Sharing is Caring
June 17, 2018, 7:14 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , ,


June 17, 2018

As part of my new retirement gig, I got a new Border Collie puppy. My old dog “Cinch” is teaching the pup many new things. “Matilda” aka “Tilly”, is a quick learner. She is a smart pup who is fun to train. She sits, fetches, is crate trained already and has learned to stay down with no jumping, pretty well. We continue to work on those two. So far, she only jumps when she first sees me. She get very excited, but quickly settles down, “good girl”, helps a lot!

As she learns to fetch, “Uncle Cinch” helps too. She jumps and bites his lip. He growls a little and mostly tolerates his new charge. There have been some scuffles, but mostly just patience from the old man. He is teaching her manners, boundaries and the daily routine. Best of all, he shares me with her. He is a great dog.

Today is Father’s Day. I will take a walk and talk to my dad. He rests peacefully under a tree in my pasture. Gone are the days when we could talk on the phone or face to face. I’m sure he keeps an eye on me, even now, that’s what us dads do. I am lucky enough to have many who call me dad. Sons, daughters, daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws, our family has grown over the years to a large herd. I am very proud to watch over them all and to share in each of their lives.

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


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.

Homemade, Handcrafted, Shop Made
May 24, 2017, 9:20 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,


May 24, 2017

Yesterday, I spread my fertilizer on the corn ground with my rig pictured above. The spreader is affixed to the axle out of an old Jeep and some small I-beam. My uncle did all the welding. My late friend in Pennsylvania figured the gear ratio. He took the distance in one revolution of the tires and told me what size gear was needed to weld on the shaft coming out of the axle rear end “pumpkin”.

My uncle welded the frame and centered the gear on the rear end shaft. A stub shaft made from pillow block bearings and fitted with stub ends from an old PTO shaft, completed the build. The spreader is just a category one, three point hitch model that I already had. Once the whole rig had been assembled, I tried it out. The horses walk about four miles per hour. My old friend Jonathan had it figured so the speed of the walking horses, turned the power take off at 540 rpm…exactly what the old spreader needed to work at its optimum.

My uncle’s welding days are behind him. My old friend has designed his last piece of homemade equipment. I think of the two of them every time I use this spreader. It gets used often during the growing season. We even spread grass seed on a football field for a community project, to help make a place for some young football players. Because of my uncle and my friend, I was able to “pay it forward” using inexpensive shop built equipment.

Many times in my life I have benefited from someone’s hand made or hand crafted object. The very first leather harnesses that I owned were a gift from my two grandfathers. They each contributed parts to get me a set that would work on two small ponies that I owned. One day, I should compile a list of all the folks who have shown me the greatest love by giving of themselves.

I have slept under homemade quilts all of my life. I still have the last one that my mother and great grandmother made for me. It is well worn and faded, but still held together by the love that made it. My wife quilts for me, our family and others. She works steady and almost tirelessly creating designs in cloth. The love she puts into them will be seen for decades.

I try to always meet people on the level and treat them square. I try to lead with a smile and follow with a good deed. One of the gifts I have, is that of managing the written word. I hope that I can impart a series of words that will touch a heart and stir a fond memory. I hope that long after I am gone, I will still be able to make folks remember a loved one, a favorite event or an old object made by hand with help from the heart.

A Great Problem
March 1, 2016, 9:49 am
Filed under: March 2016 | Tags: , , , ,


March 1, 2016

I have been very busy. My off farm job had kept me hopping last week along with all that goes with making maple syrup. Yesterday we gathered over one thousand gallons of maple sap. Today I will boil it all down. That job begins right after all the farm critters have been fed. I am very busy, but that is a great problem.

I expect visitors to the sugarhouse today. Sounds like several families will be coming. I get to explain the process to adults and children alike. It is hard to say if anyone will go home and try it in their backyard but you never know who your sharing may inspire. Perhaps a small boy will be amazed and one day become a sugar maker himself. Or maybe a little girl will be touched by my words and go on to make maple candy in a small shop in a large city. I don’t know, but I do know that it is my destiny to share what I know.

The weeks end looks cold. This is just what we need to keep the trees dripping. The cold also give me a couple days off from making maple syrup to catch up on other farm chores. I have taken some time off from work to spend in the woods and on the farm. I am excited to be here. This is my “land cruise”. I will do all sorts of things and be a busy as possible, but that is a  great problem!

Putting Down Roots
July 14, 2015, 8:23 am
Filed under: July 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Mid-July garden starting to prosper

Mid-July garden starting to prosper

July 14, 2015

Our garden is finally starting to flourish. After a slow start, lots of rain and even some hard packed soil, things are really looking up. I was more careful this year to do more companion planting. The cucumbers have benefited from the nearby onions. The squash bugs and cucumber beetles have been at a minimum. Our peppers and tomatoes look great. Even some cantaloupe plants are thriving.

I am sure these results are driven by our new raised bed system. I also think that planting the plants with “friends and associates” helps too. Each plant gaining a little from a neighbor, by doing nothing more than growing itself. There is a lesson here for us humans.

Last fall, I became re-acquainted with an old friend. I knew him casually but didn’t really know him. I also put “two and two” together and figured out where he lived. I had driven by his place and often thought that I should stop and introduce myself. It was obvious to me that whomever lived at the farmstead, shared many of my same thoughts and desires. I had no idea that the farmstead belonged to Ron and his family. I am thinking that they have found their place in the universe, just as I have. All of us have put down roots that run deep.

We came together over my sheep. It turns out that Ron’s nieces, Leah and Rachel, were looking to become shepherdesses …or the owners and masters of a flock of sheep. We struck a deal and my sheep became theirs….well except for a few that I had to buy back because I missed them 😮

As the months have gone by, I have gotten to know Ron’s family quite well. We have shared meals, much laughter and many moments of fellowship. We all share a love for farming and gardening. We all enjoy the simple things in life. We encourage each other, help one another and laugh together. I’m thinking this is much like companion planting as each of us, gains from one another by simply living nearby and sharing moments in the sun…under the Son!

Paying It Forward
April 9, 2015, 4:48 pm
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
My son and I in the sugarhouse

My son and I in the sugarhouse

April 9, 2015

As I went through photos of this year’s maple syrup season, I found several of friends and family helping and visiting. It warms my heart as I realize that just like I enjoyed my grandpa’s operation, many folks enjoy mine. I am simply paying it forward. My grandparents showed me and answered my many questions. It took a while to learn it all and I have many others to thank, but their information was freely given and greedily absorbed.

Life is like this. Each one of us has skills and experience in different things. We owe it to each other to pass information along. We can enlighten, teach or perhaps just discuss the things we know. We all get too busy with all sorts of things, but time spent with family and friends is time well spent. This is especially true when the time is spent in person and face to face.

I will say that time and effort spent on the phone or via the internet has its place. I can talk with folks all over the world. Recently, I have had some good conversation with a man from Tennessee. Another friend, Paul, from New York and I discussed our maple season through text and pictures. Our world is indeed getting smaller, but the need for good, back to basic, small farm information has never been greater. Don’t hold back…pay it forward.