RicelandMeadows


Stallion Training Day

October 13, 2021

Yesterday was a very good day. We worked with Hank, our young Suffolk Punch stallion. He just turned 2 last April. We were pulling an old tire around the field for awhile. He has done this job before, but yesterday his brain “clicked”. He figured out how to start the load, but also how to enjoy a break. You can see a little sweat coming from under his harness. That sweat along with breaks at the right time, lead to just standing still, minding your own business and listening for me to give direction. He is getting it. I am very happy with his progress.

I won’t push the young guy too hard. He only gets light loads for now. We are more training his mind than his body. He likes the ladies, so we need to make him understand that life has other things in it too. Some of you may notice the “jockey stick” running from his halter to his partner Abby’s harness ring. This spacer keeps him from trying to whisper sweet nothings in her ear. He stays in his place and she is not bothered by his nonsense this way. Abby is a wonderful partner. She moves and stops when I ask. She teaches him stuff by just being there and she is one big anchor if I need one!

I snapped this picture of the growing speltz yesterday. I am pleased with these results so far. The crop should be well rooted before winter sets in and freezes the ground.

All I can say is that it was a very good day!



Computer Trouble / Farm Success

October 10, 2021

We have been fighting with our computer for almost a month! Finally we have been repaired. We didn’t lose anything and I am back to communicating and blogging.

In the photo above, Abby , Amee and I were plowing at Lake Farm Park. The park is located in a neighboring county. They host a horsepower weekend. Old tractors and of course, real horsepower are showcased. We had a fun time visiting and plowing. The event was well attended by other teams of horses and the public. We struggled a bit with old vegetation plugging the plow, but we did make some loose dirt.

This is a picture of my old Oliver plow. I haven’t used it for years. My knees got too sore to use it. I got them replaced and decided that I wanted to try plowing this way again. The horses had not done this ever in their lives either. We worked on it for a few evenings before we went out in public. I am not the plowman that I once was, but we got it done.

There is a lot to this job. Once things are all set up and understood, it is a joy to plow this way. We are not there yet! I managed to drag along the ground a few times as The horses learned where to walk and I learned to pick my feet up higher. It was still fun. I will plow like this a few times each year just to keep my memories alive. This old plow belonged to a mentor of mine…I think he would be pleased too.

Over the last month, we continued to work with Hank, our two-year old Suffolk Punch stallion. He is doing good, but the training will continue for the coming months, even years. He is growing fast and well. He is pictured with our 7 year old mare Abby in the photo below.

It is my hope to have Hank plowing in a three-horse hitch before the snow flies this fall. He is not shy about pulling and keeps his mind on his work. I will call that a success!

The speltz have been planted. This horse grain is up and looking good. I have opened the corn field by picking two rows closest to the fence and down the middle. The main harvest will commence as I begin hand picking the dry ears in the coming days.

Thank you everyone for bearing with me in my absence. Its good to be back sharing our success with all of you. There is much to catch up on, so ride along with me as I bring you a glimpse of our small farming life.



The Scramble Towards Fall

September 6, 2021

As we make the dash towards fall and the coming harvest, we still take some time for fun. Hank and Sam (the dog) play a game at turnout every night. Sam is not allowed to chase the horses. Hank knows that Sam is not allowed, so he plays tough guy showing off for his lady friends. Sam bolts to the gate, Hank kicks out in protest, a scene played out like teenaged boys full of vinegar!

Once the fake boxing match is over, peace comes to the pasture. Hank and his girls graze contentedly, the work of the day forgotten.

We are also using this recent warm, dry weather to make the last of our second cutting hay. So far so good!

I like this view! It is also nice to have less pressure from biting flies as we work.

The hay is a bit light due to our late harvest of the first cutting, but I am grateful for every mouthful.

The push towards fall is on. The training of our young stock continues. There are no dull moments around here and I wouldn’t have it any other way!



Here’s Looking At You Kid

August 12, 2021

Riceland Meadows Amazing Grace a little shy of 4 months old. She is growing fast!

These hot, sticky, muggy days of August have been producing almost daily showers making it tough to get things done. I spend a little time each day with our little filly. She is a good girl, but still has a bit of sass in her. She learns quickly. We are enjoying her. She will soon be turned out with Bree, last year’s filly. Grace and her have been spending time in adjoining stalls. Soon, Grace will get weaned from her mom. It is my hope that Bree and Grace become friends. They can romp and play, making the weaning process less stressful on all involved.

These young ladies and their mothers, will become part of our breeding program in the coming years. They will also power the farm, spending time in harness hitched to all sorts of equipment. My view of them is often the same. I took this next photo of Grace to be a sort of “baby picture” for reference later on.

