The Last of Summer’s Hay—-Thursday, September 1 , 2016

Turning-the-haySunday we ‘did’ hay.

Because we had lots of rain and hail before we could get the hay up; Terry had to ‘turn’ the hay.  Sunday Morning he raked the hay turning it over so the top will be the bottom, and the bottom will be the top and the top will dry.

Baling-with-a-swallowThen about 1:00 in the afternoon the alfalfa had turned to hay. Off Terry went to bale.

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And Boomer and went out to roll bales and pick up broken bales (there were only two) and pick up all the loose hay on the corners

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Then we started hauling in the bales.

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(See the twisted bales?)

I did have a sort of a fright…not bad, but I was very much startled.  A huge bull snake was resting under one of the bales, when I moved the bale he jumped up and slithered off and I jumped up and out of his path!  🙂 🙂

We got half the field up and then finished on Monday; after we finished we worked some more on the firewood.

We are still irrigating, the alfalfa field will be the last field we set water on then we will be done for the year.  BUT FIRST…the field has to be marked out so the water can get down the rows.  Seems like there is always something.

Now-It's-Fall

It’s cold enough we must wear jackets in the early morning and late evening when we set water.  Sure seems early for jackets, but it is what it is.

Next will be pinto bean harvest—soon…very soon.

(Terry and I are getting a tad tired right now.)

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,

Linda

New Alfalfa Field—Sunday, August 21, 2016

New-Hay-Field-1Our new field of alfalfa has grown so well Terry decided it was time to cut it.

Normally he wouldn’t cut it until next year, but the rains and the heat and warmth all contrived to help the new little plants grow sturdy and strong.

New-Hay-FieldOur yard and the house smells like fresh mowed hay.

Now we hope and pray the rain stays away until the alfalfa has turned into hay; the hay into bales, and the bales are stacked in the hay yard!

Your friend on a western Colorado farm,

Linda

Making Hay —June 8, 2014

Terry finished up  the last of the hay bales this morning…driving the tractor pulling the hay baler in around 5:00.   He went out as soon as the dew started settling down in the wee hours of early morning…I think around 2:00.  I was asleep when he left.  (It’s around 7 in the morning [now] and he’s all tucked up in bed resting.

MoneyHe started baling yesterday morning around 7,  the dew didn’t set on until then.  He finished around 9 when the sun had finally burned all the dew off the plants. He likes to bale with the dew as it keeps the little alfalfa leaves still attached to the stems.  If you don’t have the dew the baler will knock the leaves off as it picks up the dried alfalfa and smashes it together forming a bale, then you are left with just a bundle of stems.   If there is too much dew or it is baled to green the bale will mold, or worse yet heat up and combustion will occur.

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Making nice quality hay is a art.

I must brag a bit —I am married to a hay artist! 🙂

This making of good hay has always been a strong interest of his.  When Terry was 10 he was in charge of the cutting and baling of his Dad’s 80 plus acres of alfalfa.  Terry’s father farmed 160 acres and milked cows for the Clymer’s Dairy in Grand Junction, CO…I think he had somewhere around 50 head. Terry’s Dad raised all the feed–corn, hay for the cows, plus Red Clover for seed and pinto beans, maybe other crops.

By the time Terry was 12 he had a small hay making business (with the help of his Dad and his Dad’s equipment) — he made hay for his  Dad’s  Dairy, and several neighboring ranches.

I think his love of making a nice, high quality hay bales started way back there.  The example set by his Dad, his Mother’s drive to create something and to create it to perfection.

It still holds true today.

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So he creates the hay bales and then it’s the dog’s and my turn to go help. While he is loading the hay with the stack wagon….a wonderful invention that took away the ‘hay crew’ (a team of young men, usually high school age, and the farmer…and possibly the farmer’s daughter to drive the tractor.  So what you had was the tractor driver, a young man to heft and swing a 50-80 pound bale onto a moving trailer/wagon on each side of the trailer/wagon and a young man on the top of the trailer/wagon to stack the load as high as possible.  Once it was HIGH the whole load and the people headed into the stack where the farmer (usually) was waiting.  Backing up the trailer/wagon the four men started stacking the hay bales creating a huge hay stack.   By noon–the hay crew arrived around 7 in the morning–lunch was ready.  This consisted of a HUGE meal—the farmer’s wife and if she had a daughter or two at home, spent the whole morning creating a giant feast!  For instance—Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, corn bread or biscuits or homemade rolls, with some rich dessert to top everything off.  Large pitchers of ice water, or iced tea, or lemon-aid helped wash the whole thing down.  As soon as the meal was over it was back to the field.  Everyone received their paycheck after the last bale was stacked, maybe two days or so later.)

LoadingThe stack wagon simplified the whole operation.  Terry runs the stack wagon,

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He is unloading at the stack right here.

YepI run the four-wheeler.Fuzzy stays right with me.  He sees it his duty to always be ‘right with me’.

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Boomer sees it his duty to check out what is happening all over the farm. (He is that tiny black and brown and white dot clear at the end of the field.)

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(See Boomer in the brush? 🙂 )

Fuzzy and I go up and down making sure the bales are straight so Terry doesn’t have to get off and straighten the bales;  helping them slide right in and up into the stack on the wagon.

Still-helpingAfter I get done with straightening the bales, I take the loose hay missed by the baler and load it into a little cart attached to the four-wheeler…once more going around the field–forking the yellow sweet clover into the high grass at the end of the field for the deer to munch and the loose hay into my cart. As my cart fills I haul it to the last row still to be baled.  It’s hot work.

It’s important to get all the hay off because it will smother the alfalfa underneath and plug up the furrows not allowing the water to flow to the end of the rows.

My arms are strong so it doesn’t take me overly long.

Hay Stack But today is Sunday. Today we rest. Although, Terry had to bale when the dew was perfect, we will finish the work tomorrow. Today we only do what MUST be done, like irrigate. Also two of the grandchildren are coming to spend Sunday and Monday and part of Tuesday with us since their parents are going to Craig to look for houses.

You have a nice Sunday everyone…it’s always good to have a sort of day off once a week.

You Farm Friend,

Linda