On June 7, we put the last of the hay off our two fields into the barn. This is the earliest ever, thanks to the unusually long stretch of late spring, dry weather. Yesterday, June 12, the rains returned, rejuvenating our fields (might we get a second crop??) and my garden. I had been irrigating the garden since May, something else that never before has happened.
Neighbor Paul cut the first field on May 31, the second field on June 1st. Johnny, using our little Kubota and Paul's ancient rake (that Johnny first had to replace most of the tines on), turned the hay into neat windrows, ready for baling.
Paul's ancient baler needed a lot of babysitting from both Paul and Johnny, but together they managed to get the first field done on June 5, the second on June 6.
The resident Red-tailed Hawks appreciated having the vole holes exposed and comfy look-out perches provided.
As tradition requires, Johnny jumped the first bale to be loaded on the trailer, just to prove he can still do it. Sticking his tongue out seems to help.
Our 84-year-old neighbor Irv, who has helped neighbors put up hay forever, drove the tractor while I threw the bales onto the truck and Johnny stacked. Who says old people can't put up hay?
Again, following tradition (his own), Johnny jumped the last hay bale to go on the flatbed trailer.
With the help of Johnny's winch contraption, a hay elevator is lowered onto the flatbed. Two more elevators move the hay from the top of that elevator to close to where Johnny is stacking in the barn loft. I put the hay on the elevator from the trailer. Irv moves it from the top of the elevator to the next elevator.
It is difficult stacking hay around Johnny's massive ceiling joists and not getting too close to the Barn Owl nest. Those poor nestlings had to put up with noisy elevators and noisy people for two days. (The top triangular windows are open spaces; nest box to their left.)
Before neighbor Paul cut the hay, we installed two wider gates into the fields to make getting the equipment through easier. Those gates will eventually have new fencing attached (which we sorely need). But before and during and after gate-replacing and haying, we (mainly Johnny) built a horse paddock to keep the horses off the sugary spring grass that was giving them sore feet, in spite of their grazing muzzles.
Between everything else, Johnny has been making frequent trips to friends Nancy and Dick's to pick up their now-dismantled, but still good fence posts, gates and wire that we will use to replace our dilapidated fences (and that we used to build the horse paddock). It has been a hectic month so far.
But the hay is in the barn!
The paddock and fencing story next time.