Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Making Hay in the Sunshine

Grover is practicing his jumping over the windrows of raked hay while Rowdy watches.

Hay mowed.  Note the blue sky and light clouds indicating low humidity.
 As I was wring my last post, Sam was mowing our hayfield in preparation for baling.  It was not real hot, but the humidity was low, which along with sunshine, dries the hay in a timely manner.  We do hay twice a year, first cutting and second cutting.  First cutting is usually the end of May or beginning of June.  It all depends on the weather.  A minimum of 3 days without rain in the forecast are necessary for the hay to dry.  Hay that is baled damp will mold and be potentially harmful to livestock that consume it.  Either that or so unappealing to the animals that it will go to waste. First cutting hay is usually a higher yield, but is stemmier and less nutritious and less palatable to some livestock, such as alpacas.  Second cutting, which is usually done in the heat of August, is not as tall and stemmy and is softer, being more blades of the grass than stalks.  We have always "square-baled" the second cutting to feed to the alpacas, as that is what they prefer, and first cutting is round-baled and fed to cattle (which we do  not have so we plan to sell it).  Square baling is much more labor intense since each bale must be removed from the field and stored inside.  Ours goes up into the lofts of the barn.  Round bales can be moved only with a "bale spear" on a tractor and can be stored outside.

This is only the second time Sam has done round bales and I think this year was much more successful for him.  These are some big bales, about 6' in diameter.  I forgot to ask him how many he got.


A good agility dog can scale the side of a 6' round bale with ease.

Speaking of which, Grover has been on the injured list for the past week.  He was favoring his right hind leg quite a bit, so we went in for Xrays and the joints look fine, so a muscle pull or strain in the hip area was diagnosed.  He has been on leash exercise only and on an anti-inflamatory and we skipped agility class last week.  Tonight we will go to class and hope that he shows no more signs of lameness.  If he does, we will have to pull out of the 3 days of agility we are entered in this coming weekend and probably go see another vet.   Fingers are crossed he will be fine...  

It has gotten very hot this week after almost a week of below average temperatures.  I noticed this morning that the tomato and basil plants in the garden seem to be shooting up, finally.  They do like the heat. The garden is doing well.  And it will be doing better now with the warmer temps.  I use no herbicides or insecticides on my garden.  I rake and pull weeds by hand or sometimes use a little Mantis tiller, so I will always have weeds in my garden.  It never looks as nice as many gardens I see, but I don't like the idea of Round-Upping my food.

The chickens have a volunteer sunflower in their yard.  I was careful to weed-eat around it the other day.  It is just to the right of the coop and growing very fast.


 I have one very strong beehive from the swarm or swarms we caught in the horse barn a few weeks back.  I have determined that the bees that were in a bee box in the barn are indeed queenless.  Whether they were a separate swarm that lost their queen, or part of the big swarm we scooped off the ceiling, I don't know.  I put their box next to this one, and maybe some of them integrated into this colony.  However, this colony is doing very well, the queen is laying well, and I am feeding them a quart of sugar water every day.  I put a third box on  for them to grow into and will need to check their progress again next week.  I have them across the road from the horse barn where it is very easy to keep an eye on them and change out jars every morning.  

My daily exercise has been kind of curtailed due to Grover being sidelined for a week.  We have taken only short walks with few hills.  Rowdy is still walking with us on these, but it seems he lags further and further behind all the time.  It is so hard to see him like this at only 12.  There are occasions where the "old" Rowdy comes out and these occasions usually involve water and a stick.  These times make me so happy because I know he is still happy despite the arthritis in his legs.
On Saturday, Sam and I worked on staining the exterior siding on my studio.  It came out darker than I thought it would be and we got low on stain, so the sprayer would no longer work, so we are not quite finished.  I am still getting used to the new color.  I'm not sure I like it a lot, but it is what it is.  Now I feel I need to paint the window frames and the door once I get the rest of the staining done.

 On the inside, however, it is starting to have that "lived in" feel.  I put a new warp on the loom over this past weekend and am weaving some waffle weave towels for myself.  I feel like maybe I have a definite color pallette.  I hope to get some cubical shelving from Ikea this weekend and paint a piece of pegboard to attach to the wall to the left of the window on the yellow wall.  There is no A/C out there, so I may need to do my weaving in the early mornings in the summer instead of in the evenings like I usually do.

 On my big loom here at the office I have some fabric that will become throw pillows.  I think it is coming along very nicely.

I have been continuing to knit on the Mystery Wrap I started about a month ago.  It is almost finished and has gotten very large and unwieldy so I will wait to photograph it when it is finished, which should be this week.  But I do have a busy weekend planned, so it may take a little longer.  It is really colorful and fun.  There is a photo of it in progress in my last post.

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