RicelandMeadows


Best Time of the Night
January 25, 2018, 7:56 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

bestimeofnite

January 25, 2018

I like the time of evening when the chores are all done. The animals all have clean dry beds and full mangers. I sweep the floor one last time, then I just pause to listen to the animals chew their supper. The cows are all starting to bed down and are quiet too. The kitties climb up to the hay mow to find a place to sleep. My dog waits patiently, to follow me to the house.

I walk slowly as I head towards the house. My supper is waiting, but I like to look at everything one more time. The sheep are where they are supposed to be. The lights have been turned off. The gentle thump of the pig feeder doors disturb the evening just enough for me to know that all is well in the pig barn too. Nothing but quiet comes from the hen house as I walk by. The ladies inside have all gone to roost for the night.

I look out across the fields and a contentment fills my heart. The day’s work is done. Soon spring will come. First with maple syrup season, followed promptly by spring field work. Baby lambs will be born as I am plowing for the crops. Then the long days of summer will fill our days, followed by harvest. For now, however, the work is mostly done. Just daily chores, a list of repairs to make and rest. All of us get to relax. My new knees appreciate these days of leisure.

As I reach for the doorknob to go in for the evening. I say a prayer of thanksgiving, for what we have been blessed with. It is for sure the best time of the night and all of us farm critters will enjoy our evening meal and a peaceful slumber.



The Promise in the Sky
April 20, 2017, 10:47 am
Filed under: April 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

417rainbow

April 20, 2017

I don’t think there are many things more pleasing to the eye, than a rainbow in the sky. The bible says it is God’s promise that he would never drown the Earth again. I feel peace when I see one. Yesterday, in the midst of a spring storm, with dark skies and heavy rain, the sun poked through bright and beautiful. This double rainbow was the result. (sorry if the second arc is not to visible, I was slow with the camera)

I always feel humbled when the colorful arcs show themselves over our barns. I know that I am supposed to be here, in this spot, at this place in time. Seeing the rainbow sort of “cements” this for me. I know that the best is yet to come!

Yesterday, before the storm, we managed to spin “bin oats” on the roughed up corn stubble field. These oat seeds are straight out of my oat bin. They will germinate and grow quickly, providing cattle grazing in just a few weeks. It is a minimum tillage practice that I sometimes use that also provides a cover crop for the bare field.

This field, once grazed off by the cows, will next be planted to a cover of buckwheat. While the field mostly “rests”, I will install some needed drainage. Once the buckwheat is tall and blooming, I will mow it all down and apply compost to the whole field. The buckwheat will be allowed to grow, while the horses and I begin plowing the field down in preparation for planting speltz in late summer, early fall.

Small farming is a series of small farming practices. Cover cropping, animal grazing, compost applications and timely weed eradication by mowing, helps me to keep my purchased inputs at a minimum. Sure, it requires a little extra work. It makes me walk my fields to look them over often. I get to know my farm this way, every piece of it. I don’t know of a way to be better connected to my farm, the woodlands or the animals who live here.

Last year, my corn planter skipped like crazy. I would up with it only planting half of a crop! Most people would have started over or mowed it all down. I persisted. Even though my field looked sparse when driving by on the road, it yielded very well. I hand picked the ears , with the help of some great friends. My corn crib is still half full. I will have plenty to get me through to this years crop. Isn’t that all a farmer could ask for? To have enough, what a wonderful thing!

The bee trap is working successfully. The bees, under protest perhaps, are moving in to the hive and setting up their home there. The rains of yesterday and today will sprout the oat crop and keep the fresh grass growing nicely. I will work horses on the sled and wagon as I prep for the coming work season. I will also work my brain, as we travel around the farm, planning for crops, improvements, and tasks that need completed. I will do all of this under the promise in the sky… even when I can’t see it.



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.



Settled In
January 11, 2017, 11:21 pm
Filed under: January 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

nitenitepig

January 11, 2017

Tonight, after chores, I walked through the barns just to look at the animals. Stalls are cleaned during evening chores. I add fresh straw when needed. Usually I am on the run, feeding, cleaning, bedding and headed off to the next job…sometimes the one that pays most of the bills. Tonight, however, I took time to pause just to reflect on my simple farm life. I do love it so very much.

