RicelandMeadows


Best Time of the Night
January 25, 2018, 7:56 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , ,

bestimeofnite

January 25, 2018

I like the time of evening when the chores are all done. The animals all have clean dry beds and full mangers. I sweep the floor one last time, then I just pause to listen to the animals chew their supper. The cows are all starting to bed down and are quiet too. The kitties climb up to the hay mow to find a place to sleep. My dog waits patiently, to follow me to the house.

I walk slowly as I head towards the house. My supper is waiting, but I like to look at everything one more time. The sheep are where they are supposed to be. The lights have been turned off. The gentle thump of the pig feeder doors disturb the evening just enough for me to know that all is well in the pig barn too. Nothing but quiet comes from the hen house as I walk by. The ladies inside have all gone to roost for the night.

I look out across the fields and a contentment fills my heart. The day’s work is done. Soon spring will come. First with maple syrup season, followed promptly by spring field work. Baby lambs will be born as I am plowing for the crops. Then the long days of summer will fill our days, followed by harvest. For now, however, the work is mostly done. Just daily chores, a list of repairs to make and rest. All of us get to relax. My new knees appreciate these days of leisure.

As I reach for the doorknob to go in for the evening. I say a prayer of thanksgiving, for what we have been blessed with. It is for sure the best time of the night and all of us farm critters will enjoy our evening meal and a peaceful slumber.



Winter White
January 15, 2018, 6:54 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

snoplay18

January 15, 2018

Today, the calves were having a ball, running all over the feedlot. The snow covered lot actually looks great. I scraped everything clean thanks to last week’s warm-up. The slush and manure was like cleaning up applesauce, but I did manage to get it all cleaned up. That was one job I was very happy to complete.

The manure collected will compost along with the daily horse droppings and bedding. It takes a while because the cold weather slows down the rotting process. I’m fine with it because the reward of the compost is worth the wait. I also like the look of the feedlot clean and currently covered in a blanket of white!

The cows are not paying much attention to this cold winter weather. They are fed, bedded and content to just chew their cud and wait for spring. Perhaps there is wisdom in what the cows do. The young ones run and play. The rest of the herd simply takes it all in stride. There is much to be said for a full belly and a warm bed. Watching the snow pile up is just a bonus I guess.

winterlot



It’s Kind Of Like This!
December 15, 2017, 6:35 pm
Filed under: December 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,

sugarhousesnow

December 15, 2017

Snow on the ground, snow piled up and more snow falling. I think winter is here. Christmas is just around the corner. My birthday for another year has come and gone. Work on the farm is greatly reduced, mostly made up of animal care. Those jobs are my most favorite.

I am still pretty much housebound due to knee replacement surgery, but walking in the barn at the end of the day, listening to my animals chew, is great therapy. These creatures who depend upon us, complete my life. The snow is falling, yet all the animals are well fed, warm and dry. This farmer has a warm grateful heart to all of the folks helping to make their comfort possible.

Soon, I will be back in usual form, pitchfork in hand. I will say, it will be a good trade for the cane I’ve been using. In any case, my recovery is made much easier, by breathing on my four-legged friends, on this dark and snowy night. Yep, it’s kind of a day like that!



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 haveĀ 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 interestingĀ  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!