RicelandMeadows


2019 Corn Crop Has Been Planted!

cornplanting12019

May 28, 2019

After a very wet spring and many delays due to soggy conditions, our corn crop has been planted! The horses and I finished plowing the second “land” yesterday. This is a three acre field. If it gives us a normal yield, we will have plenty of corn for the animals.

cornplanting22019

I am happy with my plowing job. The horses worked beautifully. The soil turned over very nicely yesterday. This is the last strip in this section. In the distance, you can see my cousin discing with the tractor. Having his help made it possible to finish the field prep and get the corn planted by suppertime.

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As the strip gets smaller, the horses have to walk a little differently. Here, Hoss walks in the main furrow. Abby walks on the strip of green. Knight walks in the furrow made from our last pass coming from the opposite direction. We plow this strip until all of the green has been flipped over. The last pass makes a small ditch that helps to drain water from the field. This ditch is called a dead furrow.

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A view of my mixed powered farm. The horses do much of the work, but a tractor can be utilized when needed. Yesterday, we pushed hard to beat the coming rains. As we all ate supper last night, (horses included) we took great pleasure in knowing that the corn field and our main garden were both planted before the weather turns wet again.

It was a crazy past few days. The horses and I plowed almost every day for a few hours. They are improving in condition after having so many days off due to weather. We got the rest of the tillage equipment ready, knowing that the corn would have to be planted soon. We even captured a wild swarm of honeybees that had stop to rest on a tree in the chicken park. They are all snug and happy in their new hive too. So, as the month of May is coming to a close, we have much to be thankful for and thankful, we are!

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A quick look at the dead furrow. Once disced, this makes a smooth swale for the water to flow out of the field.



Corn Harvest is History
November 4, 2016, 8:00 pm
Filed under: November 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

cornhorses

November 4, 2016

It’s done. The 2016 corn harvest here is complete. I have to say a big thank you to friends Ron and Leah. They helped me every day. I worked from dawn to dark so that we could get three loads each day. Tonight we finished up just after five pm. I did chores, fed horses and harnessed them so we were in the field mid-morning each day. It’s nice to have the dew off the husks when you are picking by hand.

My little weedy, spotty field yielded pretty good. In fact, it was much like the story from the bible about the boy with his loaves and fishes. The corn seemed to keep filling the wagon even though it looked sparse. The big ears were easy to pick. In fact, they were almost fun!

The main thing is that I am done. The best thing is that I will have enough.

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My crib is a little over half full. I will continue to smile knowing the harvest is complete. The woodshed is full, the speltz are up and doing good and it looks like I may even get some time to fall plow before the snow hits….all because the corn harvest for this year is history!



Just “Picking and Grinning”

rhcorn

November 1, 2016

What a beautiful day today was. The temperature was in the mid seventies. A small breeze blew and the sun shined overhead all day. The corn husked easily and the horses worked perfectly. After a late start getting things ready, I still managed to get two loads picked and put into the crib. Many thanks to friends and some family. We could pick four rows at a time. So every round got us out of the tracks from the last load.

The ground is very soft from recent rains. My corn is spotty due to a goof at planting time. The weeds too are a bit out of hand from our summer drought, but ears I am getting are large and easy to pick. The horses are sinking in a little, but the wagon, not too much. Because we get to move over with each round, the field should be in great shape once the job is done.

I am picking this corn by hand. I like to do it that way anyway, but this year with the soft ground, I am especially happy to be doing it. I am avoiding calling the field muddy, because so far it isn’t, not for horses anyway. If I was using a tractor, I would be buried up to the axles with no hope in sight. Thanks to my horses, I am picking and grinning!



Opened the field
October 31, 2016, 10:45 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

2016corn

October 31, 2016

Some people spent today working on Halloween decorations. Me, I worked on several projects, but opening the corn field was my most important one. I have to pick around the field so that the horses and wagon can fit between the fence and the row I will be picking. This year I will be picking with a “two row, one man” picker. In other words, I will pick down two rows by hand while the horses move the wagon ahead as I ask.

This small load in the picture I picked by hand, while my wife drove the side by side ahead of me. I will never win a corn husking contest, but the work goes pretty quick. The horses make the job fairly easy. Especially this year with all of our recent rains making the field very muddy. The horses don’t get stuck and only the wagon will make ruts.

Once the field has been picked, the cows will be turned into the field to eat the fodder. Fodder is the remaining plant, husks and all. The cows will graze it down pretty well. A sow will also graze with the cows. She will eat any corn the cows and I miss as well as, weeds and grass around the edges. This field will be plowed in the spring, so all winter the animals will exercise on this sacrificial plot until spring.

My hands will get rough and sore. The ends of my fingers may split. I will probably get a few paper like cuts from the dry leaves, but my heart swells with every load. There is nothing like a corn harvest, planted, tended and picked by hand. It’s only three acres, but the crib will be full and I will have enough….a guy can’t ask for much more than that!



Hiding in Plain Sight
June 27, 2016, 9:39 am
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

steereggs

June 27, 2016

I parked the skid steer in my son’s barn. He has five pullets just starting to lay. They usually hide their eggs behind an old gate against the barn wall. Apparently, they were looking for a new hiding spot. They found it on the floor of the skid steer, right between the pedals. Lucky for me, I saw them before stepping into the cab.

I laughed a little at the crazy birds, but then thought about my own stuff hidden in plain sight. Yesterday, I was looking for a hammer that I had been using. That thing was right where I left it, but it took me five minutes to find it, laying there on the workbench. I have looked for my glasses only to find them on my face! Okay, go ahead and laugh, but did you ever lose your car keys?

This past week I sprayed my spotty corn field. It is a little field of about five acres. The planter skipped a few places so there are gaps in my corn. The weeds and especially the grasses were choking out the baby corn plants. I sprayed weedkiller on the offending crop killers. I rarely use a herbicide, choosing to cultivate instead, but this year I got overwhelmed. Using a conventional spray, sparingly, was my course of action.

I borrowed my friends sprayer, but used my horses to pull it. A small gasoline engine powers the pump. The horses provide the traction power. We sprayed the field in under an hour. The weather was hot and muggy. The horseflies were biting and the sweat was dripping, but the horses worked steady and quietly.

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After just a week, the weeds have been killed or set back. The corn has jumped in size and color. I am sure that I will get a crop after all. You see, the corn was there all along…hidden in plain sight.

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