RicelandMeadows


Working in the Tree Tops
September 10, 2020, 10:05 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , ,
One of three large piles.

September 10, 2020

Many people think that working in the tree tops requires a person to be up in the air, at the top of a tree. I am working in the tree tops that are laying on the ground from my recent tree harvest. I am salvaging firewood to be used to boil maple sap, to make maple syrup.

I am cutting everything three inches or larger, that didn’t make lumber logs and hauling them out to be cut to length and split. The brush and smaller limbs are being left for homes for small woodland creatures and to rot to enrich the forest floor.

Our harvest consisted of about 60 mature trees. The trees were removed to allow the growth of many smaller trees, predominantly maple, both hard and soft varieties. The trees removed, also allow for mature maples to have more open canopy for crown growth. It also lets in light and air to the forest floor. I can direct some water puddles towards the nearby stream, allowing the water to runoff through the existing leaf litter. This drys the forest, but assures that water quality is improved by the filtering effects of the leaf litter.

Bree is learning lessons as we work towards her weaning. She is not always happy with me. Here she learns patience. I tied her to a fence post far from mom. She did not like it, but soon realized that she would have to wait on me. This was a short lesson of about 35 minutes. It was good for her. She can be strong willed, but yields fairly quickly. Her training continues.

The garden harvest continues. Our animal corn harvest is starting, as I build shocks. Hand picking will begin soon. I picked a few random ears last night. I am happy with what I see so far.

The crop should fill my crib.

A busy time is coming, but we look forward to the dash to winter!



Woodshed 2020
September 2, 2020, 9:17 am
Filed under: September 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

Ateamwood2020

September 2, 2020

On the last day of August, We finished filling the woodshed. The wood will now have many months to dry and cure. The fire will burn hot under the boiling maple sap next spring.

woodshed2020

This is a great job to have behind us. Corn harvest will start soon, along with getting the soil ready for our fall planted crop of speltz. I will also continue to work on firewood during the autumn season. I hope to be a year ahead by late winter.

I have started to shock corn. These small shocks I made in the garden from our sweet corn. I will open my animal corn field in the coming days, by making shocks down the center. The shocks make good feed and protect the corn just like a dry crib. The best thing is, shocking the corn divides my field into two small rectangles instead of one big square. It makes harvesting more efficient. I don’t spend a lot of time driving around the ends of the field this way.

shock2020

We hope to wrap up the tomato season in the next two weeks. The potatoes are wonderful this year too. We have been enjoying all of our garden produce. It has been a good year for gardens and gardeners.

Late summer jobs and early fall work is commencing nicely. The horses are working well. The young stock is growing on the good pastures. Our stallion is learning manners and how to be a work horse. Our young filly is about to be weaned from her momma. Hank, our young stallion, will accompany our mares as we harvest the corn crop. He will mostly just walk along learning to behave and work. I like him very much. Here he is looking over the fence at us last Sunday morning.

hanklisa



Its a Heat Thing
July 14, 2020, 8:42 am
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , , ,

woodsplit20201

July 14, 2020

It’s that time of year when I try to get the woodshed all fill up. I am currently about 3/4 full. We spent part of Saturday splitting some big chunks of wood. I enlisted the help of three of my buddy’s sons. We made great progress.

woodsplit20202

The large trunk sections of wood, some four feet thick, make a lot of firewood. There is plenty of work in them, but they do yield well. We used the skid steer at times to lift the large sections onto the log splitter. It was a good day made easy, thanks to lots of help. It is surely true that many hands make light work.

woodsplit20203

I still have plenty more waiting , but the biggest pieces have been conquered! This smaller stuff, I hope to have worked up by next weekend. This will launch me ahead enough that by fall, I may be a whole year ahead. In other words, 2021 wood will be all stacked and waiting in the woodshed. 2022 wood will be stacked and drying in neat stacks next to the woodshed.

I like cutting and splitting wood. It is a satisfying job. You can see your progress and it makes you feel good to be prepared. My grandma used to tell us the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant worked steady and was prepared when “winter” came. I think all of us should follow the example of the ant and be prepared for when our “winter” comes.

The heat that well seasoned, dry wood makes is wonderful. It really makes the sap boil! Getting ahead makes good sense. It also takes the pressure off. I will continue to work on wood even when I get ahead.

We use 11-12 cords a season for the maple syrup making. The last thing I want to happen, would be to have a longer than normal season and run out of wood to boil. Trying to cut wood and gather sap at the same time is rough. The wood made that way, even from dead trees, does not have the BTU’s that good seasoned wood puts out.

Its a heat thing! They say firewood warms you twice, once when you cut it and a second time when you burn it. I know wrestling big chunks through a log splitter in July will dang sure warm you! Seeing the large piles actually warms my heart too… no matter what the weather!



