RicelandMeadows


Working Around the Dew

compost42019

September 9, 2019

The heavy dew stays on the grass and hay until very late morning, almost lunchtime. The horses and I are filling that wet time in with compost spreading. Abby got her first voyage with the power cart a couple days ago. She couldn’t have cared less. The running engine and flinging poop didn’t bother her in the least.

adogslife

We could finally rake the second cutting hay for the first time. It is thin, but will make some very good feed. The cows and sheep will really enjoy the sweet, high protein hay during the cold, windy days of late winter. Sam, the dog, goes with me everywhere. He thinks that he is the inspector of all that I do.

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Knight poses for a photo. He was working with Abby on the hay rake. He keeps her in line. He teaches her much by just being himself, the steady worker. He is my main man. I think I can do almost anything as long as he is there with me.

So, we continue to work on the hay. I believe we will be able to bale it up later this afternoon. The compost pile is getting smaller and a few other things are getting done, as I spend the mornings, working around the dew.



Seconds Anyone?
September 6, 2019, 12:35 am
Filed under: September 2019 | Tags: , , ,

secondcut2019

September 6, 2019

The weatherman says a stretch of good weather, without rain is upon us. I cut the last field of second cutting hay. The boys did a great job. They settled into a nice walking pace and pulled the mower effortlessly. The grass and clovers were just right for clipping. I think this will make some real nice hay.

The dew stays on the grass a bit longer on September mornings than in the heat of summer. The sun doesn’t get quite as hot, but I think the hay will cure and dry nicely in spite of this early fall weather. We will be diligent in fluffing and turning it, to aid in the drying process.

This hay will make a yummy treat in the cold, dark days of winter. The sweet, soft grass will provide added protein needs for the livestock. They like the sweet hay and will lick up every morsel. I give it sparingly to all but the horses. It is simply too rich for the draft horses. They will be content and stay in good condition on our first cut timothy hay…and oats of course.

We have a few busy days in front of us, but once its done, we are done with haying for the year. We can clean and lubricate the machinery for winter storage. Its looking like we will be working on hay and plowing for speltz at the same time. I hope that the fall planted speltz, are in the ground and growing by the end of the month. That will just leave the corn harvest to complete before the snow flies….funny to be talking about making hay and snow in the same post, but then again, this is northeast Ohio!



Idle Time…What’s that?
August 22, 2019, 10:28 am
Filed under: August 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

moonrise819

August 22, 2019

Summer is fading fast. The month of June was fleeting due to all the rainfall. The work of June got pushed into July. We worked steady in July and did a pretty good job of catching things back up. We even worked into the dark on occasion. The rising August full moon a few days ago, was beautiful. It made for a good time for reflecting on work that had been done, fun that we squeezed in and pointed towards the work to come.

The first parts of August were muggy and hot, even steamy. The rains started their pattern of coming about every two days. When it fell, it came hard with winds and fury. The grasses are growing, so more hay will hopefully get made. The field corn looks good and most things are staying green. I have been staying busy in the forge shop and around the farm.

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Shelf brackets and twisted steel bracing, that I made for our daughter’s house. Fun project so far.

skidseat

I put a new seat in the skid steer after sitting on a cat food bag for over a year! My wife and her little fingers helped with this project. Evidently, the workers at the “Daewoo” factory have much smaller hands than these old mitts of mine! In any case, we got it done. It makes me wonder why I waited so long. The cracked and worn seat gave me a wet butt for a year before it became so tattered that cat food bag was necessary, which got me another year. I can say that I used the old seat up! This one is much better.

The weather will break. Our early autumn and late summer days will be filled with plenty to do. I am mostly ready. The last piece of equipment needing attention is the corn picker. I will get it ready for the harvest soon.  First I need to finish the job of haying. Then clean and store the hay equipment. Following that job, I will move on to plowing and preparing the soil for our fall planted speltz crop. Then the corn harvest will commence. If the weather won’t allow for machine harvest, I will pick the 3 acres by hand…more on this job later.

Like the ant in the old fable, we are busy preparing for the coming winter. I suggest in the world of grasshoppers and ants…be the ant!



What a Rainstorm!
July 22, 2019, 1:31 pm
Filed under: July 2019 | Tags: , ,

pondflood2019

July 22, 2019

Wow! We got some rain last weekend. Our ground was saturated already, so the three inch downpour, mostly ran off. This is our back pond. The surface area almost twice its normal size. The overflow pipe has a diameter of two feet, but it was overwhelmed.

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It was a couple of tense hours that we watched the pond overflow the dam. In the end, all was well. Today, everything is back to normal, well except for the fields are still quite damp!

Our wet weather has caused issue, but the grass is green in the pastures. All the animals have plenty to eat. This is good news for mid-summer. The corn crop looks good, but the weeds in the rows are really thick, cultivating did not happen. The dirt was too wet, then the corn plants were too tall.

It will all be fine, like water over the dam.

