RicelandMeadows


Haying Season 2021 is Finished

September 14, 2021

Last Saturday, 9/11/21, we finished up our haying season. That morning as the dew dried off the hay crop, I watched the tributes on TV of the brave souls who lost their lives 20 years ago during the terrorist attacks on our civilians. My heart was heavy as I watched and waited. I will not forget.

In the week prior to my last round of hay making, we were visited by our daughter and her husband from Maryland. You have to make hay while the sun shines, so even with visitors present, the hay making rolled on. I simply included our guests in the project. They got to drive the horses, even raking some of the crop as they learned about the process first hand. The horses worked well for the novice drivers and my visiting teamsters gained experience and understanding. The smiles were big and the workload was made smaller.

The hay tools have been gathered and will be cleaned and stored in the coming days. It is a bittersweet time as one season ends and another begins. Summer is a fleeting thing and autumn looms near. A few jobs that were delayed by wet, then very hot weather, still wait to be completed, but I’ll get them done soon.

We found out this week that we have been featured on the draft horse desktop calendar for 2022. There are so many teams and teamsters to choose from, gathered from events all over the country and only 12 months to display them. We are humbled to represent the Suffolk horse breed and thank Mischka Press for the privilege.

The little filly in the picture has now been weaned. She is learning all sorts of new things. She has bonded well with her stablemate. Those two young ladies have become great friends. Momma has returned to full work and all is well. The job of preparing the soil for our fall planting of speltz is at hand. Once that job has been completed, corn picking will commence. In any of the days not filled up, we will work on the last of the firewood needed for the upcoming maple syrup season. It sounds like a lot of work when I write it all down, but it is simply a great life!



Blowing in the Wind
July 31, 2021, 11:26 pm
Filed under: July 2021 | Tags: , , ,

July 31, 2021

The answer my friend…. You know the old song.

What a month it has been! Horse Progress Days were held over the 3rd and 4th of July. It came right on the heels of our North American Suffolk Horse Association Gathering. I rested big time on the 4th. I entered into the next week hopeful that I could get caught up on farm chores and especially making our first cutting hay. It didn’t happen as the rains moved in, making for a very wet month.

I worked on all sorts of things including forging several large basket hangers to be used at the fairgrounds for floral displays. The horse all got their feet trimmed and shoes reset. Training went on for our young horses and Grace, this years Suffolk filly, too had a few lessons. The gardens were worked when the weather allowed us. The weeds are winning at the moment, but we are harvesting in spite of them.

The back pond was suffering from the lack of oxygen. It had become foul smelling and dark. Scum and vegetation floated on the surface. We have a large grass waterway at the entrance to the pond. The recent rains made it overflow often, but the ugliness continued. American Eagle Windmills installed an air bubbling windmill to cure our problem. It has only been a few days, but already we are seeing an improvement.

I really like to look of it in our landscape. Powered by the wind, it will work all by itself. It is very quiet and the animals have no fear of it.

I have worked very hard this last week of the month trying to get that hay made. After another 8 tenths of an inch of rain this week, I finished the hay job tonight at sundown. The hay got washed, but still looks pretty good for as late in the years as it is. We wrapped some silage bales and put a few squares in the haymow too. The whole farm needs its edges mowed and such, but the hay job being complete is a big relief.

Looks like firewood for the sugarhouse will be part of next weeks work, after I get the straw all baled from our speltz harvest. That job went very well. The grain is currently in wagons, but will be loaded into our bins as soon as I secure an elevator to use. Summer is fading fast and it sure is going quick!

Time is a fleeting thing. In fact you could say that it is blowing in the wind. Rest when you can, make memories as often as possible and love with all your heart.

Baby Grace, checking out the firewood plie on July fourth. She is a sweetie



Working in the Tree Tops
September 10, 2020, 10:05 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
One of three large piles.

September 10, 2020

Many people think that working in the tree tops requires a person to be up in the air, at the top of a tree. I am working in the tree tops that are laying on the ground from my recent tree harvest. I am salvaging firewood to be used to boil maple sap, to make maple syrup.

I am cutting everything three inches or larger, that didn’t make lumber logs and hauling them out to be cut to length and split. The brush and smaller limbs are being left for homes for small woodland creatures and to rot to enrich the forest floor.

Our harvest consisted of about 60 mature trees. The trees were removed to allow the growth of many smaller trees, predominantly maple, both hard and soft varieties. The trees removed, also allow for mature maples to have more open canopy for crown growth. It also lets in light and air to the forest floor. I can direct some water puddles towards the nearby stream, allowing the water to runoff through the existing leaf litter. This drys the forest, but assures that water quality is improved by the filtering effects of the leaf litter.

Bree is learning lessons as we work towards her weaning. She is not always happy with me. Here she learns patience. I tied her to a fence post far from mom. She did not like it, but soon realized that she would have to wait on me. This was a short lesson of about 35 minutes. It was good for her. She can be strong willed, but yields fairly quickly. Her training continues.

The garden harvest continues. Our animal corn harvest is starting, as I build shocks. Hand picking will begin soon. I picked a few random ears last night. I am happy with what I see so far.

The crop should fill my crib.

A busy time is coming, but we look forward to the dash to winter!



Feeling Good
October 8, 2019, 2:26 pm
Filed under: October 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

mary20191stbaby

October 8, 2019

Our weather has been nice. My work list is getting completed. Autumn is making itself known. Our last cow had her calf and things are good. We finished filling the sugarhouse woodshed yesterday. I even delivered a load of firewood for a birthday present.

chuckwood2019

I am a little sore today from doing unaccustomed work….I haven’t had this in a long time. Oh sure, do too many sit-ups or ride a horse…and I feel that the next few days, but holy cow!  When did a little extra work start to make my old muscles stiff and sore? This aging stuff is for the birds, but all in all…I feel good!

Honestly, how could a guy not feel good. I’m surrounded by family, friends, great draft horses and farm animals. Sure there is work that comes with those things. Work that is well worth the effort! Heck with feeling good… I feel great!



A Tale of Two Kitties

Milo and Otis

Milo and Otis

July 7, 2015

My granddaughter got to pick out two kittens from our recent litters. I suggested in jest that she should have a kitty and to my amazement, her dad thought so too. These kittens are cute, like all kittens, but they are borderline wildcats. I pick them up from time to time when they are small, but as they grow and crawl out of the box, I pet them much less. Kittens need little boys and girls to tame them, keep them calm and love them.

These two baby “tigers” were hiding in my workshop. It took three adults and two children a half an hour to catch and contain the little darlings. The kittens were delighted. I could tell from their squalling and hissing that there was nothing they’d rather do, than to be held in the arms of a child. The children paid no attention to the jaw snapping sweeties, but they did wrap the one with the biggest claws in a baby doll blanket for a while 😮

In no time at all, much to my surprise, the kittens were purring and enjoying being held. “We must name them.”, my granddaughter said. So all of us started to come up with names for the two male kittens. I used traditional oxen names like Bright and Lion, Star and Tiger, Cuff and Link, Boone and Crocket, but my granddaughter was not having it. Finally I said, “What about Milo and Otis?” She loved the idea.

After a few minutes, she asked me, “How will I tell them apart?” I looked them over and in my best grandfatherly advice I told her, “Milo has an “M” on his head….and if you lift the tail on the other one…there is an “O” for Otis!”  She was not amused…..