RicelandMeadows


A “Husband” for Abby

Firestorm3

May 2, 2019

Meet H&M Firestorm, a registered Percheron stallion. He and our Abby will soon share a baby together, if all goes well. I have searched for quite a while looking for what I wanted in a mate for her. Size, disposition, confirmation, attitude and breeding, all played a part in picking this guy out.

Firestorm2

He is a handsome fellow.

Firestorm1

He has great “assets”! He is a quiet guy with very good breeding behind him. He is sensible and broke to work on farm machinery. He is on the smaller size as draft horses go, but that is what I want. As I get older, I’d like to one day have a small farm team, easy to harness, but still able to do all the farm’s work.

Abby is also well bred. She too is a sensible horse to work and in the barn. I believe the foals from this mating should make for some great work horses. Only time will tell of course, but that is my hope. We should know a lot more by this time next year. It is my hope to raise several foals out of these two horses. Nothing in farming is “for sure”, but the promise in new life can be found easily on a farm.



April Delay
April 30, 2019, 4:34 pm
Filed under: April 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

delay243019

April 30, 2019

Well, the rain keeps falling here in northeast Ohio. Plowing for the next few days has been delayed again. The grass is growing very well, but the soil is very wet. I am glad for the growing pastures and hay fields, so will just smile as I wait for drying conditions.

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The soil is turning nicely when we can do it. The field should be a nice seedbed for the coming corn crop.I could drain this water quickly, but doing so will let a lot of soil and nutrients escape from my farm. I keep a sod strip between me and the road ditch as I try to be a responsible land steward. I don’t want to pollute any water sources downstream of my farm.

This rain has stopped all field work, but other projects rise to the top of the list. We are also working on filling the sugarhouse woodshed for the 2020 maple syrup season. We still have a bit to go, but it is filling quickly. We had a good day last Saturday splitting and stacking for a few hours. We had lots of help and the job went quick and smooth. Just two short rows to go and the woodshed will be full. A great job to have done before other seasonal jobs take our time.

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Progress is a wonderful thing. We will wait on the rains to ease, but we won’t just sit around and watch it fall. This farming life gives us plenty of opportunity to use other skills and equipment. I may even work on some forging projects, but first to complete the woodshed filling job!



As The Soil Turns
April 24, 2019, 8:48 pm
Filed under: April 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

plowday42419

April 24, 2019

Almost like a soap opera, we continue to plow our old pasture. We will be planting our 2019 field corn here. The corn is used for animal feed. I am taking my time. The going is a bit slow because the horses are soft from a long winter break of not much work. I have also been delayed by our rainy weather. No matter, we will finish in time.

Today, my youngest son visited with me for a bit. He climbed on the seat for a couple of lessons. He made a few rounds. I think he realized that there is a little more going on than it looks like. He did well. The horses have been driven by him often, but not on the plow. Once he sorted things out, it went good. I’m sure a little more time in the seat is needed, before he will be confident. I just hope that I can continue to help him learn.

jakekah2019

There is not much of a better feeling, than when you are passing along knowledge. I am pleased that he wants to learn some of these old ways. I have taught butchering, woodland management, hunting, gun safety, gardening, animal husbandry and a host of other things to my children and friends. I am always thankful that I can pass what I know along to others. These things that I know are gifts from God and a whole lot of folks who could tolerate the questions from an inquisitive mind.

I encourage you dear reader, to teach a skill that you possess to another. It can be a small child, a neighbor or a dear friend, but it is a gift that keeps giving! So, the next time you want to give someone a piece of your mind, smile and give without drama, without agenda and without wondering if you’ll ever get paid back. The feeling is wonderful.



Turning Over the Sod
April 9, 2019, 9:58 am
Filed under: April 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

KAHplowing2019

April 9, 2019

Yesterday, with the help of my friend Marvin, I got started with my 2019 plowing job. It was a little wet, but this is the day we could make it happen. I wanted the help just in case Abby decided that she didn’t like the job. No worries, she did perfect. I still very much appreciated the help.

Sod is very forgiving. Also, I’m pretty sure that we will still get some cold nights below freezing. The freeze and thaw will break up any ground that was plowed too wet. The horses and I will work on this plot a little each day along with other work. This was their very first time plowing together and Abby’s fourth time working in a three-horse-hitch. I am pleased with how it all turned out.

