RicelandMeadows


Splish Splash Our First Bath
July 9, 2020, 12:12 pm
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , ,

breebath

July 9, 2020

These hot, oppressive days take the starch out of me! I got the bright idea to give the horses all baths. I included our baby Bree. This is all part of her training. I continually expose her to all sorts of sounds and experiences.

She took the squirting hose very well. She wasn’t actually thrilled by it, but she wasn’t scared either. I put this in the win column. I think she was more upset about being tied just around the corner from mom, than anything the hose did. By the time we were finished, all fear of the hose, the water and the hissing noise was gone.

The gardens and crop fields are doing very well. They could all use some rain, but they are holding up well. The speltz harvest is just days away. Straw bales will soon be stacked in rows near the barn for winter bedding.

Normally, I would be wrapping up the wood splitting job for our sugarhouse, but this heat made me decide to just pick away at it during the cool of morning. Its working okay, but taking a bit longer. No worries, I’ll get it done :o)



Planting and Growing Season

opcorn2020

May 29, 2020

If you strain your eyes a bit, you can see this year’s corn peeping through the ground. The hot weather and recent rains have done their magic. Weeding by cultivation begins soon. More on that in the coming weeks.

Obviously, the field corn for the animals has been planted, but also a little sweet corn for us is also ready to emerge. We have more gardens to plant, but the season is well underway. Potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are planted and enjoying our recent weather.

Horse training and daily chores continue and hay making is right around the corner. Our busy season has begun!

jakebelle

My son Jake’s two-year old coming along nicely. She will join my girls for several jobs soon, like raking hay and hauling round bales. Yes, tis the season!



Clippers, Collars and Sleigh Bells
March 30, 2020, 10:29 am
Filed under: March 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

hankbell

March 30, 2020

Yesterday, I spent the day working with Hank. This little guy is our stallion prospect. First he must learn to be a work horse. We will see if the whole “daddy” thing works out. I spend a lot of time with him. I teach him manners and many things that are part of the routine. He learns quickly. He is a good animal to be around. I am continually amazed by this Suffolk breed of horse.

He will turn one year old on April 23rd. I am starting him young, because I want his mind busy. He, like all teen-aged boys, has an abundance of testosterone. If I can keep his mind busy, the fidgeting  is much less. Yesterday, I introduced him to a horse collar and a set of sleigh bells. He was not scared of either.

We also gave him his second haircut. The clippers, even though this was his second experience, made him very wary. I calmly talked to him, let him smell the clippers and ran the noisy, vibrating thing all over him. After just a few minutes, he calmed down and let he clip between his ears and bridle path. I cannot say it was my best job, but he did very well. We will revisit this lesson often.

Hankhaircut

His rough winter coat is showing but his new haircut and shedding progress are showing through.

We enjoyed a wagon ride in the afternoon yesterday. It was warm and spring like. The shedding hair comes out in gobs, as the girls get their summer coat, a sure sign of spring,  just like the greening of the grass.

a&awagon

Training and transition are two words that describe much of my work these days. Abby will soon be on maternity leave. Amee will get some individualized training on a few finer points that she lacks. Hank will continue to get exposed to new experiences as we train to power the farm. He has a ways to go, but the future looks bright.



Not Tired

abbycarttire

February 19, 2020

As we wait for winter to turn to maple season, we fill our days doing fun stuff. Our Percheron Abby, out for a nice drive on a cold day last Monday.

 

abbycarttire2

She works single, double and on either side. I like to keep her fit. This is a good way to do it.

abbycarttire3

The tire makes just enough resistance to give her something to pull. She lugs it easily. She is a good mare who will also be missed as we transition to the Suffolk Punch breed. I am proud of Abby. She moved here as a youngster. She learned well and became an important part of our farm’s power. She completes a great trio. She just turned six years old.

We drive on the driveways, because mud abounds in the fields. She doesn’t care and even when we have worked for part of a day. She’s not tired…LOL.



Working Around the Dew

compost42019

September 9, 2019

The heavy dew stays on the grass and hay until very late morning, almost lunchtime. The horses and I are filling that wet time in with compost spreading. Abby got her first voyage with the power cart a couple days ago. She couldn’t have cared less. The running engine and flinging poop didn’t bother her in the least.

adogslife

We could finally rake the second cutting hay for the first time. It is thin, but will make some very good feed. The cows and sheep will really enjoy the sweet, high protein hay during the cold, windy days of late winter. Sam, the dog, goes with me everywhere. He thinks that he is the inspector of all that I do.

KNIGHT10819

Knight poses for a photo. He was working with Abby on the hay rake. He keeps her in line. He teaches her much by just being himself, the steady worker. He is my main man. I think I can do almost anything as long as he is there with me.

So, we continue to work on the hay. I believe we will be able to bale it up later this afternoon. The compost pile is getting smaller and a few other things are getting done, as I spend the mornings, working around the dew.



Change is Good
July 11, 2019, 9:09 am
Filed under: July 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

raking2019

July 11, 2019

Everyone tells us that change is good. I continue to believe that change is bullsh*t! I do adapt, but I hate it. It takes me out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to “try something new”, I like the old stuff and the old ways…but change does help us grow in knowledge and experience. I grumble, but I do it.