Yep, this is usually my view! You can see the power that resides in her backside already. She is a good growing, thick, chunky horse. I look forward to seeing her become part of the “team”.

From the looks of these photos, I better clean my cobwebs down. I try to keep up with that job. I have discovered that an old straw broom works well for this purpose. Recently, I found out that a leaf blower works even better! You can blow those suckers down in a very few minutes. I suggest wearing a mask, safety glasses and an old shirt on the day you do it, but the leaf blower makes short work of that job. It is also a good job for a rainy day!



Blowing in the Wind
July 31, 2021, 11:26 pm
Filed under: July 2021 | Tags: , , ,

July 31, 2021

The answer my friend…. You know the old song.

What a month it has been! Horse Progress Days were held over the 3rd and 4th of July. It came right on the heels of our North American Suffolk Horse Association Gathering. I rested big time on the 4th. I entered into the next week hopeful that I could get caught up on farm chores and especially making our first cutting hay. It didn’t happen as the rains moved in, making for a very wet month.

I worked on all sorts of things including forging several large basket hangers to be used at the fairgrounds for floral displays. The horse all got their feet trimmed and shoes reset. Training went on for our young horses and Grace, this years Suffolk filly, too had a few lessons. The gardens were worked when the weather allowed us. The weeds are winning at the moment, but we are harvesting in spite of them.

The back pond was suffering from the lack of oxygen. It had become foul smelling and dark. Scum and vegetation floated on the surface. We have a large grass waterway at the entrance to the pond. The recent rains made it overflow often, but the ugliness continued. American Eagle Windmills installed an air bubbling windmill to cure our problem. It has only been a few days, but already we are seeing an improvement.

I really like to look of it in our landscape. Powered by the wind, it will work all by itself. It is very quiet and the animals have no fear of it.

I have worked very hard this last week of the month trying to get that hay made. After another 8 tenths of an inch of rain this week, I finished the hay job tonight at sundown. The hay got washed, but still looks pretty good for as late in the years as it is. We wrapped some silage bales and put a few squares in the haymow too. The whole farm needs its edges mowed and such, but the hay job being complete is a big relief.

Looks like firewood for the sugarhouse will be part of next weeks work, after I get the straw all baled from our speltz harvest. That job went very well. The grain is currently in wagons, but will be loaded into our bins as soon as I secure an elevator to use. Summer is fading fast and it sure is going quick!

Time is a fleeting thing. In fact you could say that it is blowing in the wind. Rest when you can, make memories as often as possible and love with all your heart.

Baby Grace, checking out the firewood plie on July fourth. She is a sweetie



Suffolk Punch Horse Gathering

July 1, 2021

The North American Suffolk Horse Association held it’s 2021 gathering at our local fairgrounds. Many folks from states near and far came to see, help and celebrate these wonderful horses. We had unseasonably hot and muggy weather that affected man and beast. The weather cut some of our events short and a few were taken off the schedule. We did however, accomplish quite a few things. We had some seminars in the cool and shade of the big barn. We had friendly competitions in the arena and endless conversations echoed in the aisleways.

My family and I were well represented by our horses. We took them all to make chore time much easier and to introduce our young stock to many strange sounds, sights and smells. We learned a lot! We gleaned ideas and suggestions for next time to boot. My thanks go out to the many folks who came with their horses, the spectators, the vendors and all the behind the scenes people who made this all work out. Our Canadian friends could not make it due to Covid concerns and the border closure, but we look forward to seeing them soon.

In the photo above, photographed by J Nidy and taken from Facebook, you can see the girls and I competing in an obstacle course. There were plenty of tight turns and unusual things for the horses. Mine did not want to step on the tarp, but they handled the spinning pool noodles like pros. Even our 8 week old baby took it all in stride. It was a fun event and I believe we all had fun.

As I was finishing chores last night and reflecting on the hectic three day event, I took a picture that sums it up for me perfectly. I will share that photo at the end of this blog.

We had lots of press coverage for our event. The local papers both covered us. Rural Heritage magazine came and interviewed and shot video and such for their magazine and for upcoming RFD-TV programs. We had a California company called Backyard Green Films attend. They do Podcasts and have a Youtube channel. I was featured in a podcast last night.

We had a get together that lasted several days and were without injuries beyond a scraped hand and a few bee stings. I thank God for the safe travels, our friendships and a safe and comfortable event.

