower that I have, not to cut the new plant growth. I have some mint plants to move to a small yet to be built bed. Mint tea over ice is a summertime favorite. I acquired the taste for it long ago in my grandma Rice’s kitchen.

We planted onions today and planned for the balance of the garden layout. The fields are wet, so farm work is on hold for a bit while mother nature waters her plants. It will all work out. It always does. I will sleep well tonight after a great day on the farm. My mind is clear because I know we are making progress.



Baled out!
October 11, 2014, 8:21 pm
Filed under: October 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

008

October 11, 2014

The big round bales are all small square ones now. The mow is mostly full and I am very pleased to have this job done for another year. My kids and grandkids and several friends, over the last three days, came to my aid and … baled me out! 😮

Today, a couple of my friends met here at eight o’clock. We started baling and it went very well. We were all finished by lunchtime. I then went to their farm and helped pick corn for the afternoon. We finished that job too. So, both of us, traded labor and managed to get more done than any of us thought possible.

Tonight, I will sleep well. I am tired, stiff and even a little sore, but my mind and heart will rest easy, knowing that this work is behind us. There are many farm jobs to do, but the hay tools can now all be cleaned, lubricated and put away…and that is a very good thing!



Holy Cow What a Day
August 28, 2014, 10:17 pm
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

One of the girls

One of the girls


August 28, 2014

My day started early, long before sunrise. As I walked the dogs, I got the chance to get lost in the night sky. It was beautiful. The stars were shining brightly. The moon just a sliver, allowed the stars to be the focal point. It was awesome!

The dogs and I shared a couple of minutes of friendship, before I left for work. The morning was cool and fall like. Oh how I wished that I could have spent the day splitting wood or better yet, working horses! I left the farm with a heavy heart.

The day was busy and passed by quite quickly. I was soon on my way home, singing with the radio. I butchered a few songs while I relaxed during the drive. Supper was waiting when I walked in the door, along with a wonderful hug…and like the morning stars…it was awesome!

Chores were done quickly so that I had time to go get our bull. We are half owners in Solomon, a Murray Grey. He was so happy to get with the girls even though they are all “in the family way”. Very soon calves will hit the ground. I want him to breed the ladies back as soon as possible, so as to reset their clocks and make for spring and summer babies.

I filled the water troughs as the sun began to set and darkness fell. I was satisfied with my progress, tired and content. I shut the barn door and headed for the house thinking to myself… Holy cow, what a day!



Summer Slumber

Three of our girls resting

Three of our girls resting


August 13, 2014

A very busy off farm work schedule along with the demanding work around this farm, has kept me from writing for a while. I am currently enjoying a few days of rest, thanks in part, to the rain. Even the cows were resting this morning in the recently harvested experimental oats and buckwheat field.

The experiment went well for the most part, but I didn’t seed it heavy enough. I did harvest a few round bales for feeding this winter, but would not repeat the experiment. There are other forages that do better in the same time frame. Sorghum/Sudan grass does better. I proved that too in a side by side comparison this season.

I am an ambassador for both oats and buckwheat in other applications. Buckwheat “mines” the soil for nutrients. When incorporated back into the soil, buckwheat makes those nutrients available for the next crop. Buckwheat also lures all sorts of beneficial bugs, especially pollinators.

Oats grow well in spring and fall. They can be baled or grazed along with harvesting them for the grain and straw. I use them often to follow corn and as a nurse crop for grasses and legumes. The grain makes great horse feed, but I prefer speltz due to my work load and our cold clay soils.

I managed to get all of our second cutting hay made, along with the forage buckwheat and oats and sorghum/Sudan grass. All the bales were made without any rain on them… a real feat this year! I have one more field of clover second cutting, that will be made into balage for our cows. The silage type bales will be wrapped in plastic and resemble big marshmallows.

Our corn, planted June tenth, is doing well. Sure, there is better looking corn around, but my small field of open pollenated corn will feed our sow herd all winter. I am fine with that 😮 The fodder will also be used as a snack for the cows once the ears have been picked and stored.

Plenty of work awaits me, but it feels very good to be caught up for now and enjoying a few days of fun. A trip to Holmes county yesterday, made for laughs shared and memories made with Connie. We bought a “chicken Tractor” from an Amish man who makes them from conduit and small square wire. They are light and portable, yet strong and durable …. more on this topic later.

Our corn towers above the five foot fence

Our corn towers above the five foot fence



The Sunset Rush
July 24, 2014, 1:48 pm
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Fluffy Windrows in the Sunset

Fluffy Windrows in the Sunset


July 24, 2014

Tuesday night, after a long day of work at my off farm job, I baled this hay. The hay was in big fluffy windrows and ready to bale. I went as fast as I could go and it still took me until after dark to finish. It was very nice hay and completes my needs for winter.

As I rushed around the field gobbling up the hay, I had time to think about life’s journey. I contemplated how many times that I have rushed through things to get done. The sun was setting on my hay making, much like the sun is setting on my life. Yes, I still consider myself young, but I am “middle aged”. 😮

Just like life, the sun continued to set, even though I still had hay to bale. The time simply would not wait on me. I persisted anyway. I drove like a madman. I wasn’t reckless, I just kept going as the darkness fell. I pushed through and completed the job. I felt great, knowing that the hay job was finished.

Now, as I once again reflect upon rushing towards the sunset, I am realizing that taking time along the way is the best thing to do. I saw deer, mice, snakes and hawks as I baled the hay the other night. I took time to enjoy the ride as I pushed into the darkness, sure the sun was going to set and I was going to be surrounded by darkness, but while I could see, I watched, and while I could feel I embraced the night.

The evening sun lost its warmth, but I took time to enjoy it on my bare skin anyway. When the cool breeze of evening started to rustle the leaves, I enjoyed the sight and feel of the cool evening breath on my face. Most folks who could see me, probably thought that I was just baling hay… They had no idea that I was living life to the fullest…. the hay bales were just a bonus!



The View From Here
July 19, 2014, 8:33 pm
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: , , ,

The backyard in bloom

The backyard in bloom


July 19, 2014

Finally, I am catching up. I just have some cow hay to make, but everything is falling into place. I even found a few evenings to rest and relax. I visited with some friends, stared into the fire and spent time with my horses.

The pastures have all been mowed, the corn is growing well and the speltz have been harvested. I helped the new owners of my sheep, vaccinate, deworm and wean. I made some nice new friends in the process. I even had time to fix a wagon that has been giving me fits for months!

I have some hay down as I write. It apparently needed to be washed off, God took care of that job for me. So see, everything is working out well. I will bale that clean, rinsed hay once it is dry. The cows will love it come January. It will sure beat eating snowballs 😮

Piglets are growing and my work list is getting shorter. My experimental fields of buckwheat and oats along with the sorghum/Sudan grass, are also looking well. It has rained quite a bit, but we have been working in between. The fields, pastures and lawn are enjoying the extra moisture.

I look toward next week with excitement as I continue to get my summer work done. I look at this last week with satisfaction as I can see much progress and the results of my efforts … Thanks to all who helped, especially my wife. She helped me celebrate the maiden voyage of our smokehouse…by helping me clean up after!