RicelandMeadows


Making Ready
May 15, 2018, 9:12 am
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

sawmillphil

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
Filed under: April 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

keaaganstone

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: , , ,

janrain2017

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
Filed under: April 2014 | Tags: , , ,
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 😮