RicelandMeadows


Finding Your Way
July 17, 2017, 10:45 am
Filed under: July 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

pinewoods

July 17, 2017

In this photo above, the skid trail from our pine forest is evident. I got this all mowed and ready to harvest a few logs for an addition on our machinery shed. The addition will allow me to store the last two pieces of equipment that I am forced to leave outside all winter. The structure will also make a place to store a quantity of round bales, protected from the elements.

The pine trees were to supply the rafter material, as well as a few boards to close off the north end of the building. The overhang structure, will be open to the east, but closed off from the brutal north winds of winter. It is amazing how much protection a roof gives your equipment. The fact that I can also store some hay there, means I will have less waste from the effects of the weather on bales stored outside.

I got this area of the woods ready for the lumber harvest, just a few days before I got the news that we would be replacing my knee. This project is on hold, until I get healed, but it is still on my “to-do” list. I drew my diagram and figured out the lumber list last winter for this project. A list of projects, helps me to stay on task and find my way. The filtered light on the skid road in the photo, helps me to realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel as I pause to rebuild and heal.

In life, especially on a farm, it is a good idea to have a plan. It gives direction for your energy. It helps to keep your finances on track. It gives opportunity for discussions and research. There are times when the plan serves to show you that you are going in the wrong direction. Defining your goals and working towards them, is great for your mental health. The feeling of accomplishment fills the mind and refreshes your soul.

The logging job is on hold for now, but the speltz crop has been harvested. The last of my first cutting hay has been mowed and is curing in the sun. The speltz straw too, has been mowed and waits for the baler. These projects were all completed with the help of friends. I watched from the porch as my buddies, did my summer work. It is humbling for me as people help me do what I can’t. It will all work out. It won’t be long and I can reciprocate. A good plan, a bunch of good friends….let me tell you, you can’t help but find your way!

 



2016 Spelt Has Been Planted
October 7, 2016, 8:52 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

2016speltzplant

October 7, 2016

Wow, after pushing hard from dark until dark for the last three days, the spelt crop for this year has been planted. I had to use the tractor some, but the horses and I pushed through it. This back field is usually our pig herd pasture. I needed to renovate it. Spelt and hay is planted at the same time. I will frost seed clover into this field in February or March, but in the meantime, the spelt will nurse the fescue hay seedlings.

This is a field of about five acres including a small wooded section and several small groves of trees. I farm around the trees for the benefit of the animals and even for the look of the grassy hamlet. The spelt field is about three acres, so well worth the effort. Next July, the grain and straw from this piece will meet our farm needs for a year.

The straw when mixed with the animals manure, after providing them a warm bed, is the foundation for our compost providing much of the carbon source needed. The grain fuels” the horses for an entire year, providing all goes well with the crop. We have not had to buy commercial horse feed for over eight years. Spelt and salt and mineral are all that is needed to keep working horses in good condition, along with good hay of course.

As I type these words, I am tired from the last three days, but I am very satisfied. Now, I just have to clean up the grain drill, grease and put away the disc and other tools while I wait for the seed to sprout. :o)



Speltz Harvest 2016
July 19, 2016, 11:05 pm
Filed under: July 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

combine2016

July 19, 2016

Today, I completed harvesting our speltz crop for this year. I got enough to feed our four horses for another year. Its like growing your own tractor fuel! The crop was a little light, but we still have enough and that is a very good thing. There is a large amount of straw to be baled. It has been mowed ans is drying in the sun.

Today was a great day. Everything went well. My youngest grandson got to get a view from the driver’s seat.

keagancombine

He likes “Pa-pa’s” big tractors, but also likes the horses and other farm animals. Someday he will be a helper for me too. I love this life and passing it on, thrills me to no end.

calfkeajak

The end to a perfect day. Equipment stored, harvest put away and chores almost done. Tonight, I drink from the saucer… because my cup runneth over!



Comfort Food
May 15, 2016, 8:20 am
Filed under: May 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

picnic

May 15, 2016

This morning’s temperature is in the lower thirties. I put the summer annual flowers inside last night. The horses spent the cold rainy night in the barn. The sow herd was all snug in deep bedding. The cattle and sheep were tucked into quiet groves of pine trees. I was dressed in flannel and all of us were wondering where the heck spring went?

When the temperature drops, even after a couple of days of almost 80 degrees F, food seems to make us all feel warmer. The animals all get a little bit more grain. I eat a few more potatoes…in any style, but love mashed best! The comfort of warm food and a warm bed on a cold night, has got to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

The horses continue to shed their winter coats. I have been working steady helping them rid themselves of it. My clothes smell of horse dander, mud and perhaps a little manure. I laugh because when I am working on them, I just smell the nice smell of “horse”, but when I grab them to dress in the morning all I smell is the manure part coming through! So, I take “clothes” off the horses and change mine daily too!

