Fire in the Forge
January 20, 2018, 9:00 pm
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January 20, 2018

The weather warmed up today. My uncle and I spent a few hours hammering around in the forge room. We had a fun few hours, laughed a lot and made a few memories. He brought me a bucket of treasure. It was filled with broken saw blades, chunks of steel cutoffs, a lawnmower blade even some lengths of stainless steel rod. I don’t have any idea what they may become, I only know it will be fun to sort it all out.

My uncle is my mother’s older brother. He has always been there for me. He is a busy guy with his own family to look after, but always found time to help me, encourage me and basically watch over me. His younger brother also keeps a close eye on me. I can never thank them enough for their gifts to me…the best gift of all…their time!

So, as we spent time today, it meant a lot to me. We talked about all sorts of stuff, including how much my mother would have enjoyed the hooks we were making. I’m sure she got a kick out of us being together…even today. I know that I sure did.

As I get better at this forging and fabricating stuff, I can see one day I may be able to make some money doing this. I feel as though an ancient Scotchman holds my fist, as I strike with the hammer. I am sure that in my bloodline from the Highlands of Scotland, a blacksmith reigns. This skill comes very easily to me. I can see the finished product in the white hot metal as it comes out of the forge. I am intrigued. I am amazed and I am blessed.

Party Time
October 9, 2017, 12:45 pm
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October 7, 2017

What an awesome day we had Saturday. All of our children, many of our grandchildren and even great grandchildren gathered at the farm for a wonderful day in the country. Our family has grown to a very large group. Saturday over 60 could join us. Like all families, we have our petty problems, but this day, those were set aside for the benefit of my wife and I. We had a wonderful day full to the brim…so full in fact, I little love is rolling down my cheek as I type.

Many of our “city” kids got to touch the animals and this wonderful farm life that we get to live. All of our kids, no matter where they live, got to share in the bounty this farm provides. We, Connie and I, will treasure this day forever. We are a loud, busy crazy group and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

I don’t care where you live, what you do or how far you go…Family is what matters. Also keep in mind…Mom and Dad love you, forever and ever no matter what! This applies to any person, anywhere, any family and any specie……you don’t think so? Try sneaking up on a momma cow to mess with her baby! and if you are a dog…don’t even try to have a conversation with a donkey!

Party Bugs


October 4, 2017

A harvest party will be held here soon. I got the bright idea to make a spider out of a round bale. I kept the old tile pieces just to make this crazy bug. The only problem is, I didn’t keep 8 pieces for the spider’s legs! No big deal. I just fell back on to an old memory instead.

As a child, we played games and grandma’s house. We played Chinese Checkers often, but we also played a game called “Cootie”. The cootie bug only had 6 legs, so I was in luck with our decoration! Our holiday bug would become a Cootie! I also remember that having “cooties” would keep girls away…or at least that is what they told me!

This crazy bug is now calling our lawn home. He is a friendly looking creature, even with his fangs! Hopefully the young ones won’t be scared. I am going to pause often to remember my grandparents and some laughs shared playing a game building bugs. As for having “cooties” ….I must have shed them at some point…thanks goodness!

Farm Wife
August 25, 2017, 10:59 am
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August 25, 2017

My wife grew up in Mentor Ohio. She was a city girl who had moved out to this rural area where we met. She has learned all sorts of things from this country boy. Over the years she has milked a cow by hand, helped castrate animals, deworm and tend to medical animal emergencies. She gardens and processes our food. She is an almost expert parts runner and flashlight holder. (Where I’m looking, he says!)

Where she excels the most is nurturing all creatures, two-legged and four-legged. She closes and opens gates. She hand feeds, bottle feeds and forks hay. She has shoveled more than her share of manure and turned the water off to overflowing water troughs way too many times!

The remarkable part to me is that she does all of those things while keeping a clean house, washing a mountain of clothes, cooking, dish washing and nest building, making our house a home. She keeps her finger on the pulse of our family. She keeps tabs on Facebook, remembers birthdays and such and keeps all of us covered in her homemade quilts.

On Sunday August 27, we will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage. I am not an easy guy to love. I come with baggage, strange smells and a menagerie of farm animals. I can be abrupt to a fault and very bossy. She takes it in stride choosing to look past my faults and into parts of me that I can’t see.

