Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › The Front Porch › Member Diaries › Making hay for the first time.
- June 2, 2016 at 9:25 pm #88978LongViewFarmParticipant
Making hay for the first time. June 2nd, 2016
Forgive me. This sounds melodramatic, but I still can’t believe we did it. This is a goal I did not expect to reach for at least 5 more years, but today I brought my in first load of loose hay- the first load of hay I have ever produced. It is a very satisfying feeling.
I bought a mower 4 years ago for $200. I rebuilt it and learned to mow by clipping pasture. I spent time around other teamsters and helped Phil Warren bring in Hay once. He let me ted and rake his hay, and I picked up the bales with my team for him. This year I as able to buy a better mower, a rake, and a loose hay loader. It felt a little irresponsible to spend so much money on equipment I wouldn’t use for a long time, but I am motivated to keep the equipment for use and it was an excuse to see a good friend in CT. All told I’ve spent $2700 on all my equipment that I used to make hay. Items like the forecart and wagon I use for many other tasks too.
I have learned from listening to others, from the DAPNet forum, DAPnet events, and through Lynn Miller’s books. I am in so many ways still a novice. This week we were lucky enough to get perfect weather and all of our actions were simply an experiment to see if the equipment still worked. I’d repacked the wheels on the hay loader, but made no other adjustments. Everything still needs an overhaul, but it works.
This was a process of learning by doing. Experiential education. My horses, Percherons Killian and Moose, are two of the most stable horses I’ve ever met, and stood well for the most part as we adjusted gear and practiced each skill. At some point for every skill we learn we must just decide to try, and through trying learn. Horses are noble teachers, and these skills will make us more independent and self sufficient in our lifestyle.
This week’s experiment brought together my father, mother, myself, and Cindy Allen, my great friend and sister. Everyone helped. We smiled and worked and learned all through the afternoon. I managed all of this while still teaching a full course load every day too, so afternoons and evenings were all we had. The pace and the relationship required to pull off this work with horses is such a nice contrast to the hectic and stressful culture of school. It is a peaceful counterpoint.
Some of you have done this many times, and I hope you smile at my naiveté and excitement at this first success. Some of you wonder if ever you could do this, and yes you can. I’m going to keep at it, and keep learning. Next step- a system to unload the hay into upper floors of the barn.
I see the last post in this section was me working the walking plow. I guess this is a year for firsts! I’m still a weekend warrior though.June 3, 2016 at 10:55 am #88979JaredWoodcockParticipant
Congrats, I hope the joy doesnt go away after years of hay making! Tell Phil Warren Jared Woodcock says hi! Phil gave me my very first “small farmers journal” hand me down pile.
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