RicelandMeadows


The Scramble Towards Fall

September 6, 2021

As we make the dash towards fall and the coming harvest, we still take some time for fun. Hank and Sam (the dog) play a game at turnout every night. Sam is not allowed to chase the horses. Hank knows that Sam is not allowed, so he plays tough guy showing off for his lady friends. Sam bolts to the gate, Hank kicks out in protest, a scene played out like teenaged boys full of vinegar!

Once the fake boxing match is over, peace comes to the pasture. Hank and his girls graze contentedly, the work of the day forgotten.

We are also using this recent warm, dry weather to make the last of our second cutting hay. So far so good!

I like this view! It is also nice to have less pressure from biting flies as we work.

The hay is a bit light due to our late harvest of the first cutting, but I am grateful for every mouthful.

The push towards fall is on. The training of our young stock continues. There are no dull moments around here and I wouldn’t have it any other way!



Straw Boss
August 4, 2021, 9:01 am
Filed under: August 2021 | Tags: , , , , , ,

August 4, 2021

I have been working steady trying to get our hay crop finished up during this wet summer of 2021. I am happy to report that our first cutting is finally done….30 days later than normal, but done none the less.

Now the horses and I are staying steady at getting the spelt straw ready to bale. The crop is almost dry enough to complete the job. The field however, is very soft, with standing water still found in places. I am fluffing and flipping the drying straw, hoping the field will dry out enough to hold the tractor and baler without making ruts.

The spelt grain came off very well. I combined over a week ago. The yield was very good, especially considering the wet year. The hay crop planted with the spelt had exploded with new growth. Some areas of the field, the timothy hay heads were taller than the spelt. The combine, thankfully, separated the grain from the weeds and timothy heads very well. Our bin will be nice and full, supplying horse feed for all of the coming year.

The golden windrows of straw are even pretty to look at. The weather is perfect right now, even the flies are tolerable for the horses.

You can see the yellow streak that was once under the straw windrow. I want this job complete soon. The windrows of wet straw can kill the growing hay underneath. I think this will all be fine. My main concern is to get the bales made and off the field without making a bunch of tracks and rutting up the field. It will all turn out OK … it always has. I may have to roll a few ruts or perhaps even disc and reseed a portion or two. Such is the life of a farmer and the reason why it is much better to work with nature, rather than being a “know it all” Straw Boss, demanding my own will. Mother Nature will humble the strongest man. Patience and persistence will get the crop in for sure.

I need to be more like Sam our Border Collie. He takes everything in stride. He relaxes when he isn’t working, yet he is always ready to pounce on a job. My pouncing days are few, but I am getting better at relaxing :o)



The Seeds in an Apple
Bree of Riceland 12-12-2020

December 15, 2020

The old saying goes; Anyone can count the seeds in an Apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. That is a profound statement. I believe it to be true. Apply it to daily life. As I look at my young horses, I wonder how they will turn out. I do my best to train and nurture, but things can happen. I hope for the best as I work hard to instill trust and confidence into the young ones. I maintain that level of trust in my broke teams. Patience is not always easy, but it is always necessary.

In the above photo taken of Bree of Riceland being led by our son, I can’t help but be amazed at her growth. Nine months ago, she was a little girl learning to wear a halter and stand tied just a few days after her birth.

She learned to tie and lead very quickly. She has been a challenge at times because of her intelligence. She is a very smart horse who learns quickly. She also tries to outsmart me once in a while. As long as I correct bad behavior quickly, she yields. If I let her do something even twice, then she thinks that she is in charge and never has to do it my way again! She will be a great addition to our working horses because she likes routine. Do it the same every time and she is happy…change things up…not so much!

In this photo, my current main team, Amee and Abby taken when they were young fillies. Their owner at the time Joe Cervanka stands proudly with his “Lakeview” babies. I am sure that he wondered how these girls would turn out and where they would end up. Well Joe, they turned out great and ended up as foundation mares for our breeding program at Riceland Meadows. They are more than that though; they are my partners in powering the farm!

