RicelandMeadows


Dressed in Autumn Colors
October 29, 2017, 10:30 am
Filed under: October 2017 | Tags: , , , ,

sugarhouseautmn2017

October 29, 2017

As I was hauling compost the other day, I snapped this photo of our sugarhouse. She is draped with the colors of autumn, framed by the lush pastures left from summer. Winter will follow soon, but spring is only four months away. So, we get to see this color followed by a blanket of white, leading to the “sweet” days of spring!

Winter, if you let it, can be a long season. Sure, it has it’s downside, but focus on the beauty and fun instead. Take a sled ride, go look at Christmas lights, spend time with family and friends drinking hot cocoa and winter becomes much shorter. In just three weeks, the days will start to get longer again! So fear not Spring is just around the corner.

 



Autumn Frolic
September 30, 2017, 8:29 pm
Filed under: September 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

calves2017

September 30, 2017

As the last day of September comes to a close, I am happy to report the calf crop is coming along well. The little black one in the picture was born last night. So far two little bulls (soon to be steers) are running all over the pasture. They will be joined by a couple more babies before foul weather sets in for winter. They are sure having fun!

Last Saturday, we put a new roof on my shop. The shingles were curled up and were in rough shape. They were 18 years old, so rather than wait for a leak, I put on a new roof. My friends helped me. We had a great day. It was an Autumn Frolic too! We finished the day with fellowship and ice cream…Yum!

adminshop

We are working steady to be ready for winter. Projects keep getting marked off the list. The speltz are growing very well. We got a quarter of an inch of rain yesterday and everything seems to have benefited. The speltz especially. They jumped a couple of inches and look real good. The lawn too appears greener. It will have to be cut at least once more. The weatherman says frost for tonight, so, our growing season may end by tomorrow.

The trees are taking on their colorful hues. Some leaves litter the ground, nuts are falling and small animals are gathering for winter. The north wind blew today signaling all of us to take note, turn up your collar and stay busy. A little more wood for the shed and we are good. So, perhaps just one more Autumn frolic and we will be ready to welcome the Winter Wonderland!

 



Making it Easier

feedlotfeeder

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: , , , ,

frozpant
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: , , , , ,

sugarhousesnow

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!