With above average April rains and warm May days hay season will be upon us before we know it. Daniel has spent most of this week getting all of the equipment ready to go for when the rat race of hay week begins.
Spring hay weather usually means a few short days without rain. If the weatherman's predictions go awry or that thunder cloud settles just over our farm, you have washed, but not dry hay. Add full time jobs into the mix and you have a very stressful couple of days. The last thing that you need to worry about is equipment failures. Daniel is trying his best to change every belt, sharpen every blade and tighten every loose bolt before we start.
Last year we were very fortunate to acquire an additional field for hay. More cows means more hay. The additional 30 acres helped us get through this winter without buying any hay. It was close, but the 4 round bales that are left should get us through.
The extra field has taken much more time that we anticipated for hay processing. Last year we ended up calling in favors and hiring out much of the work on the extra field. We found that our small equipment was great for our field, but we would have pulled several all-nighters on the other field. While is still doesn't make sense for us to purchase and maintain a round baler, we do want to upgrade some of the other equipment so that we can reduce costs.
Last year Daniel sold our 3 point rake. It made me very nervous because he hadn't found exactly what he wanted to replace it with. That usually means he knows what he wants but doesn't have enough money to buy it. Over the winter we came across a small Deutz-Fahr rotary rake that is exactly what he wanted. Last night he worked on the rake to add a hay guide and tighten bolts. We have never run a rake like this before, so I am sure there will be much more adjustment and a pretty big learning curve. At least our hay field is behind the house so if the rows look horrible no one will ever see it.
One of the biggest expenses that we had to hire out last year was the cutting of the hay. Our sickle mower just couldn't get everything cut fast enough. Daniel has wanted a haybine for some time now, but it just wasn't in the budget. We went to an auction last weekend to look at a haybine, but knew that it would go for much more than we had. Somehow, we brought home a haybine. It is in much better shape than anything we have looked at in our price range. It needed a new belt, but we were going to run it and see if we could make it through the first cutting. The plan was to have a belt on hand in case it broke, but we were gambling that it would make it. The other night he found a really bad spot in the belt and decided not to risk it. Right now he is out in the garage wallering in oil and grease trying to get the belt off. I guess that is one way to learn how your equipment works. We are hoping to be able to replace the teeth in the next couple of weeks also.
Now we just need to teach Isaac how to rake while we are at work and we should be all set. Papa has always been our raker, but at 83 he has decided to pass the torch. However, the more that Isaac can do, the less that Momma has to do! I am just waiting for the day that I get to sit on the back patio with a good book, sipping my lemonade as the boys do all the work. I can dream, can't I?
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.