It Runs In Families
June 4, 2018, 5:39 am
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June 4, 2018

In her grandpa’s shadow, my granddaughter sniffs the flowers. She is smart enough to stop and “smell the roses”. I have the good fortune of seeing the effects of my leadership in my children and grandchildren. Some like the farm and animals. Some like the woodlands and protecting it. There are hunters and fishermen and horse lovers alike. It is awesome to see your children enjoying things such as keeping backyard chickens or making maple syrup.

It struck me funny watching Finley sniff the flowers, after I had just posted about taking time out for such things. The little ones are more in tune to what matters. They will play with kittens or pet the dog. They will lay on the grass and look up at the clouds. They will nap when they are tired. It is neat to notice such things, now that my eyes have been opened again.

It is very easy to get so busy making a living that we forget to make a life. I am an advocate for hard work and its benefits. I see now however, making a little time for the “little things” is absolutely necessary! It brings balance to a happy life. It sets a great example for those watching your every move. Lastly, it can make smiles last a lifetime and beyond.

It’s The Simple Things

spring 2016

March 25, 2016

In life, it is the simple things that matter. We all get too busy, caught up in the world and all the drama that goes with it. We need to slow down, take a minute to rest our brains, and let our hearts and souls talk to us. This is where true peace comes from. The kind of peace that restores us.

Last night we got a good amount of rain. The grasses and this field of spelt greened up over night. They know that spring is here. I was a little miffed because I had a different plan, but looking around the farm, I can see that the rain was needed. It is also forcing me to change gears, slow down and enjoy a rainy day….and I am doing just that!

Once I settled into the fact that my plans changed, I am making strides in a different direction. I am making progress in a couple of areas that were very needed and all because I had to slow down to think about them. I am sure that I will be better off and enabled to make even more progress once the rain stops, all because I slowed down.

Yesterday, I got to spend a little time with family. I worked on an old firewood tree and completed a list of errands. As I walked among the trees listening to the spring birdsong, I was refreshed almost by accident. Who would think that singing birds and the feeling that comes from completing a job, could make a man feel so good?

The documentary that we filmed here the last few days will air on RFD TV in May. It is two episodes shown on four different dates. It is my hope that folks will watch my horses work and understand why I choose to farm in this manner. I do tell our farm’s story, but the show belongs to the horses. They are the stars.

It is the simple things like harness bells and birdsong that keeps me going…not to mention a good morning kiss or an I love you spoken from a grandchild. The flame of a fire in the dark or the taste of a home canned peach on my tongue fills me with emotion and restores my soul.

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!

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!

The Looming Storm
August 29, 2014, 10:34 pm
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The beauty in the storm

The beauty in the storm

August 29, 2014

The dark days that swallow a man, are mostly man-made. Heaping fret and worry upon yourself, is for nothing. I have been consumed by the fire created in my own mind. The desire to change things, take back something that I said or avoid a problem can eat a man from the inside out.

Sadness, pain, heartache and worry are necessary to make the good times even sweeter. All of us have traveled down a lonesome road. The key is to find the sun. Look for the bright spot and let go, forgive and forget, clinging only to the lesson and perhaps a memory or two, as you heal body and soul.

Life is a journey. The road is not always smooth, but in every bump awaits a chance to shine. I struggled for a while at a job that I hated. I have lost loved ones close to me, failed in love and business, but I am stronger for each thing. I can be a resource for others when they are down, sharing my experiences and perhaps a smile at someone’s darkest hour.

I hope that is the reason for some of the pain that I have endured. That I may take away a lesson and impart wisdom for the sake of someone else. Giving from within, touching a memory and maybe sharing a tear with a friend, has great power. That kind of power mends broken hearts, seals friendships and makes the world a better place.

Storms never last. The sun and rainbows show the promise of a new day. When you have a choice, be the sun. Let your warmth touch everything around you. It won’t hurt you at all and it may help another much more than you’ll ever know.

The View From Here
July 19, 2014, 8:33 pm
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: , , ,

The backyard in bloom

The backyard in bloom

July 19, 2014

Finally, I am catching up. I just have some cow hay to make, but everything is falling into place. I even found a few evenings to rest and relax. I visited with some friends, stared into the fire and spent time with my horses.

The pastures have all been mowed, the corn is growing well and the speltz have been harvested. I helped the new owners of my sheep, vaccinate, deworm and wean. I made some nice new friends in the process. I even had time to fix a wagon that has been giving me fits for months!

I have some hay down as I write. It apparently needed to be washed off, God took care of that job for me. So see, everything is working out well. I will bale that clean, rinsed hay once it is dry. The cows will love it come January. It will sure beat eating snowballs 😮

Piglets are growing and my work list is getting shorter. My experimental fields of buckwheat and oats along with the sorghum/Sudan grass, are also looking well. It has rained quite a bit, but we have been working in between. The fields, pastures and lawn are enjoying the extra moisture.

