Friday, November 14, 2008

Lets talk hay

Beautiful hay and grasses- it is always a great feeling to see something you planted grow
Cutting day
Chuck using the scythe (or as Brad- in picture below called it the grim reaper thing)
Brad and I raking what Chuck cut- then we threw it in a trailer to bring over to the sheep
Finally we have movable fencing and the sheep are now out in the big pasture- there are 3 ducks out there too!
This is what the above paddock looks like after the sheep were in it for a day- good little lawn mowers!

I have been wanting to tell you about our experience with growing our own hay this year. If you don't remember check out our first hay blog. So by the end of May our fields were planted and we had just the right weather for growing. And by the beginning of July it was looking ready to harvest. Chuck wanted to cut and bale it himself saving us money, but the equipment was not really up and ready, not even considering the fact that he has never used this equipment, nor does he really know what he is doing. Anyway we were running out of time, turns out you want to harvest oat hay before it gets past the boot stage. So we decided to hire someone to cut the field. He charged us $150- well worth it. It was looking so great- drying out nice, and then it rained- not something you want to have happen, but we were hoping it would dry out again and we could still use it. Well long story short it rained on it another couple of times and then the top dried out nice but the bottom molded! So we gave up and decided to use it for pasture. Chuck put up fencing and we moved the cow out there. Of course they loved it. The sheep were still being rotated on the other side of the driveway. But soon they were running out of feed, and since it was considerable more work to put up  fencing for them, (cows only need one wire sheep with lambs need at least 4 and a barn or something to be locked in at night so you don't loose any lambs to predators) we started cutting them hay from the 11 acres turned pasture. We used a scythe (pronounced sigh) it was a ton of work. The whole point of pasturing the animals is so they feed themselves, deposit their manure for fertilizer and here we are cutting the grass for 17 sheep! Then our friend Patty Anderson, sold us 3 movable fences! Once we had those and the lambs were big enough we were able to move everyone out to the big pasture. So long story short, we have to buy hay again this year! 

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