RicelandMeadows


Sunrise Weeding

garden2018

June 26 2018

This morning, I was weeding the garden as the sun rose. The garden is behind a bit due to delayed planting from our rainy weather. It is easy to see that we should get a crop. It may come a little late, but it will taste good just the same.

Weeding is a great quiet time for me. The small weeds succumb to the sharp bladed hoe easily. I am alone with my thoughts. The animals have been fed. The horses are back in the barn after a night of grazing. The biting flies don’t like the dark cool barn, but the horses sure do.

The sheep and cattle are still laying peacefully in the grass. Their bellies are full and the cool morning refreshes them all. I hilled the potato rows. I was going slowly, tucking dirt around the small tender plants. The dirt wasn’t quite ready for this job, but rain is forecast for tomorrow, so I pushed to complete the job. Soon, in the soft hilled up dirt, potatoes will form and grow in the dark, warm ground. A tasty treat, boiled, fried or baked, makes my efforts worthwhile.

Today, I have to use the skidsteer to move the big, plastic-wrapped, round bales of haylage. It is a noisy job that must be done. The horses will rest in the barn as I stack the bales for winter feeding. I need to get them off the field before they kill the grass underneath. I pondered that up coming job as my hoe slid into the Earth, barely making a sound. This sunrise weeding is good for my well being. I sort my day, kill weeds and grow some of my food…all under a beautiful sky, in the cool of morning, surrounded by birdsong.



I got this handled
March 19, 2017, 9:09 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

handle

March 19, 2017

As I did my chores last night, I strugged with a problem. I worked in the barn and worked out my thoughts. I realized that many times I have worked my problems out while forking manure. My old manure fork handle, the one on the right, has been worn smooth by work and my rough hands. I started using this fork 37 years ago after purchasing it from an old neighbor.

I chose the fork because it has six tines. Horse manure doesn’t fall through it. This is the original handle that came with the fork. I don’t pry with it. I fork with it. I have lifted some heavy loads, but never compromised the wood. The fork was forged from good steel. The handle looks to be made from white oak. It is smaller than the “clunky” handeled, drop forged, junk available today at most farm and hardware stores.

As I cleaned the day’s poop from behind the horses, I was in deep thought. I talked to the horses as if they would answer me at any minute. They didn’t do that of course, but it felt good to tell my troubles to my equine pals. The fork too, was like gripping the hand of an old friend. I toiled easily in the comfort of the warm barn surrounded by my “friends”.

I have to say, by the time the chores were finished, my troubled mind was at peace. I worked my troubles into resolution. I realized that some problems have no solution or perhaps multiple solutions. I came to terms with myself, that in this case, I could not solve the problem. I would have to just move forward, perhaps one day, returning to contemplate this mental struggle again…but for now… I have it handled.



Gardening is a Family Affair
August 1, 2016, 4:18 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,

JoshBeckgarden

August 1, 2016

Many years ago now, I taught my son and daughter-in-law how to garden. I showed them the basics of how to raise much of their own food. I explained as many things as I could and told them that keeping the weeds out is one of the biggest, yet rewarding jobs.

My son sent me this picture yesterday of their current garden. Over their right shoulders is this years sweet corn. The corn on the other side is “Indian” corn. It is doing remarkable. The bean, potato and tomato plants look lush and green. The weeds are few and the garden truly is something to write about!

My son and his family all work together to have this outside pantry. Everyone helps weed and everyone helps pick the produce. I am proud to see that they choose to be self reliant. The independence that this brings is a wonderful feeling for all of us. My grandchildren smile when they talk about it…and so do I.



Happy Tired

3onasled

March 9, 2016

This was my view for most of the day yesterday. This was taken after our first trip through the maple woods. By the end of the day all of us were covered in mud and sweat. We ended up with 2160 gallons of the maple sap that becomes pure Ohio maple syrup. I even had to boil for a few hours last night to get all the sap to our inside tank. I shutdown at midnight.

Connie and I were back in the sugarhouse by 9:00 this morning where we boiled and canned for another seven and a half hours. It was a great day filled with steam and visitors. We are tired but happy as we continue to make very nice light syrup. The horses got the day off, but watched us from the pasture. I think they even chuckled a time or two!

