hey hay

hay making is an art. the factors that go into making great, decent or bad hay are so many, i can hardly list them here. but wait, i am ahead of myself. hay, on our farm, is a necessity for our winter’s animal feeding. while we do stockpile some forage in the pastures, we rely on hay as feed for many months. now, in the depths of our winter, we think about hay a lot. the cows, the horses, the sheep, (and the milker, the rider and the shepherd) they all have their nutritional needs, their preferences and their opinions.  with no haying land of our own to manage, we rely on hay farmers in the county to feed the many mouths here in the hollow. we also use an unlimited amount of both hay and straw (the dried stalks of small grains, i.e. oats, wheat) for mulching our garden beds. so, we use great, decent and bad bales of material all over this place. the challenge is finding the right balance for the right price in the right weather conditions. another farm dance, check it out:

our best

our best

an orchard grass clover mix fed one precious bale at a time to addie. the top dog around here. after all, she gives us cream.

not nearly as palatable

not nearly as palatable

you can see rosie is more interested in me than the “rolled garbage” sasha’s description. this was hay that was cut way late (once the grasses are going to seed, the nutritional value goes dramatically down)from a field not managed for proper hay production. the only reason this roll is not in our lowest category, it is not moldy.

the worst

the worst

still valuable, anything moldy is not suitable for consumption and heads right out to the fields for mulch. an important farm input, but not something we want to spend a premium on. has anyone out there got some good hay??

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