RicelandMeadows


Its Here!
December 12, 2016, 8:58 pm
Filed under: December 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

sugarhousesnow

December 12, 2016

Winter has arrived here in northeast Ohio. It came with a vengeance! We had this quick first snow, followed two days later with eighteen inches more. I dug us out. Last night, it drizzled for four or five hours. We had a slushy mess today. Six to eight inches covers the ground, but slush and mud are underneath. Ugh, that is winter, but not my favorite kind of weather.

The cattle and sheep took it all in stride. They waited out the rain in their respective sheds. The horses went out to play during the deep snow event. They had a great time. Today, they romped and splashed about like children. Tonight, they are back in the warm barn, coats all brushed and ready for bed.

The winter chores are mostly about feeding and making sure all the animals have a dry, warm bed. That means shoveling lots of manure. The manure makes compost so as I wheel each load to the pile, I smile a bit knowing the payback comes in the spring. Those rich nutrients make my crops grow well and round out a well managed farm plan. So as the snow piles up and the rest of us hunker down, I will pile up the benefits…one forkful at a time.



Waiting on Snow
December 23, 2015, 4:01 pm
Filed under: December 2015 | Tags: , ,

008

December 23, 2015

I have been in the midst of a stretch of work at my off farm job. It crunches my time a bit. I will say though, that with this unseasonable weather, balancing work and chores has been an easy task. Today it is over 60 degrees F. It is almost hot 🙂  They animals don’t know weather to get ready for spring or hunker down for the cold.

The days have started getting longer now. I only shoveled snow once so far this winter. The animals are wintering over in great shape and except for a few muddy places, the farm is in great shape. There are only two more days before Christmas and no snow in sight. The kid in me is sad. The adult…or shall I say older adult, in me…celebrates!

I’m pretty sure we will get winter at some point. Us maple syrup makers are counting on it. I will try not to complain when it does get here and simply remain thankful for this very long autumn and early winter.



And Now … Rain!
March 3, 2015, 2:45 pm
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , , ,

 

Snow pile by the house

Snow pile by the house

March 3, 2015

Well…just when you think it can’t get much worse, weather wise… now it is raining!

I thought some warm rain might settle the 27 inches of snow we have, but where will it run off to? So far not much settling is happening. Instead, we have gotten three hours of freezing rain. There is a coating of ice on everything, making simple chores difficult. I can hardly wait for tomorrow when all the doors are frozen shut 😮

It looks like we may try tapping our maple trees next week. The weather is turning more like late February…even though we will be approaching mid-March! The hope is that the deep snow in the woods will be a little less and that the temperatures will make the sap run. There is no running today anywhere…mostly just slipping and falling.

The animals are fed and warm. The pens have been cleaned and all is well. I will spend much of the rest of this day indoors out of the wet. I continue to work on my writing project, with no guilt at all as I sip tea and wait for inspiration to hit me. So, that is how it will work… I’ll get inspired or I will take a nap 😮



Not This Week!
February 22, 2015, 11:21 am
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Ready, Willing & Waiting

Ready, Willing & Waiting

February 22, 2015

The cold will continue for the next ten days. I have cancelled my vacation for the upcoming week, choosing instead to take it the end of March. Hopefully I won’t have to move it to April 😮

I tried to take a walk through the woods yesterday afternoon. It didn’t take too long to abandon that idea. The snow is deep, mealy and has a crust several inches down that cracks you on the shins with every step. It is very laborious just trying to walk, tapping trees will take extreme effort, when the time comes.

My friend Paul, in New York state, has a sugarbush with 6500 taps. They often tap wearing snowshoes. I talked with him last week. He said the snow is too soft to hold them up this year. They had spent a whole day wading in waist deep snow to make a repair to his vacuum line. At least I don’t have to do that!!

I will say the snow is beautiful. The trees are all painted white this morning as a winter fog has frozen to all the branches. Jack Frost was busy last night, much to my delight. After all, if we are going to be delayed, we might as well enjoy the view!



Drinking and Driving
February 21, 2015, 5:43 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Even on a cold day, water tastes very good!

Even on a cold day, water tastes very good!

February 21, 2015

Once again, we are getting snowed upon. They said we would just get a couple of inches, they were wrong. We got six or seven inches so far, but it’s still snowing. The snow had settled some, but today, it is back to almost thirty inches on the flat. That is too deep to walk in for very long. Working on firewood is at a standstill because it’s just too tough to get around in the woods.

The extreme cold has delayed the maple syrup season. The next ten days still look too cold to start the sap running. The season will come. I am just trying to be as ready as possible. I have lots of plans and a long list of stuff to do, but the weather and the deep snow, have us in a holding pattern. Even driving the horses is tough any place other than the driveway.

Luckily, I can relax and drink coffee and tea. I have become an expert this year, at drinking coffee and looking out the window. I am working on my writing project since I have been forced inside. This is probably a good thing because my deadline is just five weeks away….so I must drive hard to finish. The syrup season will soon take up much of my time, so drinking hot coffee while I drive to the finish line, is working out perfect!



Hello Little Girl
January 31, 2015, 10:06 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
My granddaughter named her "cow"

My granddaughter named her “cow”

January 31, 2015

This little girl was born one night when the temperature was below zero. The wind chill the next day was minus 30 F. This little girl and her siblings stayed warm in a large nest of straw next to mom and a couple of aunts! She is three weeks old today and the ruler of the nest. She will be a replacement gilt in our sow herd. She has great confirmation. She is out of one of our best mothers and she is as cute as they come!

My dog Cinch thinks she is sweeter than honey. He stares at her by the hour. She plays in the straw with her brothers and sisters. She is the leader. She is adventurous, but when it’s time to eat…she is first to the “table”

January wraps up tonight. One of the longest months of winter comes to a close. I had a long month at my off farm job and am glad to see it gone. The cold weather has added extra chores, but everyone is well fed and well bedded…including the farmer 😮

A snowstorm is forecast for the next day and a half. I guess we are as ready as we can get. They are talking numbers up to twelve inches of wind driven snow. We shall see. Our winter this far has been cold, but the snow has not been bad at all. If we get some to make us remember what northeast Ohio winters are like, I guess I will simply take it in stride. First I will dig us out, then harness the horses for a sled ride!

Cinch introduces himself

Cinch introduces himself



Enough Already!
April 16, 2014, 10:34 am
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
April 16 snow and cold

April 16 snow and cold

April 16, 2014

Okay, I like winter, perhaps even more than most people, but even I have had enough. It started snowing last October…I think 6 months of winter is enough. I am ready for spring and all that comes with it. The peepers have been singing. I am sure they have been “frozen out” twice already, so according to local folklore, one more freeze for the peepers and it will be spring! I am soooo ready!

Lambs are starting to hit the ground, but mother nature is being pretty rough on those little fellows too. They just need a day or two to get their footing and then they are very hardy. Being born on a rainy, sleeting night, is hard on any creature. I don’t know if it is the full moon signaling the mothers to drop their babies or simply that it is time, but the babies are coming, ready or not.

The weather is supposed to turn more towards normal in the weeks ahead. I am sure that before I know it…I will be complaining that it is too hot! I am just hoping for a return to normal in the weather department. A drought year followed by a very wet year, then a long cold winter…is sure stretching farmers to the limit… at least this one 😮

The good thing about the crazy weather is, that it gives us country guys plenty to talk about at the barbershop and feed mill!