Sun and Rain
June 6, 2019, 12:02 pm
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June 6, 2019

The rains held off just long enough for me to finish plowing this sweet corn and pumpkin patch. I even got this whole area planted before the skies opened up yet again. Some farmers are not as lucky as I have been. Sure, we were delayed, but we are now finished and the corn is up!

I did 80% of this work with my horses. I am blessed, not bragging. I kept at it when the weather allowed. The use of horses gives me a few days that tractor guys can’t even  move. It makes up for my lack of speed and need to rest the horses. I have completed my planting, until later in the year when we plant the spelt crop.

We now move on to the job of making dry hay. The sun will come out. I just need to be patient. I am considering making some baleage and having those bales wrapped in airtight plastic. That makes very good cow feed and can be done in wet weather. I just need to stay focused.

The sun and rain means much to all of us, but farmers are at the mercy of the weather. We must just have faith and wait upon the Lord….there are times when our human nature makes waiting almost impossible. My heart goes out to many of our area farmers who are way behind. Unplanted acres are everywhere this year. Farm incomes already stretched, will take another hit. Keep our farmers in prayer. Help them find a way to … “Slow down, get smaller, mix it up and care”. That is my recipe for success…But I admit, it is not for everybody.

Working At It
May 20, 2019, 9:32 am
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , ,


May 20, 2019

Here we go again! The rains are still trying to keep us out of the fields, but a breezy day and warm sunshine dries things out fast. We have two wet places that would stop a tractor, but the horses plow right through.

Many farmers are getting very worried as planting days are held off by the weather. Much of our areas field work has not even been started. We are playing catch up ourselves. The horses, are soft from all those days off due to the rain, so I have to go slowly with plenty of breaks. I’m fine with that. We are making progress and that is what counts.

I am pleased with our efforts so far. The horses are working good together. This much horsepower makes everyone’s job easier. It looks like we will be able to plow for at least the next two days, but who knows? We will just take it in stride and work steady. Slow is steady, steady is fast.

The hay fields are growing quickly. Looks like as soon as the corn gets planted, we will be shifting gears and begin the work of making hay. Farm life is full of ups and downs, but a man is never bored!


The new haymower…..soon it will get its debut.

Water Water Everywhere
May 13, 2019, 10:48 am
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May 13, 2019

Well, another half inch of rain in the last twenty-four hours. More is forecast for the next several. The mud is everywhere and spring work is stalled. I am sure some guys are getting very stressed. I am taking it in stride. The weather is something we cannot control. Patience is tested, but better to focus on making sure everything is ready to go, once the weather breaks.

We have things ready, I think. The planter is ready. The harrows and drags are ready. The horses and I are ready too. In the meantime we watch the grasses grow, the flowers bloom and the baby lambs being born. Warn dry days will soon be here, we just have to wait.

2019 Oats Planted
May 10, 2019, 10:22 am
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May 10, 2019

The recent rains have made the pasture grasses and hay fields grow. They have also delayed most field work for us farmers. We got a quick dry out over the last few days. I worked quickly to try and get our forage oats planted. Forage oats are a leafy oat plant that we sometimes grow for pasture or hay. I hope to use this years crop for hay.

The soil was marginal on Tuesday, but I managed to disc over it all once. I incorporated last years corn stubble and the applied compost. It was too wet to make another pass, so we moved on to other projects.

The sun was very warm on Wednesday with a stiff breeze blowing. I walked out and check the field. It was better, but still too wet for any field work.


Thursday morning, the wind was blowing stiff, the temperature was hot, almost 80F.  I scrambled to disc the whole plot again. It was amazing at how much the soil had dried. It was still wet in places and I made a few ruts.


We broadcast the oat seed on the disced ground, using my homemade spinner seeder. I spun the oats on at a rate of 4 bushels to the acre. Once the broadcasting was done, I rolled the whole field with a large roller. It is not the best job that I have ever done, but the oats are in. The rain started falling again, just as I put the last tool away.


The hope now is for a crop to make hay. I am thankful that the field dried, the rain held off and that I was able to stay on track. This job can now be scratched off the list. Once the soil dries out again, we can get back to the job of plowing. Abby (our filly) is still out for breeding at her husband’s place. We missed her yesterday. I am also thankful for our mixed powered farm. I used the tractor yesterday in the heat and rush of trying to beat the rain. The horses did inspect my job and I think they approved.

Making Ready
May 15, 2018, 9:12 am
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May 15, 2018

The rain has stopped all field work for now. I will be switching gears from spring field work to woods work. Our ash trees have all been killed by the emerald ash borer. An insect brought to us from Asia/China. It has decimated the ash trees in several states. There is no predator for them. The woodpeckers go after the larva, but by then, it’s too late for the tree.

It is my hope to harvest the dead and dying ash trees before they rot away. I went in search of a market for the logs. I have found a sawmill willing to take the logs and pay a fair price for the wood. I will have to get busy before I lose my market. I have a few nice logs. The rest of the tree will become firewood for the sugarhouse. It will be used for boiling maple sap next spring.

So, while the rain keeps us out of the fields, we will continue to work. The horses impact in our woodlot is minimal…even in the muddy conditions from the recent rains. We just have a small plot (3 acres) to plant to animal corn and our gardens to get ready for planting. I will switch back and forth between jobs as the weather dictates. It will all go smooth. I just have to make sure everything is ready to go. So far…So good!

