RicelandMeadows


Little Help Please

kmanpets

June 16, 2017

In the photo, two friends enjoy a drink after work. If you look close, you’ll see a little helper. If you look even closer, you’ll see a tiny hand about to pet the face of our draft horse. It doesn’t get much better than that.

We here on the farm are extremely busy with mowing and hoeing, to name two jobs. This week, with the help of family and friends, we made 90% of our first cutting hay. The horse barn is full to the brim with some of the nicest hay that we have ever made. The day was very hot and muggy. Water and sweat flowed freely. When the last rays of sunlight were fading, I was backing the baler into the barn, tired, happy and very thankful.

2017Ted

The horses and I sweated together as we fluffed the hay for drying with our tedder. The best thing about that day was the cool stiff breeze. It was a nice quiet time, listening to the machine as it softly flipped the drying gasses into the air. The harness bells and birdsong complemented the light chatter of the machine’s metal parts. The sweet smell of the curing hay filled my nostrils, as the big animals easily pulled me around the field. Their power and grace never ceases to amaze me.

Hay making on a small farm takes many hands. I am grateful for all of you who helped. The main day was Tuesday, but a lot of work was done in the days leading up to then and even the days that followed. Two small fields remain. Those fields will be rolled into round bales for the cows winter feeding. I will still need the sun, some dry weather and help from the horses, but the hands on portion of small bales for this year, is now over! I could not have done it without all the help. Thank You!



Going Green!
May 3, 2017, 10:51 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

goingreen517

May 3, 2017

This field is out behind my pig barn. It is where my small sheep flock spent the winter. It was my idea to keep them close, give them shelter and have them work for me all winter. By working, I mean they were eating grass. The grass was under the snow some of the winter. In spring, they kept it in check so as not to get too far ahead of me during the spring flush. I didn’t expect to see the hay growing as fast as it is this year, but man was this ever a good idea.

I make mostly “dry” hay. I need the hot sun to wilt, then cure the hay. The sun and even the dry dirt, sucks the moisture out of the drying grass. When the hay ripens in early June, its not often anymore that we have the drying days needed to make nice hay. Many farmers, including me, have to make baleage or wet wrapped in plastic bales. This makes great livestock feed. It is silage. The problem is, silage should not be fed to horses.

The sheep eating the grasses and clovers has slowed this field down a bit. It is hard to tell however, because the recent rain, hot humid weather and balanced soil is making this hay grow like mad! It is a good problem, but may put the push on once good hay making weather gets here. The sheep are currently in another hayfield knocking it back some. They are up to their necks in lush grass. The ewes are in milk….the baby lambs think they are in heaven. They are growing very, very well!

It is hard to believe that this early in May we have grass this lush, this tall and this beautiful shade of green. I am pleased with my little grassland farm. I’m not fighting the mud. The oats are up. The animals are grazing. The horses and all the livestock are on pasture. It is a wonderful year so far. It’s easy for me to see that going green is truly a wonderful thing!



It’s June
June 9, 2016, 7:10 pm
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , ,

juneyum

June 9, 2016

We picked these berries this afternoon. They are very sweet and tasty. I was going to rip the plants out this spring, but didn’t get it done. I am very glad, because the new plants I planted all died. This makes these taste even sweeter! I will move some of them to a new bed once the season is over, but for now we will enjoy them where they grow.

We have entered a weather cycle where we get a day or two of sun, then rain. The pastures love it, but it makes it impossible to make dry hay. I will be mowing tomorrow to roll some up for wet silage bales. The cows love that feed. It also allows me to get some lush first cutting hay off the fields and put up for winter feeding. The dry hay needed for the horses, will just have to be made when the weather straightens out a bit.

There is no shortage of work. Garden planting, pumpkin planting continues along with daily chores. The corn needs cultivated and the lawn needs mowed, but the good thing is…I can reward myself with fresh strawberries and ice cream!



By Golly We Got!
July 18, 2015, 6:19 am
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
Even Cinch can't believe that Jake can work on hay in short pants!

Even Cinch can’t believe that Jake can work on hay in short pants!

July 18, 2015

What a day! The weather looked rainy almost all day. It even sprinkled for about 3 minutes around 9:30, but the real rain never came. We almost gave up on doing hay, but like I said yesterday, I will keep looking forward and not skyward. It was the right thing to do.

