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.
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.
The tractor and spreader get coated with the lime as it is applied to the hayfields. The powder sticks to every surface and builds up in every crevice and cranny.
This spreader is one of those pieces of equipment that has a long history. It had been used on my childhood homeplace by my dad for countless years before we acquired it over 40 years ago.
The power washer is used to blast the residue from the equipment. It works best to break up the cleaning into different days. One day to breakup the larger, cement-like, build ups while giving the tractor and spreader a good wet down to soak and soften the remainder of the residue. The second day to go over all the spots again and clean off everything is usually enough.
We had a good rain shower roll in as we were finishing on the first day to assist with the task of wetting down all the surfaces.
With this job and cleanup complete, the spreader will air dry in the barn several days before applying a thin layer of oil over the entire piece of equipment to protect it from rusting until it is needed again next year.
We had just barely finished with hay season when the logging equipment started to show up.
First to arrive was this feller/processor. It is a handy piece of equipment that not only cuts some of the smaller timber, it also takes the limbs off and cuts the pieces into logical lengths.
Right after the feller/processor, was the fire fighting tank. We are now officially in fire season and our tractor with a small tank on the back is not enough for regulations.
This fire tank will be hauled up the new logging road right to the top of the hill near where the feller/processor will be working.
It is with a big sigh of relief to watch the last load of hay being removed from the field and headed for the barn.
Now comes the real work.
Each piece of equipment that was taken into the field to produce the hay now needs to be moved back to the storage barn and cleaned up before being stowed away until next year. Continue reading
A few posts back I had made a statement about how we try to keep the farm as neat and tidy as possible by cleaning up and storing everything from hand tools to heavy equipment to recycling. I like to think we have a well kept place, but many times I am wrong. Continue reading
The John Deere Gator is the most used piece of equipment on the farm. It is transport from one side of the river to the other during twice daily feedings, we haul hay, fencing, dogs, cats, calves and people to every corner of the place. It goes up hill and down, around the river, through the woods and up the road.
During this cold snap we have moved out the car and moved the Gator into the garage. Sitting inside the shop does not offer enough protection from the elements and the moisture that dropped off the undercarriage kept causing the Gator to freeze itself to the ground.
It’s ok that my garage smells like a barn for a while, as long as our valuable transport can stay running.
Our brief interlude of wet weather has now broken into a weather pattern that looks like it will hold clear, dry and warm for the next week or so. That means we are back to making hay.
Mike has mowed the back half of the first field. Today we will move in a fluffer, it is a 4-barrel egg beater contraption that is pulled behind a tractor and run by the PTO drive. The fluffer picks up 2 hay rows at a time and whisks it into mixed, puffy miss-mashed grass that no longer stays in neat rows. The fluffed grass allows for air flow and the whole field dries at a more even rate than just leaving it to dry how it fell.
A rake will be the next piece of equipment in the field. The rake will take the wildly strewn spears of grass and retrain them back into neat rows again for a little more drying before we move in with the baler to compress the dry grass into finished hay.
Our 2 tractors will be busy the next week switching from one piece of equipment to another depending on what the field needs next.