RicelandMeadows


Dashing Through the Snow
January 19, 2023, 8:58 pm
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January 19, 2023

This week we had some old fashioned fun. We hooked our new to us mare with our Amee and went for a sled ride. We haven’t had much snow this year, so it was nice to not be playing in the mud! Rosie, our new mare did great. She worked as good as I could have hoped. We pulled our laughing grandchildren behind the sled on their own little sled. All the noise, squeals and laughter made for a good time for me and bothered the horses not one bit.

We used the beautiful day to further Hank’s training some too. Hank, with the stripe, is our coming 4 year-old stallion. Here he works with Abby, pulling a training tire and my grandchildren on their sled. The noise didn’t bother Hank either. He took the day in stride too It was a wonderful time for us all.



New Year, but Where is Winter?
January 9, 2023, 10:58 pm
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January 9, 2023

After a very cold Christmas season, we have been enjoying some unseasonable weather. We have had plenty of rain and LOTS of mud. All the mud makes it hard to keep the horses exercised. We have been hitching as often as possible. In the photo above, my multi-tasking son leads his filly over to be worked. He was hauling over some manure and drinking coffee and listening to music, while this wild steed walked along beside him.

This says a lot about the Suffolk horse. She was not bothered by the running motor, the rattling cart or anything for that matter. All of this going on and she hasn’t been out of her loose box stall for 2 days. She worked good alongside my Abby mare. This is Belle. She and Abby have worked quite a bit together, but she will work with any of our horses. In the coming days we will be working many different pairs. The young horses in training will soon be paired up to start actual meaningful work.

The weatherman says that we will see a dip in the temperature, by the end of the week. I just hope for a freeze up. We have quite a bit to do before the maple season starts. I’d like to have horses ready, willing, trained and able to work the sugarbush by the end of February. It will all work out, but for now we will wait on winter and play in the mud a bit.



Year End

December 31, 2022

The end of the year is here. It is hard to believe that it has flown by.

In the photo above, our four grown up Suffolk horses enjoy their supper before turn out. I gave all of them haircuts and trimmed all the tails and manes. They were due!

Left to right; Hank, the new horse Rosie, Abby and Amee Quite a bit of power on display.

We are sitting through a rainy day. The bitter cold temperatures have left us. Now, we are having unseasonable warm days. Today was 55 F

We have plenty of work to do, but the mud and rain makes for a day off for us all. We will ring in the new year in a few hours. We will make our plans and resolutions and hope that we are blessed for doing it.

Maple days will soon be here. Firewood jobs are plenty. There are many youngsters to keep training and spring work is right around the corner. Instead of looking forward, I will take a minute to look back and reflect on a successful year that was 2022. There were sad days, mad days and glad days. I will hold on to the glad days.

Happy New Year everyone!



Out with the Old, in with the New!
December 28, 2022, 5:03 pm
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December 28, 2022

In a harness that is a bit too small, we dressed and took a walk around the farm. It was just a test drive to see what our new addition “Rosie” knew. She is most definitely an old hand. She walked off, turned when asked and stood quiet when I said, “whoa”. She backed up and turned either direction on command. We walked around a bit and it went very smooth.

I kept the lesson short, mostly for me. I am still recovering from Covid and it knocks the crap out of a guy! I am finally feeling better but my energy is fleeting. The recent cold took my breath away, but today the warmer temperature made me want to do something.

Rosie is a champ. She is a great addition to our work horses. I see her as a trainer for many of our youngsters. She is patient. She is kind and she listened intently to my squeaky hoarse voice. She is a keeper!

I think she even understands the “drill”. She stood quiet behind Hank our stud to be groomed and harnessed. You would think she had done it her whole life. No monkey business from either horse, just calm and quiet. I do love these Suffolk horses!



Winter Storm Brewing

December 20, 2022

It is a beautiful day today. It is wintery and cold, but the sun keeps peeking through the clouds. We don’t have as much snow as in this picture from a couple years ago, but it is coming. The weatherman says our high’s will be in the single digits F. Brrr, I have been making preparations, but still have a ways to go. I am still battling from the winter virus, so I am weak and get winded easily. It makes me wonder how Santa does all that jumping in and out of a sleigh with his big belly?!

Looks like we will be trapped indoors a bit while the cold snap wreaks havoc outside. It is a good time for training youngsters and socializing babies. The winds can howl while we enjoy the warmth and comfort of the barn, mixed with the wonderful smell of horse!

Soon we will be playing in the snow, but for now it is a rest, drink and heal kind of day. We will take the storm head on and find much to be thankful for as we watch the weather outside and listen for sleighbells in the air!



Welcome to America Rosie
December 18, 2022, 4:12 pm
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December 18, 2022

We found this dear lady in Canada. She is a full sister to two of our registered Suffolk horses and a half sister to three others. She is twelve years old and has been earning her keep on a produce farm near Montreal. We picked her up in Buffalo last Friday. so far we like her real well. She and our Hank have no shared DNA, so she will be a valuable asset to us in our breeding program. More importantly, she will help us teach youngsters, horses as well as children.

We have kept her in isolation these last couple days, but all is well so introductions will begin tomorrow. I on the other hand tested positive for Covid. I had a couple really rough days with fever, coughing and aches and pains. I am on the mend but still moving a bit slow.

