RicelandMeadows


2019 Corn Crop Has Been Planted!

cornplanting12019

May 28, 2019

After a very wet spring and many delays due to soggy conditions, our corn crop has been planted! The horses and I finished plowing the second “land” yesterday. This is a three acre field. If it gives us a normal yield, we will have plenty of corn for the animals.

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I am happy with my plowing job. The horses worked beautifully. The soil turned over very nicely yesterday. This is the last strip in this section. In the distance, you can see my cousin discing with the tractor. Having his help made it possible to finish the field prep and get the corn planted by suppertime.

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As the strip gets smaller, the horses have to walk a little differently. Here, Hoss walks in the main furrow. Abby walks on the strip of green. Knight walks in the furrow made from our last pass coming from the opposite direction. We plow this strip until all of the green has been flipped over. The last pass makes a small ditch that helps to drain water from the field. This ditch is called a dead furrow.

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A view of my mixed powered farm. The horses do much of the work, but a tractor can be utilized when needed. Yesterday, we pushed hard to beat the coming rains. As we all ate supper last night, (horses included) we took great pleasure in knowing that the corn field and our main garden were both planted before the weather turns wet again.

It was a crazy past few days. The horses and I plowed almost every day for a few hours. They are improving in condition after having so many days off due to weather. We got the rest of the tillage equipment ready, knowing that the corn would have to be planted soon. We even captured a wild swarm of honeybees that had stop to rest on a tree in the chicken park. They are all snug and happy in their new hive too. So, as the month of May is coming to a close, we have much to be thankful for and thankful, we are!

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A quick look at the dead furrow. Once disced, this makes a smooth swale for the water to flow out of the field.



2019 Oats Planted
May 10, 2019, 10:22 am
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , , ,

k&hspring2019

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



April Showers 2019
April 15, 2019, 10:28 am
Filed under: April 2019 | Tags: , , , ,

aprilshower2019

April 15, 2019

We have gotten some rainy weather. The severe weather stayed south of us so far. The spring rain has sure made the grass turn green. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. The horses are shedding gobs of hair, as their winter coats come off. Spring has sprung!

kah20196

We have had some very nice spring days. We continue to make progress on this years plowing. As I write, the fields are too wet for field work. We will work on other projects, but first, I will brush the horses and try to get more of the shedding hair off of them.

April showers do bring May flowers, but also growing pastures, green hay fields and emerging leaves on the trees. What a wonderful time of year. I am thankful to enjoy another season as the Earth wakes up from its winter sleep.



Spring Chores
May 8, 2018, 2:04 pm
Filed under: May 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

hammeringJohn

May 8, 2018

Our spring continued to be evasive. Long hours and too many days at my off farm job has caused delays in getting into the fields. It’s no big deal. The soil is just starting to warm and dry enough to work it anyway. I am spending time with family, especially the little ones.

My grandson continues to like blacksmithing. He is coming along very well. He started banging and bending horseshoe nails. He has now moved up to steel stock. He likes the coal forge and turning the blower crank, but hammering hot iron is his favorite!

Two of our grandchildren live here on the farm with us. They live next door, but seek out Pa-pa and Grammy often. They like feeding the chickens ear corn. They would shell corn until the chickens burst, but understand why we don’t.

sissychick

So spring is here…finally. The horses and I will soon be in the fields. The animals are grazing spring pastures, but are still munching a little hay. The leaves on the trees are starting to pop. Most of the shedding winter coats is a memory and garden planting looms on the horizon. I can’t say that I have wasted one minute…but it is sure time for Spring Chores.



Signs of Spring
March 12, 2018, 9:54 am
Filed under: March 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,

shedding2018

March 12, 2018

So far this year we have seen the sap run, robins, buzzards and red winged blackbirds. I have seen purple martin scout birds checking out the martin house, but for me a true sign of spring is the horses shedding their winter coats. Saturday, this yearly event started in full swing!

I spent quite a bit of time brushing their coats and thinning manes and tails. They almost shake their feet like a dog. The brush must feel real good as it helps to rid the itchy hairs. One of my horses is usually late to shed his coat, but this year he too, is losing the old hair in gobs.

We are hoping for at least one more good maple sap run. The weatherman says we may get it this coming weekend. The weathermen are often wrong, but the horses and other wildlife are predictable. I believe that spring is just about to bust wide open. The sap will have us running, while birds flock to the grasses peeking through the snow. Ill try to keep up spitting horse hair as I go!



Best Time of the Night
January 25, 2018, 7:56 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

bestimeofnite

January 25, 2018

I like the time of evening when the chores are all done. The animals all have clean dry beds and full mangers. I sweep the floor one last time, then I just pause to listen to the animals chew their supper. The cows are all starting to bed down and are quiet too. The kitties climb up to the hay mow to find a place to sleep. My dog waits patiently, to follow me to the house.

I walk slowly as I head towards the house. My supper is waiting, but I like to look at everything one more time. The sheep are where they are supposed to be. The lights have been turned off. The gentle thump of the pig feeder doors disturb the evening just enough for me to know that all is well in the pig barn too. Nothing but quiet comes from the hen house as I walk by. The ladies inside have all gone to roost for the night.

I look out across the fields and a contentment fills my heart. The day’s work is done. Soon spring will come. First with maple syrup season, followed promptly by spring field work. Baby lambs will be born as I am plowing for the crops. Then the long days of summer will fill our days, followed by harvest. For now, however, the work is mostly done. Just daily chores, a list of repairs to make and rest. All of us get to relax. My new knees appreciate these days of leisure.

As I reach for the doorknob to go in for the evening. I say a prayer of thanksgiving, for what we have been blessed with. It is for sure the best time of the night and all of us farm critters will enjoy our evening meal and a peaceful slumber.



Dressed in Autumn Colors
October 29, 2017, 10:30 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

sugarhouseautmn2017

October 29, 2017

As I was hauling compost the other day, I snapped this photo of our sugarhouse. She is draped with the colors of autumn, framed by the lush pastures left from summer. Winter will follow soon, but spring is only four months away. So, we get to see this color followed by a blanket of white, leading to the “sweet” days of spring!

Winter, if you let it, can be a long season. Sure, it has it’s downside, but focus on the beauty and fun instead. Take a sled ride, go look at Christmas lights, spend time with family and friends drinking hot cocoa and winter becomes much shorter. In just three weeks, the days will start to get longer again! So fear not Spring is just around the corner.