Washed Stone?
April 27, 2017, 11:34 am
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April 27, 2017

My son and daughter-in-law thought it would be a great idea to make a playground that they wouldn’t have to mow. They placed landscape fabric under the swings and playset. Next they bought a load of washed smooth stone. The pile of stone was too much for my grandson. He just had to climb it, roll in it and frolic like a baby goat. I laughed at his antics. The washed stone was COVERED with a fine mud…after a little while…so was my grandson!

We have been enjoying some nice spring days. The soil is finally drying out. Plowing for corn will begin in a day or so…as long as the wet weather holds off. Sure we need spring rain. We even look forward to it. Right now we get a washout followed by a few days of drying. The weather teases us all who want to get into the fields. Experience tells us to wait. Our clay soils will bake like a brick if worked when it is too damp…so we wait.

One good thing about the rains. It will wash that playground free of mud, but if it doesn’t…I know one little boy who could not care less!

In Like a Lion
March 1, 2017, 11:15 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , ,


March 1, 2017

This photo I snapped in late January. Today, I could have snapped the same picture again. We got a big storm, followed by windy , yet mild temperatures. At chore time tonight, sleet , rain and wind were the order of the evening. I found plenty to do, but working horses was not one of them. Perhaps tomorrow when the thermometer drops below freezing, I can harness up and get a little “horse time” into my schedule.

I hauled animals to “freezer camp” today. Then I busied myself with barn cleaning and a few other inside jobs. There is much to do with sugarhouse clean up. I want to get that job done so that I can start plowing with the horses. Ineed to keep them in shape for the spring work that is bearing down upon us.

So, I will take a little hope in the old adage, In like a lion and out like a lamb, for the month of March. I will keep myself busy while I wait for the lamb days, hopefully I won’t have to teach them how to swim!

Winter is Almost Over
April 17, 2014, 6:16 pm
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Yep, summer is coming!!

Yep, summer is coming!!

April 17, 2014

I snapped this picture the other night down by the banks of Mill Creek…. Ok, I’m kidding 😮
It does look as if they are chatting. I think they would be agreeing to head north at least as far as Canada! Today was sunny and bright. The temperature even warmed to the mid-fifties!

I am on the slow side today. Every now and then…swingshift gets to me. I will bounce back after a little sleep. I did get the animals all fed, hay moved and the stalls clean. I scraped the driveway and tried to fill some potholes. I still plan to accomplish a couple of small items in the sugarhouse, but then I will plant my butt on the couch and do nothing!

I will rise tomorrow rested and full of plans for the day. I have a list that is growing quite long, thanks to winter wanting to hang around well into spring. The good news is in the extended forecast. It shows a return to normal temperatures. The spring work waits. The horses ready and willing, also wait. The spring work will start with a vengeance as we bust ass to catch up.

It will all work out… It always does. In the meantime, I will continue to clean up the sugarhouse and all that goes with it. Once it dries out a bit more, we will be hauling and spreading compost. Plowing will follow the manure spreader. The seeds go in the ground next and if that doesn’t say winter is over… nothing does!

Winding down
April 6, 2014, 2:25 pm
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , ,
End of the 2014 season

End of the 2014 season

April 6, 2014

What and awesome, yet wacky year! We have pulled our taps and boiled the last of the sap. The syrup has all been canned and stored. Orders are flying off the shelf and we are enjoying fresh maple syrup ourselves.

The season came late, but once it started, it was steady. I believe we could still be hanging in there, but my off farm job got in the way. I simply had to call it a season. I had help enough to gather the sap one last time, pulling the taps as we went. The following day, my oldest son and his family came to help with the last boil. It was a nice day and the perfect end to a great season.

We made real nice syrup, right down to the last draw. I could have gotten a little more by waiting for today, but it was not to be. We made thirty percent more syrup than our goal! I will not complain about missing one last day. I will celebrate the season with a glad and grateful heart 😮 It was nice to see the fire go out, the steam die down and the last 2014 maple syrup fill the jugs. I really like making maple syrup, but , like any job, it’s good to be done.

The spring field work now starts. Horses will soon be helping me plow. In the meantime, we will work on filling the woodshed back up. We went through quite a bit, but not nearly as much as I expected. The longer, split, dry wood really increased our “gallons per cord” ! Modifying the log splitter to accommodate thirty inch logs really paid off. Even the job of firing the evaporator was made easier. It allowed me to go from putting wood into the fire every seven minutes, to every ten minutes!

The job of clean up awaits me, but on a farm…that job is never done! It is like housekeeping…there is always a mess somewhere… but it is good to be needed.

Horse work beats House work!
March 21, 2013, 9:20 pm
Filed under: March 2013 | Tags: , , ,
Knight and Hoss pulling the maple sap sled

Knight and Hoss pulling the maple sap sled

March 21, 2013

Winter has returned, the trees have stopped running and some ice is in the sap bags. It is a big change from Saturday a couple of weeks ago when this picture was taken! Knight and Hoss had to bear down a little to draw the sled through the woods that day. They didn’t mind, the work felt good to them.

Tonight, I boiled sap that was collected earlier this week. It had a layer of ice on top and made for a little excitement as I started up. One of my fill lines was partially frozen. We noticed it in time, but it made a good lesson for my son to see just how quickly things could go bad!

We have six to eight inches of snow on the ground. The ground is not frozen. Only mud is underneath. Sloppy spring weather will soon return. The wet and cold is making good syrup, but we need some warm days to get the sap flowing again. They will come, of that I am sure … probably all at once 😮

The time for spring work is also coming fast. The horses and I will be busier than a one armed man in a row boat race. I’m good with that though …”horse” work beats “house” any day of the year. I will quantify that statement with, “so I have been told” … my lifetime of house work days, could be counted on my fingers… probably on just one hand 😮