RicelandMeadows


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.



Comfort Food
May 15, 2016, 8:20 am
Filed under: May 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

picnic

May 15, 2016

This morning’s temperature is in the lower thirties. I put the summer annual flowers inside last night. The horses spent the cold rainy night in the barn. The sow herd was all snug in deep bedding. The cattle and sheep were tucked into quiet groves of pine trees. I was dressed in flannel and all of us were wondering where the heck spring went?

When the temperature drops, even after a couple of days of almost 80 degrees F, food seems to make us all feel warmer. The animals all get a little bit more grain. I eat a few more potatoes…in any style, but love mashed best! The comfort of warm food and a warm bed on a cold night, has got to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The horses continue to shed their winter coats. I have been working steady helping them rid themselves of it. My clothes smell of horse dander, mud and perhaps a little manure. I laugh because when I am working on them, I just smell the nice smell of “horse”, but when I grab them to dress in the morning all I smell is the manure part coming through! So, I take “clothes” off the horses and change mine daily too!

Our new to us filly “Abby” continues to fit in. She has a ways to go, but we are making great progress. She too gets a daily brushing as we work to shine her up. She loves the attention as I use the time to introduce her to clippers, harness and all things new. She is kept safe as I introduce these things to her slowly, yet steadily. I want her to know, that as long as I am there, she is fine. The “boogyman” won’t hurt her…even if he does sound loud or buzz like a bee.

Abbyshine

Abby is cleaning up good. She will match up to my boys very well. She has to finish growing and learn all sorts of stuff, but she is doing well. Last night, in a warm dry stall, dining on a scoop of farm raised speltz and a manger full of hay, she found the same comfort on this farm that I enjoy. The kind that makes you want to be here, more than any other place on Earth.



Miss Abby
April 27, 2016, 11:08 pm
Filed under: April 2016 | Tags: , , ,

Abby sale pic

April 28, 2016

She is a beauty and of the same bloodlines of my geldings. She will match my horses to the point where they will be hard to tell apart. She is only a baby, just two years old. She will be a great fit on our farm. Her training begins immediately. She will learn all sorts of things and finally be trained to pull. Our geldings will help train her….and “lift the heavy end” until she catches on.

Her stall will be next to her, soon to be, teammate Duke. A divider wall separates the two teams, but they can all see each other. The roomy stalls are comfortable, but daily turnout is a must. The exercise keeps everybody healthy and who doesn’t like a good roll after work?!

These are exciting times at Riceland Meadows. This evening I got a sneak peek at the first of the documentaries that were shot here by Rural Heritage magazine. The horses looked great and the film crew and editor made me look good to boot. The show will air on RFD-TV on May 10th. (please check RFD-TV for scheduling times) I think this little lady may become a star too in the coming months, Rural Heritage would like to come back for more footage of happenings here on the farm.

Abby first day

A little muddy from her first day, but fitting in nicely. She has accepted her stall and her new place. Welcome home Abby!



Back Home Again
November 7, 2015, 9:14 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Solomon, back with his gals

Solomon, back with his gals

November 7, 2015

Solomon is back here on our farm. I own him with another like-minded farmer, I get him for half the year, my friend gets him the other half. Solomon is glad to be home. He is familiar with the paddocks and shelters. He understands the “drill” as we move every day from paddock to barn lot. I get to check everyone over and it teaches the babies to follow mom and get used to moving and coming when I call.

Our 2015 calf crop will be arriving soon. We should have new babies from now through December. Solomon checks each calf over and even licks the newborns. It is strange behavior for some dads, but for others it is natural to want to be with their children. I fit in the last category, but I wonder if I did enough. They grew up so fast, I fear that I missed too much of their childhood. I don’t put on much of a show, but I love them more than they¬†know.

Solomon got out of the trailer, walked up to each of the cows and made sure he knew them. They all greeted each other, then walked off to graze. Tonight he follows the herd walking the fence line checking out the young heifers in the paddock next to his. I think the little girls have a crush on him ūüėģ¬† He struts his manliness and curls his lip… I, like all dads, check the fence, admonish him and remind him they are too young, but love knows no bounds….I hope the solar fence charger keeps him in check!

Solomon, like me, is comfortable here.¬† The old John Denver song… “It’s good to be back home again”¬† plays in my mind. I see the big bull content, almost smiling and strolling through his pastures and I realize that I too feel that way every time I pull back into the drive. I really don’t need to go anywhere else on Earth … “and¬†hey it’s good, to be back home again!”



