I finally caught a glimpse of the elusive blooming cotton including the candle stage.
Last night as I watering the cotton plants, I noticed the Nankeen cotton had a bloom. It very quietly bloomed during the day. I was a sad to have missed it but happy to see progress. Hopefully, I will catch the next bloom in its full glory!
It’s been a while since I posted about our cotton plants. Unfortunately, only one plant from our first batch survived so we planted more seeds. Right now, we have two cotton plants, one green and one brown that will probably produce some cotton. We have cotton squares on the Nankeen brown cotton and Erlene’s green cotton is starting to form little squares. The other plants will hopefully produce some lovely flowers. Next year, we will try again.
One of the best aspects of living in the country is having friendly neighbors who are willing to share their expertise and lend a helping hand, literally. Since we could not cut and bale the remaining hay, our neighboring farmer cut and baled the hay. Our field yielded 15 round bales @ 600 pounds each; this is approximately 250 square bales. That’s impressive to us for our first harvest!
Last weekend, we learned a valuable lesson about hay. Despite our best efforts to grow and harvest our own hay, we had to admit defeat. It started when the quick hitch would not work with our brand new sickle mower and the hydraulic hose sprung a leak. After several trips to Tractor Supply, True Value and finally John Deere, we had the right valve. Everything was working! Eureka! We did it! Then after only four passes, the hydraulic hose started to leak again and the weight of the sickle mower was literally making our little Kubota BX 23 unstable. Even though we are novices, we did our research. The sickle mower was suppose to be able to work with our tractor; maybe it works best on flat property. Our property is hilly. This was a sad moment for us. The next day we went out and turned our four rows of hay with his/hers pitchforks. Many people stopped to stare. We found this interesting sine this is how farmers turned their hay long before machinery. By the third day, the hay was dry enough to bale. How did we bale the hay? We baled the hay by hand using a manual baler. My beloved spent many hours researching and building the manual baler. Originally, we had high hopes of baling all the hay by hand. Alas, we put up 20 bales using our manual baler.
Our lesson: It’s okay to admit defeat when you gain a better understanding and appreciation for the task at hand. And in the end, there is still personal satisfication in knowing we put up 20 bales of our own hay by hand. Now, we realize we could not have baled all the hay by hand. Our next step, is to look for a bigger tractor that can handle our sickle mower, wheel rake and find a baler, too.
It was a good learning experience and we are actually looking forward to the second cutting.