First Wagon Load Of Hay Disappointing

Stack of hay that was wobbly fell over in barnAll the cleaning and prep work to get the barn ready for the loads of hay to be stacked in neat rows went to heck as the very first stack of hay shifted as it was plopped into place.

The placement of the stacks that are next to the manger need to be far enough away so the bigger cows cannot reach their long necks in to tug bits of hay out of the stack. There have been many occasions where beautiful stacks were toppled during the fall and winter when a cow could work enough spears of hay out of the stacked bales to weaken the stack and topple the pile. Who needs wooden blocks when there is a game of Cow Jenga going on in the barn? Continue reading

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Making The Hay Is The Easy Part

If you are thinking of a farm that is spread out over a flat valley with acres and acres making up a single field, you would not be thinking of my farm. On my farm, one would be hard pressed to find any flat ground larger than a few feet across. There are no square corners or straight fence lines that aren’t curved around swampy areas, slides and meandering river banks. And the county road bi-sects the farm. Our fields are small tucked-in spots around the river and it takes a lot of time to move each piece of equipment as they are needed into the field.

Moving hay equipment up a dirt road through forest.There is always a slow motion parade of equipment as we move from one field to the next.

Mike has just taken this piece of equipment up to the far hay field after driving up the county road. He has to follow the path through the forest and across the old log landing by the railroad grade before getting to the hay field. Once he is done with this piece of equipment it will need to be moved out of the hayfield to make room for the rake to be brought in to form the dried hay into windrows for the baler.

View From the Tractor

I have to give a super amount of credit to my family who put up with all the goofiness that I add to their lives. Especially when it comes to harvest time. It doesn’t matter if it is in the hayfield, in the woods, out in the garden, in the barns or in the kitchen, my family likes things to run smoothly and methodically. I come in with a loosey-goosey, carefree attitude and demeanor and all those ramrod straight lines become verrrry blurry. Continue reading

First Hay Field

Tractor making bales in hayfield.Mike mowed the grass down forĀ  the first hay field. We waited a day then used a fluffer (think of a tow-behind whirly gig contraption like four egg beaters whipping the drying grass and scattering it scattered to and fro). Then waited another day to start raking the fluffy, dry grass into wind rows so the baler can make tied bales about 60 to 70 pounds in weight. Continue reading

Time To Move Out Of The Way

Keeping a passel of cats around works for farm management. The feral barn cats are needed to control rodents that would just love to nest in our hay bales that are stacked so nice and neat and tidy. The cats are pretty wild, a couple of them allow me to pet them or they will nuzzle my leg if I sit down too long, but mostly they are just on barn duty.

black catThe number of cats vary since we seem to lose them to the elements easily out here. But currently we have Peg-leg who we believe has a new batch of kittens hidden somewhere underneath the shop, Striped Tom, White Tom, Fuzzy Wuzzy (female) and three black pint sized cats. One of the black cats had her kittens about a week ago. I found them as I was moving the old hay out of the way and cleaning the barn for this years supply to be brought in. Continue reading

Garden Producing

The garden produced many meals of spring greens, radishes and green onions and delicious rhubarb for pies and cakes over the last month. Now it is starting to produce a greater variety with larger quantities.

The chive plant was about to go to seed so I chopped the whole plant off about 2 inches above ground level, removed all the stems that had begun to develop the beginnings of seed heads, and snipped the rest into tiny pieces. Left overnight in the dehydrator at the lowest settling dried them out nicely and I will have enough chives for recipes throughout the winter. Continue reading

Everybody Gets A Chance To Practice

The new tractor is going on 11 months old now and Mike has been the only one to drive it so far. That seems like a long time with a new rig without at least one other person learning about it, but the year has flown by with projects, the huge logging cleanup and inevitable planting, winter downtime (not for me but for many of the pieces of equipment because of mud, muck or snow), the new firewood bundling job, and the list goes on. The tractor was Mike’s to work or play as much as he wanted but the time has come for some learning to go on so that hay season runs smoothly. Continue reading