RicelandMeadows


Here We Go Again!
November 8, 2017, 8:35 pm
Filed under: November 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

leftkneereplacement

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.



Farm Wife
August 25, 2017, 10:59 am
Filed under: August 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

farmwife

August 25, 2017

My wife grew up in Mentor Ohio. She was a city girl who had moved out to this rural area where we met. She has learned all sorts of things from this country boy. Over the years she has milked a cow by hand, helped castrate animals, deworm and tend to medical animal emergencies. She gardens and processes our food. She is an almost expert parts runner and flashlight holder. (Where I’m looking, he says!)

Where she excels the most is nurturing all creatures, two-legged and four-legged. She closes and opens gates. She hand feeds, bottle feeds and forks hay. She has shoveled more than her share of manure and turned the water off to overflowing water troughs way too many times!

The remarkable part to me is that she does all of those things while keeping a clean house, washing a mountain of clothes, cooking, dish washing and nest building, making our house a home. She keeps her finger on the pulse of our family. She keeps tabs on Facebook, remembers birthdays and such and keeps all of us covered in her homemade quilts.

On Sunday August 27, we will celebrate twenty-five years of marriage. I am not an easy guy to love. I come with baggage, strange smells and a menagerie of farm animals. I can be abrupt to a fault and very bossy. She takes it in stride choosing to look past my faults and into parts of me that I can’t see.

So, today, I will use this public forum to say thank you for not only choosing me, but for staying with me after learning all my faults and shortcomings. Thank you for loving me and my whole brood. Thank you for helping me blend our crazy group even when it seems the wheels have fallen off. You are my hope, my love and my best friend. I ask that you continue to hold my hand as we walk through life. Wherever and however far our journey takes us, together forever no matter what…I will love you.



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!



Chilly Sunshine
November 12, 2015, 4:31 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
The growing season ends

The growing season ends

November 12, 2015

I snapped this photo the other morning just as the sun was coming up. The leaves, now long gone, were shimmering in that chilly sunshine. It was beautiful. I was thankful for the gift of sight. The morning was quiet. The animals hadn’t awakened yet. So, I stood in the quiet of morning, breathing the cold, crisp air and soaked in one of the last full days of autumn. My hands were wrapped around a mug of hot coffee. The aroma of the coffee mixed with the sweet autumn air and I drank up all that I could hold….confirming once again that this farm is my place in the universe. I am so very happy to be here.

Over the past winter I labored over a writing project. It was much bigger than my column in Rural Heritage magazine. It was the culmination of many stories, memories and life experiences. I worked gleaning my notebooks and in some cases bits of paper as I put together a book of my life thus far. “Cultivating Memories”, is not an autobiography. It is a collection of short stories that will warm the reader and touch their very core. I will make you laugh and I will make you cry, as I talk about all things country and farming.

My book is forwarded by Gene Logsdon and illustrated by Bethany Caskey. “Cultivating Memories”, is a labor of love and will touch people from the city and country alike. I will give more details in the coming days as to where to get your copy, so stay tuned in. You will not be disappointed.  😮



The Path Forward
October 26, 2015, 4:35 pm
Filed under: October 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
An Autumn sap road

An Autumn sap road

October 26, 2015

This well defined sap road has been used by us for twenty three years. The horses make very little impact on the land as they pull the sled through the maple woods. We use this path for hiking, walking and reflecting. Just strolling along alone helps thoughts and dreams come into focus, but it is a much better stroll when walking with friends or family. I walk here often and I enjoy every minute spent there.

Today, I walked among a group of young people. They are part of a school class, but each child is searching for their path forward. It would be nice on one hand for their choice to well defined and easy to see. On  the other hand, however, finding your way while bouncing about for a time, gives life experiences to draw from “down the road”. I didn’t know what I wanted to do…..well, actually I did, but lacked the support to make it happen.

Now, in the last third of my life, I get it! I know exactly what I am supposed to do. I will farm and write. I have been engaged in farming, or parts of it, for my whole life. I have been writing (professionally) for well over fifteen years. I am very happy doing both. That is the key to life… “Do what you love, love what you do! Work is easy when you enjoy it. In fact it doesn’t even seem like work.

Many folks will discourage you from doing what your heart tells you to do. They will say, “There’s no money in it.” I think for them, that may be the truth, but for you, say…hogwash! Find a way to make it happen. Pour your heart and soul into it. You will succeed. It is not always about the “money”. You can be rewarded richly in many ways. Yes, you have to keep yourself out of debt and the bills paid, but the enjoyment of loving what you do is priceless.

Think it through. Make a plan. Go for it….But I caution you, if it doesn’t work out on paper…it won’t work out in life. So, get back to thinking. Make those thoughts into plans. Once you have defined the path forward…go for it. Life is very short, spending even one day unhappy or vengeful only makes you lose a day of your life. It can even poison you causing you to miss out on many of life’s pleasures. Seek the way that makes your heart glad. Find the path to your soul. Remember, it’s okay to walk alone, but much better when shared with friends and family 😮



Feeling Crowded
September 25, 2015, 9:39 pm
Filed under: September 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Surrounded by the Boys

Surrounded by the Boys

September 25, 2015

What a day. I am thinking that I should be feeling free. Much of the work for the year has been completed, but I am feeling crowded by the looming winter. I guess relaxing for me comes hard. I am thinking about equipment readiness for next year, firewood, and even fall plowing. I can’t understand why I simply can’t relax. I guess it comes from my childhood when a mean old man told me that I would never amount to anything and he called me… (gasp) …lazy!

I have spent most of my life making sure no one ever says that to me again! It’s almost funny. I guess I should go out of my way in defiance of him and just screw off once in a while, but I can’t. Heck, I don’t even like to fish. I spend the whole time waiting for the fish to bite, thinking of all the things that I could/should be doing! I will admit that I sometimes take quite a long time to drink a cup of tea. I can let the guilt go as I sip that warm brew…because I can always say that I am thinking, planning or otherwise working out a problem.

I have been known to take a “power nap”. Those quick minutes stolen from a day, fast asleep on the couch, where it is warm or cool depending upon the season 😮  I can, now and then, be found under the shade of the porch sipping water and looking out across the farmstead. I keep that far away look in my eyes so the untrained will think that I am in deep thought. In reality, I am stealing a few moments from a productive day to recharge my batteries by simply sitting and resting.

I guess that is the secret to a happy life, find joy everywhere that you look. I do that. I am satisfied beyond measure with the progress I have made and the plans that I have laid. I just need to pause and reflect more. It completes a man’s life when he takes time to be thankful, to be grateful and to be pleased with his efforts. I don’t want to get so busy making a living that I forget to have a life. So, I take my pleasure in the woodlands and animals on this farm. In the photo above, the horses have surrounded me. They are nuzzling me and waiting to be touched, so in reality I am not crowded… I am embraced, I am hugged and I am loved! Yes, my life is complete and it is wonderful!



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!