In spite of the overwhelming sadness of losing our mare, Polly, life does go on and farm work does not slow down. Last week, two of our fields were cut, raked, and baled for hay. This weekend, we put the bales in the new goat barn, with the hired help of a friend. Johnny loves to hay but has been unable to because of his back problems for years. He had a great time stacking bales on the trailer and in the loft. I took few photos because I was driving the truck and relaying bales off the hay elevator to him in the loft. Johnny raked both fields when our neighbor who cuts and bales for us ran out of time. He loves driving the tractor. Here he is raking one field... at a distance and then closer up.
Neighbor Paul baled, but Johnny walked alongside babysitting the baler and retrieving broken bales. Johnny was ready to get his own equipment and do the haying after the cutting and raking, but the baler problems helped him remember what it was like to deal with a cantankerous baler and decided he'd let Paul continue to do our hay.
Our two sons grew up bucking hay bales but don't seem to have inherited their father's love of the activity. Johnny always invites them but they never seem to be able to visit during haying time. Smart kids.
I didn't get any photos of us picking the bales up out of the field. Here it is stacked inside the new barn. Johnny's roof trusses make stacking a challenge, but he managed, even leaving aisles to holes where we'll throw hay directly into feeders below. The Goat Palace is almost ready for occupancy!
Between haying jobs, Johnny worked on the outside yards for the outside buck and pig pens. Today the goats checked them out since he left the gates to their field open for them to explore the new digs.
When not helping with haying, I keep busy mowing and weeding and watering on these hot days. Thank goodness we are not having the three digit heat that most of the rest of the country is having, but high 80's is too hot for me so I stay indoors during the afternoon hours. By the time shade reached the front of the carriage house yesterday, I took my shovel and attacked the six foot thistles that had come up too close to the concrete for mowing. Hah! Take that you vicious monsters!
This morning, emboldened by my thistle success, I dug out tansy ragwort that has been sneaking back into the horse pasture. Although "pasture" is not quite the right word for the wildflower garden it has become.
Hours later, my electric cart bed filled with tansy ragwort, bull thistles, and scotch broom, I retreated to the cool house... to write this blog.
Of course, we are still spending at least one day a week at the coast, monitoring Black Oystercatcher nests. On Monday of this week, we hit three sites with one still-active nest at each site. That entailed a lot of hiking carrying heavy scopes, but the weather on the coast is about twenty degrees cooler than inland so it was pleasant, if tiring. And the views, as always, were lovely. This was taken from Cascade Head, our last hike of the day, when the fog was just beginning to move in.
There was also the 4th of July barbecue at friends Monica and J.P.'s, ice cream and custard making (and eating) with all our extra milk, hoeing and weeding and watering the garden, eating our home-grown artichokes and papayas, working in the greenhouse and arboretum, trimming hooves... and on and on. Summer activities are endless. I've been so busy I've only checked the trail cameras once in two weeks. The fawns are growing... like bad weeds, my mother would say. Awfully cute weeds. The twins are photo left. Split ear and her fawn, the first born on our farm this year and now losing those spots, are photo right and video here: http://youtu.be/xQ1yi6mig10
And so... life goes on. Sometimes sadder, but with still so much to enjoy.