This Year’s Hay Production – Part I

This is one of our hay fields immediately prior to cutting, the first of four steps in our hay production for this year.

The freshly cut fescue grass, seen above, is allowed to dry in the sun for a few days until the moisture content is low enough to permit safe baling of the hay.

When the grass has dried to the point that it is ready to be formed into bales of hay, it will look different from when it was newly cut, as is evident from the photograph above.

At this point, the dried fescue is ready to be raked into windrows in preparation for mechanical baling.  The photograph above shows the two rakes that are being used to wind-row the grass laying in the fields.

This is the end product of cutting and wind-rowing in the field.  The grass is now ready for the baling machine to arrive and perform it’s magic (the topic of last year’s post Boosting The Average).

But what’s this?  Something seems to be haywire out in one of the hay fields.  You may recall from last year’s Boosting The Average post that one of the rotary cutters used to cut the fescue broke, requiring repairs in the field in order to proceed with the hay production.

 As you can see, this year’s problem involves one of the hay rakes.  It seems a wheel decided to fall off!

As Craig knelt down to figure out what would be required to fix the broken wheel, another problem came to mind.  How to lift the very  heavy implement in order to re-attach the wheel?


 Fortunately, Craig had his hay hauling truck “Cannonball” with him, and as you can see, this truck is fitted with a hydraulic bale lift on the bed of the truck.  With a little bit of care, the lift could be used to elevate the heavy hay rake for the repairs it required.  

With the hay rake elevated, Craig had no problem fixing the broken wheel (with a little help from a few hardware items found in my shop parts bins).

And as you can see, the hay rake is now as good as new – well, almost good as new, considering that it is probably as old as I am!

Part II (and perhaps a Part III) of our hay baling shenanigans will most likely be forthcoming in the near future.  I’ll bet you can’t wait, can you?

Keets ‘n Such

Retta spotted one of our guinea hens foraging in a pasture the other day, accompanied by a brood of newborn guinea keets, as seen in the following photograph..

We were excited to see this, because up until now most of our guineas were raised in captivity by Retta in a setup like you see below.

It is a fair amount of work raising keets in this manner, so Retta and I are hoping that our flock of guineas have finally reached the  “critical mass” necessary to be considered a self-sustaining population.  After all, as long as there are ticks in this world, you can never have too many guineas roaming around your property.

Now, if you peer again very closely at the first photograph (at the top of this post), do you notice anything unusual?  Nothing?

I’ve taken the liberty to enlarge a portion of that photo slightly, for the benefit of those of you who, like me, are afflicted with middle-aged eyes.  Now do you see what I see?  Give up?

Look closely at this fella.  He does not look the same as the other keets.  I believe that this is either a very deformed guinea keet, or else a turkey chick somehow joined the flock ;)

If you don’t believe me, compare him to the guinea keets we raised in captivity, pictured below.

I surmise that the wild turkey chick wandered off with the guineas as they passed by, and then lost his directions back home.  Sadly, the chick did not survive.

UPDATED at 6:13 PM

I think this side-by-side photo of the guinea keets standing with the turkey chick highlights the differences in their stature and coloration.


Remember this shaded picnic area from a previous post entitled The Catfish Pond ?  I was headed over to that spot the other day to do some maintenance work, when I was greeted by this gal ….

Apparently, Retta and I are not the only ones who like to frequent this cool, quiet spot.  The doe, whom I presume didn’t want to disturb my intended work schedule, loped off into the woods, leaving me to enjoy the peaceful setting as I went about my tasks.

Chores finished for the morning, I set off back to the house, when I noticed one of the buzzards that seems to have made it’s home in the trees near the catfish pond circling overhead.  Perhaps I was standing a little too still as I observed the bird gracefully tracing figure eights in the sky, because the vulture soon swooped down toward my position, landing only yards from my location.  Maybe a meal was at hand, he might have reckoned, only to have his hopes dashed as I snapped several photographs and quickly departed.

When one weighs the pros and cons of country life, encounters such as these certainly bubble up to the top of the list of positive factors.  Don’t you agree?