They are a joy to work. They make my farm days fun. I look forward to a bright future working these fine animals. It is my hope to help advance and promote these rare Suffolk horses. The farmers, who for over 400 years, have bred and preserved their fine qualities could obviously see “the apples in the seed”. I am grateful to those visionaries. I hope to continue in their strict adherence to old style qualities, to breed, train and love these great beasts of burden. They deserve every effort that I can manage to give them.



Corn Harvest 2020
Abby, Amee and me

October 10, 2020

The corn harvest is going very well so far this fall. The ground is dry instead of our usual mud at harvest time. The Suffolk horses are doing a great job and the corn is husking fairly easy.

I added a nose guard on Amee. Its a wire basket that keeps her from eating corn the whole time we are working. I wouldn’t mind if she grabs a leaf or stalk once in a while, but she is a hog! The worst thing is, she gets her head into the next row, then when I ask them to move up, she heads down the wrong row! This did not please me at all!

The wire basket cured her bad behavior. She now walks and stops just as expected with no unexpected movement of the wagon as I walk alongside. They have settled in and are doing great.

We pick 8 to 12 rows a day. My cousin has been helping me do it. We share laughs and chuckles along the way. We also enjoy finding the different colored or very large ears. It has been a wonderful season so far!

Time for a late lunch



It’s Dinner Time
May 25, 2020, 10:40 pm
Filed under: May 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

4dinner

May 26, 2020

As we celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic, good food, friends and family, lets not forget the men and women who died making it all possible.

My gang of four, all of them grabbing a bite to eat on the way to the big pasture. It has been a crazy time with babies, weather and heat cycles. Heat cycles in the weather and in our open mare Amee. We got her an ultrasound to make sure that all was well with her female parts. We got the green light to move towards breeding her.

Orchardhillredblaze

So, this handsome redhead came to visit. I am pleased to say that their honeymoon went well. They are now just enjoying vacation time as the calendar days count down to 21. Once we know that Amee is settled and in foal, this redheaded stranger will be headed back home. His name is Orchard Hill Red Blaze

Hopefully, we will see another Suffolk Punch baby here on the farm next April.



Changes along with the Weather
March 28, 2020, 10:58 am
Filed under: March 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

a&a3272020

March 28, 2020

Last night after chores, I took the mares for a walk through the woods. The mare on the left will foal in the coming weeks. I like to keep her exercised daily. These quiet walks are good for us all.

As we all face many changes due to the COVID-19 virus, quiet time, alone is good for us all. We are going through many changes here on the farm as well. My black Percheron horses are making their ways to new homes. It is a tough thing for me, but I see much opportunity in our change to the endangered Suffolk breed.

These horses continue to please me. I am excited to start the farm year with them. They will pick up where the blacks left off, after maternity leave of course!

blackabby32020

Our Percheron mare Abby has gone off to “finishing school”. I have a friend in the nearby Amish community who also has a single black mare for sale. They look very nice together. We will get them all worked down and dolled up to show off all of their best traits, then put them in a draft horse sale in Topeka Indiana. The sale is scheduled for June. Abby will be headed there, unless I sell her private before then.

Today, the rain is sure making things wet. It started raining last night at dark and is still falling steady. It is supposed to continue all day. Perhaps it is just a preview of our normal April showers? Let’s pray we have a good planting season and normal growing season. We are due, but we know who is in control. We will plan, prepare and be ready to go once the time has come.



What a Thanksgiving!
November 27, 2019, 8:48 pm
Filed under: November 2019 | Tags: , , ,

KHandJakes

November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving, a day, set aside, for giving thanks. What an awesome time to pause and reflect on the past year. My list is long and filled with memories, people and things. In the photo above, our youngest son drives our horses giving his children a ride. It is things like this that makes my heart soar.

We have family close and far. It is a wonderful thing to think about each of them doing what they love to do. We have a few family members that have gone to the eternal table above. We remember them fondly too.

November comes to a close with family and friends gathering to eat, meet and talk. It is my hope that all of them will give thanks and share a memory of what they are thankful for. I am most thankful for my family. We have quirks, ripples and rifts along with faults and shortcomings, but I love and am thankful for each and every one of them.

