RicelandMeadows


Signs of Summer
June 8, 2019, 10:07 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

foggysunrise

June 8, 2019

The sun came up through the fog this day. It was a warm morning, as the sun started to peek through. The hay stands ready for mowing, but the weather is a bit unstable. I struggled with the decision to cut the standing grass or wait for dryer days. The weathermen have lost their ability to forecast the weather. I think they are trying to predict for too large an area, but whatever it is, for us, they don’t come close very often.

I decided, based on wisdom from an old farmer friend who once told me, ” if you don’t cut it, it will never dry”, to just go for it. I mowed the first field of about 3 acres. It’s looking like the Lord may wash it once before I get it cured and rolled up, but it will still make feed for the cows. In another bit of country folklore the adage of, “it’s better than snowballs” will play in here. The hay may lose a little quality, but it will make feed.

haymowing2019

The horses and new mower did a good job. The mower worked like a sewing machine. It ran quiet. Its sharp blades slicing through the standing grass making a swishing sound. The horseflies started to bite about the time we were finishing up. I even was able to relearn the seasonal job of running the mower while driving the horses. Once they settled in to a nice gait, the job went very smoothly.

The cutter bar on my #9 regular gear mower, measures six feet in length. A round of the field pares it down by twelve feet. It didn’t take long to make short work of this field. A sign of summer is surely the sight of freshly mowed hay. The smell that comes from the lush, curing hay, is sweet and pleasing. Summer is about the bust upon the scene. All the work of harvesting hay, cultivating corn and mowing pastures will soon be in full swing. I will try to be ready, trusting in my own judgement, and predicting weather like a weathermen…after all I only have to be right part of the time!



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.

cornplanting32019

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.

cornplanting42019

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!

deadfurrow2019

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



Working At It
May 20, 2019, 9:32 am
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

KAHplowing22019

May 20, 2019

Here we go again! The rains are still trying to keep us out of the fields, but a breezy day and warm sunshine dries things out fast. We have two wet places that would stop a tractor, but the horses plow right through.

Many farmers are getting very worried as planting days are held off by the weather. Much of our areas field work has not even been started. We are playing catch up ourselves. The horses, are soft from all those days off due to the rain, so I have to go slowly with plenty of breaks. I’m fine with that. We are making progress and that is what counts.

I am pleased with our efforts so far. The horses are working good together. This much horsepower makes everyone’s job easier. It looks like we will be able to plow for at least the next two days, but who knows? We will just take it in stride and work steady. Slow is steady, steady is fast.

The hay fields are growing quickly. Looks like as soon as the corn gets planted, we will be shifting gears and begin the work of making hay. Farm life is full of ups and downs, but a man is never bored!

num91

The new haymower…..soon it will get its debut.



Water Water Everywhere
May 13, 2019, 10:48 am
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

sprinplow2019evener

May 13, 2019

Well, another half inch of rain in the last twenty-four hours. More is forecast for the next several. The mud is everywhere and spring work is stalled. I am sure some guys are getting very stressed. I am taking it in stride. The weather is something we cannot control. Patience is tested, but better to focus on making sure everything is ready to go, once the weather breaks.

We have things ready, I think. The planter is ready. The harrows and drags are ready. The horses and I are ready too. In the meantime we watch the grasses grow, the flowers bloom and the baby lambs being born. Warn dry days will soon be here, we just have to wait.



2019 Oats Planted
May 10, 2019, 10:22 am
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

k&hspring2019

May 10, 2019

The recent rains have made the pasture grasses and hay fields grow. They have also delayed most field work for us farmers. We got a quick dry out over the last few days. I worked quickly to try and get our forage oats planted. Forage oats are a leafy oat plant that we sometimes grow for pasture or hay. I hope to use this years crop for hay.

The soil was marginal on Tuesday, but I managed to disc over it all once. I incorporated last years corn stubble and the applied compost. It was too wet to make another pass, so we moved on to other projects.