Tomorrow is coming ready or not, no sense to fret about yesterday! I’ll just stay focused on today and make the most of it.



Change is Good
July 11, 2019, 9:09 am
Filed under: July 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

raking2019

July 11, 2019

Everyone tells us that change is good. I continue to believe that change is bullsh*t! I do adapt, but I hate it. It takes me out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to “try something new”, I like the old stuff and the old ways…but change does help us grow in knowledge and experience. I grumble, but I do it.

This is Abby’s second time raking hay. She is learning many new things. Her world is full of change. The first day that I hooked her to the hay rake, she was a nervous wreck. It rattled and banged behind her. The dry hay made a swishing sound that she couldn’t see. I kept a firm hand on the lines reassuring her, that everything was okay. Knight, her teammate, walked along paying no attention to the “rattling, swishing monster” coming right behind them. This soon gave Abby confidence.

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This photo shows the horses making their first round. By the time we got to the other end of the field, Abby couldn’t have cared less about the hay rake or the job at hand. Her frothy sweat dried by the second round and she settled in for the day. The next day there was no fear in her eye. She exhibited nothing but confidence. She knew her job and seemed to enjoy doing it. I guess she trusted me not to put her in harm’s way. She did trust me, but I think she verified that trust, by keeping one eye on Knight.

In life, I too get concerned about new things. I think I have actually broken out in a frothy sweat a time or two! I wanted to resist, but settled in and made the best of it. Pretty soon, the new became the old and change became the norm. I don’t have to like it, but I can control how I react to it. I just think about God on the lines, my “teammates” walking beside me, adapting as we go…and the quiet, confident voice of my wife, telling me that everything will be okay…. And you know…it usually is.



Another Load
June 27, 2019, 8:42 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , ,

anotherload

June 27, 2019

I can’t seem to hit hay weather yet, so I have been working hard on firewood for the sugarhouse. This job really never ends. I work at the main part to fill the woodshed as soon as the maple season ends. I like to have that job completed by July 1st.

I will hit that goal again this year. Having well seasoned, dry wood makes the job of boiling maple sap go much better! I fill the woodshed, then work on getting ahead for the following year. I don’t usually work real hard at this job once the shed is full, but having some extra, is never a waste of time.

I have a little firewood to make for my shop stove. I enjoy the warm, constant heat from my little stove as I putter in my work shop on cold winter days. These hot, muggy summer days, makes wood work a little tough, but the reward comes in winter.

My haying tools and horses stand ready to make hay. The weather is a bit stingy. It is also easy to look back and say, “I should have cut two days ago!”. I am just going to be patient. The days have been dry for the last three, but my fields are wet. Water still stands in places, but I know that , “this too shall pass”. Hay season will soon be in full swing. In the meantime I will simply work on another load of firewood.



Whew, That Was Close!
June 13, 2019, 11:26 am
Filed under: June 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

hayrake2019

June 13, 2019

Whew, that was close! The field above was the first dry hay of this year. We mowed last week. It was almost ready when the rain rinsed it off. I had left the grass laying flat, fearing the coming rain. The day after the rain hit, the horses and I went to work.

We fluffed the hay Tuesday morning just after the dew had dried off. The hay was mostly cured, but the bottom layer was still green and fresh cut looking. The hay was allowed to dry for several hours. We then raked the hay, flipping that bottom layer to the top. The sun and wind dried it throughout the rest of that day.

Wednesday morning, we were back at again. We fluffed the hay again with our tedder, a piece of equipment designed to pick the hay up and fluff the windrows. We stopped for lunch when we finished the fluffing job. The horses and I ate lunch, drank water, then headed out to the field again.

We raked the hay a second time, turning the windrows over yet again. The hay was light and airy. The cured, fresh hay smelled wonderful. We finished raking about two pm. The horses were unharnessed and left in the cool barn while the hay dried a bit more.

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I started round baling the hay at 4 pm. The hay had dried well and the baling was complete by 6:30 pm. This is the first dry hay of the season. This year has been a challenge for us farmers as we work around the wet weather. This hay will be fed to the cows. Its quality didn’t suffer much from the rain, but I fear it might be a little dusty for the horses. The horses get the very best hay that I can produce.

It was well after dark as I moved the last bale off the hay field. I was pleased with our efforts over the last few days. The horses worked very well and once again, proved superior over a tractor, as I worked on the drying hay. Their feet walked alongside the windrows as the rake flipped and fluffed the hay. No tractor tires to push the hay down into the soggy ground or compact the soil.

We have much more hay to cut, cure and store, but we are off and running. The equipment and horses have been tested and found to all be sound. The weather, we can’t control, so I will just wait patiently and be ready to go again at the next opportunity.

As I crawled into bed last night after a warm shower, the rain could be heard falling on the roof. My hay was baled. The bales were off the field. The equipment was parked back in the barns again. I smiled sweetly as I drifted off to sleep….