RicelandMeadows


The Seeds in an Apple
Bree of Riceland 12-12-2020

December 15, 2020

The old saying goes; Anyone can count the seeds in an Apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. That is a profound statement. I believe it to be true. Apply it to daily life. As I look at my young horses, I wonder how they will turn out. I do my best to train and nurture, but things can happen. I hope for the best as I work hard to instill trust and confidence into the young ones. I maintain that level of trust in my broke teams. Patience is not always easy, but it is always necessary.

In the above photo taken of Bree of Riceland being led by our son, I can’t help but be amazed at her growth. Nine months ago, she was a little girl learning to wear a halter and stand tied just a few days after her birth.

She learned to tie and lead very quickly. She has been a challenge at times because of her intelligence. She is a very smart horse who learns quickly. She also tries to outsmart me once in a while. As long as I correct bad behavior quickly, she yields. If I let her do something even twice, then she thinks that she is in charge and never has to do it my way again! She will be a great addition to our working horses because she likes routine. Do it the same every time and she is happy…change things up…not so much!

In this photo, my current main team, Amee and Abby taken when they were young fillies. Their owner at the time Joe Cervanka stands proudly with his “Lakeview” babies. I am sure that he wondered how these girls would turn out and where they would end up. Well Joe, they turned out great and ended up as foundation mares for our breeding program at Riceland Meadows. They are more than that though; they are my partners in powering the farm!

They are a joy to work. They make my farm days fun. I look forward to a bright future working these fine animals. It is my hope to help advance and promote these rare Suffolk horses. The farmers, who for over 400 years, have bred and preserved their fine qualities could obviously see “the apples in the seed”. I am grateful to those visionaries. I hope to continue in their strict adherence to old style qualities, to breed, train and love these great beasts of burden. They deserve every effort that I can manage to give them.



Enjoying a Little Rest
November 12, 2020, 11:10 am
Filed under: November 2020 | Tags: , , ,
Break time!

November 12, 2020

Whew! We had an amazing stretch of warm sunny weather in the mid and upper 70″s. This is very unusual for us here in northeast Ohio at this time of year! We worked on several projects as we prepare for winter. Hard stuff like; putting away patio furniture, rolling up hoses, mowing the lawn for the last time and putting garden tools away. Ok it wasn’t hard, but the hot weather made us sweat like it was still summer!

The horses weren’t impressed with the hot weather either. They are putting on their winter coats. I kept the jobs light for them. It will cool down soon and our outside will continue and be more comfortable to boot.

Rain felt a little good

The girls and I spent time working with the wagon. Daily work keeps us all fit and in tune. We hope to do a little plowing next week. We will try out our walking plow. The first time since having my knees replaced two years ago. Stay tuned for details.

It has been an amazing autumn. The recent rains, before the dry stretch, caused much concern, as farmer scrambling to harvest crops came to a stop. The welcomed wonderful weather, got everyone back into their fields. You could almost hear the big sigh of relief, as the combines roared to life again.

It is a wonderful feeling to have our harvest complete and be working on the little things. It is even better to be able to slow down, take breaks and enjoy the season. Thanksgiving will soon be here and what a great year to be thankful!



Gleaning The Corn Fodder
October 28, 2020, 11:05 am
Filed under: October 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,
Yum

October 28, 2020

We finished husking/picking our corn last week. We got done just in time to beat a whole lot of rain. We have gotten six inches of rain the last ten days. The dry ground sucked up quite a bit of the moisture, but now the ground is saturated. I am glad that I don’t have to navigate the the mud!

