Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Decisions and one more bite.

The best way out, is always through.
                              Robert Lee Frost

Quick decisions must be made on the farm, constantly. This was especially true this year. Our summer has not been the best, as far as getting our hay off. Our round hay bale counter was down 200 bales from last year. It rained so much that when we did get the hay cut, it was difficult to get it dried and baled before more rain fell. We made it through in spite.

Second cut was something we were hoping would make up the difference. It had been excellent growing weather with all that rain pouring on those first cut hay fields, and the clover, alfalfa and brome shot up fairly quickly. All that was needed was sun and time. This we hoped would make up for those lost two hundred bales.

The pasture for our cows this year was amazing and they never wanted for more to eat. They are all “fat and happy”, as they say all summer. Then it was time to think of second cut. Our second cut started about the end of August the first of September. “Better late than never” Grandma used to say. Oh this was going to be great. It had finally stopped raining and the fields were green. My Hero started cutting.


This had proven to be a daunting, if not near impossible task. Yes, it was dry for a large chunk of time but you see the days were shorter, meaning there was not enough hours of sun to possibly dry that hay. The dew in the mornings was so heavy it took most of the day to burn that off, let alone dry the green hay. Some of the fields looked very good on one end but on the other it had been flooded out with all the rains in the summer.

Now we were looking at driving around the fields and cutting, raking and baling what was certainly going to be a small crop of hay. We needed the hay so we made the decision to cut as much as we could. Let me clarify this; My Hero decided that was what we should do. He believed that we had no choice, unless we wanted to sell more cows than we wanted. I truly had my doubts if it was going to make that much of a difference. With the price of diesel fuel and the time that we were going to spend, “Time is money” my Dad used to say. We also could be doing other things that needed to be done before the winter, I certainly had many doubts.

This was when discussions about buying a bale wrapper, then wrapping the bales making it into balage came up. This conversation was fuelled by conversations with My Hero’s brother and our nephew. It seems they used theirs all this rainy summer and were very pleased with it. They did not need to let the hay lie in the fields for days to dry. Oh yes it sounded wonderful. Some of our last cut fields had been lying on the ground for three days and even with no rain, and after raking they were still not dry enough to bale.


Oh yes “Decisions”. My Hero and I decided we would not be buying a bale wrapper. It is an expensive piece of equipment, and it would change the way we feed our cows. This would make it very difficult for my feeding all winter. I am not a big fan of changes.

We have baled around sixty good quality round bales of second crop. They look good, and the cows will sure appreciate them when the cold winter and snow comes. But, we have also had to feed bales of second cut that did not dry. The cows sure loved this. Who wouldn’t? The best quality of food delivered every day without fail, and all you had to do was stand there and wait behind the house. Good for them, not for us. More decisions had to be made.

This past week, two fields were left that needed to be dealt with. The decision to cut or not to cut had to be made. It is very late now and almost impossible to get enough sunny daylight hours to dry hay. One field is well-fenced and one field is not. Both fields have a good crop of second cut on the top, but the bottoms of the fields being flooded resulted in short grass. Decisions had to be made.

LUCY
My Hero decided to cut the not fenced field. He would take that chance that it would be dry enough to bale and feed early on. The other field and after a bit of fence “tweaking”, we decided to let the cows into. We knew it would keep them happy grazing for at the very least, a week or if we are lucky, two. We certainly had no problems convincing them it was the right decision.

Annie and Betty

One more bite, before the winter comes and they will be searching for some pasture and eating baled hay. I do think that all the dancing and smiling proved that it was a good decision.


Now, I just know that the bale wrapper thing “decision” is going to come up again for those spring auctions. I just know it. It has been raining here ever since. I am just happy the haying season is over.

Later

Joining Theresa at Good Fences.

44 comments:

  1. Oh, that I could have given you ours. Since we have no cattle we let ours seed and become cover for the wildlife. Offered it to a neighbor for nothing but his cutting team was booked up for the season.

