RicelandMeadows


Dashing Through the Snow
January 19, 2023, 8:58 pm
Filed under: January 2023 | Tags: , , , ,

January 19, 2023

This week we had some old fashioned fun. We hooked our new to us mare with our Amee and went for a sled ride. We haven’t had much snow this year, so it was nice to not be playing in the mud! Rosie, our new mare did great. She worked as good as I could have hoped. We pulled our laughing grandchildren behind the sled on their own little sled. All the noise, squeals and laughter made for a good time for me and bothered the horses not one bit.

We used the beautiful day to further Hank’s training some too. Hank, with the stripe, is our coming 4 year-old stallion. Here he works with Abby, pulling a training tire and my grandchildren on their sled. The noise didn’t bother Hank either. He took the day in stride too It was a wonderful time for us all.



Winter Storm Brewing

December 20, 2022

It is a beautiful day today. It is wintery and cold, but the sun keeps peeking through the clouds. We don’t have as much snow as in this picture from a couple years ago, but it is coming. The weatherman says our high’s will be in the single digits F. Brrr, I have been making preparations, but still have a ways to go. I am still battling from the winter virus, so I am weak and get winded easily. It makes me wonder how Santa does all that jumping in and out of a sleigh with his big belly?!

Looks like we will be trapped indoors a bit while the cold snap wreaks havoc outside. It is a good time for training youngsters and socializing babies. The winds can howl while we enjoy the warmth and comfort of the barn, mixed with the wonderful smell of horse!

Soon we will be playing in the snow, but for now it is a rest, drink and heal kind of day. We will take the storm head on and find much to be thankful for as we watch the weather outside and listen for sleighbells in the air!



Beautiful October Day

October 29, 2022

We debuted our 3-seat Limo. We escorted our granddaughter on her wedding day. It was a beautiful day.

The horses were pretty in their braids and shiny coats, but the bride was stunning. She was the star of the show.

We swung around in between the trees and delivered the bride to an aisle raked from the leaves. Lanterns hung on shepherd hooks and lit her path. Traditional words were spoken, vows were said and tears were shed…it was a beautiful day. Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Zach Fraily (Our little Brittany)



Garden Harvest 2022

August 8, 2022

What a great reward for a little bit of work! Our gardens are in full swing, giving us produce almost as fast as we can pick it. I know that it is the same every year, but it never fails to make me humble. A little work, some seeds, topsoil and rain and a heaping scoop of God’s blessing and wow, what a harvest.

We are canning and freezing and keeping up. Hat’s off to my wonderful, hard working wife for her efforts. I do some of the dirty work, fetch and get, pick, husk and peel, but she makes the magic happen. She puts a little love in every single quart. I think that love is the secret ingredient that gets passed from generation to generation and crosses family lines. I say this because the food put up by my mom, my grandmothers and most anyone who takes the time do it correctly, tastes wonderful. It tastes like “home”. It fills your belly and warms your heart at the same time.

The work caused by growing one’s food, is a satisfying job. The sweaty brow, the dirty , sticky hands are just part of the experience. We involve our children and grandchildren, trying our best to pass on the love for land, wholesome food and a lifestyle that is a blessing. There is no work in a job when your heart is happy.

We still take time for fun! Maggee, at four months old, growing fast. She is shedding her baby hair. She will soon be weaned from mom. She gets lots of attention, as do all of our horses, but babies are so much fun! We mix work with fun, that balance makes everything better!



Herd Sire Hank

May 23, 2022

Hank, quietly grazing with his small herd. The baby filly pays him no mind as she slumbers nearby.

Hank has a wonderful demeanor. He is always on the lookout for danger and also for flirty girls, but responds well to my voice. He brings the herd to the barn and is social with the farm’s visitors.

Our newest filly Maggee gets the run of the barn during the day. She visits Hank, who softly grooms the youngster.

Magee pays him back as she learns to also groom just the right spot.

This amazed me the first time that I saw it happen. Most studs may not think so kindly of a bothersome youngster, but Hank takes it all in stride. I think this action is just one more example of the Suffolk breed. I can say for sure that I am looking forward to seeing this level headed behavior in Hank’s offspring.



Mama’s Day
May 9, 2022, 10:24 am
Filed under: May 2022 | Tags: , , ,

May 9, 2022

Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, we spent the day touching base with family and enjoying a little horse time. My wife Connie spent a little bonding time with our 5 week old filly Maggee.

We put most of the horse herd together. Our two year old and our yearling fillies are in in a different pasture. The rest of the herd, including little Maggee, is all together with the stallion Hank. He inspected all the ladies, chased a couple around for a minute or two, but then all was quiet.

