7/12, hay mess and rabbits

face in hands

Well, we really f**cked that up. Most of our hay is ruined, despite our racing around in the 3AM pitch dark, illuminated by lightning. Add some pandamonium-inducing high winds for good dramatic effect. We did not cover up the hay last night, looking at the 40% chance of rain. I am trying to not let it get me down. It’s just hay. 412 bales of the most beautiful hay I’d ever smelt and seen. Sooooooooooo bummed. Writing about it will make me feel better, and process my frustration.

I really shouldn’t have excuses, but let me explain that yesterday was the hottest day I have ever felt in my life. We spent the morning picking and packing our CSA boxes up, and the the rest of the day we just worked on keeping everyone here alive and safe in the heat. Then I’d go strip off my soaking clothes and sit in the basement to cool down for a minute. I mean, even my freekin’ eyebrows were dripping sweat.

Andrew began working on hay unloading in the later afternoon. I wanted to make him stop, he looked like he might keel over,but he worked smart and at his pace. That’s alot of hay to deal with in the heat. The hot air was thick, like you opened an oven door and that waft of heat followed you everywhere. Incredible. So it was 4:30pm and I decided if he could work on it, I’d work on it. I picked the hay wagon (there 3 of them FULL of hay bales!) in the shade (I know, what a wuss!) and started tossing the 45-55lb monsters out onto the ground, and then one by one, stacking them in a tetris grid on top of pallets. I started to fall down clumsily after an hour of this, and I had to milk soon, so I stopped. Looked at the clear skies and fleetingly thought about covering the 5 different spots of hay in various stages of being unloaded. But I was so hot, and the sky was clear. And there was only a 40% chance of rain. Usually this means we’ll not get a drop. Unless, of course, we have something in the works which cannot get rained on.

The goats will need about a bale a day for probably 6 months out of the year. We’re working on a plan to have much more grazing space for them, but they need additional hay to keep their bellies and udders full for now. I’d gotten about 2 months worth of hay stacked near their goat shed. Andrew had gotten about 4 months worth stacked over by the ducks. If only we had just covered those neat piles right away. If only…..

Well, the gardens will be very happy, as we really needed this rain. We did manage to get our neatly stacked piles mostly covered in time before the rain came pouring out of the bright for a second night sky. As soon as the rain came, the winds stopped, so the hay tarps that we were struggling with at 3 in the morning quit their blowing about. Shouldn’t I just stop being so sad over the hay in the wagons, now drenched, that we’ve lost? Things could be much worse. We could have had a tornado, and then I wouldn’t even have the luxury of sitting in the house on the laptop, writing about my sadness over the lost hay.

The last thing I want to say about this big mistake of ours is that financially, this stings. We still have to pay our neighbor for cutting our 8 acre field, raking the cut grass into piles, baling it all into those gorgeous rectangles, and driving the loaded wagons up to our farm yard. Live and learn. Inevitably hay making takes place on the hottest days of the year, so next time we need to face the fact that we’re gonna suffera bit while unloading hay bales. We just should have been proactive about covering our investment. Well- at least we have a nice supply of organic mulch for a while. And there could always be a 2nd cutting of hay later in the fall, if we can afford it.

the new rabbits

Andrew said he wanted to FB today’s rabbit expansion, but I can’t help myself. I am in LOVE.

These babes are Champange d’Argent, an heirloom breed of rabbit first recorded in 1631. WHAT!? I’m totally enamoured with them, and excited that they’ve joined our rabbitry project. Ok, it is actually Andrew’s rabbitry project, but I can’t help claiming a part. We’ll be up to 8 breeding does as soon as these 4 gorgeous girls mature a bit and are old enough to kindle kits with the New Zealand buck we keep. This breed is born jet-black, and as their adult fur comes in they turn a silver blue. As you can see, these little ladies are in the transition stage.

Rabbit is a fascinating concept for us, because they are a grass-based small scale livestock, and one we’re extremely excited to introduce as one of the offerings from our farm. We’ve got a bunch of kits at various stages, and happy healthy moimmas who enjoy shade, fans, and ice water bottles to curl up with when it is hot. They get cherry & apple branches and grass delivered to them daily where they are comfortable, and their youngsters move out to the rabbit tractors once they are weaned off their momma’s milk at about 4-5 weeks of age. It’s a grand situation for everybody.

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