Let’s all find the good in every day. Celebrate a little all year long for the little things…like a beautiful sunset 🙂

sunset112019



Fall, Friends, and Field Trips
October 27, 2019, 2:36 pm
Filed under: October 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

fallsugar2019

October 27, 2019

In this blurry picture of our sugarhouse, you can see the autumn leaves. The color was late in coming this year, but after a couple hard frosts, the trees draped themselves in wonderful colors. I shot this picture on a cool morning at sunrise. Autumn has arrived!

I have just begun to pick our field corn crop. It needed a bit more drying, but now is ready to harvest. We had a rainy weekend, that made me rest and reset. I guess it’s sometimes good for all of us to just be still.

I managed to attend two major draft horse sales in our area. The Lake Erie Draft Colt Sale in Burton, Ohio was the first. The three-year-old filly in the picture below, brought over $6000.00. Great sale, good horses and cool weather.

burtonblack

Then last Thursday and Friday, I attended the Buckeye Draft Horse sale in Dover, Ohio. I hauled horses and friends as we supported the sale. There were many nice horses to feast your eyes upon. They came in all colors, shapes and sizes. A weanling Percheron filly sold for $24,000.00 in Dover, topping the sale!

suffolkstud

I also visited a friend in southern Ohio last week, who owns this chunky Suffolk Stallion. He is a great horse with a quiet disposition. I had gone to see his owner, because I bought a wagon from him. I plan to convert the old hay wagon into a hayride wagon for the farm.

Corn picking is on my mind and will fill my days in the near future. In the meantime, it was nice to enjoy the autumn splendor, in the company of friends and good draft horses.



Working Around the Dew

compost42019

September 9, 2019

The heavy dew stays on the grass and hay until very late morning, almost lunchtime. The horses and I are filling that wet time in with compost spreading. Abby got her first voyage with the power cart a couple days ago. She couldn’t have cared less. The running engine and flinging poop didn’t bother her in the least.

adogslife

We could finally rake the second cutting hay for the first time. It is thin, but will make some very good feed. The cows and sheep will really enjoy the sweet, high protein hay during the cold, windy days of late winter. Sam, the dog, goes with me everywhere. He thinks that he is the inspector of all that I do.

KNIGHT10819

Knight poses for a photo. He was working with Abby on the hay rake. He keeps her in line. He teaches her much by just being himself, the steady worker. He is my main man. I think I can do almost anything as long as he is there with me.

So, we continue to work on the hay. I believe we will be able to bale it up later this afternoon. The compost pile is getting smaller and a few other things are getting done, as I spend the mornings, working around the dew.



Seconds Anyone?
September 6, 2019, 12:35 am
Filed under: September 2019 | Tags: , , ,

secondcut2019

September 6, 2019

The weatherman says a stretch of good weather, without rain is upon us. I cut the last field of second cutting hay. The boys did a great job. They settled into a nice walking pace and pulled the mower effortlessly. The grass and clovers were just right for clipping. I think this will make some real nice hay.

The dew stays on the grass a bit longer on September mornings than in the heat of summer. The sun doesn’t get quite as hot, but I think the hay will cure and dry nicely in spite of this early fall weather. We will be diligent in fluffing and turning it, to aid in the drying process.

This hay will make a yummy treat in the cold, dark days of winter. The sweet, soft grass will provide added protein needs for the livestock. They like the sweet hay and will lick up every morsel. I give it sparingly to all but the horses. It is simply too rich for the draft horses. They will be content and stay in good condition on our first cut timothy hay…and oats of course.

We have a few busy days in front of us, but once its done, we are done with haying for the year. We can clean and lubricate the machinery for winter storage. Its looking like we will be working on hay and plowing for speltz at the same time. I hope that the fall planted speltz, are in the ground and growing by the end of the month. That will just leave the corn harvest to complete before the snow flies….funny to be talking about making hay and snow in the same post, but then again, this is northeast Ohio!