RicelandMeadows


Log On
October 18, 2017, 8:46 pm
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

101_0941

October 18, 2017

Yesterday, we were filming for RFD-TV. My son Jake drove the horses in the video. In the photo above, he drives Knight and Hoss, put to the logcart skidding some red oak logs four years ago. They all performed like stars then, just like yesterday.

We hauled out some pine logs. I couldn’t take a picture, as I was cutting trees and logs. The logs we brought out yesterday, will become siding for a wall on the back barn addition. The filming went well. I made and corrected a mistake while felling the first tree. It was good to catch it on film and show what not to do! It’s easy when everything goes right, but we all learn from our mistakes. I know that I do!

The filming took all of yesterday and much of today. We shot enough footage for several episodes for “Rural Heritage” on RFD-TV. The shows will begin airing in early 2018. I’ll do my best to keep you all posted. We had a good time. Miss Abby made her film debut and looked stunning in her black coat. She was joined by a cast of many, even Sgt. Pepper got introduced. It was a great couple of days.



What and Awesome Deal
October 1, 2017, 12:57 pm
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

drillshop

October 1, 2017

After a very frosty morning, I found myself in my old “stomping grounds”. I went to see a man about some old antique equipment. He was pretty sure he had want I needed for my forge shop. I am outfitting the shop with old refurbished equipment from the last century. I like that old stuff and giving it a new life for the purpose it was designed, pleases me.

I took a similar drill to trade. Mine worked, but a broken gear prevented it from being 100% accurate. This one that I traded for will work perfect once I give it some tender loving care. I negotiated with the treasure man for this awesome piece of our history. He looked over the old pieces of steel, but he looked deeper into my soul. He could see that I was genuine. He knew that I would care for the old drills for the rest of my life. He too likes the old stuff.

We talked a bit about this equipment and a couple of other pieces as well. Our discussion wandered over the space of time and events, as we talked of days gone by. It was a great visit. It was fun to see him again. The negotiation went well thankfully, because this man taught me how to negotiate. I didn’t have to match skills, he simply took care of me. I am grateful for my new treasure. They will make a good addition to my forge room. The visit…well, that was priceless.



Farm Wife
August 25, 2017, 10:59 am
Filed under: August 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

farmwife

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.



Homemade, Handcrafted, Shop Made
May 24, 2017, 9:20 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

spreaderfert

May 24, 2017

Yesterday, I spread my fertilizer on the corn ground with my rig pictured above. The spreader is affixed to the axle out of an old Jeep and some small I-beam. My uncle did all the welding. My late friend in Pennsylvania figured the gear ratio. He took the distance in one revolution of the tires and told me what size gear was needed to weld on the shaft coming out of the axle rear end “pumpkin”.

My uncle welded the frame and centered the gear on the rear end shaft. A stub shaft made from pillow block bearings and fitted with stub ends from an old PTO shaft, completed the build. The spreader is just a category one, three point hitch model that I already had. Once the whole rig had been assembled, I tried it out. The horses walk about four miles per hour. My old friend Jonathan had it figured so the speed of the walking horses, turned the power take off at 540 rpm…exactly what the old spreader needed to work at its optimum.

My uncle’s welding days are behind him. My old friend has designed his last piece of homemade equipment. I think of the two of them every time I use this spreader. It gets used often during the growing season. We even spread grass seed on a football field for a community project, to help make a place for some young football players. Because of my uncle and my friend, I was able to “pay it forward” using inexpensive shop built equipment.

Many times in my life I have benefited from someone’s hand made or hand crafted object. The very first leather harnesses that I owned were a gift from my two grandfathers. They each contributed parts to get me a set that would work on two small ponies that I owned. One day, I should compile a list of all the folks who have shown me the greatest love by giving of themselves.

I have slept under homemade quilts all of my life. I still have the last one that my mother and great grandmother made for me. It is well worn and faded, but still held together by the love that made it. My wife quilts for me, our family and others. She works steady and almost tirelessly creating designs in cloth. The love she puts into them will be seen for decades.

I try to always meet people on the level and treat them square. I try to lead with a smile and follow with a good deed. One of the gifts I have, is that of managing the written word. I hope that I can impart a series of words that will touch a heart and stir a fond memory. I hope that long after I am gone, I will still be able to make folks remember a loved one, a favorite event or an old object made by hand with help from the heart.