So, today, I will use this public forum to say thank you for not only choosing me, but for staying with me after learning all my faults and shortcomings. Thank you for loving me and my whole brood. Thank you for helping me blend our crazy group even when it seems the wheels have fallen off. You are my hope, my love and my best friend. I ask that you continue to hold my hand as we walk through life. Wherever and however far our journey takes us, together forever no matter what…I will love you.

Because I Said So…
May 2, 2017, 10:09 pm
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May 2, 2017

Those four words still make my hackles stand up! I absolutely hate to hear those words. As a strong willed child, I did hear those words from my mother, quite often. I would try to reason with her, but once she said, “because I said so.”, that was it. There would be no more conversation of any kind. Unless of course I wanted to bring the house down upon myself!

As a parent, years later, I tried not to say those words. I realized that shutting down conversation is never good. I tried to listen to my children’s point of view. I didn’t reason with them very often, but I did try to take the time to explain my decision. If their persistence continued, then I would resort to “the look”. That “look” would also end conversation once I had gotten exasperated.

The difference between my mother’s approach and mine, was that I would revisit the conversation again once we were in neutral territory. I don’t mean to imply that I am a saint. I just wanted to give the other person, even if it was a child, the opportunity to share their opinion. I have been swayed by other’s logic and experiences more than once, by cooling off and listening….even the logic of a child.

Training children, is good experience for training young horses. The young horse has spirit, feelings and heart. They learn by repetition. I also think that kindness goes a long way. Make no mistake, I am in charge and we will do it my way, but I will allow a certain amount of playfulness. I want to train the youngster, not break its spirit. I will sometimes move to neutral territory to continue a lesson. I will look to see if something is out of order, like a sore spot or annoying harness part causing the distraction. I will check for flies, strange objects in view or new noises. I will not force my will at all costs.

I say again, I am the boss. We will do it my way, but I want to lead in such a way as to make the youngster want to please me. When they think its their idea that helps a lot. When they come to know that it is “our” idea, that is where teamwork begins. I could force my will. I could beat or threaten to beat my ideas into them…but that would only serve to make them hate me and it would only make me tired….that would be total failure!

Today’s “take away” is to lead by example. Take time to listen. Look for clues in other’s logic and experiences. Remember, there is more than one way to reach an objective. By softening your stance, you can still be in charge. You will foster teamwork, team building, respect and perhaps even love. So…lighten up! …. because I said so….

New Filly !
April 7, 2017, 9:16 pm
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April 7, 2017

On April fourth, we welcomed our newest granddaughter. She is a spirited filly, of good stock and well bred. Her lineage goes back all the way to Scotland, Wales and Ireland on the grandsire’s side. On the dam’s side she traces back to England and eastern Europe. She is a beauty and a joy to hold!

We have many farm babies at the moment. Spring on a farm is a wonderful thing. New babies, any time of year, in any household are a blessing. I tell you true, we sure are counting ours! Farm work has paused. The weather makes us all wait. This little one came as we stood waiting on the rain. She chose to come when there was no field work to be done…no matter, we wouldn’t have missed her arrival for anything!

Time Marches On
February 27, 2017, 7:28 pm
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February 27, 2017

Our maple syrup season for 2017 is over. This photo, I snapped of my youngest son as he drove the horses back into the woods for another load of maple sap. It is a bittersweet photo for me. He is driving my horses every bit as well as I can. I asked him if he needed any help hitching up. He smiled and said, “Dad after you teaching me for 30 years… I got it.”

He was right. He had everything perfect. The horses can sense when someone is not confident when handling the lines. They were real sure that Jake was in charge. He is quiet with them and uses a soft hand, but they feel his inner strength as he drives them. His thoughts are telegraphed through the leather lines to the bits in their mouths. This gentle guidance along with an encouraging voice, makes for great teamwork of man and horses.

I held my little grandson’s hand as we watched dad go off down the sap road. I was proud and humbled at the same time. The little hand inside of mine made me think back that 30 years ago. I could see my son looking up, asking questions and learning things that I didn’t even know I was teaching. My heart was full to almost overflowing, then my grandson said, “I’m gonna drive your horses some day Pa-Pa” My heart overflowed a little bit as a tear spilled down my cheek.

My how fast time does fly!