Alayne and I spent the past five days haying, and we got the last of it put up yesterday evening. We’ve been out of the office that entire time, which is one reason I didn’t do a blog post yesterday. Alayne took the photo above of me baling on Sunday. These fields haven’t been hayed in decades, so they aren’t in the best shape and we are in the process of restoring them. But they are still producing hay, and with enough stewardship over the next few years, the amount of hay we can take off should go up a lot.
Long-time blog readers may remember we learned to hay initially with our two draft horses, Bill and Bob, back in 2012. We realized after a year of using them in farming tasks that we just didn’t have the time to work with them properly; for one thing, keeping them in shape on “off days” took more time than we could spare. We found a terrific home for them with a wonderful couple who own a maple sugar farm in Vermont. They were looking for a pair of sweet, gentle and well trained draft horses to take customers on wagon and sleigh rides through the maple woods. They keep their horses for life and treat them as pets, so we didn’t have to worry about what would happen to Bill and Bob after they were fully retired. (This couple even built a new barn just for the two boys!)
We went back to depending on tractors … which was a good thing, because we had more work than ever!
The following photo is of Alayne raking the hay in another field yesterday — I had already tedded it, which means scattering and turning over the mowed grass so it can dry better. The next step uses the rake, which is an implement that picks the scattered hay up off the ground and piles it into windrows:
Here’s another view of her raking the same field:
It’s those windrows that the baler scoops up and forms into hay bales.
And here’s my bride again, this time on Sunday evening, stacking bales on the trailer:
That’s the same field you see in the first photo at the top of this post. My job was to pick up the bales and carry them over to the trailer, where Alayne stacked them for the trip back to the hay barn. Then it was time to unload the bales and stack them all over again!
The second round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway. You can vote every day at http://www.shelterchallenge.com/. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We’ve won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
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Thanks for your votes!