Posts tagged hay

It’s Hay Time: First Cutting 2017

The weather finally cooperated so we were able to bale hay last weekend! Our first cutting yielded 220 bales.  We bought a new to us hay elevator, too.

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Winnie Enjoying Our Hay!

winnie-eating-hay

Winnie (Shetland Sheep)

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Hay Testing

A few weeks ago, The Mill offered free hay testing. In order to get more accurate results, we purchased a hay probe bale sampler; it attaches to a  cordless drill.  The probe drills into the hay bale and chews up the hay for easier testing. The sample bag (a gallon bag) is attached to keep the sample free of contamination. We tested both our first and second cutting; our hay is right on target for good nutrition for our sheep. It’s really a good feeling to know we are growing, harvesting and providing hay for our sheep.  The sheep definitely enjoy our hay!

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Hay Sampling Tools

hay-testing-in-progress

Hay Sampling in Action

Hay Sample

Hay Sample

 

 

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Second Cutting 2016

It’s been a little over two weeks since we put up our second cutting of hay.  What started out as a beautiful Wednesday afternoon to bale hay turned into a visit to the ER. With my “I can do that” attitude, I tried to move the hay elevator closer to the barn loft. The crank is a manual gear and some how my left hand got hit/caught in the crank or gear; it all happened so fast that all I remember is the excruciating pain and blood.  In the ER, I was teasing that I needed to update my tetanus shot but this is definitely not the way I wanted it to happen.  My injury is mostly to my ring finger; it is a crush injury with fracture.  I am only able to look at finger now; maybe I will look at the ER photos at a later date. Thankfully, I had on my gloves. I checked them later to see only a small cut in them; my injury would have been worse without them.

Since the chores need to go on, my sweet husband finished baling and hauling the hay by himself.  I watched from the sidelines. Our second cutting yielded 200 bales.

Next cutting, I promise to “respect the hay elevator” as my  husband is always telling me…..

 

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Our Barn: Snap Shots

The barn is almost done but I wanted to share a few snap shots of the process. It’s the future home to farm equipment that now decorates our property.

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Hay Lessons: Addendum

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!

Hay Bales

Hay Bales

Hay Bales: Another View

Hay Bales: Another View

 

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Hay Lessons

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.

First Bale

First Bale

Manual Baler

Manual Baler

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