Having lived my entire life "out West" where hay was something you drove a long ways to buy (and paid a premium price for) it is still a novelty to me to live here in the South where we have a field with our own hay!
We've been watching our lower hay pasture just grow and grow. We have a few steers turned out in that pasture to fatten them up and in a few places the grass was so tall all you could see was the tops of the steers heads!
Maybe it won't interest you - but I still find the whole hay harvesting thing very interesting. We are lucky to have a couple - Robert and Debbie - that cut, tether, rake, bale, and stack our hay. Probably one of the most awesome things is that we don't have to worry about when its ready - they actually keep an eye on the hay (and the weather) and give us a call when they are going to start. They have a man that helps them out; in the pictures above he is cutting. It looks a bit different than if you were to mow the pasture... I guess it has to do with the kind of mower you use and obviously this one is for cutting hay.
These are the blades up close. Looks a whole lot different than our bush hog!
When the field is cut, it looks like this. It is rather interesting as it cuts the grass hay and then just lays it over.
Then, Debbie comes along with her pretty red tractor pulling this tether machine. It picks up the hay and throws it around til it lands on the ground in a sporadic manner. This allows it to get better air circulation which helps in the curing or drying of the hay. Its fun to watch her when she does this - she really moves fast (which is why I have no picture)!
At this point it is really important that the hay doesn't get wet - hence the reason they watch the weather forecast. After it is properly dried then Debbie comes back with her pretty red tractor again and she rakes the hay into nice long parallell rows called windrows. I honestly don't know how she does this. She moves at a really fast clip and she is pretty much constantly looking behind. I wondered once why she had to look behind so much and when I was taking these pictures I realized it is because she is constantly adjusting the level of the rake. She's not just out there leisurly pulling the rake and enjoying sitting on the tractor! I bet its an art to get it raked just right. And I bet her neck hurts at night.
There's her nice, uniform windrows.
This is the hay rake! I think it is an awesome looking piece of equipment.
Then behind her along comes Robert with the baler just gobbling up those perfect windrows of hay. He has to look behind also. I bet his neck hurts at night too! Actually, I bet they hurt all over!
There must be some electronic device that lets him know when the bale is finished as he stops his tractor and sits a few seconds (maybe it is wrapping the baling string around it?) and then all of a sudden the door opens and the bale rolls out.
I love how the field looks with all the bales sitting where they dropped! Right now everyone is haying so wherever you go there are fields of hay bales. It is really pretty.
Once the whole field is baled they put these hay spears on both the front and back of the tractor. This allows them to pick up and carry two bales at a time. They take them up out of the field where they stack them next to the tree line for us.
And there you have it! Over 100 big beautiful rolls of hay and two more cuttings to go this summer.
It is hot and sunny here this week and my garden is happily growing! And, the news on the house progress is that we installed our cabinets today! We've still got the huge island and custom range hood to install. I should have some pictures to post on cabinets soon!