RicelandMeadows


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.

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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.



Whew, Busy June
June 10, 2020, 9:42 am
Filed under: June 2020 | Tags: , , ,

cultivate2020

June 10, 2020

What a crazy start to the month! It seems our snow just melted and now things are busting wide open! We cultivated corn the other night. Baby Bree went along with us. She is tied to mom to keep her safe and out of harms way. I still have to do a little more tweaking on the modified cultivator, but things went well.

wrap2020

Our hay making season is in full swing. We wrapped this nice clover and grass hay for winter feeding the sheep. It is beautiful stuff. We made some dry hay too. One field seemed to have LOTS of nesting ground birds in it. I only made about four rounds. I will wait another week for the baby birds to better be able to fly, before cutting it. It is early June.  I am not in that big of a hurry.

redgate

“Red”, the stallion will be going home soon. He and Amee appear to have had a successful mating. This handsome guy will be headed south. I am not sure yet, but I am thinking about using him again next year. Time and his offspring will tell the whole story by next year.

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Our son Jake continues training his 2 year old Suffolk Punch horse Belle. She is coming along very well. He is a quiet man with a calming voice. It shows in the way this filly is responding to her training. His choice of footwear will never be mine, but I can’t say anything negative about his training methods!

Our growing season is in full swing. Crops, gardens and baby animals are all growing like mad…and so are the weeds! This farming life is a wonderful thing, you just have to work with Mother Nature. Sometimes “mom” pushes a little hard, but it’s worth it!



A Yearling and Growing
April 26, 2020, 2:02 pm
Filed under: April 2020 | Tags: , ,

hankbirthday20201

April 26, 2020

Our stallion prospect “Hank” had his first birthday last week. He is growing very well. He continues to learn manners and all things “workhorse”.  The lessons are short but daily. I handle him often and consistently. He is a quick learner. We are very hopeful that he will be a good fit to our farm and breeding plan.

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I stood him beside our 16 hand mare Amee. He is catching up to her height quickly. He eats much like a teenage boy…constantly.  He is shedding out his baby hair and looks ragged at times, but under all that mud, manure and hair there is a handsome young boy!



New Phone Learning Curve
March 10, 2020, 11:57 am
Filed under: March 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Ameeabbyweek7

March 10, 2020

Oh my gosh! I had to get a new phone. Then I had to unlearn and relearn everything that I thought I knew. The long story made much shorter is to say that I couldn’t figure out how to send photos to my blog! I hate to “date” myself, but sometimes I feel very old! My daughter-in-law helped me learn all sorts of things about my new phone. So, I’m Back!

Abby and Amee, our new Suffolk horses are doing very well. We are all adjusting to each other. They are doing very well, but haven’t done much all winter. Abby is due to foal in April, so they are getting the 2020 maple syrup season off. Knight and Hoss are powering the operation one last time. They head to their new home in a few days.

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The season is in full swing. We have made some very nice syrup. It is looking like the end is near for this year. These last few days have been very long as we boil late and get up early balancing farm chores and the maple operation. It is a busy, wonderful, sweet time of year…even with that new phone!



Anchorman

KNIGHT10819

February 17, 2020

This guy right here is a rock star! He has been my buddy for many years. He can be counted on always! Today, he worked with me testing and training our new Suffolk Punch horses.

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Here he is working on the left side with our mare Lakeview Amee as a partner. THey both did great. He does everything I ask. She was good too, but with a big anchor like him beside her, what choice did she have?

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This time, Knight is on the right side. He is an old pro. It makes no difference where he works. He can be counted on to be steady, prompt and reliable.

These new horses are supposed to be broke. I just wanted to be sure that they met my definition of broke. Knight made sure that I didn’t get into any trouble. Once again, I am in his debt.

He and Hoss will soon move to their new home. I am glad that they will be close enough for me to visit. Their new home is a good one, but it is bittersweet that I will say goodbye.

We had a great day of training. Things could not have gone better. Thanks to my son Jake for his help and most especially…thank you to Knight for being my anchorman!



The Ups and Downs
February 13, 2020, 3:41 pm
Filed under: February 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

knightAmee

February 13, 2020

In the photo above compares the size of my Percheron gelding Knight, to our new Suffolk Punch mare Amee. There is a full eight inches of height difference! It seams funny to be able to see her back when I am brushing her. Putting the harness and bridal on is a breeze with the new girls. My old, short body appreciates that fact. My geldings are big. Hoss measures 18 hands. Knight is 17.3 hands. Amee measures 16 hands. Her mate Abby is a bit shorter at 15.3. A “hand” for you non-horse folks, is a unit of measurement of four inches.

My geldings have been sold. They are still here on the farm, while their new owner prepares a stall for them. They will be getting a great new home. They will work some, but have a good retirement home, giving wagon and sled rides, mowing cow pastures and skidding a little firewood. The new owner is kind and calm. He has been driving Knight and Hoss. This gives the horses and the man a chance to meet and get to know each other.

