Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

While reading All Flesh is Grass by Gene Logsdon, I was intrigued by the author's account of making hay the old-fashioned way, and I suggested to Herb that we try it.  The last bush-hogged grass got heavily rained on, but Monday Herb did the area near Kara's house, and the forecast said two sunny days in a row.  So we decided we'd make hay while the sun shines!
A brief shower this morning set us back, but by 2 p.m. the 77° heat had the grass dry on top, so we started to rake. 
The way the bush-hog works, the cut grass ends up in narrow rows.  Any areas where the grass was sparse or where it had fallen onto the driveway were dry, so we raked those parts directly into piles.
Thicker areas of grass were still damp underneath, so we made "windrows" just like farmers do with their tractor-drawn rakes that make multiple rows at a time.  We worked down a row, giving each clump of grass a little flip with the rake to flip it over and move it closer to us.  Then we worked our way back along the neighboring row of grass, flipping it over and next to the one we just finished.  This resulted in windrows that were turned over to face the sun at the same time they were fluffed and aerated; they will also be easier to rake up, having been loosened and consolidated.
Next we piled the dry hay onto the trailer.  Rakes were helpful to collect it, but it was actually easy grabbing big armfuls and carrying them to the trailer.
Herb just drove the trailer from pile to pile so we could collect it.
When all the dry hay was piled on the trailer, Herb backed it into the barn.  We made a circle of old wire fence and piled the hay into it, making a nice, little haystack.

Herb had to leave after an hour and a half, but at least we got some of our hay in the barn in case it rains.  After it cools down a little bit, I'll go back out and see if the windrows are dry enough to rake up and put on the trailer.  I won't take a chance backing it into the barn, though; I'll save that job for Herb--just to be sure he feels involved and needed!  :)

Our hay, by the way, is perfectly organic.  We don't put any pesticides on our grass, and we only had to drive over it once with diesel-powered equipment.  Most farmers drive over it to cut it, drive over it twice more making windrows and turning them, then drive over it a fourth time to bale it.  Now all that remains to be seen is whether Angel, Brandy and Sara will eat our hay!  (If not, it'll make bedding for the chickens!)

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