Home Sweet Home
January 26, 2014, 10:02 am
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: , , ,
Gateway to Paradise

Gateway to Paradise

January 26, 2014

¬†¬† Yesterday was another cold and windy day. I plowed the drive after doing morning chores. It wasn’t too bad, just a few drifts, but it was very cold. I finished that job and came in to warm up. I lingered a bit. I even got my hair cut. I found a warm spot on the couch, where I read and watched some TV.

¬†¬† Just after dark, my son came in and said he was going to plow the drive. I told him not to worry, that I had already done it once. He told me that it snowed a lot. I just grinned, because from my warm vantage point on the couch, I had watched it snow, but mostly just blow… or so I thought!

   I convinced my son to eat supper with us, before going out and I would go with him. We ate, then dressed to go outside. I could not believe what awaited us.. It had snowed indeed. I did chores, then started plowing along with Jake on his 4-wheeler. It took us an hour or so to clear everything out. My hands were frozen!

¬†¬† Jake was still going strong. My hands, feet and body were cold. I couldn’t help but wonder when it had¬†all changed? It used to be the boys who whined about the cold and wanted to go inside, but this time it was me. My fingers were numb and stinging … I couldn’t believe it!

¬†¬† I walked through the back door. The smell of our recently eaten supper and fresh baked bread, filled my nostrils. Soon after that, my fingers were wrapped around a warm cup of tea…and all was well. I paused to realize just how sweet our home was, as I again started to feel my fingers, as my heart warmed my body from the inside out. ūüėģ



Mom’s Day
May 10, 2013, 8:09 pm
Filed under: May 2013 | Tags: ,
Wait up mom!

Wait up mom!

 

May 10, 2013

 

These little calves will some day go off to freezer camp. They will become delicious, grass feed, ground beef. Now, however, they are little bottle babies that think I am their mother. They make sorting the sheep a challenge as they bound after me.

I can’t help but think about my own mother. It is that time of year. I have to believe that mothers hold a near and dear place in God’s heart, for even his own son had a mother. The bond between mother and child is like no other.

My mom used to say, “Step on my feet when they are little. Step on my heart when they are big.” She was talking about us kids of course. I never thought about stepping on her heart, but I guess I did a time or two. I know she had a hard time giving me up when I married.

I know that leaving home, entering the world all on my own, was much easier done knowing that she was just a phone call away. She healed skinned knees, bumped heads and broken hearts. I will always miss her, but I am so very glad to have had her in my life … she cared when nobody else did …sometimes even more than my own self.

I will never wonder what she thought of me…her love was unconditional … even when I didn’t deserve it. I still find strength and comfort in her words. Now, call your mother… she needs it and so do you ūüėģ

 



Quiet in the Nursery
December 8, 2012, 3:48 pm
Filed under: December 2012 | Tags: ,
17 babies all fast asleep

17 babies all fast asleep

                                                          December 8, 2012

     Yesterday, we weaned the baby piglets from their mothers. The two litters equal seventeen babies. They fussed and fought a little yesterday , as they worked out the pecking order, but all is quiet in the nursery today.

     You have to look close, maybe even click on the picture to enlarge it, but the babies are all there. Some like to sleep all piled up with their siblings. The others prefer to hide under the straw, safe and warm. It is always funny to me that they can hide so well.

¬†¬†¬†¬† I made a little noise and tomorrow you can see more of the mob as they scrambled from “the big bad wolf”…me ūüėģ These little ones will soon be ready to go to new homes. Some we will keep, but others have been spoken for and will be gone in another week or two.

¬†¬†¬†¬† The little boys have all been altered. The piglets¬†will now continue to learn to eat and drink on their own. They have been picking at grain for quite a while now, but up until yesterday, could fall back on their mother’s milk. They are adjusting and doing well.

     The last thing will be a vaccination shot and a dose of medicine to rid them of worms. Then the race to finish will start. They will be headed for freezer camp in about four months. I do plan to keep a couple of little girls to become part of our sow herd. Raising our own babies makes it so that I know every thing my pork has had to eat, and any problem what so ever, from the womb to the tomb. I want it that way.

     The mothers are resting in pens nearby. They are a bit sore today from enlarged breasts. The milk will soon go down and be absorbed back into their bodies. They will feel much better, so much better in fact, that the old boar will look attractive to them again. Then the cycle of life will repeat itself, in just a few days.