August 2, 2010

Hay

I once read something that essentially said we are constantly thinking of winter: during the winter we think about surviving it, and for the rest of the year we are preparing for it - or WE SHOULD BE!


I admit there are a few things on my mind right now besides winter, like how to survive the heat of summer, but it's hay season so it's time to get busy and fill the barn with hay for the winter, no matter how hot it is outside. (It hit 101ยบ the day I took these pictures.)


We feed the loose hay we cut from our hayfield, but we buy and store bales for the winter too. We've never managed to store enough of our own hay to entirely feed our livestock over the winter, but it does help to keep costs down. One year our neighbor baled our field in large round bales and it did keep our animals fed till spring. We paid him for his work, and bought a "round bale buggy" so we could move the bales into the horses' pasture. However, our neighbor has had heart problems since then and has severely downsized his cattle and hay operation.


So we've been buying hay from two different farmers, and have an order in with another friend. She had a fire in her hayfield this summer and doesn't know what kind of yield she will have when it's time to mow and bale. She said a good rain pretty soon here will help.


Some of the hay that we've purchased was picked up "in the field" as the farmer was baling. It's generally cheaper to buy it that way because it saves the farmer the work of loading the bales, transporting them to his barn, and stacking them. Getting to the field was an interesting adventure. We turned off the gravel road and went through an open gate into a field. The directions then said to follow the "trail" (two tire tracks through dashboard-high johnsongrass) along the river and through another gate, turn right and we'll see the field. Actually we never even saw the second gate and fence because the johnsongrass was so high. Once there, I drove the truck and trailer up and down the rows while dh loaded the bales. Obviously most of these photos were taken from inside the truck while I was driving.

1 comment:

  1. Buying hay in the summer is on my list. We have three goats and a llama and want to buy a few bales each payday to stock up while it's cheap. In-field would probably be a good option, too, as I've seen a few signs for that in the area.

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