RicelandMeadows


Creatures From The Black Lagoon
June 25, 2018, 7:45 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

mudface

June 25, 2018

The other evening our son and his family came for a visit. Two of the grandkids went swimming in our farm pond. Being the crazy kids that they are, they took mud from the pond bottom and covered their faces. It was “yucky” to watch, but they had a great time.

A childhood memory flashed through my mind as I watched them. My father and a group of family members were swimming in grandpa’s pond. My dad went deep to swim under someone. When he surfaced, his chest and belly were as black as my granddaughter’s face. I remember everyone laughing, just as I was laughing at my grandchildren. Making memories is what life is all about!

seahair

They even found “seaweed” to make long green locks of hair. The kids had a ball. My dog Cinch waited fairly patiently to play catch. I watched and laughed while reflecting upon the past too. A farm pond with its muddy bottom, just struck a chord in my memory. I am blessed to have had a simple childhood….it is good to see these children are too!



The Lives We Touch
June 21, 2018, 1:48 pm
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

kinfarm

June 21, 2018

My granddaughter was playing farm with Grammy, while her daddy, older brother and I sorted sheep. She set up a corral and placed the animals as she wished. The next thing she did, was give each one a bale of hay to eat. I guess following us around the barnyard feeding chickens corn and such, makes her understand animal husbandry.

Once the sheep had been sorted, my grandson joined his sister in the farm play. He built a feedlot. If you look to the lower right-hand of the photo, you will see a block sitting on top of the others. That block is the gate. Each animal had to walk through the gate. Again, understanding the movement of farm animals is not an easy task, yet my not quite 4 year-old grandson , “get’s it”.

lilfeedlot

I hadn’t really thought about it much, just how often other’s learn from us. I was helped by my other son’s children load chickens into the trailer for a trip to freezer camp. They were gentle. They were quick and they understood perfectly where the chickens were headed. They had raised the flock from chicks. The connection of farm to table is firmly embedded in their daily lives. I am very proud of them.

I try to goof off a little too. In the photo below, three generations of Rice’s catch polywogs in the water trough! I can remember my sons at four years old doing the same thing. Life is short. The days are long…but the years are short.

polywogs

I am blessed to share my life and my stories with my family and folks all over the world. Thanks in part to TV, the Internet, magazines and books…but nothing is better than face to face interaction. I hope to always be positive and kind, because the lives we touch are precious! The time we share is priceless and the memories we make last forever.



Spring Chores
May 8, 2018, 2:04 pm
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

hammeringJohn

May 8, 2018

Our spring continued to be evasive. Long hours and too many days at my off farm job has caused delays in getting into the fields. It’s no big deal. The soil is just starting to warm and dry enough to work it anyway. I am spending time with family, especially the little ones.

My grandson continues to like blacksmithing. He is coming along very well. He started banging and bending horseshoe nails. He has now moved up to steel stock. He likes the coal forge and turning the blower crank, but hammering hot iron is his favorite!

Two of our grandchildren live here on the farm with us. They live next door, but seek out Pa-pa and Grammy often. They like feeding the chickens ear corn. They would shell corn until the chickens burst, but understand why we don’t.

sissychick

So spring is here…finally. The horses and I will soon be in the fields. The animals are grazing spring pastures, but are still munching a little hay. The leaves on the trees are starting to pop. Most of the shedding winter coats is a memory and garden planting looms on the horizon. I can’t say that I have wasted one minute…but it is sure time for Spring Chores.



The Things We Do For Love
April 5, 2018, 10:23 am
Filed under: April 2018 | Tags: , , ,

easter2018

April 5, 2018

I do not care how tough or cool you are….when an almost 2 year-old tells you to put on Easter bunny ears…you do it!

As I write this post, I am reminded of how love makes the world go around. Of course there is love of family and friends, that goes without saying. I also think jobs like birthing baby animals, mucking stalls and making maple syrup are all labors of love. There is not a lot of profit in any of those jobs, but there is joy in all of them…at least for me!

When I drain a tractor rut in such a manner where the water runs across the grass instead of washing mud quickly into a stream, it pleases me. When I pull fallen tree limbs out of a small stream or cut a big undesirable tree, releasing saplings of hard maple or oak to thrive in the newly opened spot, I am also pleased. I know that I am doing things that will in time offer big rewards.

