Our elder tractor, the one that we have used a lot over the last 30 plus years is going strong. This rig is doing many tasks this hay season.
We switch from mower, to fluffer, to rake, to baler sometimes several times throughout the day.
After this hay season is over, Old Reliable is going to get a spa day. A complete cleaning, lube and a check of all belts and fluids is on tap, this hard working rig will be in need of a little TLC for all the extra work.
It’s always a bad sign when you are filling the fluid levels on a vehicle and the ground gets saturated as fast as you are pouring.
The water pump went out in the little tractor. This is the tractor that we use a lot during hay season. It is powerful enough to run the baler, nimble enough to pull the rake, and comfortable to drive the fluffer.
Repairs during the middle of hay season are always a bother, first parts need to be ordered. Then once the parts come into the dealership a trip into town is needed, before the repair can even be started which takes valuable time away from the business of making hay.
In the meantime, we are limping along with one tractor. It much more work to switch equipment for each task, and it takes longer because only one job can be done at a time rather than having one tractor fluffing while another rakes.
On a working farm, as with life in general, jobs and tasks and plans have to be adjusted to the ‘but first’ scenario.
- The barn needs to be cleaned, but first the tractor needs to be fixed.
- A load of logs needs to be hauled from the landing, but first the haul road has to be smoothed before the loader can get in.
- I would like to go shopping for something other than leftovers for dinner, but first I have to get gas since I forgot the last time I was in town.
- The laundry needs to be washed, but first I have to empty the dryer from the load I did a couple of days ago.
I’m sure you get the idea. Continue reading
Mike made good use of the tiller that is attached to the John Deere tractor to work up the main part of the garden.
To the left is lawn, to the right is the garden space with cover crop and weeds (mostly weeds) growing after the unimaginably wet winter and the hard crust of compacted earth. By using the tractor to work the ground, the task to finish with my small rototiller takes many hours out of my hands.
There is still a danger of frost in our area for a while yet, so planting this space is still a ways off. But it makes me very happy to see the weeds turned over and the ground getting ready to be planted again.
There are many rules associated with farm equipment. Safety rules are important and I do not condone using equipment of any kind in an unsafe manner.
This time of the year, the rotary mower is attached to the back of the little tractor to add stability and weight when moving loads around. The surface of the mower is called a deck.
Please do not turn me in as a rebel by telling the John Deere company, but when just being used as stability, the deck of the rotary mower is a dandy spot for me to sit and for the dog to travel as we haul stuff with the bucket or pallet teeth of the front-load tractor. It is like a built-in storage for hauling me and the dogs around.
You can see my boot on the right and Jackson on the left.
Jackson loves riding and seems to enjoy being bounced around as we go over the bridge or scoop out the barns.
Just as a reminder, this is our little secret, no need to go around telling stories…
Now that the last batch of calves has been weaned and moved on from being in the show barn, cleaning time kicked into high gear.
Mike drove the scoop tractor load after load to clean the walking area, dumping the manure into the honey wagon.
Four loads full of manure needed to be spread out on the hay fields this day of cleaning.
Once the barn was cleaned, a thin layer of fresh wood chips was spread down on the concrete with a scattering of organic lime to control odor and balance the ph level. The lime also assists the manure to break down quicker once it is spread out onto the hay fields.
Jackson, the wild and crazy, possibly OCD farm dog was in trouble again and was sent to LDP (Little Doggie Prison). His crime, sneaking out to the barn and eating the cat food. His punishment, tethered at his dog house while his brother, Butler, got to ride on the tractor to help feed the cows.
The tractor happens to have the rotary mower hooked to the power-take-off on the back end. The platform of the mower is the perfect spot for the dogs to ride when we take the tractor over the bridge or out into the fields. Usually both dogs are enjoying the ride.
Today it is just Butler and I sitting on the mower deck as Mike does the driving.
Butler knows when his brother is in time-out, he is in charge of the show.
He is very happy to be top dog on this day.