    Our food plots are growing for the wildlife this winter and we have wonderful covies of quail. We are keeping that quiet since we do not want people asking to hunt. They are there if we're hungry and if we do not grow hungry they will multiply. We have had so little rain the turkey are DUSTING in the seeded fields but enough has come up in the lower patch that the deer are already eating. Whether we harvest the fattened wildlife (all according to law) is yet to be seen..

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  2. Decision made. Always good to have that out of the way...

    Tessa

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  3. To bad you couldn't rent a bale wrapper instead of going whole hog and spending a lump sum on one and all the maintenance if there is any . All though if it saves the hay your time and money in the long run I would buy one , but what do I know I have been out of the farming scene for years now lol ! Hope what ever decision you come to all works out well . Lovely photos . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  4. Farming has it's rough patches...too little rain or too much and the same with sunshine...here they rake the hay back and forth turning it to get it to dry:)

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  5. Oh, I love Annie and Betty's expressions...SO excited to be out on the hay field!! :)
    A couple of years ago, we began baling wet hay into round bales and wrapping them. Balage, we call it...and it's worked out great. It takes the stress out of trying to get the hay dry. I know exactly what you're talking about. Fortunately,we didn't have to buy a baler or wrapper. There are several Amish who do custom work for us. Are there any close (??) neighbors that you could share a wrapper with? You already have the round baler, so there's half of what you need already!

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    1. Thanks Alica it is balage, I was wrong:)

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  6. The cows must be sooooo happy at the decision not to cut that final field.
    Fat and happy was a phrase my father often used.
    I hope life takes a more even keel for you. Soon.

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  7. Oh gosh! I sure hope those lucky cows in September are still feeling fortunate in April! Even though the days have been warm, the nights have been cool so I understand how difficult it is to dry the hay. And the daylight hours are definitely getting shorter! I'm crossing my fingers that all works out well for your delightful cows!

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  8. It's never easy. We had some of ours that did not dry well and molded. We sold it at a reduced price to someone who wanted it anyhow.

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  9. love sweet big annie! yes, i'm sure that discussion will resurface several times. :)

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  10. It's so hard to know what to do in these situations when farmers are so dependent on weather conditions for everything. And yes, it is expensive to buy equipment. I hope you can figure it all out over the winter months. The cows sure look happy as they run through the gate to the field. :)

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  11. It's easy to second guess decisions. Wouldn't it be handy to have a crystal ball sometimes? We'd be happy to take some of that rain off your hands to help give a boost to the 2016 wheat crop.

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  12. Farming can throw some terrible curves at you. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I hope things work out for you.

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  13. Oh, I hope the hay doesn't mold - you did your best and that is all you can do. The cows look so happy......

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  14. You've done the best you could with what you had, and that's all you can do... still wish I could wave a magic wand for you!

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  15. My husband bales hay every year and that is really a big job in itself. I have always wanted cows of my own... maybe someday! Loved your little quotes you threw in from family members. I could about hear them being said, lol.
    ~Lisa

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  16. love the photo with the cows running into the field. Weather does play a big role in a farmer's life that's for sure.

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  17. I am not a big fan of change either and it would seem your decision is best for you! So confusing at times with family throwing in their tuppence worth but at the end of the day you need to do what suits you.
    Love the photo of the cows racing into the field - at least they got the good of that field!
    Have a great day!
    Christineandhercamera.blogspot.com

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  18. Oh my gosh Grace girl .. I don't know how you handle this stress and decision making .. I would literally spin out ! haha
    Seriously though .. I am like you ... I don't like change but if it is for the greater good I keep thinking about said option that would make things easier.
    Back and forth with thoughts is almost harder than the actual work .. it can wear you out.
    We did not get the rain you did .. wish we could have swapped to make it easier on you and my garden ? LOL
    You cow kids look very happy what ever you do though ... so I know that puts a smile on your face and we get to see them "smile" too !
    Take care girl !
    Joy : )

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  19. Those are wonderful cattle photos! I know that for farmers around here too it's always a challenge to get the cut hay dried and baled and off the field before it gets rained on. So sad to see a huge hayfield cut and getting rained on. :-(

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  20. Those are wonderful cattle photos! I know that for farmers around here too it's always a challenge to get the cut hay dried and baled and off the field before it gets rained on. So sad to see a huge hayfield cut and getting rained on. :-(

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  21. "everything you need to know about hay and farming"!!! hard work, your images are beautiful!!!

    we are preparing once again for a hurricane, fingers crossed!!!!

