Rolling in the Hay
June 15, 2018, 7:29 am
Filed under: June 2018 | Tags: , , , , ,


June 15, 2018

The haying season has finally begun. The rain delayed me some, but yesterday I got the first hay of the season mowed. The tender grass and trefoil will make some very nice hay for the horses. I mowed this crop with the tractor. The horses will be used to fluff the drying hay, as well as, to rake it into windrows.

We have quite a bit to do. Just like any journey, it begins with the first step. It looks like a good stretch for hay making. Early next week a guy will bale and wrap a good amount of our cow hay. That baleage will be used in the coldest part of winter to keep the cows in top condition. The hay that is shown in the picture will be baled dry and stored for winter feeding of the horses.


This is some of the nicest hay that I have ever cut. The sheep wintered in this field. They grazed the grass I left here for them all winter. They set the grass back a little making it slower to mature allowing for later cutting. They also fertilized it all winter and early spring. I will call this a grazing success. I should also mention that 12 sheep grazing all winter only ate 4 bales (800 pounds) of hay that I made. The rest of their diet came from the stockpiled grass in this field. The hay was available to them 24/7, but they chose to paw through the snow to eat the grass.

So the 2018 hay season has begun. We will be busy for awhile as long as the sun shines. All is well here at Riceland….we are just taking care of the Meadows!

Stockpiled Pasture
October 20, 2014, 9:38 pm
Filed under: October 2014 | Tags: , , ,
White clover blooms against a colorful backdrop

White clover blooms against a colorful backdrop

October 20, 2014

The cows are eating their last pastures of the 2014 grazing season. I have a few more paddocks with some stockpiled grass for them to enjoy, until the winter snows blow. They are in the most east pasture now, munching on third cutting hay, left to grow to nourish the plant roots. The frost has signaled the grass to go dormant, so lightly grazing the hayfield won’t hurt a thing.

The wooded pasture in the photo is the next hamlet for the cows. The woods provide some shelter from the late autumn winds. The grass lush and green will provide some very good meals for my soon to be momma cows. One young lady had her calf last week. She is still camera-shy, but we will see about that!

My horse pasture grows short. The horses are just tonight starting to be supplemented with hay, a little each day at meal time. They eat their oats and clean up the hay by morning. I am sure winter will soon be here. Our logging job, cleaning up the old fallen oak begins Wednesday. The horses and equipment are ready to go. I just need to roll up some broken fence and the job can start.

The horses will be given an old hay field with some corn fodder on one end as a jump lot this winter. They will paw down through the snow and eat the stockpiled grass and the leaves from the corn fodder. The frozen ground will keep them from damaging  the soil and plants beneath their big feet. The area is more for excercise than for feeding. The grass is just a bonus.

The cow’s last pasture for the season has waist-high grass and red clover standing in it. A large grove of white pines will provide shelter and protection from the elements for the cows and their calves. Once the pasture has been eaten down, they will spend the winter under the barn overhang. This last pasture will provide a playground on nice days, once the cattle are moved to the barnyard for winter.

Having stockpiled grasses, left to grow tall until after frost, is like having money in the bank. It keeps the feed bill down by providing many free meals. This approach to self sufficiency, is just one more reason why I farm the way I do. Low inputs help keep the business end profitable…without profit, there is no farm…at least not one “in the black.”

Snow Day
January 5, 2014, 1:41 pm
Filed under: January 2014 | Tags: ,
Happy New Year

Happy New Year

January 5, 2014

   The year has started off with a snowy blast. It has been winterlike since mid-October. I don’t mind, I like the snow. It does help that most of the work was done before it started coming, I will say that.

   A big , cold, winter storm is forecast to hit us over the next few days. I am working steady to prepare for it. The large sow nests, need to be cleaned partially out and refilled with clean dry straw. That job will fill most of my day. All the barns will get cleaned and bedded…nothing says comfort like a nice warm bed!

   The sheep have been grazing the paddock where our sugarhouse is located. They have been enjoying stockpiled grass since Christmas day. They refuse to eat a bite of hay, choosing instead, to munch the soft autumn grasses hidden just under the snow.

   The cows are eating lots of hay. The hay helps them stay warm as they digest it. I give them plenty and mix in bales from different fields, even offering a bale of oats now and then. They seem to enjoy the diversity and it makes me feel good to see them enjoy their food.

   The horses have been enjoying a few days off. The weather and demands from an off farm job, get in the way of my horse farming. I don’t like that, but that is just how it is …. for now 😮