RicelandMeadows


Working in the Tree Tops
September 10, 2020, 10:05 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
One of three large piles.

September 10, 2020

Many people think that working in the tree tops requires a person to be up in the air, at the top of a tree. I am working in the tree tops that are laying on the ground from my recent tree harvest. I am salvaging firewood to be used to boil maple sap, to make maple syrup.

I am cutting everything three inches or larger, that didn’t make lumber logs and hauling them out to be cut to length and split. The brush and smaller limbs are being left for homes for small woodland creatures and to rot to enrich the forest floor.

Our harvest consisted of about 60 mature trees. The trees were removed to allow the growth of many smaller trees, predominantly maple, both hard and soft varieties. The trees removed, also allow for mature maples to have more open canopy for crown growth. It also lets in light and air to the forest floor. I can direct some water puddles towards the nearby stream, allowing the water to runoff through the existing leaf litter. This drys the forest, but assures that water quality is improved by the filtering effects of the leaf litter.

Bree is learning lessons as we work towards her weaning. She is not always happy with me. Here she learns patience. I tied her to a fence post far from mom. She did not like it, but soon realized that she would have to wait on me. This was a short lesson of about 35 minutes. It was good for her. She can be strong willed, but yields fairly quickly. Her training continues.

The garden harvest continues. Our animal corn harvest is starting, as I build shocks. Hand picking will begin soon. I picked a few random ears last night. I am happy with what I see so far.

The crop should fill my crib.

A busy time is coming, but we look forward to the dash to winter!



Woodshed 2020
September 2, 2020, 9:17 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Ateamwood2020

September 2, 2020

On the last day of August, We finished filling the woodshed. The wood will now have many months to dry and cure. The fire will burn hot under the boiling maple sap next spring.

woodshed2020

This is a great job to have behind us. Corn harvest will start soon, along with getting the soil ready for our fall planted crop of speltz. I will also continue to work on firewood during the autumn season. I hope to be a year ahead by late winter.

I have started to shock corn. These small shocks I made in the garden from our sweet corn. I will open my animal corn field in the coming days, by making shocks down the center. The shocks make good feed and protect the corn just like a dry crib. The best thing is, shocking the corn divides my field into two small rectangles instead of one big square. It makes harvesting more efficient. I don’t spend a lot of time driving around the ends of the field this way.

shock2020

We hope to wrap up the tomato season in the next two weeks. The potatoes are wonderful this year too. We have been enjoying all of our garden produce. It has been a good year for gardens and gardeners.

Late summer jobs and early fall work is commencing nicely. The horses are working well. The young stock is growing on the good pastures. Our stallion is learning manners and how to be a work horse. Our young filly is about to be weaned from her momma. Hank, our young stallion, will accompany our mares as we harvest the corn crop. He will mostly just walk along learning to behave and work. I like him very much. Here he is looking over the fence at us last Sunday morning.

hanklisa



Logs to Slumber
July 27, 2020, 7:06 am
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , ,

split1

July 27, 2020

Most folks take logs and saw them into lumber. We split a bunch of logs on a very hot day last Saturday. That equated for me…slumber! We started early in the morning and finished at noon. I showered, ate and took a nap!

split2

The two photos show the total wood for our efforts. I will confess that I employed the use of a wood processor for a trial run. It still required much effort and hand work to keep the machine running. I thought it might be a good alternative to splitting with our woodsplitter one piece at a time.

The machine worked fairly well, but can only make 22″ pieces. That length is a bit short for the maple syrup arch, but I will adjust for this amount. I usually employ 4 or 5 boys and we just make a day of splitting. I believe this method is what we will stick with. Using men and boys makes for a much more fun day.  I actually think manpower, my woodsplitter and some planning, leads to more wood, the correct length split and stacked at the end of the day.

Sweat soaked our clothes and dripped from our heads. The machine droned on, often needing us to adjust a piece of wood and load another log. If the logs would have all been of the same dimension, free of knots and good length, the machine may have out performed good old-fashioned manpower. However, the short, mixed sized, tangled log and pole pile we had, made for a lot of “grunt” work. I discovered that “grunt” work is much more tiring in my 60’s than it was in my 20’s!

