RicelandMeadows


June 2020 What a Month!

Breebackrub

June 27, 2020

What a crazy, wonderful month! Our baby Bree just turned 2 months old. She is learning very fast. She loves a good back rub. She knows her stall. She accompanies mom sometimes when we work and she brings joy wherever she goes.

The covid virus still has us doing things differently. The unrest around the country has us saddened for all involved. We pray for peace and resolution, along with understanding from all sides. It is nice to be able to get lost in the farm happenings if only for a little while.

We shot another episode for RFD-TV, that will air in August, about our new Suffolk Punch horses. Our son Jake introduced his to the world too. We also wrapped up the finishing touches on an episode regarding our recent timber harvest. It was a good day of filming. Little Bree did great too.

We purchased a horse drawn sprayer. We will use it once a year to spray weeds if needed, but mostly to spray liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion, on our crop and pasture fields. Shout out to Boontown Sprayer in Mount Hope, Ohio

sprayer2020

This simple, well built machine, works wonderfully. It is powered by a 5 horsepower Honda engine. The manufacturers have it well designed. It sprays, pulled by horses, at a rate of 20 gallons per acre. Our first outing found this rate to be spot on, as we did our animal corn field.

sprayingweeds2020

I managed to get half of the field cultivated, but the weeds were starting to take over. Ragweed and especially a nasty grass called barnyard grass had gotten a real head start. You can even see the corn beginning to suffer from the weeds stealing all the nourishment.

spraygrass2020

After last nights rain, the gardens, pastures and the field corn all look refreshed. We will be feeding the fields liquid fertilizer in the coming days. The options are many, so research must be done. It has been a long journey making this farm productive and fruitful, but it has been fun!



Whew, Busy June
June 10, 2020, 9:42 am
Filed under: June 2020 | Tags: , , ,

cultivate2020

June 10, 2020

What a crazy start to the month! It seems our snow just melted and now things are busting wide open! We cultivated corn the other night. Baby Bree went along with us. She is tied to mom to keep her safe and out of harms way. I still have to do a little more tweaking on the modified cultivator, but things went well.

wrap2020

Our hay making season is in full swing. We wrapped this nice clover and grass hay for winter feeding the sheep. It is beautiful stuff. We made some dry hay too. One field seemed to have LOTS of nesting ground birds in it. I only made about four rounds. I will wait another week for the baby birds to better be able to fly, before cutting it. It is early June.  I am not in that big of a hurry.

redgate

“Red”, the stallion will be going home soon. He and Amee appear to have had a successful mating. This handsome guy will be headed south. I am not sure yet, but I am thinking about using him again next year. Time and his offspring will tell the whole story by next year.

jakebelle2

Our son Jake continues training his 2 year old Suffolk Punch horse Belle. She is coming along very well. He is a quiet man with a calming voice. It shows in the way this filly is responding to her training. His choice of footwear will never be mine, but I can’t say anything negative about his training methods!

Our growing season is in full swing. Crops, gardens and baby animals are all growing like mad…and so are the weeds! This farming life is a wonderful thing, you just have to work with Mother Nature. Sometimes “mom” pushes a little hard, but it’s worth it!



Planting and Growing Season

opcorn2020

May 29, 2020

If you strain your eyes a bit, you can see this year’s corn peeping through the ground. The hot weather and recent rains have done their magic. Weeding by cultivation begins soon. More on that in the coming weeks.

Obviously, the field corn for the animals has been planted, but also a little sweet corn for us is also ready to emerge. We have more gardens to plant, but the season is well underway. Potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are planted and enjoying our recent weather.

Horse training and daily chores continue and hay making is right around the corner. Our busy season has begun!

jakebelle

My son Jake’s two-year old coming along nicely. She will join my girls for several jobs soon, like raking hay and hauling round bales. Yes, tis the season!



Patience and Fun
May 11, 2020, 12:39 pm
Filed under: May 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Belleamee

May 11, 2020

My son’s horse, the right side in the photo, on her maiden voyage as a teammate. She did very well for her first time. My son has been training her for several months. She just turned two-years old.  She walked off quite well and only fidgeted a couple times. She is well on her way to being a great workhorse.

firsttime4

Our Suffolk herd are all grazing together. After a couple of weeks making all the introductions over a farm gate, peace fills the pasture. The pecking order has been established. Abby has made it clear to the other horses just what the social distancing space should be between them and her baby. No fighting, no squealing, just subtle reminders with laid back ears.

We are counting the days of this crazy spring waiting patiently for warmer weather and planting season. We made some progress last week. we managed to get a large portion of the winter manure spread on ground that will be planted to ear corn for the animals.  I even got those three acres plowed. I used the tractor due to maternity leave for Abby.

Mother'sday2020

This past Mother’s Day, my wife pets and talks to the new foal. Bree’s momma watches over the scene. Isn’t that what momma’s do? Watch from afar, but ready to jump in when needed. I miss my mom, but I believe that she is still watching over us.



Logging, Lessons and Leisure

MFskid2020

May 6, 2020

Its early spring. Everything is too wet for farm field work. We are filling our days with projects that fit the farm plan, the weather and the pandemic leisure time. I opened our maple sap woods to let in more sun for growing maple trees. This “crop tree release” harvest amounted to harvesting a bunch of ugly, low value trees. This “worst first” selection will lead to a beautiful sugarbush someday soon.

