So far, so good

If you compare yesterday’s forecast below with the one I posted two days ago, you will see that the weather held for haymaking.

rake2

I spent the day raking and, because the crop was so heavy, I’ll probably do so again today and then bale tomorrow. If everything goes well this plan will give me Monday to transport bales to the barn where they’ll be stored out of the weather. The photo shows what raking is all about. The windrows on the left show you what the hay looks like as it exits the haybine (cutter/crimper). Once the field is cut you’ve got to wait a day or so for the tops of those windrows to dry. You can see that the rake rolls the windrow and flips it so that the dried side is down and the damp side is up. If you look closely you will notice that the rows yet-to-be-turned (on the left) are a lighter green while the turned rows (on the right) are somewhat darker. This is because the former are dried on top while the latter now have their wet sides uppermost. Once these surfaces are dry the field may be baled. But there is heavy dew to contend with this morning and that will need to dissipate before any further drying of the crop may occur. Baling wet hay is bad news; it can choke your baler, foster the growth of mold which can make your animals ill, and support bacterial growth which can, under the right conditions, generate enough heat to set the bale on fire! Like all things in life, making dry hay requires lots and lots of patience.

rake

12 thoughts on “So far, so good

  1. A beautiful image of your large Zen garden 🙂 Did you ever have issues with wet hay? What would you do if it started raining out of the blue?

    • Good for you for asking. In all the years we’ve been making hay, our crop got rained on just once. They say that if the crop gets rained on soon after it is cut, it’s not much of a problem. If the crop dries down however and is THEN rained on … that’s a real problem and reduces the nutrient content of the forage significantly. The appeal of a bagged, fermented, crop (you know, those large marshmallows that form at harvest time) is that the stuff isn’t bagged dry and actually requires a large moisture content. So, you can cut one day and harvest the next – no dry down required. This requires lots of different sorts of equipment though and sheep don’t do well on the sort of fermented feed produced in any case. The bottom line is that we try really, really, really, really hard to get the weather right so that our crop dries down properly and can be harvested that way. A crop that gets rained on is one of my many nightmares. D PS: I remember you referred to the raked field as my Zen garden once before! I like the image very much! And, you know, it is my Zen garden!

  2. Like I said earlier it really reminds me of the process for making salt dry cod. As such there are no shortcuts. It’s hard (but satisfying) work with no shortcuts. Heavy rain outside now in NL. Hoping very much we get it all and you get none until the job’s done.

    • Yup … 100% weather dependent … makes my hair (or, what’s left of it) gray! So stressful. But the crop is baled and in the barn … and out of the weather that we expect to arrive late this evening. Whew. Thanks for all of the attention and comments this evening. I’m still waiting to read about and view images from your trip. D

    • Thanks. Managed to get the entire field baled this afternoon. Joanna raked (for the third time) while I baled. It was hot and I was, in words of the locals, ‘played out’ when it was over. Have had some dinner and now BED looks like a mighty fine prospect. D PS: Now it can rain and I won’t give a darn.

  3. Such a production! There are so many steps that have to happen in the right order, never mind worrying about the weather. Moisture in the wrong place causes such huge problems!

    • Got the field baled today. The rake developed a problem with its gearbox late yesterday afternoon but we managed to solve the problem so that Joanna could rake the field ahead of the baler this afternoon. I’m t-i-r-e-d, have had supper and am looking forward to eight o’clock and B-E-D. I hope that this is NOT the night that the house decides to burn down … for if it should, there will be no waking me. D

      • LOL! You certainly put in a hard day’s work! Sometimes after a physically active day I am too tired and achey to have a restful sleep! But it sure does feel good to take a shower and just lie down and relax!

  4. Well good luck with the drying and baling….I think there is a third requirement for making dry hay … that the weather gods be on your side 🙂 Last week lots of the grain crops around here were being harvested, which made for busy and slow road conditions as the huge harvesters and balers made their way between farms!

    • Yes … weather gods, to be sure … but please don’t forget the equipment gods for their critical role. Equipment problems can be just as much of a headache … even more sometimes. Yesterday we had a problem brewing with a gearbox on the rake, managed to solve that difficulty last evening so the rake was up to full speed today. And, a good thing, for Joanna raked the field (for the third time) while I ran the baler … managed to get the job done in time for dinner! I’m tired. BED sounds awfully good right now. D

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