Last hay post of the season, I swear!

in homesteading •  last month 

Hay season is finally over! For me, at least. We put in the last hundred bales on Saturday afternoon, which means the goats will be happy and fed all winter. Just like with the first round, the night after the hay was baled it rained, so I went and moved the fences of both the brush herds before we picked up the hay, just to give it time to dry before it went into the barn. It's been an odd summer, weather-wise.


This was second cutting hay, which is an unusual feat for this part of the country. It usually rains pretty regularly from late October until early July, with dry bits off and on in between. This year the spring was really dry, allowing Farmer Dan to cut hay in May. He let it grow again and cut it last week, making very, very good hay, but also very heavy bales.


That's the baler. Last year, before we could put in the hay at the family farm, I got up close and personal with the baler. One of the springs had broken, and once it was replaced, the baler had to be threaded again. It turned out to be so much more difficult than I would have thought, which is typical of most of the things I've learned since beginning the farming adventure. Imagine changing the thread on a sewing machine, except that it's as big as your car and covered in grease and bits of historical hay. And if you don't get the "needles" lined up just right, the whole threading exercise is futile. It took three people several days to get it figured out, and just when I was about to throw my hands up in despair, I talked to someone who told me that even if you have a brand new baler, when you pull it out of the barn to make hay, something will be wrong with it. That made me feel a little better about not figuring it out right away.


I'm glad we have young people who are willing to help put the hay in, because I honestly don't know if we could do it by ourselves. I'm sure I have mentioned this in a previous hay post, but our hay loft is a bit of a challenge to fill since we don't have a hay elevator. That's on my wish list, but the list is long and the budget is short. Until we win the lottery (or actually play the lottery) we will have to rely on young folks with much stronger backs. Since the barn is at the top of a hill, even getting the hay that far is a challenge. The ground remains soft enough all summer that the truck can't pull the loaded trailer up the hill, so we have to unhitch the trailer at the bottom and take the hay up in the back of the truck, fifteen or so bales at a time. Since the hay had been rained on and needed to be salted, the time between loads was well spent. It is so satisfying to have that job done. Even though I knew the rest of the hay was coming, I can't relax until the barn is full. There's nothing like running out of hay in late winter to impart a sense of panic that runs just below the surface of everything else I do.


The two summer chores that give me the greatest sense of security are putting in the hay and filling the wood shed. I am halfway to a good night's sleep. The wood shed is only half full, and if last winter is anything to go by, we better get moving. Two more cords of wood should allay my fears about spending the winter huddling in the bathroom next to the space heater. I'm sure the wood will show up and make it into a future post.

Today's parting shot is of the road when I was on my way to take the truck and trailer back where they belong. My hay crew was standing up in the bed of the truck as I was driving (not safe, I know, but nobody listens to me) and were concerned when I suddenly stopped and got out. They understood when I pointed ahead and aimed my camera. They both pulled out their phones to get pictures too.


I have finally gotten all the hay bits washed out of my hair and my pores, so I am going to go take it easy for the rest of the evening. After I haul 150 pounds of feed up to the barn, that is. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

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Sounds like a lot of manual labor, a lot of hard work. 😊

I have lots of memories that revolve around hay. And I don't think any of them are actually good ones. Maybe a few that make me rather proud, but they usually ended in pain and suffering! 😂

You have told me of your pain and suffering, and I am sharing it today, let me tell you! It's a miserable job to do, but a very satisfying one to have done. If that makes sense.

It is back-breaking work, literally. Be gentle with yourself today.

I'd never paid attention to hay until I got animals who need it like my ducks. Now I notice fields of hay bales all over. It's really handy stuff and I'm finding myself using it for so many projects in my garden. I'm guessing here the farmers are doing their last hay cutting for the year. I'm looking forward to cooler weather. It's pretty humid and hot in this last leg of summer.

It's been very humid this summer out here. I am not a fan! We use hay for all kinds of things. The goats waste a lot of it, so we have as much as we need for filling in muddy spots or lining nest boxes. It's very handy indeed!

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That’s a lot of work done in a short time!
The animals are going to be very happy!!

Have a good rest!

I should hope they're happy!

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Thank you! I hope so too!

I really need to get out of bed and actually do something now. I feel guilty after reading about all your hard work!

Have another cup of coffee and relax on my behalf!

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!Engage 20

hah! howdy goat-girlz! you're making it sound like farming is work! lol. When I started reading this post I was thinking about how brutal lifting and stacking hay bales is,especially wet ones, so I was glad to read that you have young help!

