Duel Jobs
October 26, 2018, 9:14 am
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October 26, 2018

I am working on two jobs. We are trying to finish filling the woodshed at the sugarhouse. We are also picking our corn for the animals (maize). I pick by hand when the fields are wet. Believe me, this year, my field is very wet. The horses navigate the sloppy ground with ease. They do not get stuck and their impact on the land is light compared to the spinning wheels on a tractor.

I pick two rows at a time. This way the horses and wagon move over to a new place to walk, every trip around the field. Once I have picked all the corn ears off the stalks, the livestock will be turned in to glean the field. The cows will search out any nubbin ears that I missed, as will the hogs. All of the animals will eat the leftover plant called stover or fodder depending upon what part of the country you are from.

I will graze this field all winter once the ground has frozen. The animals will eat much of the spent plants. The field will then plow easy in the spring. I hope to plant oats here in early spring 2019. That is the life of a farmer, plant, weed, harvest and repeat. The little things along the way like making use of corn fodder, just help the farmer out.

Picking corn by hand is a boring job to some. To me, it is a nice quiet time spent with the horses. I can pick along and solve all sorts of problems, plan things out and enjoy some nice autumn days. Winter will soon be here. I must push hard to get the corn harvested and the woodshed filled, but thanks to good horses, good friends and family, I’m sure I will get it all done.

Bedded and Shedded
November 19, 2016, 9:11 pm
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November 19, 2016

After a cold rainy day, the snow is starting to swirl on the wind. The icy pellets stung my cheeks as I did chores tonight. It was nice to be in the warm barns feeding and caring for the animals. The pigs were all nestling down into their straw beds as I shut the doors and turned out the lights. The horses quietly munched on their hay as they stood knee deep in fresh bedding.

The cats were licking their paws and our dog laid in the hay watching me as I finished chores. I swept the aisle and hung up the broom. I sat down next to the dog and petted him on the head. I sat in silence, reflecting upon the last several days.

All of our farm equipment has been cleaned, lubricated and put away. Even the equipment that we will be using in the coming months has been given a space indoors for winter. I managed to store my horse drawn farm tools all together in my shop close to the horse barn. I can easily get out the pieces that I want to use and put them away when done.

The cows and sheep have been moved to their winter pastures. The horses have now started their rotation where they are inside at night and outside during the day. These cold nasty nights, when the winds and snows buffet the buildings , it is very peaceful to watch the animals enjoy the warmth of stall and stable. I listen to them chew, pet the dog and take comfort in knowing they are all bedded and shedded.

The Present
February 5, 2015, 12:39 pm
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Little snow mountain

Little snow mountain

February 5, 2015

Someone once told me, ” Today is a gift, that is why they call it the present.”┬á I think about those words from time to time and I realize just how much wisdom is packed into that short phrase. I think we should all contemplate just how short life is, from time to time. It makes us appreciate our days…even the frustrating ones!

This morning the temperature dipped below zero F, just before sunrise. The air was still, crisp and clear. There was no wind, not even a breeze. The snow crunched underfoot, even squeaking as I took a step. The animals, snug in there beds, barely noticed as I walked by them. They seemed content to just enjoy their warm beds a little while longer, on this cold winter morning.

The sun began to rise, as I made my way around the barnyard. Once again we had gotten three or four inches of new snow over night, but instead of being frustrated that I would have to plow snow yet again, I stopped walking and just looked at the snow.

It was beautiful. Every ice crystal was reflecting the morning sun. All across the fields the snow was shimmering. The pine trees that border the farm lane, looked like trees from a Christmas card, branches tipped in white then covered in glitter. There was no brown to be seen, even the cow patties were hidden from view, and dressed in white ­čś«

My footsteps became lighter, a smile graced my face and everything seemed right in┬ámy world. My breath on the crisp air turned to very small snow flakes… and that is when I realized that I was part of the snow problem too. How could I be disgusted with the now, when I was adding to the amount myself! I laughed at the thought, shrugged my shoulders and resigned to the fact that, yes, I would have to plow again!

So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. I will look for the beauty in it, as I look for a place to pile it. I must enjoy the fluffy white stuff for as long as I can because very soon comes mud season, followed by the July and August heat. The only break then is the hidden promise in the morning dew, when winter snowflakes take on their summer wear and become┬ádroplets of water hanging on fences twinkling in the sunrise…. and like today, the wonder of morning makes me realize that …. today really is a gift!

