RicelandMeadows


Horse Progress Days 2018

wirehorse

July 1, 2018

I spent the last few days in Clare Michigan, attending an annual draft horse event called Horse Progress Days. It is an event that showcases draft horses and draft animal power paired up with modern farm equipment. But wait…there is more! Vendors galore, a whole program for the lady homesteader, pony equipment, saddle horse stuff, blacksmithing and farrier tools, oxen, and great food.

The wire horse in the picture is a creation of an artist named Jeff Best. It was made mostly from barbed wire. Jeff lives in Clare Michigan. This work of art is just one interesting thing to see. Equipment manufactures were on hand demonstrating their equipment and answering all sorts of questions. Many breeds of horses were represented at this amazing event.

Seminars were given on many subjects for the farmer, grower, horse lover and even aspiring beekeepers! Produce, even ripened tomatoes in a hoop house, were to be marveled by this attendee. I do these types of things daily, yet I was amazed at the innovation, simplicity and complexity of many items demonstrated.

24mower

In this photo, a hay mower capable of mowing 24 feet in one pass, was a big hit with us farmers. A 20 horsepower motor ran a hydraulic pump that powered the machine. The horses only supplied the traction power to make the mower go forward or backward. This machine is much too big for me, but man can it lay hay down!

This was the twenty-fifth year for Horse Progress Days. I hope it will still be growing strong in another twenty -five years. Judging from what I saw and the young people in attendance, I’d say the future is very bright.

Next year HPD will be held in Arcola, Illinois…. then here in Mount Hope, Ohio in 2020



What a Show
4-horse hitch on a powercart and round baler

4-horse hitch on a powercart and round baler

July 8, 2015

As I was looking through my photos of this year’s Horse Progress Days, I came upon this one of these Percheron horses. I am partial to this breed and especially the black ones. This photo illustrates why.

Percheron horses come in a few colors. The black ones are born black and stay that way. The dapple gray ones are born black, but kind of a mousey color. They start to turn gray as they age, the dapples look beautiful by the time the horses are four or five, but then slowly fade to pure white. I have owned them in all colors, but like the black ones best.

The breed was once America’s favorite, but after World War II and the resurgence of the draft horse, the Belgian horse now dominates the heavy horse world here in the states. Draft horses and draft breeds all have their fans. Liking one over another is a personal preference. One thing for sure, once you get hooked on them…the love affair runs deep!



On a Treadmill?
February 19, 2015, 9:18 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , ,

February 19, 2015

Are you feeling like you are on a treadmill? Does everyday seem the same? I have been there, feeling like I was stuck in a rut. I spent too many days wishing and hoping for a change, but then one day, I decided to make change happen. I decided to make my heart happy, giving roots to my restless soul.

After too many people telling me that farming is a dead-end, unless you have a huge mega farm, I set out to prove them wrong. I will say that I had the safety net, of an off farm job, but many farms in America are supplemented that way. Farmers sell seeds, drive school busses, or work at a government job like being a township trustee. Some have wives that work off the farm in factories, as nurses or some other vocation where they get insurance benefits and wages. My point here is this; having a safety net is not a shameful thing, it is a prudent thing.

I kept my job so as to pay down debt, both farm and personal, as well as having a steady paycheck and benefits. I choose to work my butt off on the farm, working around my off farm schedule just so I can keep my heart and hands immersed in farming. This farm grounds me, keeps me happy and feeds us to boot. I farm small, in the way of my grandparents. I have a very tough time leaving this place. It is my home, my haven and my pride and joy.

We built this place from a field of redbrush and goldenrod. I work to pay down debt, build infrastructure and buildings. My hope is to farm fulltime one day. I have had that goal in sight since the first day that I stepped foot on this farm. I knew that for me to create a living here, I had to create my market. I have done that by producing safe wholesome food, of great quality and insisting on that same quality from our processors, our help and even my family members.

I am hard on myself, but that makes for consistent product. I know that everything that I sell is a direct reflection on my name. I want my name to stand for honesty, quality and all things good. This attention to detail makes for good farm products. Good farm products makes for a good market. A good market makes my farm able to sell its products, keeping it in the black. This community based farming allows for a small farm to make it in a niche market. So contrary to all that negativity… I made it. It was worth all those days on the treadmill!