Friday, December 4, 2020

Other resources for hay

 We have sold out of hay.   Given the hay shortage this year, we are getting an unusual number of calls from people looking for hay, so I wanted to post the following information in case it helps someone. Cooperative Extension (CE) maintains separate lists of hay and straw producers.  As of early December, a lot of people have sold out.   Speaking only for our little hay operation, we were not able to hay at all in July due to weather, which is when we normally put up most of our hay volume.
You can post what hay you need and where you are located, and someone may respond.  Also, this Facebook page might be particularly helpful in unusual times, as it can include postings from people who decide to ship hay in from other parts of the country and resell, or small buyers who want to sell what they have for whatever reason.  These folks won't necessarily be on the list maintained by CE.
Your Local Feed Store.   Some local feed stores, such as Blue Seal or  Farmers Union, may sell bales of hay.  In normal times, they will usually cost more than buying from a farm, but in a shortage or if you need to drive far to a farm, the price difference may be minimal.
This Maine Cooperative Extension Webinar that may be of interest.   Note that you need to register, and can do that from the link.  I'm posting about this webinar before it airs, so I only have the following information from the CE webpage:
"Many livestock and equine owners in Maine purchase all of their hay and forage needs for winter. While this year’s growing season started out well, forage growth was reduced due to low rainfall in most of the state, especially for second and third hay cuttings.

This webinar will be presented at 10 a.m. and will be repeated at 6 p.m."

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Haven't posted in a long time!   

It has been a very busy summer, perhaps because the pandemic pushes one to bring in a bit more hay (now all sold) and expand the vegetable gardens.

Bed #1, on 7/1/2020 (photo to right).   The gardens went in  ahead of schedule, due to a dry and early spring.

We hayed in June, as the hayfields were not their usual boggy spring selves.   Some early baler issues were resolved satisfactorily.   July usually brings most of the hay volume, but rains prevented any July haying.   We necessarily hayed the first two weeks in August, for feed hay.   For whatever reason, the Augusta cut was pretty good. 

After having slightly reduced the size of the vegetable gardens in recent years, the pandemic urged a move in the other direction, and we planted more winter squash that usual.   We filled two hay beds, two large in-ground beds, and six raised beds.

I always try to "plan" that something will not thrive.   That seems a reasonable prediction with organic vegetables.   This year, it was more than one thing, but still not bad given the strange weather.   

There are the summer only eating items, like greens, lettuce, and cucumbers.  We always want to put a lot of brocolli and green beans in the freezers for the winter, along with freezing smaller amounts snap peas, cauliflower, kale, and sliced carrots.   Most of the tomatoes were eaten fresh, but a few were boiled down into sauce.  The Brussels sprouts didn't make it, but made a newly arrived pest happy.

More carrots went whole into the root cellar, along with potatoes and celeriac.   

Dried sage and oregano are in the kitchen cupboards.

The regular cellar now has more than the usual amount of acorn squash, butternut squash, and pie pumpkins.

The other thing that did less well than usual was the onions.   We usually put lots of onions into the cellar, and enjoy them all winter.   The wild turkeys, who normally do no harm, decided to wander and scratch in the small onion seedlings this year.  Oh well.

On plan for next year:   extend fence around the onions. 

Thanks to everyone who bought hay or vegetables this year!  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Update on hay beds

Hay bed with young winter squash.

This is a semi-permanent hay bed, right after the insect cover was removed this past week.   It is planted mostly with acorn squash, although there is a gap toward the back, followed by three hills of butternut squash.  The butternut squash vines will fill the gap.

Winter squashes (acorn, butternut, pumpkin) do very well in the hay beds here.   I try to keep enough hay beds maintained so that I can move things around a bit, and leave some hay bed space fallow each year.

The hay beds are semi-permanent.   One year, I accidentally sold the last of the mulch hay, before renewing the hay beds.  I had to let the hay beds go, and start them over when brought in hay the following year.  Hay beds are great for weed control, but they do need new hay added once or twice a year.

It all worked out, because I added manure and some rock phosphate to the overgrown beds, turned them under with the cultivator, and put down new hay sections.    The bed in the picture was turned over last year, and planted again for the first time this year. 

I have a few cabbages in a raised bed this year, and they seem happy there.

Happy Independence Day.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tucking in the baler

Today, George and I moved the hay baler into the metal garage.   This is always a tricky procedure, because it has to go in slant-wise, backwards, in order to fit.  The person (George) driving the tractor can't see what he might be about to hit, like the side of a building, so has to rely on someone (me) making hand signals from the ground.

I tend to drop my arms when I want someone to stop, and George expects arms to be raised for a stopping signal.   This can cause minor difficulties.

But, the procedure was a success, and we had a few inches to spare when we fit the farm tractor in beside the baler for the winter.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Mulch hay

We still have hundreds of bales of mulch hay available for sale.  $3/bale at the barn, in good weather.


The thing I really like about broccoli (broc) is it keeps on producing.  After the first heads have long since been processed into meal sized bags and put in the freezer for the winter, the plants keep making more.

Most of the remaining broc is used fresh in meals here.   But, I always let some keep maturing to yellow flowers.    There are bees that flock to the broc flowers in late fall, long after most wild flowers have gone by.   Have to save some for the bees.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Firewood and cool temps

 I took these pictures three days ago, but I'm still hauling and stacking.   Keep saying "good exercise" to myself.   Will probably be glad this chore is done when it is snowy this winter.   For now, I'm a little sore.

Saw the leaves at right hiding among the greenery.

Now, these are kind of pretty.   But, I need at least another month of warmer weather to get the rest of the garden into the cellar.   The garden went in very late due to the wet spring.   A lingering fall would be helpful.   Forecast says 42 degrees tonight.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mulch hay beds and green beans

This is a re-building year for the hay beds, after having to "let them go" last year.   I just finished three long beds.  

Given we're rebuilding, the layout is changing to one that makes it easier to mow, and gives winter squash vines more room to grow.

The beds in these pictures are 6 ft wide and 65 to 70 feet long.   They will sit this year, and some of the winter squash will be here next year.

In the two smaller beds I turned and planted this spring (not pictured), fewer weeds came up than in my regular in-ground beds.  That was a surprise.  Maybe the seed rotted?  I'll have to try this again.

August is string bean season.  I have blanched about 40 pounds of beans for the freezer.   But, we got a new chest freezer recently, so next year I may do more.   They are so much better than frozen beans from the market, in the winter.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mulch hay

Mulch hay for sale.  2017 cut.   Stored in barn or under an overhang.   Please contact us to schedule a  time to come by, so we can be sure someone is available to help.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 going to bed

Wishing everyone a peaceful and calm end to 2016.

We're out of hay until we start haying next season.

My sister Cate sent us a "pet blanket".   We've always kept old throws around, but according to our 21 year old cat, this is better.   He is pretty much living under it now.

The bird feeder has been filled, steps sanded, stove wood brought in, and a mid-day hot meal consumed.   Lots of snoozing going on here in the quiet.  I think I'll make some banana bread.

Happy Holidays.