Friday, July 2, 2010

Vertically Challenged

This past week has been filled with cutting, raking, baling, and stacking hay.
"Make hay while the sun shines", as the old saying goes. Since it HAD been raining just about every day for weeks prior to this, everyone was getting antsy about getting some winter food for the livestock in the barn.

This was the first year we used any fertilizer on our native prairie grass. We also experimented with about an acre by spraying a water/milk mixture on it to see if it made a difference.

Our yield more then doubled, and the part we used milk on had an even greater raise in production. In addition to production, 95% of the hay is a wonderful, thin stemmed variety, that the animals love - it's not course or stemmy like a Brome or alfalfa. In addition, we had broadcast some Red Clover around the field this spring. Not TONS of it, but enough to start a good stand.

It wasn't all without difficulties, however - I made about 5 rounds of the field on Monday, when the Haybine quit working. It was a simple fix - but it effectively killed any chance of continuing mowing that day. The main belt that drives the reel decided that it had lived long enough, and gave up the ghost. The man I bought the mower from said it was the original belt that came with the machine when he bought it new in the 1970's.

Tuesday, I finished cutting, so it was fairly un-eventful. Raking on Wednesday, was a different story. I got about 3/4 done when the rake stopped turning. I couldn't afford to waste another day, so I baled it the way it was. I left some in the field due to not being able to finish raking, but that's the way it had to be.

After baling, Deb came out and threw hay bales like an old farm hand, and we got them into the barn. We ALMOST made it done before dark, but had to leave a few in the field overnight. It didn't take very long to get them all cleaned up Thursday morning.

When we stacked it in the barn, the bales reached all of the way out to the edge of a window I had open for airflow. Not thinking anything of it I stacked it right up along side the frame.

THAT'S when I started to hear THEM....

It started out as low, rubbing sounds on the wall of the barn, then escalated into thumps on the tin. It took a bit, but I finally figured out what was causing the commotion -


Daisy and Mabel had followed their noses and found the fresh hay. Mabel could actually stand on her tip-hooves, then STRETCH, and snag a small bite, but Daisy was left being tortured by the aroma.

If only Daisy were about 6" taller, then she, too, could "grab and go".

It's just that longing in her eyes that *almost* makes you feel sorry for her....almost.

OH, If ONLY....

Oh well, now that the hay is in for this round, we let her and Mabel out onto the yard and hayfield to clean up and fertilize.

Trouble is -

They won't want to come back in for supper.

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