Had a Little Help
November 25, 2017, 2:40 am
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November 25, 2017

Today, my grandson helped his daddy clean the horse stable. I am itching to help myself, but progress is slow on the new knee. I couldn’t help but snap a picture of his little wheel barrow ready to head for home, once the chores were done.

I remember helping my grandpa with things, sometimes even when he didn’t ask. I remember using and losing tools as I fooled around making his job easier. I probably dropped nails in the driveway or put things away that he couldn’t find for weeks, but I was helping! This little guy pays attention to detail. He knows where things go and doesn’t like to see anything out of place or gates left open.

Another grandson is helping his daddy catch the raccoons that mob the corn fields. They have been successful too. It truly is nice to be getting the help I need while I recover. My dear wife too, has taken on additional chores. I hope that I can at least take over for her before the bad weather sets in. The chickens, cats and dog appreciate her efforts as she is their main caretaker…along with the daily water tank filling.

So, the farm continues to run, thanks to everyone helping out.

Watching and Waiting
November 19, 2017, 9:11 pm
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November 19, 2017

Thanks and hats off to a friend of the farm, “Justin” who came and hung our blinds back up. This small job has been on my wife’s wish list every since we had the windows put in the house. I am not much of a finish carpenter anyway. Looking up through my bifocals makes any job tough and I simply chose not to do this one. (sorry honey)

I did make coffee, offer advice and encouragement while watching the young man work. I leaned on my cane for part of the time and iced and rubbed my knee for the rest of the time it took to hang them. He. Justin, also completed a small roofing job. He weatherproofed one of the overhangs. These were both awesome jobs to have completed.

Our sons keep stepping up to do chores and such. Our youngest does the daily stuff, which even though reduced, is still a bit to do. The last two days of rain has everything wet and flooded. The animals even spent some time looking out from their sheds watching it rain relentlessly. Our late season drought is surely over. Our ponds are all almost overflowing again. The woods and fields have been sufficiently watered…. just in time for SNOW! I guess I will watch that too!

Here We Go Again!
November 8, 2017, 8:35 pm
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November 8, 2017

After a crazy summer recovering from right knee replacement surgery…you guessed it…Now, I am recovering from left knee replacement surgery. I had hoped to put this off for several months, perhaps even a year, but my knee was too bad to wait. They tried several things to get me by, the last attempt was a sort of stabilizing gel. They say it works for 7 out of 10 people, but I was one of the other 3 I guess. I wore through that gel in seven weeks.

This recent surgery also required lots of extra work thanks to my waiting a bit too long. I had ground down the joint to the point where my leg was crooked, the cartilage was gone and the only constant was the re-occurring pain. Hard to walk a furrow behind a horse drawn plow or dang near anything else!

The farm is ready for winter, but I still will be relying on family and friends to keep everything running smooth. I am thankful for my support group including the doctors, nurses, aides and farmhands. I am especially thankful for a patient and loving wife.  This journey has been a bit longer than we first thought, but the destination is in sight. Even as I recover today, just three days post surgery, my knee is more stable than it has been in years. The pain currently is a bit rough, but I know in a few weeks the pain that I have endured for years will be much improved.

A life of hard work, carrying beef on my shoulders, rolling logs, walking rough ground, running stairs and walking on concrete took a toll on my joints. I wouldn’t have missed a single day of the life that I have chosen so far….but I do look forward to wearing out this new set of “pegs” by farming and working horses, playing with small children and walking arm and arm through the rest of my life.

Forging Ahead
September 17, 2017, 10:19 pm
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September 17, 2017

I continue to heal and am starting to get around a little. I sit a lot and move slow, but mostly in a forward direction! Progress is slow but steady. I have been working in my old shop. I am slowly turning it into a forge room. I want to do blacksmithing in my retirement years. It is a hobby that I have embraced for years but have not had the time to devote to it.

I have been acquiring tools and equipment for the last 30 years. These last few days, I have been wire brushing tools, hanging up stuff and restoring order. I had to move a bunch of junk (also known as treasure :o)  Some of the stuff my wife has been helping me sort and move. The heavy stuff, I have been relying on friends and family to move as I direct. I am very sure EVERYONE will be happy when my knee replacement is finally healed!

I am pretty impressed with my use of wood. An oak log made good anvil stands. One stump is almost thirty years old. A pair of horses of mine dragged it out of the woods in 1991. My small anvil has sat on it since. I painted it down with boiled linseed oil again today. I think it made it look almost new again.

The cone mandrel ( the dunce looking thing) is actually one that goes in a hardy hole in an anvil. I took a log, shaved it down with my chainsaw and placed the mandrel on top. I’m sure it will work fine to make an occasional ring when needed. I can roll it around the shop as needed when needed. I have less than $80.00 invested, A real one made for the purpose of forming rings costs well over a thousand dollars if you can find one.

