RicelandMeadows


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.



The work is finally done
October 30, 2016, 7:24 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

wyoniaalmostgone

October 30,2016

After almost three years of work, the old tree has been all turned into firewood. The fence, smashed beyond repair has been replaced and the area around the old tree has been cleaned up. The last job that remains is a tribute to this aged white oak tree. I will plant a nice sapling in the remains of the stump. I will fill the crater with topsoil and compost and plant what I hope will be a legacy for this old tree.

oaktreefence

A few brambles hide the massive stump, all that is left of the old tree. It was a long, worthwhile project. The work was difficult at times due to the size of the old tree’s trunk. Some folks thought that I was crazy to work that hard on wood to burn. I didn’t do it to show off. I didn’t really need a job of that scope. I did it out of respect for that giant old tree.

She gave her life feeding wild creatures for decades, in fact centuries! So, for me utilizing as much of the wood as possible seemed like the right thing to do. My sugarhouse woodshed is full to the brim. I even have a good start on next year. So this old oak will help supply the heat needed to boil our maple sap for four years in all. The wood also heated four different households too!

Having reached the end of this project, I feel a little bittersweet. I’m glad the work is all done, but I will sure miss that old tree, her shade, her acorns and the peace that was found sitting under her giant limbs. Goodbye and thank you, my old friend.



Trunk Wood
August 17, 2016, 10:14 am
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

trunkwood

August 17, 2016

Yesterday, in a stiff cool breeze right before more rain moved through, I started working up these logs. They are the trunks of some big trees that were taken down in Ashtabula. All but one of them required me to cut from both sides of the log with my chainsaw. My chainsaw is a big boy with a 24 inch bar. Two of these trunks are just a little short of 48 inches in diameter.

It seems that not many folks want to tackle logs of this size for firewood. It is a lot of work, but man does the wood pile up fast! I still have 21 chunks, cross sections of the big white oak to split yet. Those chunks along with these in the photo, will provide the heat for two homes this winter. Sure it’s a little work, but it seems to me, like a respectful thing to do with these old trees.

In the cool breeze yesterday, the work was easy. The saw was sharp and the chips flew. I will need another evening to finish the sawing. The splitting will take several days, but I am on track to have it all split and stacked long before the winter winds howl. I think I will always like cutting and splitting firewood. I like it from the minute that I hook on to it with the horses, until I look at the completed stacked rows. So, I get to smile the whole time from “Trunk” wood… to “Chunk” wood !



Shady Summer Pasture

woodedpasture

August 15, 2016

This patch of woodlands was recommended by the state forester to become a pasture. There were not too many trees worth saving according to him. I bought a herd of goats several years ago and let them eat whatever they wanted. I mowed what I could after the goats had moved on. I cut down and am cutting down, cull trees while cleaning up what falls down every year.

This hamlet has become a great pasture for sultry summer days. I feed hay to the cows here to provide feed in addition to whatever the cows graze. I graze it very short so that my clean up efforts are made easier. Soon I will hand seed grasses into the bare spots. As I remove trees the filtered sunlight encourages the grass to grow. What was once a brushy, thorny, overgrown patch, with a few trees growing among the multi-flora rose, has become a productive paddock on my farm.

I am going to remove all the trees with multi-trunks, leaving the best and straightest to grow. I continue to clean up the dead, wind blown, fallen trees and branches. Trust me I have made great progress, but plenty of work awaits. I work here in the fall. The weather is good for hard work. I also like to take trees down after the leaves have fallen. It makes the brush easier to handle.

In following my “Woodland Management Plan”, this area will become a pasture. In following my own desire, the pasture will be wooded, providing shade and comfort during the dog days of summer. I do get a fair amount of grazing days here as I rotate the animals through this field. I also graze the sow herd here to clean up the fallen Hickory nuts and wild apples. It has been a great little field and it is just starting to reach its full potential.



Gone Fishin
August 10, 2016, 5:14 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

gonefishin

August 10, 2016

Our summer so far, with its lack of rain, has made it quite easy for me to be caught up with my work. Once we get some more moisture, the work will once again be plentiful, but in the meantime, I am finding a little time to goof off. The picture above was taken after the woodshed filling had been completed. The boys all went fishing, while several of us older guys sat in the shade and enjoyed a nice cool breeze.

I don’t sit very well. A long time ago, a man called me lazy. It stung me to the core. I vowed that I would not be thought of as lazy ever again. I carried hatred for that man for a very long time. Once in a while as I enjoy a cool drink in a shady spot, I call the man a son-of-a-bitch. He is long dead and my displeasure should have died with him. I even feel a little guilty for that mean streak that comes to light now and then. So, in the last year or two, I simply toast the man. I figure raising a glass in his honor, while I sit on my ass, would insult him more than anything. Somehow it pleases me.

I don’t fish because I put it in the lazy category as a boy. I don’t golf, or play any sport. I can only hunt when the work is all done. I do watch a little television after dark once the chores and the day is done. Perhaps that old man still has the upper hand? I don’t think so, but I am a pretty busy guy……One thing for sure… I am not lazy!

As we older guys sat in the cool shade visiting. My mind drifted to the fishing boys. They laughed and played. They even caught some fish, but I think it was me who had the best time of all. The work had been completed and though the boys caught some fish…. I caught up on some rest and a nice cool breeze….so mark me down as “Gone Fishin” 🙂



Bye Bye July
July 30, 2016, 8:12 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

wyoniaslice

July 30,2016

July 2016, will come to a close tomorrow. Summer is fading fast and what a summer it has been! The project list is getting short and that is a very good feeling. The big tree has been all sliced into rounds, all ready to be split. She will look like firewood in just a few more days. Like July, the tree will soon be just a memory.

The speltz harvest is complete. The grain has been stored and the straw has been baled and put away. The grain provides fuel to power our draft horses, who power our farm. The straw will make great beds for our farms animals, but beyond that…the straw will provide the carbon source for our compost. The animal manures, shavings and this awesome straw are responsible for most of this farms fertility. I am thankful for the harvest.

combinestraw

Amber waves of grain…. it is a beautiful sight.