Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mid-Summer Farm Activity

Early morning newly mown hay
I really didn't forget to post last week, there was just not much to post about.  It was kind of rainy and dreary and I did not get any photos taken.  This week made up for it though.

We have been very busy here on the farm.  We have had a break in the rain, which was actually a good thing.  Usually this time of year we are bemoaning the lack of rain as we watch the garden dry up.  Not so this year.  Last Friday was nice and I spent it going to a flea market with my friend Tari.  She is the one with whom I have attended many fiber festivals, including the very cold Great Lakes Festival this past May in which we slept in the van.  We had a great time Friday. Perfect weather.

Saturday it rained fairly steadily most of the day.  A neighbor who has bees and started with them about the same time I did came over with 6 frames of honey and I showed her how I extract honey from one of her frames and then she did the  rest and went home planning to buy an extractor like mine.  Sunday, I took 3 more frames of honey off my hive, but haven't had time to extract it yet.


On Monday, I moved the 5 female alpacas who were in the pasture across the road from the guest house down to the garage pasture.  This will give that pasture a rest, plus Miracle, who is one of the five, is due to have a cria in September and I want her close to our house.


Then I mowed 5 of our alpaca pastures for weed control.  They look so much nicer.

Monday morning I had been over at the shelter where I volunteer taking down some fence for some major improvements we are making and I brought home enough of the old fence (which we are replacing) to re-do my chicken enclosure.  It really needed to be re-done.  I had used old recycled fencing the first time I did it 2 years ago and that fencing was in poor shape at the time.  So Monday evening, I replaced that.  It looks so much nicer and is higher than what I had previously.

Sam was watching the weather forecast all weekend for a 3 day window with no rain because hay needed to be mown.  Sunday, it got mowed.  Rain is forecast for today, Wednesday, so that meant raking and baling yesterday and getting it in before the rain.  Due to all the rain, we figured we would have a lot of hay and we were right.  We called on our neighbor, Charlie, and he and his son Harv came and helped us.  300 + 50# bales of hay is too much for 2 people, especially when you have to start picking it up while 1 person is still on the tractor baling. We loaded our big flat bed trailer 3 times as well as the truck bed.  Sam also took 2 small loads and put them up in the lofts of 2 of the 3-sided alpaca sheds.  The electric elevator is a great help and once Sam finished
baling, there were 2 of us up in the loft and 1 person loading the hay onto the elevator.  My job at this point is usually to climb up on the hay and Sam throws the bales up to me and I stack.  I keep getting higher and higher and eventually end up clear up against the rafters.  Thank goodness the bats have left the barn for the night by this time!  At least the weather was fairly cool (for August) because the heat just stays up there in the peak of the barn and the sweat just rolls.  Not for the faint of heart!  By the time we are done, my shoulders and upper back ache and my clothing is full of hay which is sticking to me.  We started loading about 4:30 and finished up around 9 pm.  A vodka tonic tasted really good!  By the way, 300 bales is approximately 7   1/2 tons.  We still have 2 more fields to do.  They will yield less however.

Here are our males this morning.  I was trying to get a picture of them with their halos created by the sun.

As for fiber, I have not had much time.  I have been working away at my wool/bamboo cardigan.  Here is how it looked last week.  The top of the photo is actually the hem.  I have gotten up to where the sleeves will be, so about 5 more inches than this photo shows.

 I really like it so far.  Those lace panels run up the sides of the back and there is also a panel on each side of the front and there will be one on each sleeve.  It is not a heavy sweater and will be great for fall over a tee-shirt.

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