Rosie is her name. We will have more photos of her in action in the next few days. What a wonderful Christmas present!



Well That Stinks!
November 12, 2022, 11:33 am
Filed under: November 2022 | Tags: , , ,

November 12, 2022

What a fabulous November we have enjoyed so far! The temperatures here were in the lower 70’s F. It dried out enough for the harvest to continue at a rapid rate. Our corn crop is in and all the summer hay tools have been stored away. Yesterday we received almost 3 inches of rain. Today snow is in the forecast. Gone are those 70 degree days…boy does that stink.

Many of the outside jobs at my sister’s house are wrapping up too. The siding is the biggest job that remains, but it too is on schedule. There is a lot of planning and work to build a house. I have been reminded of this fact almost daily as I chase materials, parts and manpower. It is coming together and completion looms on the near horizon.

I have quite a few people watching my progress. Many have lent a hand and I appreciate it very much.

The woodshed filling for the sugarhouse, though well started, is still progressing. The hope is to have it full by next week. I just made more projects than I could complete during the good weather, but no worries, I will get it done.

The snow and winter will come if we are ready or not. I can do a lot of work on cold days, as long as it isn’t raining. I hate getting wet, especially working in a cold rain. I would say that stinks too!

Happy Mid-November everyone. Get your outside water hoses in, the air conditioners inside, your tools put away and your firewood finished up. The winter winds will soon blow hard. It will be nice to be able to sit inside on those nasty days, looking out the window drinking a hot beverage, while smiling because all of your work is caught up.



Oh My the Years!
October 4, 2022, 10:04 pm
Filed under: October 2022 | Tags: , , , ,

October 4, 2022

Time is a fickle fleeting thing! I wore this jacket in my junior and senior years in high school. So, 1975 through 1977 when I was apparently much smaller. I even wore a hooded sweatshirt underneath it.

I pinned all my medals on it many years ago, just to keep from losing them. I have wanted to be a farmer all of my life. This jacket was a declaration of my path forward. I can honestly say, that I have been engaged in some for of agriculture all of my life.

I never strayed far from my boyhood home. I still am a mere 12 miles from there. I moved to Jefferson in 1978 and found my spot in the world. I have no desire to ever move and my roots grow deeper and hold stronger with every breath I take.

It is comforting for me to know that I am in the place that I was born to be. I still get my hands in the dirt every day. I can hold in my hands and my heart, the life I was meant to live. Fleeting though it may be, I am enjoying the ride!

My shirt a little bigger, my heart a little fuller I am still declaring what I want to be when I grow up. I even am still comfortable with where! I do wonder where time has gone, but as they say, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage”. I am thankful for every mile and for every year. It is my prayer that I have many more of both.



Garden Harvest 2022

August 8, 2022

What a great reward for a little bit of work! Our gardens are in full swing, giving us produce almost as fast as we can pick it. I know that it is the same every year, but it never fails to make me humble. A little work, some seeds, topsoil and rain and a heaping scoop of God’s blessing and wow, what a harvest.

We are canning and freezing and keeping up. Hat’s off to my wonderful, hard working wife for her efforts. I do some of the dirty work, fetch and get, pick, husk and peel, but she makes the magic happen. She puts a little love in every single quart. I think that love is the secret ingredient that gets passed from generation to generation and crosses family lines. I say this because the food put up by my mom, my grandmothers and most anyone who takes the time do it correctly, tastes wonderful. It tastes like “home”. It fills your belly and warms your heart at the same time.

The work caused by growing one’s food, is a satisfying job. The sweaty brow, the dirty , sticky hands are just part of the experience. We involve our children and grandchildren, trying our best to pass on the love for land, wholesome food and a lifestyle that is a blessing. There is no work in a job when your heart is happy.

We still take time for fun! Maggee, at four months old, growing fast. She is shedding her baby hair. She will soon be weaned from mom. She gets lots of attention, as do all of our horses, but babies are so much fun! We mix work with fun, that balance makes everything better!



Summer Heat Build Up

August 7, 2022

I was finally able to gather friends and have a short frolic here to build an end wall in the hoop building. This wall will keep out the driving north winter winds. It seemed almost ironic to be building a wall to keep out the cold, on a very hot, muggy day. I am grateful for the friends who helped and for the farm forest as well. The lumber was all milled here from trees off the farm.

We got an early start and were done by lunchtime. We laughed, we worked and we broke bread. We stayed on task and beat much of the heat. The afternoon was spent fishing in our farm ponds. It made for a great day.

We framed in a door, just in case the future of the building would need one. The batten strips will go on in the coming days. I am pleased that the bulk of the work has been completed. I had expected to have had this done months ago, but things don’t always go as planned. No matter, we will be all closed in before winter hits. The south east end will be left open for easy entry and use. That protected end makes for a nice place on a cold sunny day for animals or equipment.

August and the dog days of summer, make for a warm challenge to any job. It is almost hard to believe that summer is closing so fast. Our county fair starts this week. The start to the school year is only two weeks away. Time marches on, as they say. I say it sure does! A few more must do projects await me, but being busy keeps me from being lazy…I need that sometimes.