Thursday 11 June 2015

Making Hay

    Here I am, pitchfork in hand, practicing an old agricultural activity--making hay.  Hay is just dried grass and weeds.  The grass by my barn grows tall and profusely, so I try to put it to some use.  I cut it down using a lawn trimmer, then let it lie several days in the sun.  The downed grass is generally thick, after it dries a couple of days, I turn it over so that the underside also dries out.  Once it is dry I gather it up with a pitchfork and pile it.
    If I still had goats, I would store it in the barn, but now I only use it for mulch around my tomato plants in the greenhouse so I just make a haystack and let it sit out in the open all winter.  The deer are thankful to have that pile of hay as a food stuff, and they dig into the snow to get at it.  I lose about half of it to the deer.
    When I had Angora goats their numbers got so big I had to buy bales of hay to feed them through the winter.  That was always a miserable task to have to collect the hay in someone’s field, stack it precariously high on the back of the truck then drive home slowly, hoping bales wouldn’t fall off.  Once home I had to get the bales up to the upper floor in my barn where it was stored.  It was hot strenuous work, and I always hated the itchy feel of bits of hay going down my sweaty back and getting stuck there beneath my shirt.
    Our property is considered a “hobby farm” and collecting hay the way I do it now, is more of a hobby than real farm work.  It always makes me feel like I am somehow connecting to old farm practices of the past.

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