Hewing, Hauling, Heaving, Having Hay

I start with an apology to the English majors out there; I know “hewing” is a lousy synonym for “cutting”, but the alliteration was irresistible.  And now we return you to the previously scheduled blog entry…..

Our first year here we had no livestock grazing our pasture so in the fall, paid a neighbor to brush hog it for us.  There had to be a better way….

And there is!  Sheep.  And goats.  But mostly sheep.  The acquisition of the sheep is another story altogether so let’s just say, this year we had sheep and a couple of goats on the pasture, and while there aren’t nearly enough of them to graze a pasture of this size, we very much enjoy looking out the window at the pastoral scene of our ruminants contentedly grazing.

Going into winter, we needed to find a way to feed them and the obvious choice is: hay.  So this year we networked until we found a guy who knew a guy who’s brother-in-law had a friend whose son was willing to come and cut our hay for us.

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Next day, his buddy with a square baler come and baled it for us.  The typical arrangement around here is that the landowner gets 1/3 of the hay and the hay cutter/baler gets the other 2/3 for his trouble.  We were thrilled with the number of bales we got from our pasture and our 1/3 should be more than enough to feed our sheep and goats over the winter.  Each of those little dark dots in the picture below is a bale — about 200 in all.

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HWA, BOF and I spent an evening driving a truck and trailer around the field gathering our third and putting it up under our pole barn.  We all felt very satisfied when the work was done and the tangible evidence of our efforts was stacked before us.  There was more gratification in these few hours of hard, sweaty, dirty work and the resulting small pile of bales than in a year of meetings and reports.

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We loved that we were able to get our pasture cut, not only at no cost to us, but leaving us the hay we need to feed our animals over the winter.  Win-win.  It’s mid-November and the sheep are still grazing but it won’t be long now before we have to start hauling those bales back out to feed to them.

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