On our last morning, three teams of horses and wagons, visited the local nursing home. The residents lined the big front porch as we drove into the parking lot for a drive by meet and greet. Smiles and laughter came from the crowd. We shared waves and hellos. I had a moment of blurry eyes as I wheeled the horses around to make my second pass by the smiling crowd. Our young filly trotted along by her mother’s side, prancing for the people. My heart filled with pride and thankfulness for being able to bring a bit of joy to a few well loved folks, entrusted to the care of others.

So, last night as I decompressed while doing chores here at home, with all the animals back in their familiar surroundings. I gave thanks for a good time, good people and a bright new beginning for us in our journey with the Suffolk Punch horse. I looked up the lane towards my home, made comfortable, clean and filled with love by my wife and I saw this…

I’d say that says it all



The Boy Is Back In Town

May 3, 2021

Orchard Hill Red Blaze, the Suffolk stallion pictured above is the daddy of our newest addition Riceland Meadows Amazing Grace. He is a chunky boy with a great disposition and he helped make a beautiful filly. We leased him again for Amee.

Amee was delighted to see him again. It looks as if we should have another “Red” baby on the ground next year.

You can see from the photo, mom Amee, watching over the sleeping Grace while Red snoozes, as they all soak up the warm April sun.

The little family grazes in the pasture. Amazing Grace runs circles around both dad and mom. She gains strength and power daily thanks to mom’s milk. It is delightful to watch the baby girl run and play.

“Red”, is part of our breeding program because his foals are not related to our stallion Hank. As we build a solid breeding program for working Suffolk horses, it is imperative that we focus on DNA in this critically rare breed. We want to expand the gene pool, while breeding for the punchy, solid, powerhouse found in these horses. In other words, I want to breed true, following the like minded breeders of the last four centuries, not changing the breed, only enhancing it.

They are truly beautiful!



She’s Here Too

April 24, 2021

Our new filly was born yesterday! Her name is Riceland Meadows Amazing Grace. She is a leggy one, but very strong.

I imprinted her and talked to her. Today, her and mom were mostly just left alone to bond and enjoy the sunshine.

They had an outside picnic while we watched from the fence.

My grandma Rice was named Grace. She was a strong woman with a big heart. It is my hope that this filly exhibits those same traits. Enjoy the photos for now and stay tuned for updates. I’m overloaded with thankfulness for this potential broodmare. She is not related to our stallion prospect Hank. It is one more important step in helping to promote and preserve this rare and endangered breed. I think gramma would be proud to have her share her name.



New Month, New Project

April 1, 2021

I took this picture yesterday. Today, the snow is an inch deep with cold wind blowing it around! Oh well, that is spring in northeast Ohio.

I acquired this manure spreader from a friend who made a wonderful purchase. He bought two of them and sold me one. It was encased in about an inch layer of dried manure. All the moving parts had been well greased. I think the dried manure and being stored inside may have preserved this wonderful old piece of equipment. We scraped on it a while. Then we pressure washed it. Next comes some needed small repairs and adjustment, but it will soon be spreading manure and compost here on the farm.

The web needs some adjustment and the box will get a liberal coating of linseed oil, but all in all she is in great shape.

The beaters and crossbars are in good shape too. I look forward to training our young horses to pull this machine. The load decreases as they pull it. Flying poop makes for a few unexpected things for the colts to see. The noises it makes bumping along also helps the young horses learn that the “boogyman” will not hurt them. I will be there, encouraging them from the driver’s seat keeping them safe and confident.

Amee will foal by the end of the month. She is enjoying maternity leave. The young horses will have lots of opportunity to learn while she rests. Having this manure spreader to use, makes for another training tool that will help them become good farm horses.

We got our new farm sign. Hats off to “Get your Graphics” in Jefferson Ohio. We are letting people know what breed of horse now powers our farm. We sure like these critically endangered rare breed horses! They are wonderful, willing, powerful horses, with a mind like no other. Stay tuned as we grow.



Neighborly

February 21, 2021

These horses belong to our son. He has been working steady with them. They are coming 3 and 2 years-old. This is their third time hooked together. They are doing great. I have been under the weather this week, so no training going on here. It’s nice to see it continuing at the neighbors :o)

We are looking forward to spring and summer weather. The hope is to have the young horses able to take a small part in the work. No heavy loads, just lots of driving and different situations. Patience on our part will pay big dividends with these youngsters.

This coming summer, during the last week in June, we will be helping to host a “Suffolk Horse” gathering. We hope to catch folks as they travel to Horse Progress Days , a draft horse event held in Mount Hope, Ohio, later in that same week. We think it will be a great time to meet people and introduce these amazing animals to the public. We will hold the event at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in Jefferson, Ohio

I hope some of you can make it! Come on out and say hello.