The good news is that we have enough wood split to boil all of next year’s maple sap. We even have a very good start on the wood we will need in 2022!  We still have to stack it all. The woodshed is 3/4 full, so even that job is well started. I can say the old adage is true…wood does warm you twice!  It will take me a while to get used to this whole new “slumber” thing, but what a great feeling to have this work behind us.



Its a Heat Thing
July 14, 2020, 8:42 am
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

woodsplit20201

July 14, 2020

It’s that time of year when I try to get the woodshed all fill up. I am currently about 3/4 full. We spent part of Saturday splitting some big chunks of wood. I enlisted the help of three of my buddy’s sons. We made great progress.

woodsplit20202

The large trunk sections of wood, some four feet thick, make a lot of firewood. There is plenty of work in them, but they do yield well. We used the skid steer at times to lift the large sections onto the log splitter. It was a good day made easy, thanks to lots of help. It is surely true that many hands make light work.

woodsplit20203

I still have plenty more waiting , but the biggest pieces have been conquered! This smaller stuff, I hope to have worked up by next weekend. This will launch me ahead enough that by fall, I may be a whole year ahead. In other words, 2021 wood will be all stacked and waiting in the woodshed. 2022 wood will be stacked and drying in neat stacks next to the woodshed.

I like cutting and splitting wood. It is a satisfying job. You can see your progress and it makes you feel good to be prepared. My grandma used to tell us the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant worked steady and was prepared when “winter” came. I think all of us should follow the example of the ant and be prepared for when our “winter” comes.

The heat that well seasoned, dry wood makes is wonderful. It really makes the sap boil! Getting ahead makes good sense. It also takes the pressure off. I will continue to work on wood even when I get ahead.

We use 11-12 cords a season for the maple syrup making. The last thing I want to happen, would be to have a longer than normal season and run out of wood to boil. Trying to cut wood and gather sap at the same time is rough. The wood made that way, even from dead trees, does not have the BTU’s that good seasoned wood puts out.

Its a heat thing! They say firewood warms you twice, once when you cut it and a second time when you burn it. I know wrestling big chunks through a log splitter in July will dang sure warm you! Seeing the large piles actually warms my heart too… no matter what the weather!



Another Load
June 27, 2019, 8:42 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , ,

anotherload

June 27, 2019

I can’t seem to hit hay weather yet, so I have been working hard on firewood for the sugarhouse. This job really never ends. I work at the main part to fill the woodshed as soon as the maple season ends. I like to have that job completed by July 1st.

I will hit that goal again this year. Having well seasoned, dry wood makes the job of boiling maple sap go much better! I fill the woodshed, then work on getting ahead for the following year. I don’t usually work real hard at this job once the shed is full, but having some extra, is never a waste of time.

I have a little firewood to make for my shop stove. I enjoy the warm, constant heat from my little stove as I putter in my work shop on cold winter days. These hot, muggy summer days, makes wood work a little tough, but the reward comes in winter.

My haying tools and horses stand ready to make hay. The weather is a bit stingy. It is also easy to look back and say, “I should have cut two days ago!”. I am just going to be patient. The days have been dry for the last three, but my fields are wet. Water still stands in places, but I know that , “this too shall pass”. Hay season will soon be in full swing. In the meantime I will simply work on another load of firewood.



Warm January
January 8, 2019, 11:02 am
Filed under: January 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

2019woodshedjan

January 8, 2019

As I write this entry, it is 52F degrees outside. Rain is falling and a winter thunderstorm grumbles and flashes out the window. Our winter has been more springlike than winter. We have had almost no snow and very little cold. Mud abounds making things difficult in the fields or forest.

I continue to work on cutting and stacking wood for the sugarhouse woodshed. It is mostly full. Just a few large pieces remain to be split. I have even started on next year’s wood, thanks to a good friend. The ash tree chunks in the foreground, were from dead trees near a lady’s barn. Now, they are no danger and will be utilized to make maple syrup.