The sun was very warm on Wednesday with a stiff breeze blowing. I walked out and check the field. It was better, but still too wet for any field work.

oats12019

Thursday morning, the wind was blowing stiff, the temperature was hot, almost 80F.  I scrambled to disc the whole plot again. It was amazing at how much the soil had dried. It was still wet in places and I made a few ruts.

oats22019

We broadcast the oat seed on the disced ground, using my homemade spinner seeder. I spun the oats on at a rate of 4 bushels to the acre. Once the broadcasting was done, I rolled the whole field with a large roller. It is not the best job that I have ever done, but the oats are in. The rain started falling again, just as I put the last tool away.

oats32019

The hope now is for a crop to make hay. I am thankful that the field dried, the rain held off and that I was able to stay on track. This job can now be scratched off the list. Once the soil dries out again, we can get back to the job of plowing. Abby (our filly) is still out for breeding at her husband’s place. We missed her yesterday. I am also thankful for our mixed powered farm. I used the tractor yesterday in the heat and rush of trying to beat the rain. The horses did inspect my job and I think they approved.



As The Soil Turns
April 24, 2019, 8:48 pm
Filed under: April 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

plowday42419

April 24, 2019

Almost like a soap opera, we continue to plow our old pasture. We will be planting our 2019 field corn here. The corn is used for animal feed. I am taking my time. The going is a bit slow because the horses are soft from a long winter break of not much work. I have also been delayed by our rainy weather. No matter, we will finish in time.

Today, my youngest son visited with me for a bit. He climbed on the seat for a couple of lessons. He made a few rounds. I think he realized that there is a little more going on than it looks like. He did well. The horses have been driven by him often, but not on the plow. Once he sorted things out, it went good. I’m sure a little more time in the seat is needed, before he will be confident. I just hope that I can continue to help him learn.

jakekah2019

There is not much of a better feeling, than when you are passing along knowledge. I am pleased that he wants to learn some of these old ways. I have taught butchering, woodland management, hunting, gun safety, gardening, animal husbandry and a host of other things to my children and friends. I am always thankful that I can pass what I know along to others. These things that I know are gifts from God and a whole lot of folks who could tolerate the questions from an inquisitive mind.

I encourage you dear reader, to teach a skill that you possess to another. It can be a small child, a neighbor or a dear friend, but it is a gift that keeps giving! So, the next time you want to give someone a piece of your mind, smile and give without drama, without agenda and without wondering if you’ll ever get paid back. The feeling is wonderful.



Turning Over the Sod
April 9, 2019, 9:58 am
Filed under: April 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

KAHplowing2019

April 9, 2019

Yesterday, with the help of my friend Marvin, I got started with my 2019 plowing job. It was a little wet, but this is the day we could make it happen. I wanted the help just in case Abby decided that she didn’t like the job. No worries, she did perfect. I still very much appreciated the help.

Sod is very forgiving. Also, I’m pretty sure that we will still get some cold nights below freezing. The freeze and thaw will break up any ground that was plowed too wet. The horses and I will work on this plot a little each day along with other work. This was their very first time plowing together and Abby’s fourth time working in a three-horse-hitch. I am pleased with how it all turned out.

Springplowing2019

I took this photo while I was standing in the wettest part, but the intent was to show that we got a good, straight start. This is very much due in part to planning and the help of my friend. I paced the field off to layout the back furrows and dead furrows. Now, to just keep it straight as we go.

I hope to plant corn here for the animals. The long rows will be cultivated with the horses in the same manner of old farmers long ago. I hope to do them proud. The weather and time push a guy on that job. It will also be time for cutting hay when the corn will need weeding, so balance and time management become a huge issue.

The stress of haying season can wait for now. I will sit on the plow seat and listen to the birds sing, the horse’s harness rattle and creak, while the harness bells chime a spring melody. This music cheers my spirit and warms my heart. Spring has sprung!