I look toward next week with excitement as I continue to get my summer work done. I look at this last week with satisfaction as I can see much progress and the results of my efforts … Thanks to all who helped, especially my wife. She helped me celebrate the maiden voyage of our smokehouse…by helping me clean up after!

Spending Time With Max
June 21, 2014, 10:04 pm
Filed under: June 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

My Buddy Max

My Buddy Max

June 21, 2014

I think that it was fitting to spend the longest day of 2014, playing with Max. I know he liked it. I too had some fun, enjoying a little down time! I have plenty to do, but took a little time off just to rest mind and body.

I have one more small field to plant. I am planning on an experiment for “dry” hay. I will be planting sorghum, oats and buckwheat on a small paddock behind the barn. I don’t know how it will work, but if it goes badly, I’ll plow the whole thing down in late summer as a green manure crop.

Max and I walked the fields checking things out, finding more work and celebrating a few “wins” along the way. Max is my constant companion, just as I had hoped. I think he will be a great dog…he sure is a smart one!

Max and I checked out the hayfields while we walked too. They are ready to cut. The hay tools are ready to go, now for some nice sunny weather. I need a minimum of three dry days to get my hay made. Perhaps I err on the dry side, but it makes good hay that way. The kind I need to feed my horses, no mold, no dust.

The farm is green, the corn is up, the pastures are looking good. Yep, I think a day for reflection was just what I needed…to have a good dog along, just made it sweeter….like the strawberries freshly picked, from our raised beds!

On the Right Path
June 15, 2014, 9:09 pm
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One last look at an old trouble spot

One last look at an old trouble spot

June 15, 2014
Father’s Day. I spent a minute talking at my father’s resting place. I do wish we could share a cup of coffee and conversation, but even a one sided visit makes me feel better. I heard from my children and all is well.

I worked on my list, sold a couple piglets and spent time with our new dog. We walked the sap roads for awhile, just looking at the big difference, and liking what I saw.

Yesterday, I spent time with my uncles. It was good to see and talk with them. This coming week will be full of farm work, horse work and the like, but I have set aside some time for visiting with some old friends. I am sure, that like the sap roads, I am on the right path! 😮

Back on Top
June 13, 2014, 8:50 am
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Our repaired horse , runs again!

Our repaired horse , runs again!

June 13, 2014

Today is Friday the 13th, big deal. It’s Friday. I am off work and I am not superstitious…so, I am going to have a good day no matter what!

Yesterday, we got our weathervane put back in order. Our horse got beat up by the wind. He had come loose from his moorings and looked as if he was standing on his head. He had simply lost his direction. I know how he felt. After too many long shifts and too much time away from the farm, I too was starting to lose my direction.

It is amazing what a true craftsman can do. Our weathervane is as good as new. I also got some much needed rest and after just one relaxing evening around my animals and fields, I too am re-charged and “Back on Top.”

After six months of grieving over our dog King, we bought a new pup. We are the proud owners of a black and white Border Collie named Max. He is a year old. He is full of excitement and wonder. He was very timid and shy at first, but is coming into his own with encouragement and praise from us.

It is fun to watch as this little guy learns his place. He has it pretty much figured out that I am the top dog and he is my helper. He tries just a bit too hard to help now and then, but is learning quickly. He is a bit jealous of the cats and Vincent the goat when they get some of my attention. He waits patiently…well sort of patiently, at least he is learning to share 😮

So it is with a rested mind, a new pup and the love of family, that I embrace my farm work. I feel so much better! The horses can sense it too. The farm work waits in fear of us, with our new found vigor, even work knows we are about to slay it. 😮



Pooling My Thoughts
April 28, 2014, 9:52 pm
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Reflections on the back pond

Reflections on the back pond

April 28, 2014

Recently, I have been doing a lot of deep thinking. I think about goals, plans and failures. I look towards the future with a bright outlook, but can’t help dwelling in the past now and then. There is much to learn from our past experiences, especially where we have failed. It is good to revisit those failures now and then to examine what went wrong, be it love, jobs or field trials.

I have failed at all three. I am not sure if that makes be a “home run hitter” or just a normal guy, but when it comes to falling on my face now and then, I am an expert! I am also resilient. I have enough optimism for three people. I can find the good in most things and many people… but sometimes I struggle to see the good in me. So, these are the times when I need to pause and reflect.

I think these times are good for all of us. We need to look backwards every now and then to see just how far we have come. It is good to reset our compass, align new goals and define a path forward. It is a time to dig deep, sort things out and move forward. It may even mean setting new goals and embracing a whole new plan… that is OK. The only thing that matters is that you have a plan, a dream or a goal. If these things are missing from your life, it can be very empty.

Lastly, I know we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Many things that don’t turn out like we thought they should…were simply not meant to be. We cannot fix those things. We can only remember them, learn from them, cherish what we want and forget about the rest. I draw from my memories in many things that I do, even the bad things have value. I farm and make maple syrup because of great memories, some surrounded in tragedy. These things make me whole and help define who I am 😮