Friday, June 26

Friday Farm Photo: Have a Colorful Weekend.

Any plans this weekend? I'm hoping to spend some time in the kitchen garden sowing a bed of Swiss chard and cucumber seeds (did I really order five different varieties this year?), finally getting the rest of my poor tomato and pepper seedlings in the ground (can you tell I'm a little behind?), pulling approximately 3,000 more weeds, and mulching everything I can with grass clippings—now that it's finally dry enough out there to cut the grass—and that wonderful, nutrient-rich manure/bedding hay from the sheep barn.

I'll also be savoring the fact that our hayfield no longer looks like it does in the photo above because there are 225 square bales of hay now stacked in the barn (we didn't cut the entire field, just what you see here). We'd hoped to get a lot more bales, and it's not the best hay we've ever put up, but it's nowhere near the worst.

Fortunately we still have a lot of big round bales left over from last year (because for the first time we cut Donkeyland as well as the hayfield) so no matter what Mother Nature throws at us this fall and winter, we should hopefully have enough hay to keep the sheep and donkeys fed well into next spring.

Even so, depending on the weather, the rain fall, and what grows up in the hayfield over the next month or two, we may try to go ahead and put up some more round bales just in case. Because if you have a farm full of grass eaters, an always unpredictable climate, friends and neighbors with herds of cows but no hayfields of their own, and some room still left in the haybarn, there's really no such thing as having too much hay.

Wondering how you put up hay? Have a look here and here and here.

©, hanging out on the bright side of life.

Friday, June 5

Friday Dose of Cute: Have a Well-Balanced Weekend.

Mr. Midnight hunting at the edge of the hayfield.

Any plans this weekend? We have a heat wave coming, so I'm going to harvest the rest of the lettuce in the kitchen garden—which looked a whole lot better before being pelted by last week's hailstorm—before it bolts any more than it has, and then hopefully catch up with all my spring transplanting before it's actually summer. My stunted basil and pepper plants and overgrown heirloom tomato seedlings will be thrilled.

A friend who came by the other day for a quick visit said he'd heard that a lot of people's tomato plants were rotting because of the unseasonably cool and wet weather we've been having, so this time my garden laziness procrastination may actually pay off.

Meanwhile we're still waiting for some favorable hay-cutting weather. All the rain we've been getting has been great (the wet weather creek is running!), but the hay, which the sheep and donkeys eat for several months each year, is already past its prime. We need at least three dry, hot, and sunny days in a row in order to get the hay dry enough to cut, dried once it's been cut, baled, and brought into the barn, and we're just not getting them.

We were out running around several days this past week and saw a lot of people baling up acres and acres of hay we knew couldn't possibly be dry enough. And yesterday our Amish neighbor told us that he and his brother have had a bunch of their cut hay laying on the ground for three days because these scattered thunderstorms just keep blowing in and opening up on it.

Rather than risk putting up (literally) 10 tons of moldy feed, we're just going to wait. The fescue and orchard grass have already gone to seed, but we should keep getting more leaf growth in our "Missouri mixed salad" fields. And as Joe reminded me the other day, we've cut hay in the past as late as October.

Or as the donkey peddling (and cattle raising) cowboy likes to say, "Any hay tastes better than a snowball."

I figure we'll end up hauling in hundreds of square bales (pretty much the most exhausting job on the farm) on the same day the sheep shearer finally calls to let us know he'll be in our neck of the woods. It's happened before.

Over the years we've (slowly) started getting less stressed out about (most of) the many things we have no control over. Strength and stamina are essential when you live on a farm, but I've come to believe that patience, flexibility, and a big sense of humor are probably even more vital.

More Mr. Midnight? Here.
More farm cats? Here and here.

©, keeping calm with the help of all this cute.