Making it Easier


June 30, 2017

I am engaged in a project that will make my life easier for the rest of my days. We are adding onto the feedlot and building this hay feeder. This will allow me to keep all of our animals by the barn for the whole winter. I will only have one water trough to keep thawed and clean. I will only have one area of manure to stack and manage and the addition of this “built in” hay feeder, will allow me to only have to handle big round bales weekly,feedlotfeeder instead of almost daily.

I can fill it with the skid steer using four bales at a time. The cows will get some protection from the weather as well as the hay, as they eat. The whole thing can be cleaned out when needed by simply pushing out the opposite end of the feeder. I will add a few gates that will give me flexibility when sorting or confining animals. It will make things easy when using the horses in winter, by being able to isolate the cattle when I want.

Sheep can be offered the protection of the barn, while keeping them out of the way of the cattle by simply making a portion where only the sheep will have access. I can bed the area with chips, sawdust or straw all kept nearby. Chore time in winter will be reduced by hours, giving me more time for important things like talking to friends, breathing on horses or sipping coffee.

The real goal, however, is to make doing chores easy for me well up into my advancing age. I am currently recovering from knee replacement surgery. Yep, it was a surprise for me too! I will be down for three months. Projects such as this have been put on hold. They are only moving forward thanks to the help of family and friends. I ice my knee, stretch my muscles and watch from the window…these are some of the hardest things I have ever done!

It’s That Kind of a Day!
January 4, 2017, 8:10 pm
Filed under: January 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

January 4, 2017

After some warm wet days, the temperature has fallen into the basement again. The mud however, has not frozen yet. Stepping into the quagmire made for interesting  pant legs. They froze like a couple of cow bells. I couldn’t get my zippers to move, but it was good to take them off. I’ll beat the mud off once it dries out. Some WD-40 won’t hurt either!

The wind blew sideways. The air was cold. I wore an extra shirt, but the animals didn’t seem to mind at all. The sheep were most especially oblivious. They laid on the grass, chewing their cud the whole time that I did my chores. The rest of my barnyard critters just watched me going from place to place not caring for one minute that it was bitter cold outside.

We have had a nice winter here in Northeast Ohio so far this winter. Although we have had some snow to plow, much of our winter snow has fallen in the form of rain. You don’t have to shovel rain, but you do have to navigate all that mud!

Its Here!
December 12, 2016, 8:58 pm
Filed under: December 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,


December 12, 2016

Winter has arrived here in northeast Ohio. It came with a vengeance! We had this quick first snow, followed two days later with eighteen inches more. I dug us out. Last night, it drizzled for four or five hours. We had a slushy mess today. Six to eight inches covers the ground, but slush and mud are underneath. Ugh, that is winter, but not my favorite kind of weather.

The cattle and sheep took it all in stride. They waited out the rain in their respective sheds. The horses went out to play during the deep snow event. They had a great time. Today, they romped and splashed about like children. Tonight, they are back in the warm barn, coats all brushed and ready for bed.

The winter chores are mostly about feeding and making sure all the animals have a dry, warm bed. That means shoveling lots of manure. The manure makes compost so as I wheel each load to the pile, I smile a bit knowing the payback comes in the spring. Those rich nutrients make my crops grow well and round out a well managed farm plan. So as the snow piles up and the rest of us hunker down, I will pile up the benefits…one forkful at a time.

Watching the Weather
March 1, 2015, 1:29 pm
Filed under: March 2015 | Tags: , ,
Max looks for some warm weather

Max looks for some warm weather

March 1, 2015

We are once again being hit with a winter storm. It is warmer than it has been. Today it might even warm up to freezing! Anyway, no maple syrup weather in sight. Sure, there is one or two days next week that may even hit 40 degrees F, but the night temperatures will bottom out in the single digits. The snow is still deep and the trees are frozen solid…it will be a while 😮

So, March comes in like a lion, that can only be a good thing. The temperatures should warm as we head towards the lamb like month end. This is where patience pays off. I am not the best at waiting, but this time it only makes sense not to worry and fret! So I am working on my writings, waiting and watching for the warm weather … Just like everybody else!

Patiently Waiting
Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

Cinch waits while I fill the water trough

February 23, 2015

The temperature plummets as I write. It is -5 F outside, crisp and cool. Chores are done and all the animals are tucked into bed. The barnyard is quiet as the animals begin to slumber, the horses chewing is the only sound. We are all waiting on spring!

The next several days shows us staying below freezing. I too must wait on spring and the busy maple syrup season. There is plenty to do just keeping all my animal charges fed and bedded…not to mention keeping water thawed out 😮

I need to be more like the dogs. They are patient. They find all sorts of ways to rest. They stretch when they rise before thundering off to play in the snow. On cold days they snuggle down and sleep in the soft straw. They don’t spend one minute worrying about anything…especially doing more work!

Staying in, Looking out!
February 4, 2015, 7:55 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , ,
The hens think I'm crazy

The hens think I’m crazy

February 4, 2015

Stupid Woodchuck…all it has done this week is snow. I like snow and it is a very good thing! I have it piled up everywhere, so I’m thinking I will be liking it for quite a while! I plowed for three hours today. I dug out the barn doors, gates and cleaned off the feedlot. Just about the time I finished, it started snowing again. By the time I finished evening chores… I had to plow the driveway again 😮

Our hen house is nice and roomy. It provides not only shelter for our gals, but an excercise area as well. It is eight by sixteen, very tall with lots of natural light. Currently we have nine hens. This gives each lady over fourteen square feet of living space to herself. The ladies though, still crowd each other. I think they just like being close.

I am sure they are looking forward to the warm days of spring, just like the rest of us. The hens don’t get seed catalogs, so they pass the time looking out the window. They jump up on the feed can and watch everything that moves. I am sure these last few days they think I’m a nut, for spending all this time pushing snow around.


Too Shy
January 18, 2015, 7:56 pm
Filed under: January 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Hello little fellow

Hello little fellow

January 18, 2015

After a cold first half of the month along with a sore back, things at Riceland are returning to normal. A new calf was born just before the New Year. He is a shy little guy who hides behind his mom every chance he gets. After just two weeks, he is strong, very healthy and can run like a deer. He started out slow and small, but there is toughness in his spirit…and tenderness in his genes.

Winter work is good work. It is done under cool conditions, many times below zero, and often inside. The manure clean up is a daily job as is feeding. A guy once told me that to stop the manure clean up job… just quit feeding them 😮 I suppose he may be right, but not the least bit serious!

I am still working on the wood cutting and splitting at the big tree. Maple syrup season is just a month away. We are starting to prepare for that job too. Old man winter will soon be losing his icy grip, but he sure squeezed tight a week ago. Oh well, we will like the warm days even more after being in the deep freeze.

Two small bulls need castrated as well as a few baby boar piglets. Those jobs will be done very soon… Then that little guy really will be …”two” shy!