The trees were extracted using real horsepower. My horses are on maternity leave, so I enlisted the help of two Amish friends of mine. We had a fun time. Things went very well as we surgically removed the marked trees. I marked the trees using the following criteria; biologically mature, crooked or forked, distance to a growing hard maple sapling and density of the canopy. Biologically mature, means dying of old age. We also removed the last remaining Ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer.

logpile1

logpile2

These two piles are the result of six days logging.  I wanted them harvested before the leaves came out. This makes the big job of cleaning up the treetops a little easier. The treetops will be cut, split and stacked to boil maple sap and heat a few homes. We took out 60 trees in the wettest section of the woods. I am sure that I will see improvement very quickly. The horses made very little impact, even in the wet conditions. I will rework my sap roads that we used to skid the logs out. This will be an easy job thanks to the the horses.

logmud

We have also been working with our new horses. The two week old filly continues with her lessons in learning to lead and be tied up. She is a little sweetie and is learning very well. Hank, our stallion prospect also gets handled daily. He must learn to be a gentleman and a workhorse, before we use him for a daddy.

breetie

Spring is wet, but field work will start very soon. In the meantime we will work on manners, firewood and lessons in our leisure time.

 



Life Lessons
April 28, 2020, 10:17 am
Filed under: April 2020 | Tags: , , ,

breehaltertie

April 28, 2020

As this pandemic continues and we get used to a new “normal”, I feel about like the foal in the picture. I am staying put , but I don’t have to like it!

Bree our new foal, is learning new things. This first lesson was all about being tied up. She needs to learn to accept this. She will learn to lead soon too. Once we have mastered these things, she will be able to accompany mom while we work. Bree will be tied to her mom at a safe distance where she can walk alongside, but not get behind or in front where she could get hurt. Social distancing at its finest.

All of us here on the farm are learning new life lessons. It is best to find the positives, look toward the future and make plans. Continue to live! This will pass, things may change, but we will adapt. We can do all things through God who strengthens us!



A Yearling and Growing
April 26, 2020, 2:02 pm
Filed under: April 2020 | Tags: , ,

hankbirthday20201

April 26, 2020

Our stallion prospect “Hank” had his first birthday last week. He is growing very well. He continues to learn manners and all things “workhorse”.  The lessons are short but daily. I handle him often and consistently. He is a quick learner. We are very hopeful that he will be a good fit to our farm and breeding plan.

hankbirthday20202

I stood him beside our 16 hand mare Amee. He is catching up to her height quickly. He eats much like a teenage boy…constantly.  He is shedding out his baby hair and looks ragged at times, but under all that mud, manure and hair there is a handsome young boy!



Bree of Riceland Meadows
April 25, 2020, 9:27 am
Filed under: April 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Bree1week1

April 25, 2020

Our filly is now one week old. She is growing very well. It is so much fun to have a baby horse here again. She is an independent little girl! Strong willed for sure.

We are seeing many good traits from her breeding.

Bree1week2

Once she grows up, I am sure that she will make a great work horse.

In the meantime, we will just enjoy watching her grow up. To see her run and frolic makes us smile. This is a good distraction these days…and unlike our children and grandchildren…we can get our hands on her!



Changes along with the Weather
March 28, 2020, 10:58 am
Filed under: March 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

a&a3272020

March 28, 2020

Last night after chores, I took the mares for a walk through the woods. The mare on the left will foal in the coming weeks. I like to keep her exercised daily. These quiet walks are good for us all.

As we all face many changes due to the COVID-19 virus, quiet time, alone is good for us all. We are going through many changes here on the farm as well. My black Percheron horses are making their ways to new homes. It is a tough thing for me, but I see much opportunity in our change to the endangered Suffolk breed.

These horses continue to please me. I am excited to start the farm year with them. They will pick up where the blacks left off, after maternity leave of course!

blackabby32020

Our Percheron mare Abby has gone off to “finishing school”. I have a friend in the nearby Amish community who also has a single black mare for sale. They look very nice together. We will get them all worked down and dolled up to show off all of their best traits, then put them in a draft horse sale in Topeka Indiana. The sale is scheduled for June. Abby will be headed there, unless I sell her private before then.

Today, the rain is sure making things wet. It started raining last night at dark and is still falling steady. It is supposed to continue all day. Perhaps it is just a preview of our normal April showers? Let’s pray we have a good planting season and normal growing season. We are due, but we know who is in control. We will plan, prepare and be ready to go once the time has come.



Not Tired

abbycarttire

February 19, 2020

As we wait for winter to turn to maple season, we fill our days doing fun stuff. Our Percheron Abby, out for a nice drive on a cold day last Monday.

 

abbycarttire2

She works single, double and on either side. I like to keep her fit. This is a good way to do it.

abbycarttire3

The tire makes just enough resistance to give her something to pull. She lugs it easily. She is a good mare who will also be missed as we transition to the Suffolk Punch breed. I am proud of Abby. She moved here as a youngster. She learned well and became an important part of our farm’s power. She completes a great trio. She just turned six years old.

We drive on the driveways, because mud abounds in the fields. She doesn’t care and even when we have worked for part of a day. She’s not tired…LOL.