Monday, July 7, 2014
Tractor Time - Raking Hay Small Hold Addition
It started off what I thought was gonna be a fairly easy day of it. I had to do a little bit of tilling, a little mowing, get my truck out of the shop and maybe put my little Nuc of bees into a full sized hive. My plan was to get it all done before 10 or 11 o'clock and then fool around inside the rest of the day.
I put a pot of beans on to simmer with a huge hunk of ham ready to go in this afternoon and then my Mother called and asked if I could rake the Alfalfa field so they could bale it up this evening.
We discussed putting this cutting into small square bales this time around but the Alfalfa has not over taken the Clover and other grass/weeds enough yet so we are just going to round bale it. The girl down the road was all ready to help me stack those square bales but since I didn't need her I sent her home.
As you can see she was rather put out by the rejection :)
It was then time to put the little Ford into Rake mode.
The biggest issue I have in trying to turn back time and use a sixty year old small tractor as much as possible around here is finding implements that fit it's 20 HP engine. Luckily rakes are not an issue, we have a few laying around down at the parents place including this 50 year old John Deere model that fits my little Ford like a glove.
I then commenced to raking....
Here's the bottom (Eastern) half of the Alfalfa field all raked up and ready for the round baler. I am betting we will get three or maybe four round bales off the entire field. I know that doesn't sound like much but hopefully by the next cutting we will switch to square bales of straight Alfalfa for the Sheep when they are expecting and nursing. If the Alfalfa takes over like it is suppose to this will save us some serious cash and hauling of hay during Lambing season next year.
As it stands right now though it's just gonna be a couple round bales for the general Winter feeding added to all the other bales we have and will get over the course of the Summer.
After the raking was done I had to put the little Ford back into Brush Hog mode once again.
I swear I spent more time changing out the implements than I did raking the hay. These old Ford tractors with their non-independent PTO drives, no hydraulics or power steering can sometimes be a real pain to get situated just right for the 3 point hook ups. One reason I try and keep the tractor in whatever mode I expect to need next because often as I pointed out it takes me longer to switch back and forth than it does doing the job itself.
After they get the rows I raked up baled I need to hit along the edges and a couple of trouble spots with the brush hog to cut down some of the weeds a bit. As thick as the Alfalfa was in there it should spring ahead and begin crowding out the other vegetation now. As it was we let it go way too long and the mower knocked a lot of the Alfalfa down instead of cutting it.
Keep Prepping Everyone and tell the neighbor girl not to take it personally.