We’ve Waited a Long Time for This….

Hay in the Field

Long time readers will know how long we have wanted to make hay; it’s something we’ve been moving towards for years. Because we didn’t want to lay out huge chunks of cash for equipment, we bought everything separately and over about a four year span. Finally, we have all the parts needed to cut and move hay!

 

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Graham is haying on the property next door….

 

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Yesterday he used the baler and he ended up with 120 bales. We are pretty happy, even though the hay is not really good quality. We’re considering this year to be a “practice” run and we think it was successful!

 

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You can see the bales lined up in the neighbouring field. Lots of round bales waiting to be picked up! We’re doing small square bales and are not sure if we would ever get a round baler.  Graham’s Dad is watching in the picture.

 

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I took a video and will try to get it posted here. The tractor is a Same – pronounced Sammy. Italian made, it’s considered a really good tractor. The baler is a Massey-Ferguson. To cut the hay, Graham used the sickle bar mower. He’s not that happy with it so we will be looking at other options. After cutting and leaving it for a day in the field, he used the hay rake to fluff it up and then put it into rows.

We will use these bales for winter bedding for the chickens. We’ll also give it away to whoever wants some for bedding; hopefully next years hay will have more nutritional value and we can start selling it.

Having the right equipment (even if it’s old) to do the job is so important. The field is far too large to cut by scythe and since Graham is so good mechanically, buying well used equipment seemed the best option for us. We are trying to never buy new if we can help it. We also don’t mind waiting for the right parts to come for sale at the right time. Always look to minimize your expenses on the homestead – you don’t want the added stress of having monthly payments on equipment.

Learn as much as you can by talking with people and reading – there are so many great ebooks out there to have one your Kindle or your PC. Here’s one all about tractors!

Using implements Weve Waited a Long Time for This....

 

The Property Next Door – It’s Ours Now

Hayfield

There is a 14 acre parcel next door to us that has a small cabin on it, as well as a storage shed. My late brother owned this property and he was the builder there. We ended up buying it and we are so glad that we did. Although he is gone, we have a little piece of him still right next door and I have to say, I am liking this.

This property has hayfields and a large enough pasture that we can have our friend’s horses out on the field. Our long term goal is to fix up the hayfields and go back to pulling the hay they were getting off this property years ago. We have been told that the Valley we live in used to pull in hundreds of tons of good quality hay. Over time, beavers have come in and dammed the creek. The fields have largely been let go but we want to change all of that.

 

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The picture shows the pasture in the middle and the hayfields behind the pasture. We own a small strip beyond that line of willows you can see.

Since we want to plan for the future, where Graham can stay home and open a hydraulic/mechanic’s shop, we’ve been thinking of ways to supplement our income while being able to enjoy being in the Valley most of the year. Selling hay will be just one facet of the plan.

 

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Graham did start cutting the field this year, but he really didn’t have the time. One of our Valley friends, who has hayfields of his own, agreed to come and take care of getting the hay off the lower field. He’s been cutting, tedding and baling over there for about 5 days now.

 

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I’m hoping when I get back to the Valley in a week, he’ll be all done and the cut field should look awesome. Then I can run over there on the quad and check it out. Apparently, he is pulling out a lot of the old thatch, which is great. We had thought Graham would have to rake the field this fall in order to get rid of the thatch. It would be a really nice bonus if most of this is taken care of, while this year’s hay is coming off the field.