I’m pretty happy with my efforts so far. Last week this stuff was covered in rust and dust. I used a bunch of rags, lots of WD-40 and a wire wheel on a drill. I wore out a pair of pants from sitting so long. I messed up an apron, trying to keep some of the grime off me. I’m not sure it worked, because it took almost half a bar of lava soap to clean my face and arms. Oh well, I’m keeping busy and forging ahead.


Second Time Around


August 3, 2017

The second cutting hay had grown thick and lush. This field was an almost pure stand of red clover. It was just beginning to blossom. It was a beautiful stand. I hired a local Amish man to mow, bale and wrap this crop. There was also another seven acres of trefoil in an adjoining field. He did indeed accomplish the work. He did a good job in a timely fashion.

My Amish friend is of a “new order” sect. They are allowed to use tractors and modern equipment according to his church and their beliefs. I watched him from the porch as I continue to recover from my knee surgery. It was an oxymoron! My big draft horses are standing in the barn, waiting to work. This man was zipping around my field, over the space of two days, with well over $70,000.00 worth of equipment. All of my hay tools together cost less than his mower!

The bales wrapped in singles will be easy to feed. This high protein hay will take the place of grain in my grassfed beef. The sweet smelling bales are a real treat for the cows. They really boost their diets in the dark, cold days of winter. We will move these bales closer to the feedlot in a few days, once we make a place for them.

To make good baleage, first you need a good crop. The hay/grass is cut and left to wilt in the sun. It is baled the very next day, sometimes even the same day. The high moisture content in the bales ferments after it is wrapped preserving the high quality forage. I am pleased to hay the bales in my feed inventory, but doubt that I will ever lay out the cash needed to buy the necessary equipment to make them on my own. This is a job that is better to hire done.

Our crazy wet weather patterns do make it a challenge to make dry hay. You have to really “make hay when the sun shines!” All other work comes to a stand still and dry hay becomes your only focus. You push yourself, the hay and even, in my case, the horses as I rake and fluff the hay to dry before it rains. Making these “wet” bales is a great option, but for now it is not cost effective for me, on our small farm, to own the equipment ourselves.

It was fun to watch the bales being made. My grandson enjoyed it too. Things like watching bales being wrapped, big mowers hogging down 13 foot of hay at a time, or a speedy baler rolling out round bales in rapid succession never gets old for guys like he and I….But I will say, we both much prefer to work with horses…a little slower? Perhaps….but much more cost efficient!

Watching the Prep Work
July 13, 2017, 7:43 pm
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July 13, 2017

This is very strange for me to be watching out the window while other guys do my work! I still get to have my “discussion” hands in the project. It will all be fine. The guy ramrodding the job worked for me when he was in school. Now, he is making his way in the world and just like my project, he is on course and doing a great job.

I can see the corner of the lot from my window seat in the house. I will have to watch from the window of the car I guess. I got permission from my physical therapist that I can watch for a bit while sitting on the car seat. It isn’t quite the same, but at least I can satisfy my nosey self! My knee is improving. The healing process takes awhile, so I must be patient.

The chores are being done by others too. I can see that all is well and that gives me comfort. This weekend guys will turn out to help with a couple of things. I will visit between ice pack rest periods and watch the work getting done. It is very weird to me to be the one watching…unless I’m leaning on a shovel!

A Different Perspective
July 7, 2017, 1:08 pm
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July 7, 2017

As I recover from recent knee replacement surgery, I spend quite a bit of time looking out the windows. I can see too much unfinished work. I can see things that will soon need done and even a few things that should be done. I have decided however, to focus on all the things that have been done, are done and are being done by people other than myself. I will be thankful and positive.

The speltz are turning ripe. Soon they will need combined. I have it pretty well under control. My son Jake and a friend will take care of that job. My horse feed will be harvested along with an ample supply of winter bedding for the livestock. My son Josh is helping with pasture mowing and maple sap road maintaining. Our son Don is coming to hang blinds and few other needed repairs around the house. Our neighbor boy is helping with the daily chores and odds and ends. My wife is somehow holding it all together and feeding me too!

In the picture above, the corn can be seen getting over taken by weeds, but I will get some corn. The hayfields that were harvested are growing and looking good. The pastures are holding up well. The grazing animals have plenty to eat. The ponds are staying full. the baby lambs and calves are growing very well.

I roll from room to room with my walker, perfectly content to watch out the windows for now. This healing process is pretty intense. I have a new appreciation for mobility! I will do my best to be patient…and trust me…that is a different perspective!