Wrapping up the season
October 9, 2014, 5:28 pm
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Josh and his wife help with the hay

Josh and his wife help with the hay

October 9,2014

The season will soon be closing in, with snow all around us. We are taking advantage of these nice October days to wrap things up. We spent much of yesterday making small square bales out of larger round ones. It seems like a lot of work, but the effort is well worth it. Those small square bales come in very handy on a wet, freezing, rainy night. I only do the horse hay this way and a few second cutting bales for the baby calves.

It is peace of mind in summer as I rush around the field making large round bales, as I make hay while the sun shines. It is mostly a one man show here, so making round bales lets me get our hay made all by myself. However, it does make things very nice when we can have extra hands to make the small square bales. We had a good time. It was cool and breezy. The children played all day and even helped some too. It is real nice to be in a hay mow when its cool and comfortable, still the same amount of work,but the coolness makes it a nice job.

Another wonderful thing that happened yesterday, was finding out that I had fixed the baler. I had recently replaced a broken spring. That spring. That $8.00 spring has caused me aggravation for over 3 seasons! I simply couldn’t figure it out. Wow, what a difference! We only missed tieing two bales yesterday and both of them were my fault!

This job continues but we made great progress. I think I will have it all squared away before the weather turns wet again…at least that’s my hope

The Beauty Around Us
October 5, 2014, 11:11 am
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Back porch mums

Back porch mums

October 5, 2014

In my rush to catch up on chores, get speltz planted and come up with a plan for wood cutting, I have almost missed some very pretty things. The mums around the back porch are in full bloom. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn color and the corn is fading from bright green to golden harvest brown. The animals are in great condition from the green grass. Their coats shine in the sun and in the meadows, red clover and goldenrod bloom in a blaze of color.

Even the farm looks good with it’s patchwork of fields. The green pastures never faded this year because of the rains. The hayfields are lush as they await the coming frost. The recently planted speltz fields provide a dark contrast in the neat landscape. The wood line border awash in autumn color gives the scene a final touch….and to think that I almost missed it!

My main focus this week will be on cutting wood. I want to finish that job before the weather shuts me down. I don’t mind working at it in the winter, as long as it for a coming year and not the year we are in! I have a few friends coming next week to share a days labor. I want as many logs stacked up as I can get. Five men can make a whopper pile of cut and split wood in no time!

One last job that I have a keen eye on is the job of bringing in my corn. I want to shock some for use later this winter. The rest will get picked once it dries down enough to store on the cob in my crib. Sure, there is still plenty to do to keep me busy, but today I will putter around, rest up and enjoy the sights around me…maybe I’ll even get to see a grandchild or two ­čś«

The Benefit of a Good Outlet
April 10, 2014, 9:10 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Clear water from our drainage tile

Clear water from our drainage tile

April 10,2014

The importance of a good outlet can not be overstated. Of course it is important for farm tiles and culverts, but a good place to drain the stress of life is awesome! I like to think that I have several, but when it all comes down to it…there is just one place. That place is here on my farm.

Sometimes it is the woods where my problems are sorted and drained away. Other times it is under the shade of the porch where the stresses of the day melt away. Usually, I am talking to an animal or a whole bunch of them. They listen well and almost never talk back. One in a while a horse will say … “neigh”, but not often ­čś«

I don’t care where you live or what you do, a place to blow off steam or perhaps just sit and have a good cry should be in everybody’s life. I think holding too much stuff inside is unhealthy and will lead to an early death. We humans, simply have to let go…otherwise we eat ourselves up.

I had to wake up two times in a hospital bed, before I realized to let things go that I cannot change. Some people simply can’t find that realization…the cemetery is full of them. They leave behind family and friends, because they couldn’t let work issues or changes in government or politics roll off their backs.

Just life and family can give you stuff to fuss about. Reach out, try, it will work out or not…you cannot change it. You have to just let things go. Destiny will be whatever it will be. We can’t change it, but we can let it go, hope for the best and forget about it.

The main thing, is to learn to give up what you cannot change. Turn over your concerns to a higher power and quit worrying about it yourself. I give my problems to God. Sometimes things work out and I get what I wanted, other times I don’t. I just have to trust that however it works out… that is the way it is supposed to be… I will leave it alone.

The best thing in my case is that I have several places where I can go and think. I guess that it is also good that I have learned to let things go. Of course, it wasn’t easy…but I did learn it! I encourage you to find a special place where you can go, relax and think. Perhaps it is the beach or a park or just a quiet place in your house…it is not important where it is…it’s only important that you find it!