RicelandMeadows


June 2020 What a Month!

Breebackrub

June 27, 2020

What a crazy, wonderful month! Our baby Bree just turned 2 months old. She is learning very fast. She loves a good back rub. She knows her stall. She accompanies mom sometimes when we work and she brings joy wherever she goes.

The covid virus still has us doing things differently. The unrest around the country has us saddened for all involved. We pray for peace and resolution, along with understanding from all sides. It is nice to be able to get lost in the farm happenings if only for a little while.

We shot another episode for RFD-TV, that will air in August, about our new Suffolk Punch horses. Our son Jake introduced his to the world too. We also wrapped up the finishing touches on an episode regarding our recent timber harvest. It was a good day of filming. Little Bree did great too.

We purchased a horse drawn sprayer. We will use it once a year to spray weeds if needed, but mostly to spray liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion, on our crop and pasture fields. Shout out to Boontown Sprayer in Mount Hope, Ohio

sprayer2020

This simple, well built machine, works wonderfully. It is powered by a 5 horsepower Honda engine. The manufacturers have it well designed. It sprays, pulled by horses, at a rate of 20 gallons per acre. Our first outing found this rate to be spot on, as we did our animal corn field.

sprayingweeds2020

I managed to get half of the field cultivated, but the weeds were starting to take over. Ragweed and especially a nasty grass called barnyard grass had gotten a real head start. You can even see the corn beginning to suffer from the weeds stealing all the nourishment.

spraygrass2020

After last nights rain, the gardens, pastures and the field corn all look refreshed. We will be feeding the fields liquid fertilizer in the coming days. The options are many, so research must be done. It has been a long journey making this farm productive and fruitful, but it has been fun!



The End to a Perfect Day
October 16, 2019, 11:36 am
Filed under: October 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

sunset101519

October 16, 2019

First I should clarify, any day is a good day. Each day we are given the opportunity to reach for our goals, strive for excellence and share our light with the world. It is a choice to be happy, so smile, be kind and give of yourself to others. This positive attitude towards life, will make every day better. Sometimes, you may be the only positive thing others will see that day. You may uplift someone else, by simply smiling, now that my friends, is power!

I have been working on many projects as autumn is making itself known. It’s that last dash of preparation before winter slows down and even stops some outside activities. My biggest push right now, is to get the field corn harvested. The picker is ready to go. The crib needs emptied of the last of last year’s corn. A good clean out, fix a slat or two and the crib will be ready to receive the new crop.

pedicureabby

Abby managed to lose her front shoe. So, yesterday, we ran to get one nailed on. You can’t pick corn with a flat tire on your tractor…or a missing shoe on your draft horse! She was all fixed up in the space of ten minutes. Abby and the geldings are ready and waiting for the corn harvest to begin. The corn is almost dry enough. The last two mornings of hard frost, will help in that effort too.

So, after a day of preparing for winter, equine pedicures and a beautiful sunset, I would say that it is the end to a perfect day.



Its Done…Toys for Boys
March 12, 2019, 10:45 am
Filed under: March 2019 | Tags: , , ,

tw8

March 12, 2019

After many years of monkey business, my parade/tank wagon project has been completed! This is an old fuel delivery tank, mounted on an Oliver running gear. The tank is circa 1900-1910, the running gear dates from the late 1940’s. I mated them together with the help of a couple friends who are true craftsmen.

This tank will never again haul liquids. It is simply a play toy for this old boy. I wanted a parade wagon a little different than everybody else’s. This old three-compartment wagon, sure fits the bill.

tw9

The nozzles for dispensing fuel can be seen under the cabinet. The cabinet once held three fuel cans of different sizes. The wagon driver would have dispensed fuel in one, three or five gallon cans, based on the needs of the home owner. He also carried three different types of fuel in the compartments.

I hope this wagon is a tribute to the men and horses who made our country run, back in the day when they did it with horses! The hardware on the cabinet came with the old rusty tank when I bought it. There was just enough rotted wood to make a pattern for the new cabinet. I thought it was a good idea to use the old hardware, some of which was hand wrought.

tw6

We worked in my buddy’s warm shop. This was another great project to complete. I am very happy with it. You’ll be able to read the complete story about the wagon and all my crazy attempts to restore it in an upcoming issue of Rural Heritage magazine.

Once the weather breaks and warm sunny days are upon us, watch for us on the roads near the farm. The project is complete and this old boy is very happy with his new toy!



Dump Wagon Complete
February 16, 2019, 5:45 pm
Filed under: February 2019 | Tags: , ,

KMHybrid4

February 16, 2019

The dump wagon project has been completed. This little work saver will be pulled with my horses behind a forecart. The gooseneck design will allow me to turn very sharp, almost in its own footprint.

