Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HEY!! That’s it is..

That time of year again - and the saga continues. I have a personal hay field which has been cut and baled by a neighbor for years. I never know from one season to the next whether or not his services will be available, and it is not as though there is a lot of local competition for the privilege of doing it. The ideal cutting week (3rd week of June) came and went this year - the weather was not terribly cooperative and the person in question was simply not around. I began getting more and more troubled about what to do - it is a six acre field which contributes quite a bit to my annual needs, plus if it weren’t cut, then what? There would be no second cutting (although the bobolinks would be happy - their fledglings would have a rare chance to survive the haying season). Should I just brush hog it? Geez, how wasteful. Plus I had given the town permission to plant sugar maple saplings along the perimeter, to support the initiative of replacing the ancient (and decaying) sugar maples which line the major roads in Plainfield. Not only are they beautiful, but they have long contributed sap to the maple sugar houses in town. Now, however, new trees must be twenty feet back from the road (unlike the originals which are almost IN the road in many cases) so two sides of my field perimeter are dotted with these little trees and their support stakes - kind of an obstacle course for someone trying to cut.

Finally I broke down and begged another neighbor to help. He is among the busier humans on the planet, and I had no great hope that he would be able, but mirabile dictu he agreed, and so it happened. I never saw such a good job in my life. He cut between each little tree so cleanly that it looked like he used scissors, for pete’s sakes. And into the corners. And around the electric pole. It was beautiful to see. He tettered and tettered for several days - and then, the fell clutch of circumstance intervened and an unpredicted tiny micro-burst cell of rain came through. It poured buckets at his house, making puddles and rivulets, and he and his wife were in fits of worry and upset. So much so that they actually drove to my field to assess the damage, the dears, only to find that barely four miles away it had hardly drizzled. Kind of a heavy dew, no more. It was a miracle. The hay was perhaps a touch more brown than it would have been, but it was just fine. The horses (who constitute the acid test) like it very much.

Here’s the pisser. I had gotten (paid for) between six and eight hundred bales off that field for many years. This year - and there is no less hay - I got four hundred....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Investment Opportunity

It has come to me that - in the future event when I have extra money - I should invest in companies which make applesauce and molasses. Horse people will know instantly why this is so - it is only remarkable that it has taken this long for me to reach the conclusion. Right now, for example, I am making noticeably more trips to the dump for my recyclables, since the dang boxes are overflowing with empty applesauce and molasses jars. And it never seems to be the ponies which need it - it is always the HUGE horses with their high dosages of icky and unpalatable powders which need the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Well, more like a quart. And it is a good thing we use many times the recommended number of fly predators - even though flies also love the stuff there just aren’t that many flies around, even in the heat.

Hay is a more difficult subject this year - I am practicing my mantra, to wit: If you don’t worry, then you won’t need to worry. Kind of esoteric, but it makes sense to me. And in the reaches of the night when things can be dark on every level, the mantra is handy. I certainly have enough in the barns for quite a while, but my comfort is in having them quite full by now and alas, it has not happened. The field which was to have suppled a huge quantity of my needs was cut a day late, in its 20 acre entirety, in spite of the fact that everyone (including the farmer) knew that weather was coming in. Sure enough, only a few hundred bales were possible, and I would not buy half of it since it was not dry enough, The rest of the cut hay was soaked, and then soaked again and again. Totally ruined. They don’t call it the heartbreak of farming for nothing - what a waste. The sodden rows are still there, silent in their mute reproach to bad luck and sad judgement every time I drive by.

The rain is making for extraordinary growth this year, though. The gardens are leaping out of the ground, and are very beautiful. And the pastures are bearing up nicely, I must say. There is still plenty of grass for everyone, and each morning the horses are in a good mood and hustle themselves out to their Happy Places - it is cute.

I am happy that the growth is so lush and beautiful for another reason, as well. We are planning an Open House here at Back Acres on Sept. 24th, and as I am a houseproud owner, it matters tremendously to me that the place look nice. And so it will - the grass will still be green at this rate, and the flowers thriving. Details of the event are in the new Mass. Horse and on the Back Acres Farm Facebook page - hope to see you then!