Monday, June 25, 2012

Hay Weather

We were down to one hundred pound bale of Alfalfa hay this morning. Now we are just a couple bales shy of one hundred leafy, bright green, dry, fifty pound bales of brome. That will get us through a few months. However, of course, we've got to stock up while we can. So we have plans to get another hundred next Sunday and then again the following Sunday, each from a different farm. Here in Interior Alaska we generally get two hay cuttings. The first cutting usually takes place about the fourth of July, and the second is usually just barely before frost and is always a tight squeeze with the rain and morning dew we get in the fall. This year, unlike the past few years, we've gotten a decent amount of rain in May and June, and then this past week we had seventy-eighty degree days with no rain, which made for good early hay growth, followed by perfect haying weather. Thus farms far and wide have been and will be haying now. Thus cows, goats and horses all around will be munching and relishing fresh green hay. Yeah!

The hay we got today is just beautiful. My goats are stoked! There is much debate on when the best hay is harvested up here. I haven't ever had any of our bought hay tested so I really can't join the debate. All I know is that it feels good to stock up on hay early and not wait until the last minute. Also, I like that the first cutting hay is generally more leafy and green. Second cutting hay usually isn't as green, as after it is cut and on the ground, it get's moist every morning from the light freezes, and then the farmers have to turn it all day to get it to dry out enough to bale by evening. That seems pretty much the same as getting rained on every day, which would leach out nutrients? Obviously I need to do some more hay research.

I not only have pasture envy, but I have hay farmer envy. I totally want to be the sun weathered, knowledgeble, farmer, spending the sunny days of summer in the hay fields, picking up hay, and riding around in a green tractor. Well, maybe that's an exageration. The image does have it's appeal.

As far as everything else is going around here. The children are taking baths nightly. They are getting so dirty running around barefoot with hardly any clothing on, that they are almost too dirty to come inside for dinner, deffinitely too dirty to sit on the couch for story time. They continue to get more bruised and scratched up, something I'd not thought possible two weeks ago. I've had to change up my daily schedule. Instead of doing house chores in the morning to get out and enjoy the afternoon, I've had to get out sooner and enjoy the cooler less intense mornings, as it has been too hot and sunny to be in the garden or in the sun mid afternoon -(at least for the kids, I on the other hand...).

One of the varieties of peas I've planted, Coral, is flowering. I harvested a row of tatsoi and arugula. I've finished thinning the beets, and now have a bag of baby beet greens in the fridge to do something with. I've thinned the carrots once, but it is time to do it again. The whole garden is taking off, with the nice balance of sun and rain. I've been spending most of my garden time weeding and mowing. We're harvesting some crisp mild lettuces, and mixing them with various weeds and other greens. We've got enough cilantro, basil, chives, lovage and sorrel right now. I am checking squash blossoms daily to pollinate the female flowers. We've got a few baby zucchini growing, I can't wait!

Best wishes wherever you are in your summer gardening, haying season!


Buttons said...

Hi Emily nice to hear you are going to go into haying I like the image in your mind of haying with a green tractor. I hay with a red tractor and yes it is nice when it goes well.Our weather has turned cold and it rained all last night and yesterday afternoon on hay that had been raked. We are now going to have to turn it again, hope it gets hot again and try to bale. It will probably not be good to store but the cows will enjoy the treat.
I love bruised dirty happy happy kids. Enjoy your summer Emily. B

Genevieve Perreault said...

John misses haying for sure. Last summer, he helped the Quists out on their farm, but he's too busy with school and fieldwork this summer to play farmhand. He said spending the day on a tractor lets one achieve a very zen-like state.