Saturday, August 20, 2016
Hayfield Follies 2016
Boy this has been the most uncooperative, wettest, most miserable Summers I can ever remember in all the years I been attempting this homesteading/sustaining thing. I even thought last year was bad but at least the rains stopped by July last year. 2012 was horrible because of the drought but the upside to that was I had plenty of time to get stuff done.
If there is one bright spot to these almost daily rains this year though it would be that it's been great for the bees at least.
Anyway back on topic. The hay field. If you remember where I left you I had managed to cut the poor overgrown thing with the brush hog but suspected I had knocked more down than actually cut. Well more on that in a bit but my next move was to rake the wet mess over on Thursday afternoon. Well Thursday I was sent to Iowa and not really given a choice in the matter from work. So I had to rake the cut stuff over this morning then race the storm clouds to get it baled.
Well I got it baled and yes there was a lot of uncut grass mixed in there. It jammed the baler up twice. Thanks to the Good Lord and the inventor of the over riding clutch the jamming was not much of an issue but at one point the feeder with the teeth threw it's belt which required me to do some field repairs.
Nevertheless I got the whole mess baled before the rains hit. Although I was in the middle of putting the bales on the wagon when it did rain on me.
I put out 46 bales and could have done 60+ if I had a mower worth a shit but I was so concerned about the wetness of the hay I wasn't going to stack em in the barn for fear of combustion so I stacked em loosely on pallets and put a tarp over them to keep em out of the rain. As you can see I even propped the tarp up to add some airflow.
After dinner I checked the bales to see how hot they were and let me tell you they were burning up. I decided then to open up five or six of the least hot bales and feed em to the sheep outright and then break the stack and set the bales about just in case one does go up in flames.
The sheep loved the fresh hay after I broke the bales open and let em cool off a bit. They devoured every bit of it. The rest of this cutting is pretty much a write off though as far as foodstuff. We have another big storm coming in as I type this and the bales are going to get soaked. No way around it. If they don't burn themselves up they will be a moldy mess within a day or two in this humidity and heat and if I keep em covered they are liable to explode.
It ain't a total loss though as I place about 15 or 20 bales of hay around the house and the bee hives each Winter so I will just use these bales for that this year. The chickens have pretty much destroyed what was left of the bales I had around the house from Last Winter anyway.
It would have been much better if I could have let this hay dry another day or two but it just wasn't in the cards this year. Still this is my fifth cutting since I started my baling operation the first one I have lost so I am not complaining. It happens. I learned a bit more about my old baler, did some field repairs and have a better handle on just how far I can push the old girl too.
Now if I can just find the time to finish the restoration job on the diesel tractor. The front part is starting to look pretty good but the main chassis and back fenders are still ugly.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!