Wednesday, July 13, 2016

And Then It Stopped Raining

Remember May?  Wet, cold May?  One extreme follows another they say, and that proved true for June.  For the first time ever we were able to cut and bale all our first cutting hay - in JUNE - without it getting rained on.

Andy would cut enough hay to fill the five wagons in a go and we worked day by day to cut, ted, rake, bale and unload one field after another.

It got hot as well as dry.  We had some pretty sunsets but the clouds never carried rain.

Then we started trying to work even faster because the standing hay was actually shrinking - drying out as it stood and losing volume.  You can see the landscape has turned from green around the edges to just dried out tan.  Unless we get some decent rain there won't be a second cutting which would be a big problem.

Thank goodness for the kicker on the baler.  Pulling bales from the chute with a hay hook was a lot easier 30 years ago.  :-/

The sheep spend parts of the day searching the pasture for forage and other chunks of time hanging out in the shade behind the barn.  So far no one is coming in hungry but we've started putting some leftover hay from last year in the feeders at night so there's something to work on if they feel empty.  They are pretty grimy, though.  Lanolin + dust = grungy wool.  When it does start raining again they are going to find themselves locked out in it.
Pretty soon we'll have to turn them back into the south pasture that they've been in once already but there isn't much new there.  The plants are mostly ankle high except for seed heads that are taller and it has the pale gray-green shade of really dry plants.
Still, the sheep have nothing to do all day except meander around looking so they will find enough until it rains again.  
Bale count is 4488.  With no lambs this year it's possible that we could squeak by without a second cutting especially if it rains normally and the pastures regrow as they should.  Theoretically we could keep the flock on pasture into November. 
If anybody knows a good rain dance........


  1. No rain down South, either. But you have a flock, so I'll do my rain dance for you all.

  2. Looking at dry ground here too. Pretty unnerving.

  3. So frustrating that we cannot get some of our rain to you...we are behind in the garden work because of mud...but such is faring or gardening. hang in there.