The manual lift to raise and lower the bed, is easy to operate. It goes up very quickly and comes down smooth. The bed measures six feet by eight feet, with one foot sides. I am excited to use it on firewood and all sorts of hauling jobs around the farm.

Hats off to E Miller Repair in Burton Ohio for the fabrication and build. I will be doing a detailed article for Rural Heritage magazine in an upcoming issue.



Little Wagon Project
February 5, 2019, 4:28 pm
Filed under: February 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

KMHybrid3

February 5, 2019

I am working on a project. I am replacing my big old style hay wagon, with a small more versatile one. This one will be pulled by horses with one of my forecarts. It is small enough to be able to get into small areas, including using my sap roads in the woods. I will use it not only for hay, but for all sorts of things including firewood.

The little wagon will also be a dump wagon. A cylinder will be activated by a hand pump.  I can move dirt, gravel compost and a host of other things. Then once I get to the place I want them, I just raise the bed and dump the material. This will save me time and effort.

My old hay wagon is very high off the ground, getting on and off, is a problem. A step will make it possible to simply climb up on this one with ease. It will be pulled by cart and horses, so I will have a seat. The dump handle will be in easy reach from the seat. Stake pockets will allow for any arrangement of sides.

I am even working out a design for the tailgate to have a small door like on a semi trailer. The little door will come in handy when I am hauling ear corn or grain. I can back up to the elevator and control the load that I am dumping. This is a fun project, nearing completion. I am very excited. Finished pictures coming soon.

KMHybrid1



Steering and Brakes

powercarttongue2

September 23, 2018

A week ago, I broke the old wooden tongue on my powercart. I use this cart to power equipment, while being pulled by my horses. When the tongue snapped, I was only backing it into position. I was in no danger. I unhooked the horses and quit for that day. Upon inspection of my set-up, I realized that I could have been in a bad accident, had the tongue broke while I was working the horses.

I completely revamped my tongue and hitch point. I also looked at what was available to us draft horse guys and changed the way I switch from a two horse hitch to a three horse hitch. The “Z” laying on the ground gets inserted where the tongue is currently. The tongue then gets moved to the “Z” piece. The “Z” is the right spacing to move the horses over and align with a three horse evener.

I also chose to use steel instead of wood for the tongue. There are many times when I am pulling very heavy loads with the power cart, like when picking corn with a wagon behind the picker. I sure don’t want the tongue to break causing me to lose both steering and brakes. The tongue does both jobs on a wagon or in this case powercart. You see, knowing where you are going and knowing you can stop is important in driving and in life! I feel much better now.

powercarttongue1

Hopefully, this is a better view. The lower hitch pin in the picture is where the eveners hook to the cart.

Here is a picture with the powercart hooked to a brush hog, for folks who have not seen one of these carts power tractor equipment. The horses supply the traction power. The powercart supplies the PTO, three-point hitch and hydraulics when needed.

powercartbrushhog



Productive Rainy Days
September 12, 2018, 9:43 am
Filed under: September 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

raspfirstset

September 12, 2018

After oppressive heat and humidity, rain ushered in some cooler weather. The rains fell for three days here giving us 2.75 inches of moisture. I used the wet days to complete a couple of projects. The knife and hatchet set, forged from a farrier’s rasp was a fun project and is now complete. I learned a lot during the process. I will continue to put this new skill/hobby to work for me. I must say I really enjoy it.

newrack

We also completed putting a new wagon rack on my horse drawn wagon. This is the second rack on this same running gear. The last rack was 9 years old. It rotted out even though it had been painted. I now have room to keep this one inside during winter weather. It should last a good long time. The boards were wet as we built from rough cut hemlock lumber. Once it dries out, I will seal it from the elements. It will be all ready to gather firewood and pick our field corn.

The cooler weather also makes me get excited about fall plowing. The horses and I can do more in the cool comfortable days of autumn. This summer’s heat was one for the record books. It did make for a great corn crop. Timely rains and hot weather kept the pastures lush and green. Hay making was a challenge as we would get “pop-up” showers that didn’t do much more than wash the drying hay. It makes the hay dusty, okay for cows, but not for horses. Oh well, we can’t control the weather, but we can work with it…like doing something productive on a rainy day!



Horse Drawn Hay Mower
August 8, 2018, 6:50 pm
Filed under: August 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

num91

August 8, 2018

I bought this #9 regular gear horse drawn hay mower, to mow my hay. I have been using a tractor mower for the last eight years. It had reached it’s limit and I had reached mine working on it all the time! I have time now to relax and make hay when the sun shines! Using the horses is good for them and me!