When I play with a small child or teach them something new, I can also see the promise in the future. We took two of our grandchildren to a movie last week. Our eight year-old grandson held the door for us and some other people as well. Both of them said please and thank you. I was very proud, not only of them, but of their parents as well.

All of us need guidance and love. When it is my turn to provide these things, I do my very best. Reaping the seeds of what you have sown can be a wonderful thing. I feared that I worked too much when our kids were little. Seeing the generations from the children we raised, makes my heart soar. Apparently, I spent enough time to show the way, offer advice and live by example. None of the time was wasted.

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to blend a big family. I didn’t always do things right, but I never quit trying. My wife and I are surrounded with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. They are our labor of love. They are worth every minute that we spend with them! This farm anchors us all. I hope to continue to show, teach and share with all of them…how life truly depends upon six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains….. All that love stuff is the fun parts!



Fire in the Forge
January 20, 2018, 9:00 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

fireinforge

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.



Forging into the New Year
December 31, 2017, 1:12 pm
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

forgesetup

December 31, 2017

What a year 2017 has been for all of us here at the farm and around the country as well. I, of course, have been outfitted with two new knees. The farm has three new building additions. The feedlot was expanded. The female animal numbers have been increased for future breeding prospects with the sheep and cattle…and Abby the Percheron too I guess. The forge shop is all set up for useful future projects and a little fun too. These things make me happy, but one of the most wonderful things that happened in 2017, was having all of our family present at one time, to break bread and make memories! It was awesome and will be repeated at least annually from now on.

We got the forge shop all set up last week. I warmed the chimney and built the first fire in the forge. My sessions are very short, but positive none-the-less. Yesterday, I played around and made a tiny cowboy hat paperweight.

cowboyhat1

It was fun to make this little trinket. I have much to learn, but I had a good time. I even felt a little productive!

2018, will be here in a few hours. I wish for all of my readers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I pray that you can fill it with family and friends. The older that I get, the more I realize that family and friends are what truly matters in life…everything else is fluff. Sure, we need jobs and we have to make a living…but don’t get so caught up in making a living that we forget to make a life!            Happy New Year Everyone!



And So It Continues…
December 23, 2017, 10:35 am
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

hammeringjohnny

December 23, 2017

As a small farmer, especially one who uses draft horses for much of our farm’s power requirements, it is thrilling when a son, grandson or any family member asks me how to do something. I get asked questions about gardening, animal husbandry, woodlands, and many things relating to the vocation that I love. When my grandson John asked me about forging, I was pleased.

I can’t really do too much yet due to my recent knee replacements, but I managed to sit in the shop and guide John as he made some hooks out of horseshoe nails. I got him a hammer better sized for him. Pliers took the place of a set of tongs. Our heat source was a propane torch. That small torch supplied ample heat to make the thin nails red hot, much to the delight of my grandson.

In no time at all he had mastered the skill of hitting a target with the hammer multiple times in the same spot. He is a fan of the television show, “Forged In Fire”. He was sure hammering steel was an easy task, he soon learned differently. As his skills improved, he moved on to using a pair of needle nosed pliers to scroll the hot metal into hooks. After just a couple lessons from me, he had it. He did a great job for a seven year old boy who had never set foot in a shop.

I am sure that we have discovered a “thing” to do. Sure we will talk about metal and projects, but we will also talk about how to treat a woman, the value of giving and keeping your word, the power in an honest man’s eye and that thanks to God above, men as well as steel, get second chances. I hope to guide him as he becomes a man.

I am so blessed to have been able to bond with many, in special relationships. I have taught skills, exposed some to unknown adventures that became life passions and kept a few from doing bad things. I am grateful for these connections. I look forward to passing on my skills, my experiences, my advice and my lifestyle, especially to lose I love and who love me back. The fact that I get to share with folks outside of the family is a wonderful thing as well.

I am elated when I get a note from a friend who has just butchered his first farm raised pig or ate a meal from their garden. I like it when someone lets me know how much they appreciate me helping them make a plan for their woodlot or lay out a farming plan. I gathered my knowledge over time and from folks who could stand the questions from a little boy, and trialing those things in my own life. It is my life’s mission to share these things as often as I can…..and so it continues!