Those ash trees were near a driveway, so we could cut and clean up without being knee deep in mud. I took the above photo last Sunday. The ground is almost drying out, but today, the rains are soaking it all again. We don’t have to shovel rain and I guess its moisture no matter how you look at it!

Cold snap coming for the week’s end. Maybe the ground will freeze and work can continue. In the meantime, I will stay plenty busy…as is a farmer’s life!



Goodbye Third Quarter
September 30, 2018, 10:05 am
Filed under: September 2018 | Tags: , , ,

postdrill

September 30, 2018

Today, is the last day of September 2018. Three-quarters of the year gone already. Time marches on! I looked back over the month and realize that while I was waiting to make the last of this year’s hay or decent weather to plant speltz, a whole month flew by. I didn’t get anymore hay made. I was unable to get speltz planted. Both jobs were abandoned due to the rainy month.

Alas, all is not lost. I have managed to get a new wagon bed built, a few forge projects completed including the post drill above. I have gotten the sugarhouse woodshed almost full of seasoned split wood. I am working towards putting the summer hay tools away and gearing up for fall plowing.

The post drill had been in an old building for a very long time. It was seized up and covered in rust. I kept working at it slowly for a few months. It now works perfectly and is mounted back on my forge wall. I see it as a tribute to the men and machines who made this country great.

Trailerload2018

I think this load of wood will almost complete the job of filling the woodshed. This load of cherry and red oak will be split by the end of next week. These trees were felled by a late winter storm. I am almost done with the cleanup job. Now, as October closes in, I am setting my sights on the corn harvest and fall plowing. So, I say goodbye to the third quarter of 2018.



My Turn
October 22, 2017, 8:48 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , ,

Kennywood

October 22, 2017

After a summer filled with help from other people, it’s my turn to pay folks back. I spent a day and a half cutting and hauling firewood to my buddy Ken’s house. I hauled seven dump trailer loads. Much of it will need further processing, but it is in his drive and near the stove. This was one job where my skidsteer was very valuable!

I also butchered hogs and gave away meat to another family as I traded “in kind” for labor or goods. His family and mine both made out. The last thing that I want to do before the snow flies, is to give a day’s labor with my skidsteer, to another friend who helped me this summer.

Work is winding down. Winter will soon be knocking on the door. I hope to put the last of my equipment away this afternoon. A dead tree waits for me to harvest it for a building project, but thanks to friends and family, I am caught up after being laid up all summer. Thanks to all of you for your help!



Warm Smiles
November 27, 2016, 11:02 pm
Filed under: November 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

bigmaple

November 27, 2016

It was a beautiful day, especially for late November in northeast Ohio. I worked with my little sister, cutting and splitting her some wood for winter. Her primary heat source is coal. She uses the wood on the coldest winter days in a basement wood burner to warm her cellar and the floors of her big house.

We had a good day of laughing and visiting. We managed to split a good amount of wood too. We will do another load one day soon, but for now she has half of what she needs. I enjoy working on wood, so this day and those that will follow make me smile.

I have worked up most of the wood the horses and I have dragged out of the woods. We will now work on bringing more up to the drive where splitting is done. The easy access makes for easy splitting all winter long. The dead and fallen trees in our woods provide for many. I am glad that I can help others. I am feeling good because all the farm work has been done for the year. So, I get to work on firewood and making warm smiles.



Chop Chop
November 5, 2016, 7:56 pm
Filed under: November 2016 | Tags: , , ,

bigmaple

November 5, 2016

The corn has been picked, so I moved on to another project that has been bugging me. These big maple trunks and a few still left from the old white oak tree needed to be split. They are too large for me to man handle anymore. Some pieces of the white oak were over five feet in diameter. This tree is sizable as well. I traded labor for the use of my neighbor’s skidsteer mounted logsplitter. He sent his son and the machine.

sheldsplit

The splitter hangs upside down. The machine grabs a piece and slices through it in seconds. I just needed the large chunks to be small enough so that I can finish processing them. He did a great job. I sawed a few more large logs while he worked. He caught up to me on the last log. In just three hours we reduced big hulking logs to manageable firewood pieces.

bigchunk

Chop chop, what a great day. I can have this all cleaned up by the end of the week. What another beautiful fall day.