Monday, August 28, 2006


It seems like I spent the whole weekend removing and attaching implements on the back of the tractor.

I took the mower off, put the rake on, took the rake off, and attached the baler. You get the idea.

I finished cutting the hay Friday evening. Then of course it rained shortly after I finished. When hay is freshly cut rain doesn’t damage it nearly as much as if it happens after it is dry.

I raked it up it up Saturday morning then waited for it to finish drying out. I’m still waiting.

It has not rained on the hayfield since Friday evening late. I’m not sure the grass can tell, it is as humid as the bottom of a lake. It’s just not drying out.

If I’m going to get it baled and off the field while it still makes good feed I’ll need better luck than I’ve had so far. I may have a large load of mulch on my hands.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

More hay to make

The weather forecast is for hot and humid conditions with 30 to 40 percent chance of afternoon or evening thunderstorms.

This was for forecast in June and will be the forecast until October. Unless there is a hurricane bearing down on us, that is Florida in the summer time.

I check the forecast frequently before I try to go out and do farm work. I have no idea why.

Tuesday evening shortly after five o’clock I came out of the bathroom and saw through the south window, out of the corner of my eye, without really paying attention, some calves my neighbor keeps in the pasture across the road from my house running more or less in my direction.

I intended to go out and start to cut hay in the back pasture.

I had spent all afternoon in my office with a good view to the north. The sky was partly cloudy. That means I could look at big black clouds or clear blue sky, my choice and no need to move my head much.

I went to the front door, put on my hat, opened the door and noticed the lambs in our front pasture running towards me. They were trying, without success, to outrun the rain formed into a squall line moving up the driveway. The calves across the road were already soaked and had given up the race.

It rained for less than an hour. The rain gauge in the front flower bed recorded just over and inch.

Wednesday just past noon another brief shower gave us a soaking. By about six o’clock I was out cutting hay. The tractor doesn’t kick up much dust under these conditions you see.

With our sandy soil and temperatures in the nineties, things get tolerably dry quickly.

Anyway, so much for the drought.

I got the field a bit less than half cut.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hay in the barn

The over the hill gang showed up as promised Monday to do all the adjustments on the hay baler.

They got here a little before noon and left about three o’clock.

When they left, not only were the adjustments made, all the hay in the field was baled and stacked in the barn. All this while I was stuck in my office with a phone in my ear.

Who says you can’t get good help these days!

It was a fairly small load of hay, less than 50 bales, but it looked better than I thought it would after being rained on.

I went right back out last evening and mounted the mower back on the tractor and sharpened the blades.

I intend to start cutting the larger field all the way at the back of our land this evening.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Making Rain

I’m going to rent myself out as a rainmaker.

If I go to some desert area, all that needs to happen to turn it into a beach is for me to cut hay.

It’s been so dry here for most of the summer that the sand fleas are farting dust, and now this.

Friday evening about dusk one of those little thunderstorms that is about 100 yards wide dumped about an inch of rain on my hayfield.

I turned the windrows over Saturday morning, but there is so much humidity in the air nothing is drying out. There was another quick shower in the afternoon but I don’t think it made any difference.

It will be Monday before it’s ready to bale.

All suited up with no way to make hay.

Monday, when I go back to being a computer geek instead of a farmer.

Oh well, the joys of farming part time are many.

My crew, the world famous over the hill gang, a.k.a. Misters Cooney and Nelson are going to make enough hay to insure the equipment is all adjusted up and working properly. This is because they worked on the knotter and bale chamber over the winter.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Making Hay

Last year I had trouble putting up hay, getting enough time without rain for the hay to cure was almost impossible. The best hay I put up had been rained on once.

So far this year it looks like that wont be a problem. It has been so dry that in some places it is barley necessary to cut it to get it to dry out. It is almost straw in the field.

I’m starting with the center field on our land. I cut it Tuesday evening, raked it last night. The plan is to bale it up Saturday.

This is just a small field, about three acres. It is also the only field I baled last year.

It produced about 250 bales then, it will not produce nearly as much this year.

The plan is to bale up another field next week that is just less that twice this big next week. That is if everything goes well with this first field.

Monday, August 14, 2006

About time!

Regular readers of this blog (Hi Mom!) probably think I’ve died or broke my typing finger or something.

I’m here and all my digits are in working order.

What we (the whole local part of the family and myself) have done however is something that keepers of livestock almost never get to do, that is to leave the farm for several days at a time.

We all went out to Colorado for a family event that was a combination family reunion and celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary for my aunt and uncle.

Our friend and sometimes co-conspirator Mr. Cooney came by and took care of the daily chores and checked on all the critters.

That made it possible. We are grateful and very lucky to have such friends.

Recent farm news:

Friends with a straight run batch of Buff-Orrington chickens brought the cockerels over to be converted from obnoxious little ankle peckers into tasty little fryers.

The job was done with very little trouble in just a couple of hours thanks to the whiz bang plucking machine.


We had a bad episode where the some of the sheep developed internal parasites that had become resistant to the Ivomec drench we have been using.

We wormed them at the same time we weaned the lambs. I miss diagnosed the problem as weaning stress, the result being three dead sheep.

I did eventually figure out what was going on and re-treated all those that needed it with a different drug.

They all seem to have responded well to that treatment.


This week’s goal is to get the hay crop underway. I plan to cut evenings this week, rake on Friday evening and bale over the weekend.

We have been struggling with very little rain lately, almost but not quite a full-blown drought.

I have noticed that one thing that is more effective than a rain dance or even scheduling a parade is for me to cut hay.

That has been known to cause flash floods. It would almost be worth it.