We turned five growing pigs into the corn field. They are gleaning any missed ears and those knocked to the ground by raccoons and deer. They are happily munching and rooting. They have a shed, where dry bedding is supplied, to lay in to sleep. They are also fed additional grain as needed, but so far are mostly just eating from the corn field and surrounding pasture and fence line weeds.

laying flock

Our hens are still enjoying their lot even though it too shows the effects of the recent rains. They have been eating the last of our cull garden produce as treats to supplement their diets. They reward us with nice brown eggs for our efforts.

pig carcasses cooling

Autumn and cool weather allows us to start butchering our hogs. The family’s meat for winter, grown here, processed here. We have been blessed with an amazing autumn. The crops did well all summer, in spite of the mid summer drought. Now, the wet, cool, days of late autumn, are proving beneficial too.

Winter is just around the corner. A few outside jobs remain, but for the first autumn in a long time, I am caught up. I owe this success to a great wife, wonderful family, good weather and good work horses to help me get the crops out and the harvest gathered. To everyone involved, I say Thank You!



Autumn Views
October 19, 2020, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
Hank getting used to his harness

October 19, 2020

October is fading fast. We keep working through the jobs at hand, but every now and then we pause to look at the beauty around us. The corn harvest is almost complete. The leaves are in peak color. The young horses continue to grow and learn. It is good to enjoy the sights along the way.

The emerging speltz looks pretty good.

Our recent rain is helping the landscape too. The pastures have greened up. The speltz crop is growing well and I think even the trees appreciate the moisture.

Beautiful

As we wrap up the farm work leading into winter, it is with a blessed spirit that I say thank you! We have had an awesome year for crops and animals. The work is slowing down and I see some rest and relaxation in our future.

I will work with the young stallion, “Hank” and get him started in harness. I plan some time in the forge shop to make a few items and of course some home butchering is in the future, but for now, I will take some time to just enjoy the view!



Corn Harvest 2020
Abby, Amee and me

October 10, 2020

The corn harvest is going very well so far this fall. The ground is dry instead of our usual mud at harvest time. The Suffolk horses are doing a great job and the corn is husking fairly easy.

I added a nose guard on Amee. Its a wire basket that keeps her from eating corn the whole time we are working. I wouldn’t mind if she grabs a leaf or stalk once in a while, but she is a hog! The worst thing is, she gets her head into the next row, then when I ask them to move up, she heads down the wrong row! This did not please me at all!

The wire basket cured her bad behavior. She now walks and stops just as expected with no unexpected movement of the wagon as I walk alongside. They have settled in and are doing great.

We pick 8 to 12 rows a day. My cousin has been helping me do it. We share laughs and chuckles along the way. We also enjoy finding the different colored or very large ears. It has been a wonderful season so far!

Time for a late lunch



Open Pollinated Corn Harvest
A few random ears

October 7, 2020

I have begun picking our 2020 ear corn crop. I am picking an open pollinated variety called “Dublin” from Green Haven seed company in New York.

I have planted open pollinated corn many times in the past, but I have finally found one that is very well suited to our micro-climate here in the snowbelt of lake Erie.

Some of it is quite tall. The ears are large. A few require me to reach up to pick! It is fun husking these whoppers. The horses walk beside the rows as I pick and toss the big ears into the wagon. The ground is still dry, even with the recent rains. So far, this has been a wonderful harvest.

A few ears selected for nest year’s seed

I am saving some nice ears for next year’s seed. It is fun to choose. The small ears are nine inches long. Many ears are a foot long and every now and then we get a Whopper that measures fourteen inches and more!

I have a couple weeks to go before I will be finished, but this job, so far, has been nothing but fun.

Hank, our young stallion just turned 17 months old. He is growing well and will soon join the mares as we pick corn. Currently, he waits in the barn with our filly Bree, but his training is progressing and it’s almost time to accompany our main team. He won’t have to work. He will just walk along, starting , stopping and standing, as I pick. It teaches patience.

