RicelandMeadows


New Filly !
April 7, 2017, 9:16 pm
Filed under: April 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

FinnleyL

April 7, 2017

On April fourth, we welcomed our newest granddaughter. She is a spirited filly, of good stock and well bred. Her lineage goes back all the way to Scotland, Wales and Ireland on the grandsire’s side. On the dam’s side she traces back to England and eastern Europe. She is a beauty and a joy to hold!

We have many farm babies at the moment. Spring on a farm is a wonderful thing. New babies, any time of year, in any household are a blessing. I tell you true, we sure are counting ours! Farm work has paused. The weather makes us all wait. This little one came as we stood waiting on the rain. She chose to come when there was no field work to be done…no matter, we wouldn’t have missed her arrival for anything!



I got this handled
March 19, 2017, 9:09 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

handle

March 19, 2017

As I did my chores last night, I strugged with a problem. I worked in the barn and worked out my thoughts. I realized that many times I have worked my problems out while forking manure. My old manure fork handle, the one on the right, has been worn smooth by work and my rough hands. I started using this fork 37 years ago after purchasing it from an old neighbor.

I chose the fork because it has six tines. Horse manure doesn’t fall through it. This is the original handle that came with the fork. I don’t pry with it. I fork with it. I have lifted some heavy loads, but never compromised the wood. The fork was forged from good steel. The handle looks to be made from white oak. It is smaller than the “clunky” handeled, drop forged, junk available today at most farm and hardware stores.

As I cleaned the day’s poop from behind the horses, I was in deep thought. I talked to the horses as if they would answer me at any minute. They didn’t do that of course, but it felt good to tell my troubles to my equine pals. The fork too, was like gripping the hand of an old friend. I toiled easily in the comfort of the warm barn surrounded by my “friends”.

I have to say, by the time the chores were finished, my troubled mind was at peace. I worked my troubles into resolution. I realized that some problems have no solution or perhaps multiple solutions. I came to terms with myself, that in this case, I could not solve the problem. I would have to just move forward, perhaps one day, returning to contemplate this mental struggle again…but for now… I have it handled.



Time Marches On
February 27, 2017, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

jake3

February 27, 2017

Our maple syrup season for 2017 is over. This photo, I snapped of my youngest son as he drove the horses back into the woods for another load of maple sap. It is a bittersweet photo for me. He is driving my horses every bit as well as I can. I asked him if he needed any help hitching up. He smiled and said, “Dad after you teaching me for 30 years… I got it.”

He was right. He had everything perfect. The horses can sense when someone is not confident when handling the lines. They were real sure that Jake was in charge. He is quiet with them and uses a soft hand, but they feel his inner strength as he drives them. His thoughts are telegraphed through the leather lines to the bits in their mouths. This gentle guidance along with an encouraging voice, makes for great teamwork of man and horses.

I held my little grandson’s hand as we watched dad go off down the sap road. I was proud and humbled at the same time. The little hand inside of mine made me think back that 30 years ago. I could see my son looking up, asking questions and learning things that I didn’t even know I was teaching. My heart was full to almost overflowing, then my grandson said, “I’m gonna drive your horses some day Pa-Pa” My heart overflowed a little bit as a tear spilled down my cheek.

My how fast time does fly!



Teamwork
February 24, 2017, 1:30 pm
Filed under: February 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

sapgather2017

February 24, 2017

Our maple syrup season is over for this year. It came and went in a flash. We have not seen a spring like this, since the year 2000. I want to take just a minute to say thank you to all the folks who helped us make this short year a success.

We had set up folks, tank cleaners, horse drivers, sap gatherers, photographers, float monitors, cooks and visitors. You all know who you are. I just want to say thank you, to each and every one of you. The job of maple syrup making is a labor intensive effort, made much sweeter by your help and by teamwork!

We identified a few opportunities for next year. We solved a few problems. We discovered a few real fixes and we look forward to trying some new things in 2018. All of these things are a direct result of the prospective views from all of you! I will try to guide and direct…usually as I busy myself with some task from across the room, to make our visions come to be, but know in your hearts… I cannot do this without you and I appreciate your tolerance of my passion.

Lastly, to my dear wife who washes pounds of mud from my clothes, cuts filters and counts bottles, while cooking, cleaning and keeping me in every way, I say to you, I love you!

I look forward to 2018 and our time during maple season, but remember the hay will soon be drying in the hot summer sun!  :o)  Love you guys!



Tree work to Bee work
July 22, 2016, 3:07 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

codybeesuit

July 22, 2016

The county bee inspector came the other day. We had just finished working on the big tree for the day. The inspector had an extra bee suit and gave it to our grandson to wear. He got to see and hear the inner workings of a bee hive.

