Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Haying and raining

Yesterday as we headed out to buck some hay, Andrew and Daniel
demonstrated their wheel walking expertise.

Obviously Tyler is the only one paying attention to me. :)
The boys are standing on a trailer that is specifically for bucking hay.
You can see a hay hook in Tyler's hands. That makes the job infinitely easier!

And apparently we're not very good hay farmers. We were super busy last week and thought we had all this week to buck hay. Someone at some point had looked at the weather forecast and it said that it was supposed to be sunny all week. Well, the lesson is, never trust the weather in Oregon. So it rained on about half of our hay bales.

Daniel and Jacob move the bales around on the trailer as
Tyler and Andrew buck the hay onto it.
I think Daniel is already standing on a couple of layers.

We've hardly ever hayed on such a large scale, so usually it hasn't been a big deal, but this year we had three pastures to hay since our sheep herd is so small. Which means we ended up with just shy of 20 tons of hay. That's a lot!

Our neighbor Martin (who bought 7 tons and bucked it himself single handedly!) has been kind enough to give us advice, so it doesn't sound like the bales are ruined.
They just won't work for horses, but cows, sheep and goats are fine. We did get some bales bucked last night, but still, about 9 tons were left in the field.

And I get to drive the tractor!
I just have to drive slow enough so that Andrew and Tyler can walk along it and buck the hay onto the trailer.
I'm so spoiled.

So what do you do with hay bales that have been rained upon? Well, I didn't get a picture but you need to "tripod" them. Basically you just match up pairs or threesomes and stand them up in a tripod (3 bales) or an upside down V (2 bales). This allows them to dry out better.

So we've learned the following lessons.

1. Coordinate with the hay-er so you know exactly when he's going to bale (it's best to buck them as soon as possible!) and then don't plan anything that week. ;)
2. Stay on top of the weather forecast. Just because it's July and sunny and 80 doesn't mean it won't rain tomorrow.
3. Have neighbors that want to buck their own hay. Saves you tons of effort!
4. Consider haying not quite so many fields!

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