With the last of the hay fields completed and every last bale has been put into the barns and stacked for feeding during the late fall and winter months,
A visitor to the farm (a city person who had never seen working property before) took one look at the barn full of equipment and stated that farmers have the coolest toys. I try to keep that thought in mind while we use high pressure air to dislodge all the dry accumulation. Continue reading
Three barns are needed to store hay and equipment. The hay storage in this barn is beginning to add up with five stacker loads so far. All this undercover area is a prime spot for storage and we have to use it wisely. By the end of hay season this middle section of the barn should hold enough hay to feed the main herd through the winter, the bale wagon, the logging Caterpillar, ten half-cord cribs of firewood, the wood splitter and the Gator.
For now, the good weather held for us to get about halfway completed with our hay season. With threats of several days of showers and rain, we are holding off mowing down any more grass until we have a good stretch of warm, dry weather.
The second half of our hay season needs extra drying time once mowed because these fields are enclosed by trees that line the meandering river. The shade from the trees keep these fields damper than the open fields and they tend to have early morning fog that hangs around longer that the bigger fields. Seems like a good time to take a break from hay for a few days.
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