These pigs are almost ready to leave for freezer camp. They, of course, don’t know. They are just fixing their bed like every night. They had a good day eating, playing on the tire swing and rooting around. Now, it’s time for bed. They will continue to enjoy a stress free life. They are warm, fed and comfortable. I make sure of that, it’s my job, no…it’s my passion.

The results of my labors can be seen in my fields, my livestock and my smile. I appreciate this farm life. I thank God that he has let me find my place in the universe. I get to enjoy every single day surrounded by my animal charges and embraced with the love only a family can provide. So, talk about being settled in … I sure am!



Waiting Out The Storm
December 14, 2016, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

snocow

December 14, 2016

A storm is about to force us all inside. Old man winter is about to really blow. The weatherman says we may get up to two feet of snow, high winds and low temperatures. All of us are snug, both man and beast.

The horses and hogs are all bedded in warm straw. The cows and sheep get to chose where they want to be. They all have the option of going into a building if they want, but many times they choose to be outside. The cows can even go in to the shelter of the pines. When cold rain comes, all of them prefer to be under the cover of a tin roof, but the rest of the time, they seem to just like Mother Nature.

I will spend the day in the barns just staying out of the weather and enjoying my four-legged friends. The horses will all get haircuts and a good brushing. The pens will all be cleaned and the barns straightened up, sweep the corners etc. It is nice to spend a day just reflecting on life and counting my blessings. The work will all wait until the storm has passed.



The work is finally done
October 30, 2016, 7:24 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

wyoniaalmostgone

October 30,2016

After almost three years of work, the old tree has been all turned into firewood. The fence, smashed beyond repair has been replaced and the area around the old tree has been cleaned up. The last job that remains is a tribute to this aged white oak tree. I will plant a nice sapling in the remains of the stump. I will fill the crater with topsoil and compost and plant what I hope will be a legacy for this old tree.

oaktreefence

A few brambles hide the massive stump, all that is left of the old tree. It was a long, worthwhile project. The work was difficult at times due to the size of the old tree’s trunk. Some folks thought that I was crazy to work that hard on wood to burn. I didn’t do it to show off. I didn’t really need a job of that scope. I did it out of respect for that giant old tree.

She gave her life feeding wild creatures for decades, in fact centuries! So, for me utilizing as much of the wood as possible seemed like the right thing to do. My sugarhouse woodshed is full to the brim. I even have a good start on next year. So this old oak will help supply the heat needed to boil our maple sap for four years in all. The wood also heated four different households too!

Having reached the end of this project, I feel a little bittersweet. I’m glad the work is all done, but I will sure miss that old tree, her shade, her acorns and the peace that was found sitting under her giant limbs. Goodbye and thank you, my old friend.



Amaryllis by morning…. LOL
September 12, 2016, 9:04 pm
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

amaryliss

September 12, 2016

Okay, so we had this crazy plant blooming in our living room last Christmas. It was a pretty thing, showing off in the dead of winter. I read up on the care of the plant. I thought I had done everything right. The last step is to move it to a darkened basement for sixty days. Then it will once again bloom in late December.

So, we put it on the porch where it would get sun and fresh air. The greenery is supposed to be feeding the bulb now. Apparently, it was so happy out there it decided to bloom. I don’t know, perhaps it has been talking to our Christmas cactus. That crazy cactus also blooms two or three times a year! I guess like me, they are happy here on this farm, in this time.

I learned a long time ago not to hold anything back. I don’t want to stifle ideas, deeds or works. I have found that love unlimited is more valuable than gold. Any living thing that is happy with its surroundings will excel in any manner that it chooses. We raise and sell meat that is raised stress free. The animals are well cared for at all times.My horses look for me each day. They welcome me to the barn or pasture. The woodlands open up and share shade and the peace and quiet found there with me. This little plant is blooming her heart out. I will take that as a compliment and just enjoy the view!