My Country Life
May 21, 2017, 2:27 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

countrylife

May 21, 2017

As a young boy, I spent many hours playing on a swing such as this. It was tied to a limb on a big maple tree in my grandpa and grandma Rice’s front yard. I remember my dad giving us “underducks” where he would push us very fast and duck under the wooden board swing sending us skyward like a rocket…or so it seemed. The laughter of those happy times still echo in my memories.

My grandchildren and their friends are swinging in the photo above. You don’t see “I-pads, phones or earbuds”, just four children playing using their imagination. I don’t know if they are Jedi Knights, dragon flies or rockets, but even from the photo, I can see they are having fun. This, in my mind, explains my country life.

It is not about material things. It is about bonfires, sled rides, baby lambs and garden vegetables. It is about hard work done together with family, followed by a cold drink or dish of ice cream. It is the simple things like woods walks and lightening bugs, even pollywogs in a jar. The smell of fresh mowed hay or the soft mew of a kitten in the mow of the barn, these are the things that bring joy.

City children play “bottle flip” with water bottles. We drank water from a garden hose, at times from a pump pumped by hand. Water tasted so very good on a hot day after some type of work, especially during haying. One of the most refreshing drinks I ever had, came from a hand dug well. I gulped down mouthfuls of the cool water after having been working on a thrashing machine with my Amish friends. I’m not sure if it was the water or the friendship that made it so sweet, but every swallow made me praise God.

The common denominator in a country life is the country or green space of course, but the real key, is family and friends. Keep in mind, you can have a country life in the city if you choose to do so. Put friends and family first. Hold the door for a stranger. Offer your seat to another. If all else fails, smile. In fact if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. Kindness goes a long way. Being kind does not make you weak, in fact, it probably makes you stronger.

I hope that I can always have time to spare a minute, to listen to a bird sing or listen to the dreams shared by a child. I hope I can dig fishing worms, smell wildflowers and eat strawberries off a dew covered vine for a long time yet. It’s not the amount of days in your life…it’s the amount of life in your days. So, live county my friends!

 

 



Gardening is a Family Affair
August 1, 2016, 4:18 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

JoshBeckgarden

August 1, 2016

Many years ago now, I taught my son and daughter-in-law how to garden. I showed them the basics of how to raise much of their own food. I explained as many things as I could and told them that keeping the weeds out is one of the biggest, yet rewarding jobs.

My son sent me this picture yesterday of their current garden. Over their right shoulders is this years sweet corn. The corn on the other side is “Indian” corn. It is doing remarkable. The bean, potato and tomato plants look lush and green. The weeds are few and the garden truly is something to write about!

My son and his family all work together to have this outside pantry. Everyone helps weed and everyone helps pick the produce. I am proud to see that they choose to be self reliant. The independence that this brings is a wonderful feeling for all of us. My grandchildren smile when they talk about it…and so do I.



Hanging Out
December 17, 2015, 10:19 am
Filed under: December 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

002

December 17, 2015

Many teenagers “Hang Out”, which means goofing off, sitting around and visiting with friends. Around here it means fall butchering! I am in full swing. We are working our way through the family’s pork right now, but beef processing is on the horizon.

It is a wonderful thing to have our washhouse. Cutting meat is easy when you are in out of the weather. Clean up is a snap with running hot water and a big sink. All of our equipment is in one place and laid out for easy use. Yes, I am very fond of our little “slaughterhouse”. We call it the washhouse, because it doubles for a canning kitchen, a maple syrup filter washing and clean up stop and the home of our on farm smokehouse.

I made this seasons first bologna yesterday. I made enough to freeze for lunches later, as well as, plenty to eat now and share with friends. I enjoy the art of sausage making almost as much as the job of sausage eating :o)

I will say that I lose a little sleep, because I take this job serious. Once the sausages start to cook, I babysit the smokehouse until the job is complete. Sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, I can be found red eyed and waiting for a few more degrees on the thermometer. It’s worth it though, when I pull slab bacons, bolognas and cottage hams out of the hot smokehouse. It smells wonderful and tastes just as good.

bologna 011

Yum