RicelandMeadows


Sunset Sled Ride and a Prototype
February 5, 2021, 3:58 pm
Filed under: February 2021 | Tags: , , , , ,

February 5, 2021

Cold is upon us. Winter has finally made itself known. The next several days are to be the coldest in the past two years. I am enjoying the frozen ground. One of my friend’s calls it, “God’s concrete”. We took advantage of the snow the other night to take a sled ride. The horses pulled the recently reworked sled with ease. I added high density plastic to the bottom of the runners. It slides extremely well now! The girls, Abby and Amee, pulled us effortlessly. It was fun albeit cold :o)

The plastic can easily be seen in this photo. I knew it would help the runners when it came to wear, but wow, does it ever pull easy. A tongue is an absolute necessity.

My friend Joel and I built a prototype sap gathering rig. It will be tried and tested in the woods very soon. It is a hybrid of sorts, having both sled runners and wheels. A sled works very well on snow or even mud, but it drags hard on our dry spring days. Sap must be gathered no matter what the soil conditions may be. It is my hope that this rig will get the job done and be a bit easier on the horses on those dry days.

I remember my grandfather Rice having one something like this. I may decode to level the platform where the sap tank will set, but for now I am going with this design. It will unload well no matter where I position the sled on my unloading hill because of the downward slope. I look forward to giving it a try.

I will pull it through the woods and around the sap roads in the next few days. I want to see how it pulls and also make sure there are no surprises along the trail. You will notice the steps on the back for children and old men with bad knees. My handrail also is a help when riding through the woods. I still have to put a tongue on the rig, but it is mostly ready to go.

The only downside to my sloping platform is that I won’t be able to fill my tank all the way to the top. No worries, I have a large tank, so a few buckets left out of each load will not be a big deal. Besides, I want to make the season last as long as possible anyway. So, if I have to make an extra trip, it just adds to the experience!



Dashing Through The Snow
February 10, 2015, 8:40 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Trotting around the barnyard

Trotting around the barnyard

February 10, 2015

When life gives you lemons…make lemonade. When Mother Nature gives you snow…harness up and take a sled ride!

I like to use my horses for sled and wagon rides. It is good exercise for them and it allows me to disguise some goof-off time, into looking productive. Don’t get me wrong. It is a lot of work, getting the horses ready and hooking up. Then putting them away when we are done, but, I love to do it!

I keep bells on my harness year round. I like to hear the tinkling when we are going along, no matter what the job. They sound real nice in the winter. It seems the sound carries on the crisp cold air. In summer the ringing bells just sound neat to me. I guess I’m just a little boy…and I’m ok with that!

These last cold and snowy days, I have not done much except for chores and plow snow. Today, I took the horses for new shoes. We are getting  things ready for the maple syrup season. I want anti-slip footwear on my horses at this time of year. A broken leg means a dead horse…a set of good horse shoes, with drill tech on the bottoms, are cheap insurance. Our stone drive is also hard on horse’s feet, once again the shoes are worth their cost.

Each day, I work towards the maple syrup season. I check a few things off the list every week. The season comes quickly, I want to be ready, breaking the work into small jobs helps out a lot! Using the horses on the sled or wagon, helps to get them in shape for the upcoming work. So, I get to goof-off, the horses get to trot and romp and all of us are one day closer to the syrup season!