RicelandMeadows


Plotting for Deer

deerplot

August 29, 2016

This little field was an old part of our pasture. When I put up the new fence, I straightened it out. This little place got abandoned. I keep mowing it. I tried a couple of years ago to plant trees here, but the weeds choked them out. We will probably do that again, but for now, we have created a plot for the wild deer.

We worked up the sod and planted oats, turnips, radish and a medley of grasses and forage. My sheep would go nuts for this soon to be lush autumn and winter grazing. We hope the deer like it. I just want to keep them coming to our farm. We harvest a deer or two each year, so it seems only right to offer them a little food.

They do get into my hay fields and eat clover. They munch my corn and other crops too. This plot however is all theirs. It is in the back, next to the woods. There are trees growing on three sides. A stream is just a few hundred feet away and places to hide and sleep abound.

My son was pretty pleased with our efforts today. My grandson was thrilled that we planted food for the deer. He had a great time catching grasshoppers, crickets and even a frog while we worked and planted. My granddaughter made me mud pies and helped her brother in the big grasshopper hunt. It was a good day for us all….I think more than just a few seeds were planted today…I believe a memory was planted too.



Dam Beavers

dam beavers

March 22, 2016

We manage our woodlands in a three pronged approach. Our first consideration is for for maple syrup production. We open up the canopy for growing sugar maples using a method called “crop tree release”. Other undesirable trees are taken out to provide sunlight and nutrients for the growing maple trees. The trees taken out are used for lumber or firewood.

Our second consideration for our woodlot is for wildlife. We are all hunters, so we try to manage and enhance our white tailed deer and wild turkey numbers. We also look out for small game like squirrels and rabbits, as well as song birds. We don’t eat song birds, but we try to maintain three levels of forest canopy for them. Song birds nest at different heights, so having the three levels enhances their habitat.

The third part of our forestry management plan is for timber production. I don’t see our woods as ever being real valuable due to the species of trees growing there. It will however be a constant source of income over my lifetime. If managed in this way, the next generations will benefit as well. I’m talking about very light harvests generating a thousand dollars a year. The revenue coming mostly from undesirable trees that are removed for reasons listed.

Now, sometimes my best efforts get a set back. I babied the tree in the photo. It was selected and given space to grow, only to have the beavers decide it was a tasty treat. That was last year’s casualty.  A couple years ago, a big wind storm decided which trees would be culled. I worked in the down limbs and tangled mess for quite a while and still the effects from that wind storm can be seen.

dead matron

This big old fallen , long dead hard maple tree was dying when we moved here almost twenty five years ago. I left her stand to put down seed and provide a place for raccoon to live. The area is now littered with hard maple saplings and seedlings. The raccoon palace came crashing down just this spring. The wood is brittle and “punky” with no value for firewood, but the nutrient rich wood will be left to rot and enrich the soil.

Woodlot management is best done with a plan. I had my own, but did get the state forester to walk and talk with me. We agreed on my ideas and put a plan in place that I have been following since we took ownership of the land. My impact is light but the results are huge. Sugar maples are growing everywhere, wildlife co-exists with my farming and every now and then we get a little paycheck from our woodland savings bank.

 



Safe and Sound
June 20, 2015, 9:37 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Our hens inside their portable shelter

Our hens inside their portable shelter

June 20, 2015

Our hens are really enjoying this portable shelter. It has very secure sides made from welded wire and conduit. It has a white canvas top to protect them from the sun and rain alike. It has wheels that lift it up when moving is desired and it looks good from all directions. The hens are safe from wildlife and the wayward neighbor dog intent on having a chicken dinner 😮

The white canvass top reflects the sunlight and makes a nice shady cool place for them to graze, rest and run about. They pick weeds and grass, deposit their manure and get fresh air all in the safety of this pen. I move it when the grass gets short or about every 3 days. We only have eight hens, so it takes them a while to glean the pen area.

I am liking this very much. I know the girls are safe and sound from every harmful thing. I can go about my routine without worrying about them. They were about to start into a molt, but the new grass and whatever else they want, seems to have helped them to pick up egg production again. Our birds usually free-range, but I have planted their three acre pasture to speltz. The foxes can sneak in very close in the high grain, so our girls are now incarcerated …but they are happy about it!



Snuggle Time!
February 9, 2015, 11:23 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
The babies get ready for bed

The babies get ready for bed

February 9, 2011

After a very nice weekend, the temperature has plummeted again. We saw 40 Saturday and again on Sunday. It felt very warm. The snow in the fields got settled some, but it is still plenty deep. The driveway is frozen and all of us are ready to snuggle up once again.

I guess this is the week for that stuff. I’m thinking that is why St Valentine has his day in February. Snuggling up in August is fine, but snuggling now is wonderful! I will say the animals even seem to like it. Sure, part of it is necessary, but they play and frolic, then settle down and even cover up with the bedding.

I am not going to fight Mother Nature. She has it all worked out. The weather breaks enough to allow the wildlife to get food and water. Some of the wildlife know where to go no matter what the weather does. My buddy in Pennsylvania went to pick a remote five acre field of ear corn. When he got there, the corn was gone. The stalks were all there, but the ears had been eaten by the deer.

As we talked about the wildlife on his mountain farm, he also told me how the bears paw open his plastic wrapped bales of silage. They ruin a few every year he told me. Man, to think about a bear ripping open a big round bale, then rolling it halfway down a hill, makes me shake my head….and glad to live on the flat land.

We try to live in harmony with nature. I am an environmental steward. I manage my woodlot in ways that enhance wildlife habitat. We farm this farm in ways that keep water quality protected. I look out for my animals and the ones who call our farm their home. So, for tonight, we will snuggle up, make plans and stay warm!



The Sunset Rush
July 24, 2014, 1:48 pm
Filed under: July 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Fluffy Windrows in the Sunset

Fluffy Windrows in the Sunset


July 24, 2014

Tuesday night, after a long day of work at my off farm job, I baled this hay. The hay was in big fluffy windrows and ready to bale. I went as fast as I could go and it still took me until after dark to finish. It was very nice hay and completes my needs for winter.

As I rushed around the field gobbling up the hay, I had time to think about life’s journey. I contemplated how many times that I have rushed through things to get done. The sun was setting on my hay making, much like the sun is setting on my life. Yes, I still consider myself young, but I am “middle aged”. 😮

Just like life, the sun continued to set, even though I still had hay to bale. The time simply would not wait on me. I persisted anyway. I drove like a madman. I wasn’t reckless, I just kept going as the darkness fell. I pushed through and completed the job. I felt great, knowing that the hay job was finished.

Now, as I once again reflect upon rushing towards the sunset, I am realizing that taking time along the way is the best thing to do. I saw deer, mice, snakes and hawks as I baled the hay the other night. I took time to enjoy the ride as I pushed into the darkness, sure the sun was going to set and I was going to be surrounded by darkness, but while I could see, I watched, and while I could feel I embraced the night.

The evening sun lost its warmth, but I took time to enjoy it on my bare skin anyway. When the cool breeze of evening started to rustle the leaves, I enjoyed the sight and feel of the cool evening breath on my face. Most folks who could see me, probably thought that I was just baling hay… They had no idea that I was living life to the fullest…. the hay bales were just a bonus!