The pastures are rich and the grass is fresh. The horses are enjoying it. The sunshine is wonderful after a dreary rainy month. The pastures are a bit wet, but we needed to get the horses out. Hay is running low. Plus Amee and Maggee need the added nutrition the growing grass provides. The sunshine too is good for all.

It was a wonderful day. Many successes, including the herd dynamics all working out. By this time next year, we hope for 4 new mamas here at Riceland Meadows, as we work to preserve this critically endangered breed.



Generations
April 28, 2022, 7:34 pm
Filed under: April 2022 | Tags: , , ,

April, 28, 2022

This is a picture of our mare Abby (on the left) with her first born filly Bree on the right. Bree turned 2 years old last week. Bree will start her training in the next few days. The lessons are easy and short, but by next spring, Bree will be a valuable addition to our working horses. She will go to work, while several of the older mares will be on maternity leave.

It is hard to believe that just two years ago we had our first Suffolk Punch baby born on the farm. Our herd has grown since then too. The babies will all be trained to work. It is important that they can do any job on the farm from hauling manure to mowing hay. I can’t even imagine a maple syrup season without the horses pulling the sap sled.

I guess that is how it goes. My great grandfather, my grandfather and my father all farmed. I am farming and my sons all dabble in a part of agriculture. Some are syrup producers, one makes wood products, one raises goats, one got the “horse bug” , all have gardened and they all enjoy small parts of farming. All of our daughters raise chickens and flowers. I have at least passed on my passion for it. I see my grandchildren dabbling in the dirt too and it pleases me.

I love this life and all the rewards that come with it. I feel the love of generations when I go about my daily chores. To see the little ones helping makes my heart happy. So, as Bree starts to work alongside her momma, I will just smile, because that is what we do!



Our 2022 Foal is Here!

April 4, 2022

We welcome our farm’s newest addition, Riceland Meadows Miss Magee. I pronounce it like (Maggie) She was born on April 1 at 11:15 pm. Momma and baby are doing great. She came after a few short nights for me as she and her mom teased me with her arrival time. The sleepless nights were worth it!

In this photo, Magee is about 2 hours old. She is a strong little gal. We like her very much. It pleases us that we are helping to preserve this endangered breed of draft horse. Miss Magee will hopefully help us continue to farm with, breed and raise Suffolk Punch horses. What a blessing to have another little girl.

Magee’s mom and our Abby, helping in the maple woods last month. Mom is now on maternity leave. Her job is to take care of Magee. Magee’s mom is named Amee and she is a honey too!



All Done for 2022 Maple Season

March 21, 2022

Last Thursday, we untapped our maple trees. The warm weather, with no freezing nights has brought an end to our maple syrup season. We pulled the taps from the trees, gathered up our bags for recycle and said thank you to the trees.

Today, I boiled water and started the big job of cleaning up the sticky pans and equipment. It is a job that is sweet, bittersweet! It means putting everything to bed until next year. This year’s season was only 19 days long for us. We did make some very nice syrup, but the season was about half what is normal. That is okay, we will be thankful for what we made.

Our son’s young team of Suffolk horses, Anna and Belle have learned quite a bit this season. They are looking forward to the next jobs of field preparation for the coming crops. It is a busy time, but we take time to listen to the “peepers” and watch for spring flowers. I love this life!



March-ing Forward
March 6, 2022, 7:48 pm
Filed under: March 2022 | Tags: , , , ,

March 6, 2022

The maple season is upon us. Last week we got our pans sweet. This next run will start to yield 2022 maple syrup. It is a crazy, wonderful time of year. I love it.

We spent time today gathering the sap, going tree to tree and collecting from the clear bags. We had all sorts of friends and family helping. We used our youngest son’s horses today to pull the sap gathering sled. They are still youngsters, still in training, but they did an outstanding job.

Our girls watched Jake’s horses as we hooked to the sap sled. Watching are Amee, Abby, Grace and Bree.

Our stallion Hank will soon be on the sap sled too. He works best with our Abby. Since Abby got the day off, so did Hank. He will soon be working and taking it all in stride.

He is growing well. He turns three in April

Sometimes he looks at me as if to say, “What do you want?” I can’t wait for him to change that look to “come on , let’s go!” Soon he will be hauling sap, pulling a few logs and getting plenty of wagon time. The plow is ready and the days of spring are coming fast.

This is our filly Grace. Some of you will remember that she fell down an old hand dug well late last year. She lost about half of her mane in that accident. That was about five months ago. The hair is growing back in quite well and remarkably, it is coming back in her natural color. I was afraid that It might come in white, but nope. It healed very well along with her other bumps and scrapes. God is good!

So, we are marching forward in this month of March Stay tuned for updates and information regarding the farm, maple syrup, horses and our family adventures.