RicelandMeadows


Fingers in the Dirt

Ralphdirt

August 10, 2017

Leaning on my cane, fingers in the dirt is a mental boost for this farmer! It’s been a while since I could “play in the dirt”, if you will. Many farm jobs got put on hold. A few jobs have been done by others. Yesterday, I was able to weed and till this section of raised bed garden. I even planted a cover crop of buckwheat.

Now, this surely is farming small, but my connection with the soil has been made whole again. This whole job took a total of about 20 minutes to complete. Before knee surgery, I would have knocked it out on the way to do something else. I was my whole focus yesterday and I was even tired by the time I had completed it!

I did this entire job by hand using garden tools made by a family business called Homestead Iron. The hand tools are forged and fashioned out of tool steel in a small shop. The shipping part of their business involves using their kitchen table. This is a family business, here in America, in the state of Missouri, owned and run by Mr.& Mrs. Will Dobkins. You can check out their website at WWW.Homesteadiron.com

I am amazed at just how nice these tools were to use. They are just the right weight. They are sharp and well balanced. They fit my hand well and the angle of the blade is perfectly aligned for working the dirt. These are made like tools were made in the “olden days”. I’m talking about the time when the guy making the tool used them too. Most of the junk tools available today are bulky, heavy, not sharp and not anywhere near ergonomically friendly. It’s easy to see that many of today’s tool manufacturers never had to use one all day long!

Friends, I am endorsing the tools made by Homestead Iron. They are tools that work for people who work too. The best part is that the guy who forges them uses them too. Each tool is hammered and shaped by one man. His wife answers the phone, sends email and ships the product…from the same kitchen where she feeds her family! This is true American work ethic in action. I urge you to check them out.

Thanks to the Dobkin’s, my day of gardening, though short, was a wonderful experience. The tools they made were a joy to use. The sun shined on my face and a little dirt worked under my fingernails making the whole experience for me nothing short of divine. Due to the recovery time from my knee surgery, I’m not able to farm in a big way yet.┬á Getting my fingers in the dirt sure helped my healing…mentally and physically!

 



Procrastination, Motivation and Determination
September 14, 2016, 8:57 pm
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

gardentobed

September 14, 2016

Over the last three days, my wife and I have accomplished much around the yard and garden. Many of the jobs we did were long overdue. I used the weedeater in places that I hadn’t touched all summer! I trimmed bushes and hedges that really needed a “haircut”! I weeded beds that forgot what the hoe even felt like. We chopped, trimmed, dug mowed and sweated like people possessed.

The summer flew by, as we did farm work, chopped wood, and took care of animals. Somehow, while I was immersed in farm work, the gardens and flowerbeds went WILD. I walked by and simply turned my head knowing that I would get to it sooner or later. Our neglected garden was simply pitiful. Honestly, I was ashamed of my laziness.

I sat down and we outlined an attack plan. I also decided to do away with a couple things that didn’t work for us. We tore out three raised garden beds. I kept the ones with our berry plants, asparagus and rhubarb planted in them. The ones that I thought would make gardening easier, I ripped out and salvaged the lumber. They turned out to be labor intensive, hard to mow around and constant suckers of energy.

We also renovated an old perennial flower bed. The grasses had started to choke out the flowers. I had tried weedblock, mulch and this year, the weedeater but I just don’t have time to make it look like it should. We will now be mowing up to the fence, as the whole thing has been planted to grass. The last order of the day was to work up the garden space and plant a cover crop of rye. The gardens and flowerbeds are now all ready for winter.

It is great to have this behind us. I am training a new horse and will be soon working up a field and planting speltz. The corn crop is drying nicely and the harvest will soon be at hand. I can now look forward to those things, working horses and just enjoying this farm.

flowerbedrenovate

Bye bye flowers, hello grass….shhhhh, don’t tell anyone…the fence needs painted!



And So It Grows…
August 24, 2015, 10:30 pm
Filed under: August 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
The gardening season nears it's end

The gardening season nears its end

August 24, 2015

Our new (this year) raised bed gardens performed very well in spite of the June floods and the recent lack of rains. We have been dry for over six weeks. The weatherman says we are three inches behind in the rain department. Being able to control the amount of moisture no matter what the weather helped us to grow an abundance of food even though our plots were the smallest we have ever grown.

I am pulling out the plants that are done producing. The tomatoes, a few peppers, some winter squash and a cantaloupe vine are all that remains. I am about to plant cover crops in the vacant beds. This cover will put our garden to bed for…dare I say it?… Winter! While there is still plenty to do, one must stay focused on the northern sky, where Old Man Winter and Jack Frost are plotting their chilly plans ­čś«

Next week we will plant a few things. Any month with and “R” in it is the time for planting trees, shrubs and most perennials. I need to plant all of the above and will even try boldly to relocate our strawberry bed. The horses and I will soon be plowing for speltz, but I am holding out a little longer for some┬ásoil softening rain. The water will make the plow pull easier and believe me, we are a very long way from being too wet to plow. The soil and the weather rule and guide a farmer…that is just the way it grows.