Our new to us filly “Abby” continues to fit in. She has a ways to go, but we are making great progress. She too gets a daily brushing as we work to shine her up. She loves the attention as I use the time to introduce her to clippers, harness and all things new. She is kept safe as I introduce these things to her slowly, yet steadily. I want her to know, that as long as I am there, she is fine. The “boogyman” won’t hurt her…even if he does sound loud or buzz like a bee.

Abbyshine

Abby is cleaning up good. She will match up to my boys very well. She has to finish growing and learn all sorts of stuff, but she is doing well. Last night, in a warm dry stall, dining on a scoop of farm raised speltz and a manger full of hay, she found the same comfort on this farm that I enjoy. The kind that makes you want to be here, more than any other place on Earth.



Living on the Edge
November 1, 2015, 8:59 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
The edge of the spelt field

The edge of the spelt field

November 1, 2015

Wow, the calendar moves again! I am busily preparing for winter. We butchered our last flock of meat chickens this weekend. They have gone off to freezer camp. We also got over two and a half gallons of rich broth from the backs and necks. The chickens grew fast and will be delicious all winter long 😮

I spent part of the last few days putting equipment away. I like it all stored inside, only the manure spreader needs attended to, but first we will spread the autumn compost. I moved the cows to their last paddock before winter this evening. They will graze there for another two weeks at least. Then its time to start feeding hay. It was a great grass year in spite of the mid-summer drought.

Tonight, I put the ram in with the ewes. They were having a ball getting to know each other. April babies will be bouncing around the pasture next spring, a happy sight after maple sugaring is over. For now, I will keep working on firewood. I have quite a bit to bring out of the east end of the woods. I planted speltz in our far east paddock, but knowing that I had wood to bring out, I left a sod strip along the fence.

That sod strip will hold up to the horse’s foot traffic much better than newly turned soil. It is a method of good stewardship leaving this edge to use. Soil erosion will be at a minimum. I won’t have big ruts to fix and the horses get a good place to walk…everybody wins!

As the woodland creatures and I prepare for winter, I think we are all on the edge a bit. We scamper crazily, knowing that soon the land will be covered in snow, or worse yet, cold rain. I feel better after this weekend of work, but I’m sure that I forgot something. Oh well, I ‘ll cross that bridge when we get to it, in the meantime, I will make plans for skidding logs on that well planned strip of sod with my horses. Horse time is a great stress reliever, keeping them out of the mud keeps me off the edge.



2015 Speltz Crop Has Been Planted
September 24, 2015, 10:46 pm
Filed under: September 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
One of Two fields

One of Two fields

September 24, 2015

After three marathon days of farm work, my speltz crop is in the ground. I worked until after dark the last three days, but it was worth it. These fields represent next year’s horse grain. It will last me for an entire year providing we get a decent crop. I have done my job, so now I patiently wait 😮

I plowed these fields last week. This week I spent lots of time harrowing them smooth. A hay crop is planted with the speltz. The speltz will nurse the growing hay. Once the grain has been harvested and the straw all baled, the hay will flourish. Harvesting hay a year later from these fields will be very nice on the smooth ground. Keep in mind, two winters will cover the hayfields with snow, helping to flatten everything out too.

I can now wash, lubricate and store my grain drill and the tillage tools. Only my horse plow will be kept near the front of the shed. The horses and I will be doing some fall plowing in a few weeks, but for now I will busy myself with putting things away for …winter (gulp)

It is looking like a maternity ward around here too. Sows and cows are heavy with young. Very soon farm babies will be born. It is always an exciting time. The best part of farming for me is seeing the new babies. I simply never get tired of looking at them. They are so dang cute. They don’t become a pain in the backside for a few months, so watching them and laughing while they are babies makes it all worth it!



Cover Ups
September 17, 2015, 4:51 pm
Filed under: September 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Garden beds ready for winter

Garden beds ready for winter

September 17, 2015

It has been a hectic week so far. The garden beds have been all cleaned off, worked up and planted to a cover crop. This year I chose oats. The oats will grow well until about Thanksgiving time. They will then die back and provide a winter mulch layer for the otherwise exposed soil. When spring gets here, the oat mulch is easily worked into the beds at planting time.

I have used rye, wheat and spelt for winter cover. These plants grow much of the winter and early spring. They provide plenty of organic matter to till in the spring. I chose oats this year because the beds are full of composted material already and I am hoping for an early spring warm up in the raised beds. It will be nice to get off to an early gardening start.

My favorite summer cover crop for garden and field is buckwheat. This plant provides much weed suppression. It is hollow stemmed and incorporates easily at plow down time. It is also a great soil miner. It makes many micro nutrients available for the following crop. It mines the soil, then gives it up when dead and rotting in the soil. The bees and other pollinators love the flowering blossoms of buckwheat making this plant a win-win for everyone involved 😮