I use “topbar” bee hives. I switched to them a few years ago and would never go back to the commercial style of hives. These are much easier to use and the bees seem to be very content. We mostly use the honey the bees make, but do sell a small quantity every year.

Our hives passed the inspection with “flying colors”. The bee inspector was complimentary. The bees were calm and not too bothered by our intrusion. I got a little honey from the hive. Our grandson got another “sweet” memory to take home. So, from tree work to bee work, I am expanding his outlook on life.



Empty Nest
August 23, 2015, 3:59 pm
Filed under: August 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,
One, Two, Three....Moooo!

One, Two, Three….Moooo!

August 23, 2015

It’s the time of year when we wean the calves. The mother’s need a rest period before this years babies come. It has been very noisey here these last few days…and nights! The calves think they need to nurse. The moms udders are a bit swollen, so everyone is mooing and the rest of us are holding our hands over our ears. I even called the neighbors so that they wouldn’t worry.

Today, it is much better. The calves are mostly hoarse from mooing constantly. They even moo with their mouths full. I put three gilts (young girl pigs) in with them to distract them. It worked, but they just all slept together in a barnyard sleep over! As soon as they woke up the magical music started again 😮  My son next door says the echo even comes through the baby monitor…so everyone is sharing in the farm experience.

I can’t help but think about the moms and dads whose children are headed off to school or college. There will be tears and boo hoos, as separation anxiety overcomes all involved. I guess it is good for all of us, but nothing bends a heart like the loneliness of someone leaving…especially a child. It makes us all grow up. There is no shame in a few shed tears, an extra hug or two or that lump in your throat that won’t go down. It’s part of life…and life can be hard!

Soon, the mother cows will be nursing new calves. The cry babies on the feedlot today, will be part of the herd again soon. These sad days long forgotten as they too become moms before they know it. Some will head off to freezer camp to nourish the farmer’s family as the cycle of life continues to turn.

I remember very well the days when our children left home to make their way in the world. They soon came back with spouses and babies of their own to share. So, your nest may be empty for a while, but fear not it will soon be full again. The days between empty and full, are called life…  and that fullness is called love…. So, enjoy life to the fullest!



Sleeping In
January 25, 2015, 11:51 am
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
I'm awake...honest!

I’m awake…honest!

January 25, 2015

After an eight day stretch of work at my off farm job, I am resting up. I do have pens to clean and hay to move, but I enjoyed a morning of sleeping in, eating a late breakfast and just sitting around doing nothing. I guess its good for all of us to recharge our batteries. Even the animals do it now and then.

When the sun shines bright and warm on a still winter day, many of the animals will lay about soaking up the suns warm rays. I’m sure it feels as good on their coats as a warm quilt covered bed feels to me. I don’t do it often but when I indulge, it feels wonderful!

I am sure that I get more done after I have rested. It seems that pushing myself forward, while dragging my ass behind me, makes no sense at all. A few hours, stolen from time, that refreshes my mind and body, is well worth the time spent. I am invigorated with a new sense of purpose, energy and mental health. Rest is a wonderful thing!

When life pushes too hard, we fail to live. We get so caught up in problems, concerns and deadlines, that we miss the birds singing, the laughter of children or the peace found in a quiet room. We must embrace down time now and then. We must create this time for ourselves. Rest and relaxation gives life balance. I don’t allow myself enough of this kind of time.

When I was a young boy I remember a day working in the hayfield. It was hot and dusty. I was helping an older boy who was struggling to keep up with a fast paced machine. The machine was being driven by an angry old man who spent most of his life hollering and mistrusting people. I asked the man to stop for a minute so we could get a drink. I wasn’t really thirsty, but knew the older boy could use the water and a minute to catch his breath.

That mean, little old man’s face got all screwed up with rage and he bellowed at me. He yelled and chastised me severely. He told me that I was a spoiled, lazy kid, damn near worthless…just like my father! I was about thirteen years old, but that old man summoned my Scotch/Irish temper. I didn’t say a word, but the look I gave that rotten bastard made him walk back to the tractor…. and I have never forgotten that day.

I have made sure that no one can call me lazy. They may call me other things 😮  but not lazy! That old man went on to live into his old age. Not many folks think very much of him. I don’t know what causes a man to hate so much that it destroys a person from the inside out…but I am glad that I find ways to enjoy life…just like my father! I much prefer to smile and laugh. I work hard, I play hard and every now and then… I allow myself to rest!

As for that old man… I say piss on him!