Springplowing2019

I took this photo while I was standing in the wettest part, but the intent was to show that we got a good, straight start. This is very much due in part to planning and the help of my friend. I paced the field off to layout the back furrows and dead furrows. Now, to just keep it straight as we go.

I hope to plant corn here for the animals. The long rows will be cultivated with the horses in the same manner of old farmers long ago. I hope to do them proud. The weather and time push a guy on that job. It will also be time for cutting hay when the corn will need weeding, so balance and time management become a huge issue.

The stress of haying season can wait for now. I will sit on the plow seat and listen to the birds sing, the horse’s harness rattle and creak, while the harness bells chime a spring melody. This music cheers my spirit and warms my heart. Spring has sprung!



March..ing On

KAH2019

March 30, 2019

Our 2019 maple syrup season has come to a close. We had a cold start to the season and a warm end. It was almost hot (51 F) on the last day we gathered sap. I put our filly Abby in to help the geldings. The sled pulled hard on the dry ground, but three horses pulled it easily.

KAH20192

Abby did a wonderful job. This was her second time hitched in a 3-horse hitch, where we actually did some work. She was alert, attentive, calm and willing. The plastic sap bags, shiny and fluttering caused her no issue at all. The banging of sled, tank and bucket didn’t shake her at all. She knew that as long as the boys and I were there, everything would be okay. She preformed like a champ. Her training and my invested time with her paid off in a big way.

KAH20193

The season was much like this hitch, a tough job, made easy by friends and family. More than once I realized, just as Abby had, that everything would be okay as long as “they” were all there. So, thank you to everyone for the help, the company, the meals…some very late at night, as we harvested the season’s maple crop.

Evap#3

Now, the big job of clean up begins. It takes awhile, but well worth the effort. The woodshed will need re-filled, all tanks and such will get pressure washed and put away. Then in late winter, just before the next season, the clean up gets repeated as we get ready for the 2020 season.

Next however, will be the fun, satisfying job of spring plowing. Abby and the boys will get a work out, as we head towards summer and the work that farming brings. I love this farming life. I see God in the new born babies, the emerging crops and in the sweet, golden, reward that is maple syrup. I am thankful for the knowledge and where with all to make it happen. I am thankful for folks teaching and sharing with me like my grandparents and others who saw in me a light…I hope it shines for the world to see.

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A Wonderful Time of Year

KH&Jake2019

March 14, 2019

Here we go, a very cold, late winter is giving way to a warm spring! We are getting help from family and friends to keep up with the running maple sap. It is a great time of year and the rewards are SWEET!

Firstrun2019

The boiling is going well. It takes awhile because we do it the old-fashioned way. We don’t take out water by reverse osmosis, we collect in bags, not tubing stretched all over the woods, we boil over a wood fire…all these factors (in my opinion) enhance the final product with an extra flavor molecule…. In the way of my grandpa, I continue..I think it’s worth it.

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Great Day for Three

abby3

January 17, 2019

Yesterday, I hitched my young filly “Abby” in a three abreast hitch, for the first time. She has been learning very well. Her training has been going very well. This is just part of the training program. She will soon learn to work single too. She is doing well and I am very pleased.

She is the middle horse in the photo above. She is paying attention and learning from me and from her teammates. The nice thing about having Knight and Hoss to teach her, is they can become two very big anchors if needed. She must go where they go, when they go. When I want them to stop and stand, she must do that too. Sometimes, she thinks she’d rather do something else, but good teamwork prevents her from getting into trouble.

I worked earlier this week butchering a steer for my Amish buddy. We had a good day of socializing, and coffee drinking. The steer will be worked up into cuts and burger in the coming days. I traded work with my buddy’s son, for my pat of the butchering. He in turn helped me finish filling the sugarhouse woodshed, yesterday afternoon, just before dark. What a great day!

marvsteer

Our weather is about to turn very cold, close to 0 degrees F. It will be nice to have a good day, inside cutting the meat and visiting. There isn’t much work to that job when many hands help. Good food and conversation is enjoyed by all.

Maple syrup season is under a month away. Abby will help this year. Three on a sap sled is a bit overkill, but having plenty of horsepower is much like cutting meat…many hands make light work. The sled can pull hard at times, but with three horses, leaning into the work together, it’s no job at all.