Thursday, June 5, 2014

Must Be Summer, It's Hay Time

Grover actually posed very nicely for me in front of John's irises while they were in full bloom.  Handsome boy!

This past weekend was hay time.  First cutting hay, which we do not feed to the alpacas.  They eat second cutting, which is less stemmy and generally yields less hay per acre weight-wise, because it does not grow as tall.  But if you don't make first cutting hay, you do not get second cutting hay.  Since my horse is gone, we prefer to sell the first cutting and even better is if someone buys it out of the field, which  means they come with their truck and trailer and load it and haul it off without us ever having to stack it in the barn.  It's a good deal for everyone, since we sell it at a discounted price.  And this is what we did.  

Sam mowed the hay on Friday while I was at the office, so you don't get to see the big green tractor.  The hay needs to dry in the sunshine before baling.  Hay that does not get to dry enough prior to baling has a tendency to mold and is not suitable for feeding.  It can also ferment, which creates heat inside the tightly packed bales, and I understand this has been the cause of more than one barn fire.  So if any bales are not entirely dry, they need to be stored where air can get to them, not stacked tightly.    On Saturday, Sam "teds" the hay, which is a process using a machine behind that tractor that kind of stirs up and flips the hay over, allowing for more timely drying.  I don't have a photo of this either......

Then, prior to baling on Sunday, the rake goes onto the tractor and the hay is raked

into windrows, 


ready for the baler to come along and scoop it up and pack it into bales

You may notice that most of our equipment looks rather old and well-used.  The only new piece of equipment we have is that Kubota tractor, which was new 12 years or so ago.  Everything else has come from an auction.  Sam keeps it all in the best condition he can because new farm equipment is incredibly expensive.  Our baler makes square bales (which are actually more rectangular) as opposed to the huge round bales many farmers make.  We have discussed acquiring a round baler, and we may one of these days, but it is a minimum of about $3K.  Ya gotta make alotta hay to pay that sucker off!

My garden is not doing as well as I would like.  A) I have not had as much time to weed as I would like and we've had rain, so there ARE weeds, and B) I purchased seeds at a local feed store and a lot of it is simply not coming up.  I planted a whole row of Romaine lettuce and none of it came up.  I have planted 3 rows of corn and I am only finding a few lonely corn plants emerging.  I planted 5 hills of butternut squash (about 6 seeds to a hill) and I can find only 3 plants.  3.  Not 3 per hill.  3.  So I think I better go get some more seed and re-plant.  The seeds are dated for this year, so I don't know what the problem is.  They were marked as organic.  Who knows.  My beets are doing great and ready to be seriously thinned.  We have had salads from our Mesclun blend (with beet tops added in) and I have planted more of that.


On the other hand, I was delighted to find this morning that the buckwheat I sowed 9 days ago is coming up gloriously!  Hopefully this will be a nice nectar supply for the bees in just a few weeks.

I am also happy to report that the 2 crias are thriving and are a joy to watch romp around the pasture with each other.  In the photo below, the little black cria has just been spit at by Auntie Miracle for some alpaca infraction.  Kids of all species need to be taught their manners.

Sam has finished laying the tile in the guest house and it looks wonderful.  It has yet to be grouted, so I will wait and post a photo when the grouting is done.  He also installed a new side door, which was desperately needed.  I still need to get a second coat of paint on the trim, but hay making got in the way and then it rained.

Grover and I are having fun with our agility training.  I wish I had some photos to share, but I just can't take pictures while dog-handling.  My hands are busy with treats and giving direction.  Some day maybe I will get Sam to come to class with me and maybe he can get some photos.

All my knitting is still secret knitting that I don't want to post on here yet.  Soon.

Look how patiently my boys are waiting to go somewhere.  Anywhere.  This is how they always sit.  Grover has to be in the center and once we get moving he stands up and puts his front paws on the dashboard and does his best imitation of a hood ornament, or as Sam said, just like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic:  He's the king of his world!


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