Friday, July 13, 2012

Done!

We finished putting in the rest of the first cutting hay today.  We had planned on doing it in two days because there was a ton of hay left, at least a 1000 bales.  However, the dammed weather forecast changed and that 20% chance of showers/thunder storms could mean the difference between a barn full of beautiful hay and complete catastrophe.  We worked like crazy and put in about 600 regular square bales, unloading the last truck in the dark.  We had the neighboring farmer round bale the rest.  A little different from the original plan, but that's farming.  Plans never last.  Adaptability is the only way to survive. 

The really good part is that we are DONE.  Hallelujah, Thank the Lord, Amen, we are DONE with the hardest part of haying for this year.  Everybody gets to eat well this winter.  Knowing that the barn is full of good hay is one of the most satisfying things there is.  Oh, we'll still put in second cutting (if we actually get some rain now that is.  If we don't get rain, we may really be done for the year), but second cutting is relatively easy.  The really hard part is done.

A huge THANK YOU  here to our wonderful hay crew.  A group of very good friends who take time out of their own very busy lives to help fill the barn.  We couldn't have done it without you.  All of these guys will be very grateful come winter...










12 comments:

  1. Congratulatons on getting all the hay in. Beautiful horses, love the paints.

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  2. I miss my days of haying. Hard work but fun with a good crew. Say, who's that horse, third pic down? I don't you've introduced him or her yet...

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    1. I kinda cheated with this picture as it is a few years old. I was very tired when I wrote this and I posted the first decent pictures I found in my archives of the cows and the farm. I didn't have any time for picture taking while we were making hay.

      The horse (Andy) who sneaked in belonged to a young girl that I gave lessons to for several years. Her horse lived with me and spent some time on my friend's farm while I was building my house. As inevitably happens, my barn-kid grew up and went off to college. Andy went out to western NY to live with some very good friends of mine. They teach riding and horsemanship lessons to an army of small children and he is a very beloved lesson pony now.

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  3. What a wonderful feeling that is! If I may ask, Why is the first cutting so much harder? As you can tell, I don't do haying, I buy from someone else that does. :)

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    1. First cutting is hard for several reasons, but mainly, it is the sheer volume of hay and the volatility of the weather when first cutting is ready. The hay right now is incredibly thick and had we square baled all of it there would easily have been 1000 bales. Each bale weighs about 40 pounds and has to be picked up up out of the field, loaded on a truck, unloaded at the barn and stacked in the hay mow. The temps have been in the 90's making the work that much harder. If the hay gets rained on (even a tiny amount) once it is ready to bale, it is ruined.

      Second cutting is easier because the same amount of land will produce only a couple of hundred bales rather than a 1000. The weather is more stable later in the year and a little easier to predict. Also, the second cutting is used as a supplemental feed rather then the main feed source. It is nice to have, but no one will starve without it. If the first cutting gets wrecked, we won't have enough feed to get everybody through the winter. That means coming up with money to buy feed or selling animals. Getting the first cutting in can mean the difference between staying in business or losing the farm.

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  4. Are all those animals yours? Wow, for a single-hand farm, that seems like a lot. You must be superwoman...and a job too?

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    1. The cows, sheep and chickens belong to a friend. We have worked together on her farm for many years raising grass-fed beef and lamb. My animals lived there for a few years as well prior to me building a house. I just have my horses and donkeys here on my place. We work together to make hay for all the animals.

      There is a little more info here:

      http://thedancingdonkey.blogspot.com/2012/03/ill-make-it-up-to-you.html

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    2. thanks for the info. You and 7msn are my first go-tos in the morning!!

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  5. Congratulations!(Can you even move a muscle today?)
    In the last picture, Ramsey looks like he's about to "purr".

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  6. I tried once in England it was so much fun and hard. Good it's done now.
    Love this calfs,and the light on photos.

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  7. TheLittleCowgirlStuckInTheCityJuly 15, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    That is a beautiful heard, are they herford mixes?

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    1. The cows are all a hodge-podge mix of hereford, angus, charlois crosses and a bit of dairy breeds thrown in. We don't pay too much attention to breed so long as they are good mothers, good grazers and good producers. It works well and provides lots of genetic diveristy.

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