Friday, June 3, 2011

Leaves of Grass

I wonder if Whitman ever contemplated the cutting, raking and baling of all those millions of blades of vegetation. 
After waiting what seems like forever, the hay fields in our area have finally been able to be cut, dried and baled! 

Our local feed store ran out of the large square and round bales in early April.  We could still buy small squares of sub-par mixed grass for $7.50 a bale though.  No thanks.  Luckily we have a secret squirrel source and Paul was able to get another 50 small squares to hold us out to the first cutting of the season. 
On top of the empty hay barns, last month our area received record amounts of rainfall and caused flooding in the lakes and rivers.  There seemed to be no end to the rain and I was getting a bit uneasy about our hay supply since it seemed that the first haying would be happening much later than normal.
We still have about twenty bales left in the barn, but have plans to go out and buy some hay in the fields in the next day or so.  I’m sure there are others just as anxious as we are to get some fresh munchies for their livestock.
I really hate having to rely on buying hay for the critters, especially during the spring and summer when there seems to be grass growing everywhere – everywhere except on our place that is.  Well, that isn’t entirely true.  The grass we do have is lush, but it isn’t where we could let the goats, mule or horse out to graze as those areas are either in the front yard with the fruit trees or around the garden where we don’t have fencing.  Right now there is only one area besides the goat pen that is fenced for grazing and it isn’t that large.  I’ll keep three goats in that area at a time and rotate them every other day so everyone has a chance to munch on greens.  The goats that are in the pen have hay, but I’ve also been trying to cut three or four bags of fresh grass for the pen-bound goats using the push mower every day.
Any time I go past a large lawn or a field being cut just for the sake of keeping the vegetation down, I think to myself, “My goats could be eating that!” or “Do you know how many bales of hay that could have been?”. 
I know it’s not just having the grass, but the fencing required to keep the livestock contained to the grassy areas.  And it’s not just having the grass to hay, but having the equipment to actually process the grass into hay suitable for storage.  It’s all about logistics.
Paul has been working on making pasture out of the woods with the dozer and tractor, but it’s slow going.   And once the areas are removed of trees, we still have to plant grass and fence in the areas.  If you ever move to the country and want livestock, learn from my mistake and buy something with some pasture and fencing!  I will never again complain about the price of pastureland. 


  1. We are still waiting. I won't tell you how (few) many bales I have because it will make me break out in hives. I have four acres, but much of it is unuseable as pasture, so I, too, rotate my flock. I've slowly fenced portions and I use electric net, which is very handy. Next move, I will have a barn and fenced pasture. Even if I have to live in my car!

  2. Looking for people who sell hay is on my list of things to do next week. Ugh. I hope things get better for you!

  3. I'm right there with you. Have you tried electric netting? We have it and cordon off areas of the yard for the animals to graze...its better than the unfinished, wooded, non-fenced pastures that we are working on.

  4. I think the same thing every time I pass by a house with 3 or more acres in front and they mow all of it weekly! What a waste of energy, time and grass and money.

    You would think with the economy so bad and gas so high, they would find alternatives to doing this.

    I hope you get your pasture fixed this year and seeded. It will be such a savings for you.
    My aunt used to let her cow out into her front yard (no fence) and watch her graze.

    We are blessed with lots of pastures and fences.