This mower was rebuilt by a friend of mine. He has been rebuilding this type of mower for his entire life. It has been done from the “ground up”. I am looking forward to using it. I have four acres of second cutting grass to use for our maiden voyage. This thing sounds like a sewing machine. I can’t wait to try it out.

num92

Usually these have a cast iron seat. This one has a seat for an old man with a sore back….

This mower will cut six feet in a swath. The guards down near the mower are called stub guards. The short “stub” guards reduce plugging by a lot! The machine has been timed, all the seals replaced and a new style pitman arm bearing installed. It is as ready to go as I am.

These McCormick Deering mowers came in several styles regular gear, high gear and trailer gear. I did a lot of research before choosing this one. All of the Amish farmers that I asked said pretty much the same thing…. Well timed machine, sharp knives mean everything…the rest is “fluff” and mostly personal preference.

When I started farming, I used a McCormick Deering #7. It is a model a bit older than the #9″s. I got along well with it. I only sold it to be able to go faster…or so I thought. As I was mowing hay with my tractor mower for the last time, I realized that I was going 3MPH…the same speed a horse walks. The only thing that made it seem faster was not having to stop and rest the horses.

So, I listened to the noisy tractor drone on as I mindlessly drove around the fields. Now, I will listen to the horses and their harness bells. I will stop to rest them and give the mower a shot of grease or a splash of oil. I can listen to birdsong and enjoy farming in the way of my grandfathers. Plus…I will still be mowing at 3MPH!



Neighbors, Numbers and Salvage
June 20, 2018, 9:53 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

wetwindrows

June 20, 2018

Monday morning I was up early. I started raking three small fields of hay that we used for “baleage” This hay was baled while still green or “wet”, then wrapped in plastic. The bales resemble large marshmallows. I started raking at 5:45 am, right after chores were done. I wanted the morning dew to raise the water content on the wilted hay. The good bacteria turn the bales into yummy sweet smelling silage! My Amish neighbors did the baling and wrapping.

My closest Amish neighbors, use tractors and very modern equipment instead of draft horses like me. This sect is much different from my Old Order Amish friends to whom I am most accustomed. In any case, the neighbors came by and made my balage. It cost me less than one payment on the equipment I would have to buy to do this job myself. It makes economic sense to hire this job done. We made 42 bales, enough for my supplemental winter feeding, in two hours!

I have always tried to look at my farm from a profit and loss perspective. Often times it is better to hire jobs done based upon time, equipment needs or the scope of a job. I tend to be hard-headed at times. I get myself into a project where hiring a man to do it, would have cost less, been done faster and probably had a better end result as well. Pride can be a wicked thing. I have learned a lot from experience…usually I learn the most from a bad experience!

salvagewood

Here is another example of hiring a neighbor and making use of salvaged goods. The lumber in the above photo was sawn for me by a friend. The logs were from a pine tree that blew down, A bitternut hickory growing in the wrong place and a dying sycamore next to the sugarhouse. Some of the hickory will replace the floor on my horse drawn work sled. The rest of the hickory and the pine, will become the north wall on my back barn overhang. The sycamore I had cut into live edge pieces to make benches for visitors to the sugarhouse.

So, it has been a great week so far. Thanks mostly to neighbors, numbers and salvage!



The Old is New
June 20, 2017, 10:22 pm
Filed under: June 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

cultivatorretrofit

June 20, 2017

The photo above is of an old John Deere cultivator that I recently upgraded. This same unit is being made by a new company using the old pattern. They are a bit pricey. I found this old piece shed kept but rusty. I cleaned it up and had it painted. Last week, we added these new style “S” tines. They get the weeds but are a bit more gentle on the crop being weeded.

This unit is made for two horses to cultivate two rows at a time. I get to ride in the back on a seat riding on a dolly wheel. I am excited to try it out. I am even already thinking of adding a homemade fertilizer side dress applicator to this next year. Projects keep my mind and hands busy!

This cultivator replaces an old McCormick Deering one that I recently sold. The old one had served me for over thirty years. It worked great and was in great shape. My only reason for selling it, was due to the way I had to sort of climb down in to it to use it. As I get older, I find that I am not as spry as I once was! If I should get into trouble while using this piece of equipment, I could almost just fall off the back, out of harm’s way. The old one, I would almost be trapped, especially now when my old knees don’t work as well as they once did.

Taking something old and making it new again, pleases me very much. I have a few pieces of reworked equipment, even a few homemade pieces. It is things such as these, that keep our farm profitable. By the way, I have a total of $425.00 invested, counting the initial purchase, painting and now the retro-fit. Those new ones that I talked about cost over $4000.00  I think that I did good!

cult2

If you look close you can see my seat and even the old toolbar in the background. This was a great project. Many thanks to my friend Ervin R Miller!