We will gather again tomorrow for what may be our last time. Mother nature has decided to send us some warm unseasonable weather. The warm is nice, but we need the freezing nights to make good syrup. We will work as if the season will continue, but will do a whole bunch of clean up just in case our season is at its end.

The trees are dripping yet this afternoon, but have slowed down considerably. Yesterday, most of the bags were full or almost full. The horses pulled eight 210 gallon loads of sap using the new sled. I used three horses because it is hot, heavy work. They still have their winter coats on to boot. They were ready to be done as we brought the last load to be unloaded. I was very proud of my partners. They pulled willingly. They listened and they knew exactly where to put the sled to be unloaded. Yep, happy tired, describes us all today.

Bagful

The horses brought in 1680 gallons. We gathered 30 more gallons from trees around the sugarhouse by hand and a friend brought 450 gallons for us to boil as well. It was a good time boiling with the doors open on the sugarhouse, but man do I need a drink of water! Keeping up with a roaring fire, feeding that fire every five minutes, while running the evaporator, makes for a busy day!



Off to Work
November 4, 2015, 5:33 am
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
Down the lane we go

Down the lane we go

November 4, 2015

Why is it that on days when we have to go to work, we all move at a snails pace? I even see it in the horses. As we leave the barn and drive off towards a job, they walk very slowly. When we are pulling logs out of the woods, the trip out to the landing is fairly quick. Once we drop the logs and head back into the woods, they plod along agonizingly slow. It used to make me tense, but now older and wiser, I just enjoy the trip 😮

I too move like a slug on days that take me off the farm to my job in town. I usually jump out of bed, grab a quick bite of food and tackle the day at hand. But oh those “work” days away from the farm…. The alarm clock sounds like an argument. My food goes down slow as if I didn’t chew it. I poke around changing clothes. I practically run as I do my chores, feeding the animals on the fly. Then back at the house for a shower and change of clothes, it seems as if the clock is jumping time.

It feels as if I am always running behind. I really hate leaving here…I poke along so dang slow, a snowman could out run me. I know that I have to go, for a few more years anyway, but I will not ever like it. I now understand the horses point of view. In fact I think they snicker as they watch me drive off down the road. I will say though, they are very glad to see me when I get back home, only Cinch my dog, is happier to see me. It is a great reunion…me and my dog shaking our tails and expressing just how happy we are to be home, the horses waiting by the gate for me …or maybe its just the oats?

I’d like to write more, but I have to go…off to work.



It’s The Day For It
April 30, 2015, 2:51 pm
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , ,
All Tuckered Out

All Tuckered Out

April 30, 2015

After a late night in the oat field, I am a bit lazy today. I have done my chores and a few extra things, but I can’t seem to talk myself into any big projects. It’s a bit cool, with passing showers mixed into the day. Twice I dragged a few tools out, only to have the rain start again. I said, the heck with it and gave myself permission to just do nothing 😮

There is plenty to do and tomorrow is another day as they say. So, I will rest and let my mind wander through my thoughts. I work much better with a clear mind and a rested body. I don’t work like I once did, but I’m not used up yet!



Cooped Up
August 30, 2014, 7:44 pm
Filed under: August 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Our hens and Mr. Tom

Our hens and Mr. Tom


August 30, 2014

Being cooped up isn’t always bad. Our new hens are being penned up so they learn their new home. It is a safe place that protects them from weather and wildlife that might not be so kind to them. Very soon they will be allowed to free range. They will stay out much of the day, returning home whenever they want, but especially at night to roost.

There have been times when I was cooped up, not allowed to roam freely. One time that comes to mind is boot camp in Fort Knox Kentucky. 😮 Even that was good for me…or so my Drill Instructor said.

The kids are almost all back in school. They are cooped up during the day. They too come home to roost…at least for a little while longer. One day they will roam about freely. The hope is that they learned to make their way, but didn’t forget where the roost is located.

At work, off the farm, some days I too feel penned up. I guess it is to make being home that much better. Work provides the means to live. So, work to live…don’t live to work. Spend time at the roost with the ones you love and enjoy your time together. You can always make more “money”…but “time” is gone forever!