Thursday, September 06, 2012

Friday Farm Fun- Third Cutting

We've been in Princeton a week. Hubby swathed the third cutting of alfalfa on Saturday and finally was able to rake part of it on Thursday. This is the highest volume cutting we've had so far. Because we were here a week and I have more area to ride here, we brought my horse Bud and one of the new arrivals to use, Jammer. Or as my husband has started calling her- Jamie/Jiminy Cricket.

I spent the first two mornings riding first Bud then Jammer, using up my whole morning riding. While my writing has suffered my cowgirl heart has soared!  Then once my hubby felt less stressed over the haying, he started riding with me. The only draw back being, Jammer's Tennessee Walker physique and gait keeps her a good 25-50 yards ahead of Bud's Quarter horse short legs and plod.

Bud and Jammer in the corral.
Our first combined ride, we tackled the 600 foot hill behind the cabin. Last year when I rode Bud up the hill, he would take ten steps and huff a while then take ten more steps. I'm happy to say he huffed and stopped less this time. While Jammer cruised up the hill, barely breathing and only stopping once. We then went around the side of the hill so hubby could spy on the neighbors and see if their hay was down and where their cows were. then we took a meandering trail up to the top of the hill and looked across Harney Lake to the northwest, south to the Steens, and then commented on the patchwork of circle pivots and sage squares we could see to the north and east.

The second day we walked around the 60 acre alfalfa field then a mile down the road to our neighbor's to show off Jammer only she wasn't home. So we wandered back. The third day. We rode around the alfalfa field, then across the other neighbor's 120 acre alfalfa field to inspect a well they're putting in for another 120 acre pivot. On the way around our field a coyote bolted out of the sagebrush and ran up the bluff. On the way back across the neighbor's alfalfa field, a coyote crossed only twenty feet in front of hubby and Jammer.

Putting in the poles for the barn
When we sat on the deck and ate lunch we watched 4 and 5 coyotes catching mice in the neighbor's alfalfa field. They are thick around here right now. Because they are thick we didn't take Tink with us on rides.She likes to sniff through the sagebrush and follow the horses, but we were afraid a coyote could pounce on her if we weren't careful.

In between riding, haying,and watching the wildlife,we started putting up the hay shed/barn. We used the backhoe to dig the holes and set them up then we shovel the dirt back into the hole until the pole is steady enough to stand on its own and then hubby shoves the rest of the dirt back with the hoe.

The third cutting should be baled and picked up by Monday and we'll have one more hay season done.


JM said...

Sounds like you guys do hay a lot differently than we used to. I'm from Ohio, and throughout the summer we would have get togethers to do hay. Grandpa would start by cutting. Then somebody would come in to rake. By the time they got through all the fields, usually within a day or two, it was time to bale. Then EVERYBODY would come to help out. The men and kids would do the baling, the women would make sure everybody was hydrated and fed. We would load the bales into the barns and have a wonderful homecooked meal afterwards, that grandma had usually spent all day on. It was our 'payment' for helping to get the hay in.
I'm in my thirties now, and grandpa doesn't farm the way he used to. I loved those days, though the chaff stuck to your sweat and drove you nuts.
Great post.

Paty Jager said...

JM, My husband and I do the cutting and raking and hire a person to come in and bale the hay into 3'x 3'x 8' bales that we load with a fork on the bucket of our back hoe.

The method of haying you talk about my family did in NE Oregon where we grew grass hay in many small fields.