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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Whew! First Cutting is Done!!

Yep, I'm blogging's either all or none folks. I've come to the realization that it's just going to be this way in the summers 'round here! So, bear with me ;~)

But, what a great feeling it is to have 1st cutting done...1 down...only 2 more to go!

This is how we do our haying. We do all the irrigation, but we hire a contract farmer to cut, rake, and bale for us. There is no way that we could afford to buy the equipment for only 45 acres of hay. We pay the contractor by the ton. It works out pretty well, and the job seems to get done.

With all the spring rain, cutting got set back almost two weeks. So while we were up having fun on our wild horse adventure, the contractor came and cut the alfalfa. When we got back, we had this beautiful sight:

Lovely rows of thick, raked alfalfa...just waiting to be baled.

Then the stress begins. The weather forecast is for hot, with chances of thunderstorms all week. The contractor was still on another field while ours sat...for what seemed like forever. We got lucky and a huge thunderstorm missed us by 1/4 of a mile!! We didn't get a drop of rain, and it actually left puddles. So, there was a lot of water in that one.

Finally, we wake at 1:30 AM to the sound of a tractor and baler on Friday morning. He got our big field baled, but as the sun came up, the moisture set in and it was too damp to finish the small field.

You can see the light green from where the alfalfa
had been sitting for a few days.
It'll darken up in no time.

Then we weren't so lucky with the next thunderstorm. We got a pretty good soaking on Friday afternoon. So, needless to say, baling and stacking were out of the question til it dried out.

Saturday was my cutting show down at Roaring Springs (Yes! Another post in the waiting!). It was a really hot day, so when we got back around 3:30 in the afternoon the bales had dried off and were ready to stack. The contractor had dropped off his old semi-truck for us to use, and I got my first lesson from My Man (ex-truck driver) on driving a semi.

Yep, Cindy Sue got to ride shotgun! You should
see her bounce in the air-ride seat!

We got the big field stacked...we were out there until 9:30 PM...but we got it done! Then Sunday morning, the contractor came and finished baling the small field and said it could be stacked that afternoon after it sat for a few hours.

The bales are stacked in twos and set in
position where the truck drives down
the center of two rows.

My Man is getting pretty good with loading and stacking.

We stack the two fields in separate rows to keep
the field count straight.

The big field had 129 bales.
(up from last year by 17 bales)
The small field had 100 bales.
(up by 9 bales)

My buddy Ed at Thoughts from the Road
should be proud of me!! I can drive and take
photos at the same time!!
But only in a hay field heehee!!

Sunday afternoon it was really hot. Cowboy kept laying under the trailer bed in the shade and wouldn't get out from underneath...he was going to be one smooshed pup...but we found the solution...

One happy cattle dog!

And now we get to change wheel lines twice a day again.
But, we have some pretty happy alfalfa
plants getting a good drink of water!



monstersmama said...

Thats some pretty HAY <3

Kathleen Coy said...

Great pictures, thanks for showing us the process! :-)

CTG Ponies said...

We've had a rainy spring too and it's delayed the hay farmers as well. A friend of mine does small bales and was almost a month later than last year but he's getting a great yield so far.

One Red Horse said...

Oh, I have serious "hay envy". Just dropped by cuz I would be so delighted if you accept this Honest Scrap award. Here is my "official" speech:

The Honest Scrap is one of my favorite awards circulating in the blogosphere. I enjoy it because it gives the blog writer a chance to share some little known facts about theirself. Please accept this award, drop by my blog to check the rules and have fun passing it on.

Shirley said...

Your man sure sounds proud of you! Pretty nice crop. First cut is done here too, and last few days have been wet so it looks good for crop #2.

Paint Girl said...

You are so cute driving that semi! Glad to see you got your hay baled and stacked! It is a lot of work! Cindy Sue looked like she was having fun in the semi, and Cowboy looked like he was enjoying his tractor ride! I love to involve my dogs in all the activities!

Andrea said...

Awesome video! Love it!

It feels so good to get the hay in. I'm kinda glad we only get one cutting, I wouldn't want to do that 3 times a year!

AKPonyGirl said...

No alfalfa here just brome and timothy. After the real crappy weather last year and awful hay we are getting a bumper first cut.

Do you use the backhoe to stack in the barn? Is that a set of forks with the pipes for backstops?
I have a CAT skid loader that we use for pulling off the trailer and stacking in the loft in the barn. Love having machinery to do the heavy lifting.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

Nice hay. Still surprises me that you can bale at night. After about 9 pm here the dew sets in and it's wet till noon the next day. I wear my rubber boots to do morning chores. But that also leads to us having smaller windows of opportunity to get the hay done, which the weather was perfect for this week. I got my loft 1/3 full on Monday, and second crop should be ready in another few weeks.

HBFG said...

What a fantastic post! Thank you so much for showing us how it's done in your area. I love that Semi Truck!

gtyyup said...

CTG Ponies~Haying is just a guessing game, isn't it? Every area is different and we only get what Mother Nature gives us.

OneRedHorse~Thanks! I'll stop by.

Shirley~You irrigate there too don't you? Or do you just take what you get from the rainfall?

Thanks PG & Andrea

AKPonyGirl~All of this hay is stacked outside and sold ASAP. We're sending our sample in next Monday. If it has enough Protein and Relative Feed Value it'll be sold as dairy hay. We actually go out and buy our horse hay in small bales and stack that in the barn with a small tractor that has a bucket on it. Our neighbor owns the backhoe and lets us use it any time. He built the forks specifically to load hay and they attach to the bucket. He raises hay too and will be doing exactly what we're doing. Yes, equipment is essential isn't it?!?

CVPH~Where you live, you have lots of humidity. Where I grew up on the west side of Oregon it was like where you live. Here in the high desert on the east side of Oregon, we have very low humidity and there have been times when no one could bale for days at a time because there wasn't enough moisture. Good luck in getting the rest of your hay!

HBFG~That semi is a beat up old piece of...well, you know what I mean. The seat adjustment was broke so I had to sit on the very front edge, push on the clutch and hold myself up with my hands on the steering wasn't easy but, we got the job done and beggars can't be choosers!!

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