This is Abby’s second time raking hay. She is learning many new things. Her world is full of change. The first day that I hooked her to the hay rake, she was a nervous wreck. It rattled and banged behind her. The dry hay made a swishing sound that she couldn’t see. I kept a firm hand on the lines reassuring her, that everything was okay. Knight, her teammate, walked along paying no attention to the “rattling, swishing monster” coming right behind them. This soon gave Abby confidence.

rakingabbysweat

This photo shows the horses making their first round. By the time we got to the other end of the field, Abby couldn’t have cared less about the hay rake or the job at hand. Her frothy sweat dried by the second round and she settled in for the day. The next day there was no fear in her eye. She exhibited nothing but confidence. She knew her job and seemed to enjoy doing it. I guess she trusted me not to put her in harm’s way. She did trust me, but I think she verified that trust, by keeping one eye on Knight.

In life, I too get concerned about new things. I think I have actually broken out in a frothy sweat a time or two! I wanted to resist, but settled in and made the best of it. Pretty soon, the new became the old and change became the norm. I don’t have to like it, but I can control how I react to it. I just think about God on the lines, my “teammates” walking beside me, adapting as we go…and the quiet, confident voice of my wife, telling me that everything will be okay…. And you know…it usually is.



Because I Said So…
May 2, 2017, 10:09 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

abbybridal

May 2, 2017

Those four words still make my hackles stand up! I absolutely hate to hear those words. As a strong willed child, I did hear those words from my mother, quite often. I would try to reason with her, but once she said, “because I said so.”, that was it. There would be no more conversation of any kind. Unless of course I wanted to bring the house down upon myself!

As a parent, years later, I tried not to say those words. I realized that shutting down conversation is never good. I tried to listen to my children’s point of view. I didn’t reason with them very often, but I did try to take the time to explain my decision. If their persistence continued, then I would resort to “the look”. That “look” would also end conversation once I had gotten exasperated.

The difference between my mother’s approach and mine, was that I would revisit the conversation again once we were in neutral territory. I don’t mean to imply that I am a saint. I just wanted to give the other person, even if it was a child, the opportunity to share their opinion. I have been swayed by other’s logic and experiences more than once, by cooling off and listening….even the logic of a child.

Training children, is good experience for training young horses. The young horse has spirit, feelings and heart. They learn by repetition. I also think that kindness goes a long way. Make no mistake, I am in charge and we will do it my way, but I will allow a certain amount of playfulness. I want to train the youngster, not break its spirit. I will sometimes move to neutral territory to continue a lesson. I will look to see if something is out of order, like a sore spot or annoying harness part causing the distraction. I will check for flies, strange objects in view or new noises. I will not force my will at all costs.

I say again, I am the boss. We will do it my way, but I want to lead in such a way as to make the youngster want to please me. When they think its their idea that helps a lot. When they come to know that it is “our” idea, that is where teamwork begins. I could force my will. I could beat or threaten to beat my ideas into them…but that would only serve to make them hate me and it would only make me tired….that would be total failure!

Today’s “take away” is to lead by example. Take time to listen. Look for clues in other’s logic and experiences. Remember, there is more than one way to reach an objective. By softening your stance, you can still be in charge. You will foster teamwork, team building, respect and perhaps even love. So…lighten up! …. because I said so….



Second Opinion
March 21, 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

abbybelgin

March 21, 2017

Today, I hauled Abby and Duke to get their horseshoes reset. I want them shod because we are on the gravel drive quite a lot. Abby’s training continues almost daily. As long as I was in the neighborhood, I asked my buddy to hitch Abby with one of his horses and give me a second opinion on her progress.

We hitched her with a steady Belgian horse that belongs to my friend. She went along with him as if she has known him for years. She did well, especially given her short time in training. We even tried to expose her to a few unexpected things, but she paid them no mind and kept her brain “in the game”.

We kept the training lesson short and ended on a good note. She continues to do well. Sure, she is still a little girl with lots to learn. Some days she tries my patience and pushes my buttons, but I continue to win every game she plays. I can see her becoming a valuable asset to the farm. I will try to keep on my guard, keep her lessons short and keep all of us safe.

By the way, my buddy who is shy with his compliments, told me he can tell we’ve been working at it….that’s about as close to an “atta boy” as I will get…and I am fine with that.



Like the Big Boys
May 5, 2016, 6:38 pm
Filed under: May 2016 | Tags: , , , ,

abbyduke

May 5, 2016

In just a very short time Abby has learned her place. She has sorted out the pecking order in the pasture. She has bonded with her stall mate Duke. She understands the daily routine and knows where her stall is in the barn. She has a ways to go but she is learning to be one of the big boys.

We had to play around a little for her to learn and understand the command “get over”. It is not a command used to clean stalls or feed. It is a needed command for getting over when in harness and getting hooked up. It is a command when I want the horses to move right or left without moving forward or backward. This knowledge comes in very handy when hooking to a log in a tight spot.

Much of her training will take place in the barn. It is a safe place and no harm comes to her there. She learns that if I am there, she is safe. It helps her to gain trust in me. Again, that trust comes in very handy when something scares her. She will know that no matter what, if I am there, she will be okay. This is just simple foundation, basic training, but well worth the effort. I can prove it, because she will trust me, just like the big boys!