Monday, July 27, 2015
Day 1 of Haying the Word is Juicy
After four shirt changes, countless hours spent turning off the PTO, dismounting to clean the sickle mower out and then getting back on to mow a whole 10 yards before having to do it all over again. The little 3 acre Alfalfa field is mowed. Kinda. Truth is I think I knocked down just as much as I cut to be honest. The weeds were so thick and so wet from all this rain it was almost impossible to cut it with a 70 some odd year old sickle mower.
The whole field can only be described in one word..... Juicy.
Yes it was that wet.
Had I cut it over a month ago when it was ready it wouldn't be such a problem but the rain and the surgery, not to mention the fact that I didn't have a baler yet, meant it had to go too long.
Here are a couple of views before cutting.
Look at all that Johnson Grass and Sourdoc hiding the Alfalfa under it. Some of that stuff had main stems as thick as my thumb and all of it drained water out when it was cut. Mostly it would jam up the blades on the mower and then bend around it clogging the mower up and then knocking down the rest of the weeds and Alfalfa until I noticed and stopped (note stopping procedure above) and cleaned the blade out.
Here are the after pictures from the same general spots.
It looks a little better in the pic than it does in real life trust me here.
Still I managed to get a lot of it cut down. Enough to rake up and try baling I guess. After I bale what I can I think I am going to run over the field with the brush hog and try and get rid of the thick stuff. With all the rain we got the Alfalfa should shoot back up and give us another cutting this year I hope.
Here's a shot of some cut stuff in a row that went pretty good for a few yards.
I tried moving out to the big field but it was even worse than the Alfalfa field. The Alfalfa field was at least cut a few months ago but the main field hasn't been cut in over a year now and it pretty much just laughed at my old sickle mower. To be honest it needs more tractor and mower blades than I have to hit it with. So I called my neighbor and I am just going to have to wait until he can swing by with his New Holland the size of my house and Hesson mower to knock that crap down. Again had I gotten to it a month or so ago like I should have, if I had had a baler by then, it might be a different story but as it stands now I don't have the equipment to handle that over grown mess.
About halfway through my first pass I misjudged the distance the sickle mower sticks out and slammed into a railroad tie I have lining the driveway edge and the Alfalfa field. I snapped the little guide ground thing at the end of the mower off with a tang loud enough I heard it over the diesel engine.
SO I improvised a field repair.
If you can't guess what that is it's the handle off a little one handed bow saw. I used hose clamps to attach it to the end of the sickle mower to keep the end off the ground as once the guide that was there broke the mower blades were just laying on the ground while the back half of the guide was acting like a little plow blade. I guess I need to remove that part and take it down and see if I can have the thing welded or maybe a new part made for it. I believe I can design a slightly better one for the guy to try and make.
So anyway day one of the great hay cutting adventure is now over. It was a marginal success since I did get some hay cut myself and can now test out the rake and baler. I also learned a lot. Like.
Keep your hay field cut or it gets positively unruly.
My 861 Diesel likes to pull to the right when I am looking at the cutting as I drive it.
Big juicy weeds suck to cut. I actually already knew that but I know it on a sickle mower now as well.
Cutting hay is a lot of work when you have to get off the tractor and clear your mower every 10 to 30 yards or so.
Now I let this stuff dry and test out the rake. Oh joy.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!