Hank October 3, 2020



30 Days Hath September
September 30, 2020, 12:55 pm
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
September sunset

September 30, 2020

What a crazy, full month it has been! Plenty of work got done and as always plenty remains, as we wrap things up before the winter snow flies. Our baby horse has now been weaned. She had a few unhappy days, but now has adjusted to the absence of milk. Her appetite has always been good, so switching to a diet without mom’s milk, still has her in good flesh

We got our speltz crop all planted. Soil prep and planting went well, but the ground was very dry. Last night we got 3/4 inch of needed rain. The pastures and the newly planted speltz all benefited from the moisture. Now, it is time to focus on picking our ear corn for the animals.

I attended a draft horse, mule and pony fun day in southern Ohio last week. The crowd and participants were condensed due to Covid, but it was still a beautiful time to be outside and around horses. This little team pulled a small wagon, giving children rides. They made me smile.

September closes today, as we look towards the corn harvest and the butchering days of fall. A nip is in the air on this cloudy afternoon. The corn field has been opened up so as to make turning the team and wagon much easier. The main harvest will happen in these next few weeks of October. The horses and I are ready. The corn just needs to dry down a little more so it will “keep” in our crib without spoiling. So, goodbye September, thank you for the nice weather, the final garden harvest and the memories made with family.



Man, How They Grow!
August 11, 2020, 10:54 am
Filed under: August 2020 | Tags: ,

bree4month

August 11, 2020

Summer continues to fly by. Work here continues, but the pressure is off. We are making great progress in all areas. The young horses are learning and growing very well. In the photo above, Bree is just short of four months old. She is a very smart animal.

hank15month

Hank, our young stallion, is also growing well. Here at fifteen months old, he is fifteen hands tall (five feet at his withers). He too is learning fast and continues to be a gentleman, with very little correction needed. This breed continues to amaze me and to make me like them even more.

a&abeautifulmower

Our team of mares is powering the farm very well. Heavy jobs are coming like fall plowing , some logging and the spreading of our compost. I am sure they will handle it well. They have done every farm job that I have asked them to do with ease. They are fun to work, making my farm jobs nothing but fun.



Splish Splash Our First Bath
July 9, 2020, 12:12 pm
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , ,

breebath

July 9, 2020

These hot, oppressive days take the starch out of me! I got the bright idea to give the horses all baths. I included our baby Bree. This is all part of her training. I continually expose her to all sorts of sounds and experiences.

She took the squirting hose very well. She wasn’t actually thrilled by it, but she wasn’t scared either. I put this in the win column. I think she was more upset about being tied just around the corner from mom, than anything the hose did. By the time we were finished, all fear of the hose, the water and the hissing noise was gone.

The gardens and crop fields are doing very well. They could all use some rain, but they are holding up well. The speltz harvest is just days away. Straw bales will soon be stacked in rows near the barn for winter bedding.

Normally, I would be wrapping up the wood splitting job for our sugarhouse, but this heat made me decide to just pick away at it during the cool of morning. Its working okay, but taking a bit longer. No worries, I’ll get it done :o)



Whistle While You Work
June 15, 2020, 9:18 am
Filed under: June 2020 | Tags: , ,

peacefulevening2020

June 15, 2020

I snapped this picture last night. The horses were all grazing on recently mowed pastures. The scene was peaceful to me. The pasture weeds have been throttled back, giving the grass room to grow and thrive. Brush hogging is boring work, but worth the effort.

garden2020

The old style garden is off to a good start. Potatoes, corn, tomatoes, a few peppers and two hills of squash, getting ready to grow. Potatoes and corn require a bit of room. This garden used to be all the way to the white fence. We garden a bit smaller now as our nest got empty.

raisedbedgarden2020

The raised beds too have been planted. The bed or the right will get most of the year off. It has been planted to a cover crop of buckwheat. The buckwheat will suppress weeds, enrich the soil and provide food for visiting bees. The bed on the left has been mostly planted to heirloom vegetables for our fresh eating pleasure.

Haying will commence again once a few nesting birds have fledged . We have about five acres of first cutting to go. There is no shortage of jobs to be done, but I just smile and whistle while I work.