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  22. Your cows look like that are quite fat and happy, despite not having a bale thingy. :)
    We are getting ready for Hurricane Joaquin and praying he shifts eastward!

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  23. I know you and your hero will make the best decision regarding the bale wrapper. It doesn't sound like an easy one, though. The girls look happy getting their chance to be on the other side of the fence! I enjoy your farm stories, Grace, thanks for sharing them with us. PS Wish you could send some of that rain our way, we're needing some.

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  24. Here's hoping all your girls can ride out the winter as I can't imagine a better farm to live on.

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  25. Not a fun summer. Sorry to hear that. Huge nuisance when you're feeding cows. I hope the bales will last through the winter.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  26. Rain, wow what a concept. We've had a few rain storms, but it's so dry here. I can imagine it's been hard for you though, trying to decide what is best to do. I know enough to know that wet hay is no good. Good luck!!!!!

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  27. You are so funny! Rain hasn't been well distributed around this year at all, and I so take my hats off to all of you that depend on Mother Nature's whim...how to know what to decide to do must be in the Farmer's blood still not an easy task. Bravo to Your Hero and yourself and all of the girls for just being there.

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  28. Buttons,

    Yearly Mother Nature causes havoc for farmers, and gardeners. Just take it one step at a time my friend.

    Hugs,
    Sandy

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  29. Well you've had much more rain then we've had here this year. It's been a bit of a (drought) year for our area. - I enjoyed seeing your cows eating the hay and heading into that pasture.

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  30. Still some good auction time left though.

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  31. I always enjoy the change of seasons. We are ready with hay, but don't always cut it ourselves.

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  32. Life on a farm is a lot of work, but nice as well.

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  33. i am always amazed by all the work that folks do that do work on farms. i always wonder how they keep alive & not go into debit. i have always wanted to be a farmer, with horses, cows & other animals to keep the family off the grid & live alone with out all that silliness. i think about you guys all the time ... i wish you all the best & keep doing your amazing-ness-es ... you ROCK!! ( :

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  34. Sounds like you made the best decision to meet your needs. Love your pics and the cows running is adorable.
    Beautiful fat and happy cows. Have a great weekend. Hugs, cm

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  35. Do you ever sell any of your hay or is it all eaten by those lucky cows? It sounds like you have made all of the right decisions!

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  36. Life is always full of challenges. I think it is so our brains keep in shape. I hope everything works out. My hope is that this will be a short warm winter. A girl can dream:) Thanks for sharing the photos of chubby cows running through the grass.

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  37. Seems a lot of work involved when owning a farm. Looks like a sound decision was made. Have a great weekend!

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  38. say hallo to all your critters :)

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  39. Hello, I remember my grandparents (father's side) ad cows for works in the rice paddy. Loved to see the sweet cows♡♡♡ Hope things is and will be well for your job and sweet critters♪
    Thank you SO much for your thoughtful comments. My eye’s condition gets better except the distorted vision. Haha, seems I need to get used to it.

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

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  40. It sounds like a expensive decission...do they rent out that kind of machinery? Around here a lot of the farmers share, but it might be that the farms are closer to each other and they are able to move back and forth easier.

    Surely the cows will be extra nice to you now that you have given them such a treat.

    Jen

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  41. Hi Buttons,
    I LOVE the photo of the happy Annie and Betty! Happy cows in the sunshine. :)

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  42. While you and your Hero may agonize over this, the photos of the happy cows really says it all--eating straight from the field rather than a bale is a treat they obviously love.
    There are, and will be, so many decisions you need to make. It's quite a journey for both of you, and it sounds like most of the time you are in synch.

    Thanks for sharing this with us who don't understand the nuances of farming at all.

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