As we transition to the smaller, chunkier Suffolk punch horses, things are going smoothly. The new girls have gotten used to the routine. They will soon be powering the farm 100% of the time, but for now, are sharing the work with the geldings. My own emotions are on a roller coaster ride. It is a bittersweet thing to be making this change. It helps me a bunch, knowing that my guys will be going to a good home. A place that I can even visit from time to time.

Our black Percheron mare, also called Abby will be headed off our farm too. We are in negotiations over her sale now. She is a flashy girl who is broke well too. I will make sure that she too gets a great place to live.

Maple syrup time is at hand. We need horses to power the sugaring operation. So far, things are working out well. I will say though that my emotions, just like the sap in the maple trees, are having their ups and downs!



November Snowstorm
November 13, 2019, 11:50 am
Filed under: November 2019 | Tags: , ,

snowstorm11122019

November 13, 2019

I snapped this photo about noon yesterday. The snow fell at a rate of  over two inches and hour. The storm total for us was 15 inches. That is a pretty good smack of snow, especially this early in the season!

I am actually fairly pleased with myself. Most of the stuff that needed to be done to prepare for winter had been completed. I knew we would get snow soon, I just didn’t expect this much! I had to rush to get feed to the grazing cattle and sheep, because the grass is buried deep under the now melting snow.

The weather is supposed to be cool but very nice for the next ten days. I hope to continue getting our autumn work completed. The corn harvest is still not complete. That job will take much of my focus in the coming days.

After the storm passed, just before sunset, the sun came out and reflected off the snow covered tree branches and the landscape as well. It was a beautiful sight. Winter is bearing down on us. We are almost ready, but in the meantime I will enjoy the beauty that comes with the snow. It is much better to work with Mother Nature and not get upset with her…you can’t change anything anyway.



Writing for Others or Why I do This

Me book 005

November 12, 2019

It is my hope that the things I write, the stories I share and the tales I tell, will help someone.

I hope that someone looking for release from a busy world and busy life, will find a pause and a peace as they read about me and mine. I hope that I can brighten someone’s day, if only for a few minutes. I hope folks looking for information will also find value in this small farming BLOG.

My book, pictured in the photo above, has been well received by many. In the book are many stories from my life growing up in the country and surrounded by farm animals. The stories will make you laugh, as well as, tug at your heart strings. It is written for all audiences and will warm hearts and stir memories in the reader’s mind.

We make movies here for RFD-TV. Several episodes can be found on YouTube. Just type Riceland Meadows into the search bar. I believe there are now 7 shows there. “Rural Heritage” films, edits and promotes my farm in these videos. Again, it is my hope that I can help someone in their quest for information on small farming, draft horses and a host of other topics.

I write for Rural Heritage magazine. I have been writing for them since 2002. I write some “feel good” stuff, but also many ” how-to” articles. I try my best to detail the subject with enough information, based upon my experience, to encourage someone to try it for themselves.

I trust that folks who follow my BLOG have found information, entertainment, and a feeling of well being as they read my words. I thank all of you for following along. The holidays are coming up. If you would like to gift a copy of my book to someone, I will waive the shipping cost for anyone in the continental United States until December 24, 2019. The cost of the book is 15.00 dollars (US) Email me at RicelandMeadows@roadrunner.Com

For copies of my book, my videos and others like it, you can also contact MischkaPress.com    Joe, Susan and Kelly are great people whom have helped me beyond words.

Thank you for following!



Autumn Curtain Call
November 9, 2019, 9:13 am
Filed under: November 2019 | Tags: , , ,

nov19sunset

November 9, 2019

Winter is pushing hard on us. Next week, they are forecasting overnight lows in the single digits and teens (F). The leaves are mostly off the trees and our growing season is over. I have a couple pastures of stockpiled grass for the sheep, but the cows and horses only have a few days of grazing left. I will be feeding hay very soon.

Our weather has been changeable, to say the least. One highlight is that our sunrises and sunsets have been beautiful. I have a breakdown with my corn picker. Thankfully, the parts are in route, so I may get to pick with it yet. So far, I am picking by hand. I like the job, but would have gotten an earlier start if I had realized that this was my option.

They are also predicting lake effect snow for us in the snowbelt for the coming week. It’s not a big deal, but it seems very early. When I was a boy, this weather was more the norm, but in the last few decades, our fall weather has been more warm and wet. I like winter, but I should have made better use of October!

Alas, it will all work out. The weather will be what it will be. The corn will get picked and the animals will come to the barn. Chores will increase as outside work slows down. In the meantime, I will take a little more time to enjoy the beautiful show each morning and evening, as Autumn bows out.



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.

KNIGHT10819

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.