Like many other people in this area of Virginia, the unusual amount of rainfall, kept us from cutting the first hay of the season.
It’s not as easy as just mowing the lawn. The fields must be dry, so the tractor doesn’t sink in the mud. There have to be enough dry days for the cut hay to lay in the sun, then be tossed the next day, to dry again, and then to be baled. This summer, whenever we had a dry spell, it was not long enough to accomplish any of that!!!
As a result of all the rain, the hay, and everything else – grew tall, and went to seed, making the 1st cut of hay only suitable for cattle, not horses.
The up side of this, is all the seed will grow a thicker cover of hay next growing season. The husband managed to cull quite a bit of seed off the back of the machinery to scatter in the paddocks, in hopes of having lusher orchard grass there later in the season and next year. The horses will certainly appreciate his efforts!
Since we usually sell the hay from the front of the property to our horsey clients, it was kind of a financial loss this first cut. The 2nd cut promises to be a good one, and the clients will be happy with that! Weather permitting!!
We are learning that a farmer’s success not only depends on his talents and sweat, but more on Mother Nature! A summer of drought may bring only 2 cuts of hay, and wells that are lower than they should be. Too much rain can rot root crops, wash away seed, or prevent that first cut of hay from happening in a timely manner. A unexpected late frost, can also decimate crops that were planted a little too soon. To the farmers that depend on their crops for their livelihood, the weather is of the utmost importance!!
Suburbanites just worry about whether or not to carry an umbrella or leave the top to the convertible down. Farmers live by the weather channel, the almanac, and planting traditions handed down thru the generations. Weather rules!
The husband and I don’t profess to be “real ” farmers by any means – we are fledgling farmers, in a learn as we go mode !!! We are learning not to count our chickens before they are hatched – and really understand the true meaning and origin of that old adage now!!!
The husband just put up a pole barn to store the hay, and we were planning on the sale of the 1st cut of square bales to cover the cost of the barn. Well, the rains came, and the best laid plans were not to be!!
But, on the up side- the 62 round bales sold the day they were baled to a farmer down the road, for his cattle. Granted, we cleared about less than half what we would have with 10x that many squares. But, at least they sold!!!
As I sit at the computer, I can glance out the window and see the fruits of our labor, (and the labor of the farmer who baled for us) scattered all over the front field in photogenic rolls. And, living here, I can now see hay bales for all they represent – which is much, much more than just a photographic opportunity………
All is well, and peaceful, this hot Friday evening, at Mountain Meadows tonite………..