Friday, June 9, 2006

Make hay when the sun shines!

There are so many meaningless cliches in our language, but after moving to a farm, I am starting to appreciate what they really mean. We've had so much rain this year that the pastures and the hay field are growing like crazy. Many of the pastures have grass that's knee high.

The challenge then becomes getting the hay cut and baled when it is not raining. If you cut hay and it rains, the hay can mold, making it unsuitable for animal feed. We have another farmer cut the hay because we don't have the equipment. He was going to cut it two Mondays ago, but it started raining then, and it rained for six days! Sunday was finally sunny, and the forecast showed sun, so that's when he cut it. Today he baled it, and that's when our work begins! We had to clear a space in the barn to hold all 177 bales! Mike and the girls did the stacking, which is the messiest, sweatiest, dirtiest job on the farm. Stacking grass hay (which this is) is much better than stacking alfalfa hay, because alfalfa has little leaves that can fall off and stick to your sweat ... and itch.

The baby ducklings are doing well. They don't like staying in a cage. They want to follow just about every animal they see, including a barn cat! It reminds us of the children's book, "Are You My Mother?" They have no idea who their mother is!

Today was very busy before the hay was even cut. We moved the bucks back from across the creek. With the grass being so tall on this side of the creek, there is no reason to keep the grass trimmed around the electric fences across the creek. (Tall grass on electric fence will make it short out -- not work.) It's enough of a time-consuming job to keep the fencelines clean on this side of the creek.

After moving the bucks into one of the pens in the barn pasture, we moved all 24 sheep to a new pasture. That was easier than we expected, but Monet was very intimidating. Katherine and I have both been rammed by him, and at one point I foolishly turned my back. Margaret and Katherine both screamed, "Mom!" when they saw him put his head down and start running towards me. I screamed and jumped and turned around and stared him down. I don't think he really likes to ram people when they're looking. He's always done sneak attacks.

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