RicelandMeadows


“Cow Plowing”

corn171

May 20, 2017

I completed planting my corn last Wednesday. I feel good about getting it planted, especially this year due to our wet weather. It has been a crazy weather spring and that trend continues. I waited on some dry days, like all of the area farmers, I pushed hard once it got here.

This field is where our cows spent the winter. There is a three-sided building, just out of the frame where they could take shelter when they wanted it. Usually in winter, the ground freezes hard and stays that way for months. This past winter, the ground was only frozen hard for about a total of three weeks. The cows feet punched this field full of holes. I mean they tracked it into oblivion! It was all but impossible to walk through the quagmire. The cows slowly picked their way along, from water tank to hay feeder. Every step left a hole six to eight inches deep.

In late February, I moved the cows out of this paddock. They spent the worst days of late spring on our cement lot next to the barn. The overhang shelter was bedded with woodchips. They were comfortable, dry and content even though the space was smaller than the paddock. I must say, I did not miss fighting the mud either.

Once the cows had been moved off that back muddy paddock, winter returned. The ground froze and thawed several times before we were out of the icy grip. The punched up field resembled a landscape found on the surface of our moon. I decided to disc it once to smooth it enough to even be able to plow it.

I made the first round with the disc and could not believe my eyes! The cows feet, mixed with the freeze and thaw cycle of spring, had turned my nightmare into a dream! Twice over the field with the disc and spike tooth drag made the field ready to plant. I planted my corn that same day, just before dark. I was excited by my new found innovation. I was overcome by a bit of sadness when I realized that I could not share this contrary news with my friend, the late Gene Logsdon.

Gene and I often talked and discussed many things “farming”. We shared many of the same beliefs. The corn I had just finished planting in that “cow plowed” field was an open pollinated variety called “Wapise Valley”. Gene and I had many conversations about corn, soil, cover crops, the value of oats in many forms and anything that made things easier for the small farmer. “Cow plowing” is one of those topics we would have talked at length about. Gene passed away almost a year ago. I miss my friend. I will remember him always, especially at planting time, but always when I stumble on a topic that he would have loved to debate! RIP Gene

corn172

This section joins the field in the photo above. The cattle “plowed” all around the old stumps and even leveled this section, saving me hours, perhaps days, of work! Timing was everything. The cattle got moved while the winter freeze could work the sodden clay. I stayed off the wet ground until the sun and wind had dried it. I know from experience that working these wet clay soils too early will make clods like bricks dried in the sun. It takes a full year for the frost to break them up. Using that knowledge sure paid off this year.

I am not sure that I would try this process again, unless it would be on ground where extreme efforts were needed. As an example, say an area where a forest had been cut down. The cows could work the rutted, rooted uneven ground by accident. Smoothing it out for a spring planting of grass could be done by dragging a wooden drag around. I bet the pioneers learned and used this method when clearing this area of Ohio. In any case, I can say it worked well for me, I did not discover it, but certainly did rediscover it!



Seeing Spots
June 2, 2016, 9:07 am
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

spots

June 2, 2016

Working almost daily on removing winter hair and the dander that comes with it, I am finally seeing progress. Abby and Duke are even sporting spots. Spots are a great indication of body condition. All my horses have them, but it comes from care, not by accident.

Last night, just after coming in from chores, I found out that my friend and mentor, Gene Logsdon had passed away. He died peacefully at home surrounded by family after a battle with cancer. In short, I indeed the world, has lost a friend. Gene was a champion for all things farming, especially old time, small farming.

He was known for his wit and humor. He would stand up to be counted when it came to challenging the status quo. He did not support “Big AG”, neither do I. I first discovered Gene through his books in our local library, I was in my twenties. I sent Gene a letter and we became friends. I sold him cattle, we talked about sheep and hogs and a host of farming subjects. Gene wrote the forward to my book “Cultivating Memories”. I will be forever grateful.

So, after finding out about my friend’s passing, I was not sure if it was spots I had been seeing. My eyes were blurry. It happens when you lose someone who made marks upon your heart. So, I will think of Gene standing in deep pasture, surrounded by sheep and other farm animals, speaking on their behalf with a cutting edge to his voice and a twinkle in his eye.



The Pages of My Life
Cultivating Memories...Hot off the Press

Cultivating Memories…Hot off the Press

November 15, 2015

It’s here! My book is finally done. This project of putting together a collection of short stories, to warm the heart and soul, Is done. I have been putting my memories and life experiences down on paper for over twenty years. This past January, I began to select stories and get them in order for this book. I write a column for Rural Heritage magazine and a few of these articles have been printed, but most of these 63 stories are original to this book.

My friend and mentor, Gene Logsdon, was kind enough to write the forward for this Reflection of my life. Bethany Caskey, from Iowa, illustrated the pages and cover. This work of mine is 235 pages of easy reading that will make you laugh and make you cry, as I tug at your heart strings. There are stories about love and life, farming, logging, horses and children. They are assembled from the pages of my life.

This book is available through the Rural Heritage website WWW.ruralheritage.com , here at the farm, or in Jefferson Ohio at The Jefferson Milling Company, J.R.Hoffestter Jeweler and the 4-H Extension Office….for the bargain price of $14.95 I invite you to come along, share a story, a laugh or a tear.

It is the simple things in life that matter. I will take you away from the stresses in your life, as you relax and take a mental vacation to my farm. I am not responsible for coffee or tea sprayed on your favorite chair as you bust out laughing, but I will take credit for the warm feelings that will be stirred in your heart.