I haven't heard of "salting" though, we never did that, what is it?

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Nice sunset shot at the end, there!

I know exactly what you mean about the woodshed part, anyway. My parents have a wood-burning fireplace, and spend a lot of time in the autumn tryign to get the woodshed full. Even though they have a gas furnace, they burn wood to keep the house warm and lower the heating costs all winter long. Last winter was so cold, they barely had enough wood!

Glad to see the hay done. That's tough work, especially if you're lifting them by hand! Good for muscle-building, though :-)

Gpat Fppd?

We only have wood heat in the winter, so the woodshed project is super important. Now that I'm not stressing about hay, I can stress about wood!

Both jobs are good for muscle building, but there comes a time when I just want a day off!

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Your photos bring back memories - I grew up on a farm but didn't have the physical strength to sling hay bales. My dad and his peers could hold a bale in each hand and hurl it up into the haymow. Dad's hands are the size of hams; his fingers like Cuban cigars. But even the whip-thin farm boys had grips that could bring a man to his knees. (My husband, his brothers: lean and tough.) My dad never made sileage, but my father-in-law did, and my husband ranks that among his favorite smells. The smell of fresh cut hay is #1.

But that was before the Mountain-Sized haybales you have today!
What a hot, dusty job, and I hope you didn't need mounds of allergy pills to counteract the work.

Fresh hay is 100 percent better smelling than any sileage I've ever smelled! I have seen the kids sling the bales that easily. I have to use two hands and I complain about it for days afterwards. Not all of us were built for farm work but some of us are doing it against all odds. I will take all the moral support you can throw my way!

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You've got my moral support!! And my poor mother--'Not all of us were built for farm work but some of us are doing it against all odds"--and suffering arthritis for it. Her work-worn hands, knobby with swollen joints, are heartbreaking to behold. The work of our hands! She'd rather be sewing or painting, but she married a farmer who doesn't hire help (can't find good help), and says we all must accept "our lot in life." I was never one to accept "That's just the way it is." Champion of Lost Causes, shaking my puny fist at the universe...
Take care of those hands!! @crescendoofpeace and @owasco seem to know lots of good herbal remedies for inflammation. Stinging nettle or catnip tea...?

Yeah, still have no stinging nettle on my place that I can find, but I did finally get some seed, so next season watch out! ;-)

And truthfully, my "farm work" is mostly hobby farm work, as I'm mostly feeding animals and propagating plants. No ploughing with oxen - or even a tractor- involved.

Of course, it usually also involves lots of mowing, but both of our mowers crapped out, so at the moment I'm wading to and from the car to the front porch through knee-high grass that's a magnet for ticks and chiggers. Ugh.

And our poultry enclosure is completely overgrown to the point of weeds literally growing through the top in some places, and it's over four feet tall. Yikes!

Ah well, I'm planning to go out later and at least pick up a little push mower, which won't cut it for our acreage, but will at least allow me to mow around the house and the trees in our orchard.

Such fun when it's in the mid-90s. Ugh again.

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I kill stinging nettle, and you plant it - LOL! - I need to figure out how to use the stuff. Sooo many of our natives are good for the wild things but not for me: poison ivy, bedstraw, and more sticky-seed or itchy things than I can list off-hand.
The ticks! The chiggers! Even in short grass, they're everywhere. If those chiggers weren't invisible to me, I might despise them less because I could kill them more.
The work of maintaining an acreage in 90+ temps with humidity... there have to be more perks than we can remember while we're sweating it out amongst the chiggers. Focus on the prize. The scenery, the solitude, the bug-free winters?

Last winter we never got cold enough to be bug free, and never even had a proper snow.

So this year the biting little creeps have been even more miserable than ever.

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So I should be grateful for our prolonged, sub-zero winters.... the bugs ALWAYS survive them. But they have to, if the lightning bugs and butterflies are, too....

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It is good for muscle tone even if it's miserable work! I'm glad it's over for another year!

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They are dairy goats. I have them for milk. The brush goats are all wethered males but they are working and most definitely not being eaten.

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yeah i see they are nubians
they are my favorite but where i live they dont do well here so i had boers since they are the only other ones with droopy ears
nubians are perfect for milk and meat if you want both
i always felt bad when i killed one for food but only did it to the males since the females are breeders
thanks for the info
its nice to know what people use their herd for when you see they have them i always ask what they use them for

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