We tedded the hay about 11:00. I went out with the round baler at 2:00pm and started roaring around the field in the hopes that I would get a few bales made. I never expected to finish those last two fields as thunder boomed overhead, but I did. The last bale rolled out of the machine at 7:00pm. I almost shouted, but instead said a little prayer of thanks.

It sure didn’t pay to listen to the weatherman yesterday. He was full of doom and gloom…and so was the radar. It rained all around us, but our place stayed dry. The sunset was red as I was putting the equipment away, signaling the promise of a great day to come. Tired, sore and happy, I trudged into the house at 10pm after pulling the radiator out of the combine, but that is another story 😮



Its a Wrap!
July 12, 2015, 9:10 pm
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
My progress after the last 3 days

My progress after the last 3 days

July 12, 2015

It has been three full days, but the first hay mowing, baling and wrapping, on my farm is done. We beat the rain and things went quite well for our maiden voyage with our used baler and homemade wrapper. It has been a bit of a learning curve for my friend Ron and I, but we can count more successes than failures, so I say we are doing well!

The rain wants to hang around and make things tough on us farmers wanting to make dry hay. The hay is ripe. The clover is tall and falling over. We really need a window for dry hay making to appear. I am so very grateful to my friend. He and I share equipment now to make our silage bales. This is going to change everything for me. The sheep and cattle will really enjoy the sweet high protein bales we just made. The second cutting can grow and we are no longer “behind the eight ball”, as the saying goes.

We will make some more silage bales this week as I wait for a good sunny day to combine the speltz. Things are busy, but I am staying very happy. The sugarhouse addition is complete, at least on the outside. So, that project can wait a little while. The big tank is ready for pick up this week, but installation will wait for the shorter days of autumn…when the haymaking days of summer are behind us  😮

Bagged and tagged...nice!

Bagged and tagged…nice!



Great Year for a Raised Bed
June 27, 2015, 3:34 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Garden beds starting to look good

Garden beds starting to look good

June 27, 2015

As I write this post, rain is hammering down outside. We have gotten over 2 inches since 5am this morning. We are still pretty wet from the last rains we got a few days ago. I am very glad to be gardening in raised beds this year. The plants, though well watered, are still doing great as their roots are above the flood zone 😮

It does take some getting used to. I usually have many more plants to weed and watch over. Our garden needs have become smaller as our family has too. Gardening like this is actually fun. It doesn’t take any time to weed or hoe a bed. The dirt is loose and easy to dig into. The best part is that even when it is wet, my shoes stay clean as I do my “dirt work” standing on the lawn!

The sugarhouse addition is coming along, but the rains have delayed that project a little too. No worries, I am sure it will wait for me! My biggest issue is waiting to make dry hay for the horses. That too will all work out, I along with everybody else in northeast Ohio, just needs to be patient.



Wrapping up the season
October 9, 2014, 5:28 pm
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Josh and his wife help with the hay

Josh and his wife help with the hay


October 9,2014

The season will soon be closing in, with snow all around us. We are taking advantage of these nice October days to wrap things up. We spent much of yesterday making small square bales out of larger round ones. It seems like a lot of work, but the effort is well worth it. Those small square bales come in very handy on a wet, freezing, rainy night. I only do the horse hay this way and a few second cutting bales for the baby calves.

It is peace of mind in summer as I rush around the field making large round bales, as I make hay while the sun shines. It is mostly a one man show here, so making round bales lets me get our hay made all by myself. However, it does make things very nice when we can have extra hands to make the small square bales. We had a good time. It was cool and breezy. The children played all day and even helped some too. It is real nice to be in a hay mow when its cool and comfortable, still the same amount of work,but the coolness makes it a nice job.

Another wonderful thing that happened yesterday, was finding out that I had fixed the baler. I had recently replaced a broken spring. That spring. That $8.00 spring has caused me aggravation for over 3 seasons! I simply couldn’t figure it out. Wow, what a difference! We only missed tieing two bales yesterday and both of them were my fault!

This job continues but we made great progress. I think I will have it all squared away before the weather turns wet again…at least that’s my hope