RicelandMeadows


Autumn Frolic
September 30, 2017, 8:29 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

calves2017

September 30, 2017

As the last day of September comes to a close, I am happy to report the calf crop is coming along well. The little black one in the picture was born last night. So far two little bulls (soon to be steers) are running all over the pasture. They will be joined by a couple more babies before foul weather sets in for winter. They are sure having fun!

Last Saturday, we put a new roof on my shop. The shingles were curled up and were in rough shape. They were 18 years old, so rather than wait for a leak, I put on a new roof. My friends helped me. We had a great day. It was an Autumn Frolic too! We finished the day with fellowship and ice cream…Yum!

adminshop

We are working steady to be ready for winter. Projects keep getting marked off the list. The speltz are growing very well. We got a quarter of an inch of rain yesterday and everything seems to have benefited. The speltz especially. They jumped a couple of inches and look real good. The lawn too appears greener. It will have to be cut at least once more. The weatherman says frost for tonight, so, our growing season may end by tomorrow.

The trees are taking on their colorful hues. Some leaves litter the ground, nuts are falling and small animals are gathering for winter. The north wind blew today signaling all of us to take note, turn up your collar and stay busy. A little more wood for the shed and we are good. So, perhaps just one more Autumn frolic and we will be ready to welcome the Winter Wonderland!

 



Labor Day 2017
September 4, 2017, 11:18 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,

howdygang

September 4, 2017

Walking on the flat ground, without my cane. My grandson was concerned that I didn’t have the cane. He has been a great watch dog for me. My knee is healing and I am working on strengthening the new stainless joint. Our horses greeted my grandson and I not caring in the least about my plight, but looking for love.

Today, I watched from my truck as my buddy Ken, planted our speltz crop. It is a little earlier than usual, but still right on time. He finished right at dark, just ahead of much needed rain! Whew, what a great day!

As most of the country relaxed from their labor, many folks worked. Policemen, firemen, doctors nurses and factory workers in some places, labored on, in spite of the holiday. My friend was no different. I am grateful to him as well as the safety folks who work on tirelessly, holiday or not. Perhaps that is why the call it “Labor Day”?

In any case, it was a great day. The only work remaining is to cut and split a little more wood for the sugarhouse, clean and lubricate the farm equipment to put them away for winter and lastly, plow a few acres for next spring. Summer is over as signified by the calendar. Hopefully, autumn will cooperate along with my new knee, so that I can labor soon, much to my delight.



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.