Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Legalized Gambling...


I've heard that description of farming some time back, and I think it's a good comparison!

Everything we do, whether it be planting or harvesting, from spring 'til fall, depends on the weather.  We make plans according to the weather report, and sometimes they work out...sometimes they don't!  Baling hay has been one of the biggest dilemas this summer.

We prefer to feed our cows good quality dry hay over any other type.  I remember when that's ALL we haylage in the round bales of balage...all small square bales.  If it got rained on, it was fed to the heifers instead of the milking cows.  Along with that, went headaches about finding helpers to unload many wagons of hay from each of five cuttings, and helpers for me (to milk) while Jim was baling.  But what a satisfying feeling evey time a wagon load of hay was unloaded and stacked in the hay mow.

Over the past few years, we've put some of our first cutting in the silo (haylage) and more recently have begun wrapping some round bales (balage).  This eliminates that need for a long window of dry weather needed to get good quality dry hay.

In early May, Jim begins scouting the alfalfa fields, checking to see if they are at the right stage for mowing.   Then, out comes the weather radio... it's kind of like the farmer's Bible...but the weather man is NOT God, and this summer especially, the forecast would change suddenly. 

Sometimes Jim would have hay laying, hoping to bale it dry, and end up calling the round baler to come and bale and wrap some round bales.  We are grateful for this option...and the cows like balage...but it is rather expensive, compared to baling dry hay with our own baler.

This last time...finishing up fifth cutting...we hit the jackpot! 

Three and one-half loads of nice, dry hay last weekend.  The kids had off school on Monday for Columbus Day, so Eric and one of his friends helped unload.  Jim threw the hay off the wagon...

Eric and his friend stacked it in the mow...they alternate the direction the bales are stacked.  Each row is different...they're getting pretty good at it...

Throwing hay bales is good exercise...Jim throws it off the wagon, Eric's friend throws it to him, and Eric stacks it...

And there sits the trusty old Farmall M...taking a break in the corn barn...

We aren't sure if we'll get a sixth cutting off any of the fields or not...last year, for the first time ever, we did.  We'll see.

This may be as close to gambling as we ever get...and that's fine with us.  But it sure was nice to hit the jackpot this last time!

*Linking to Farm Girl Friday and Fall Farm Friend Friday


  1. Thats great that you got a good batch of hay. I remember doing all of this when I was on the farm growing up . Wonderful photos. Have a good day !

  2. Legalized gambling you are so clever and this is so true. Congrats on the good crop. Love the pics. B

  3. Hope you win the lotto and end up with a bumper crop. It's fun for me to see the hay being put away--without getting leaves down my neck and blisters on my hands. The inside of your barn is cool! We had to stack our hay outside and deal with the weather.

  4. Love the photo of the tractor resting in the barn. :) Farming (or my parents case--homesteading) is a lot like gambling. So much depends on nature and the weather.

  5. So glad you got some perfect hay! That is such a great feeling.

  6. Your posts about the commonest of farm chores are so special because they explain to people who do not ever have to do this how farmers must think of every little detail to keep the place going. I really appreciate these posts!

  7. I am praying for a sixth cutting for you and I'm also crossing my fingers.

  8. Loved the post... I learn more about farming from your blog. But I think I will stay at the hospital and just draw a paycheck every two weeks.
    Hope your family is all well say hi to your folks for me

  9. What a great post! Glad you all were able to get in so much hay!


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