Fill “er” Up
June 14, 2015, 4:39 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , ,

Just a little bit more

Just a little bit more

June 14, 2015

Today, Flag Day, finds me relaxing peacefully. I am reflecting upon Old Glory and the freedoms that¬†I enjoy, thanks to men and women standing guard while I sleep. I took my turn and I salute those in uniform and thank the veterans. I am also feeling good about yesterday’s accomplished work.

We started cutting and splitting sugarwood yesterday morning and by late afternoon, we had finished the logs that I had piled up. The horses and I have been busy dragging wood. The skidsteer allowed me to make a big pile right next to the sugarhouse. We set the log splitter up right at the woodshed. This made the job go very quickly and allowed us to work mostly in the shade ūüėģ

I will finish this job by lunchtime Tuesday, rain or shine , no matter what! I need to get it finished so that I can start on the wood for maple season 2017. I will be wonderful to finally be a whole year ahead. I also have a good start on fireplace wood for my sister and the father of an old friend. So, as I wait for dry weather to begin making hay, I can celebrate my progress thus far working on firewood!

Just a little more!

Just a little more!



It’s as easy as 1,2,3!
December 8, 2014, 10:29 am
Filed under: December 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,

Hitching the boys to the sled

Hitching the boys to the sled

December 8, 2014

In my quest for wood, as many of you know, I am working on a large white oak tree that blew down a year ago. She landed in a sort of bad spot, crushing my fence when she fell. My time is getting short as winter looms, soon much of that tree will be frozen to the ground.

The fact that I will get this wood out until the winter weather puts it on hold, has me scampering like a squirrel gathering acorns. I am cutting and splitting almost every day. The horses and I try to haul some every day too. I am using all three geldings. They, like me, are a little “soft” so having plenty of help allows us to work faster and longer.

I like to show up with plenty of horsepower and believe me…three Percheron horses supply plenty of horsepower! The time it takes to get the third horse harnessed up, is nothing compared to the amount of work we can do. They stand while I hitch, load and unload, so, it’s as easy as 1,2,3!!



Wish You Were Here
November 30, 2014, 9:35 pm
Filed under: November 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,

Plenty of horse power

Plenty of horse power

November 30, 2014

Today, the horses and I went for a load of sugarwood. My buddy and I have been cutting a large white oak that fell down a year ago. The tree was huge. The limbs are so large that I am having to block them in two foot pieces, split them into chunks, then finally, split the chunks into sugarwood pieces. The pieces I use for sugarwood are about four inches by four inches by two to three feet.

My son Jake helped me load a load today. I didn’t unload it, cause I need something to do after work this week…. The tree project will take all winter perhaps more to get her all worked up using my days off that have decent weather. I can say for sure,¬†it is a big job. The abundance in the old tree is remarkable. Even in her death, she is giving back to our farm…. It humbles me and fills my heart with gratitude.

Jake and I tossed the wood chunks up onto the wagon. The horses stood quiet waiting for us to finish. I thought they might have a little trouble getting the wagon from the tree to the sugarhouse. I was wrong. The horses pulled that wagon like it was empty. The wheels cut in to the mud, but the horses paid it no mind. They are awesome and their power never fails to impress me.

If I could speed this job up at all, it would be to have loaders and unloaders. I am thinking of the two-legged variety, perhaps two on each end. The job would go faster, jokes could fly like snowflakes and we could finally answer that age-old question…How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

me and the big white oak

me and the big white oak

 



The Work is Stacking Up
November 6, 2013, 11:06 am
Filed under: November 2013 | Tags: ,

Sugarwood for 2014

Sugarwood for 2014

November 6, 2013

   Yesterday, my son and I finished splitting all the sugarwood to be used in the up coming maple syrup season. I have had lots of help along the way, family, friends and even a couple of boys who got paid. This is a big job, made bigger this year by all the wet weather.

¬†¬† Stacks and piles litter the forest floor. It is a wonderful sight. Now, all I have to do is get it all hauled in¬†and stacked away. I have a small portion started, but much more to go. As the sun set last night we had just a few pieces to go. We finished at dark. It wasn’t too dark to see, because I was beaming with pride over a job well done ūüėģ

   The weather is about to take a turn towards winter. There are a few things that demand my attention, but mostly I will be stacking wood. Once the animals are all snug in their winter quarters and the wood is stacked under cover, I will rest a bit. I am glad to say, that after an anxious year of waiting on the weather and being behind in farm work, I am finally caught up!

¬†¬† The cooler weather that is¬†about to engulf us, makes for great weather to work horses … and men. It beats those hot, muggy summer days when it’s hard to draw a breath. Since I’m not trying to dry hay, I’ll take these nice cool days anytime!