What a difficult month it has been with regard to haymaking! We started out with high hopes for August, thinking it would be filled with long sunny days. How wrong can you be?
There wasn’t a day went by at the beginning of the month when it didn’t rain. Sometimes not a lot, but just enough to dampen our plans.
As the month wore on, we were getting desparate and in the end settled for baling on an overcast day, so the hay wasn’t as dry as we had hoped, but not sopping wet.
We couldn’t risk storing it in the barn so stacked it outside and covered it with tarpaulins, which is not that easy in the strong winds. Each morning it had to be uncovered so the sun and air could get to it. Every so often we were caught out by showers, some so heavy we were soaked through trying to get the tarps back on!
Thank goodness it’s all done now and we have winter fodder for the hungry beasts. The goats have sampled it and declared it edible so we should be OK with the sheep.
The dogs are delighted too as they have their field back and see where they’re going when they chase the swallows. The babies have fledged the nest so there is plenty to keep them occupied.
We are also busy sorting the ewes ready to receive the tup and preparing the lambs for the mart. This years lambs are our best ever and we are expecting top prices. Let’s hope the buyers agree!
The last few weeks have been a tense time, constantly watching the weather and being disappointed when day after day we had rain. And not just a shower, but gallons of the stuff pouring from the clouds.
We got off to a bad start when the wheel broke off the tractor when we were cutting the grass. A neighbour had to winch us out of a very boggy area.
Whenever there was a hint of sunshine we were out there turning the grass and making plans to bale. Time after time we were disappointed when the black clouds moved overhead. We thought we would never get started and were worried that the grass laying in the field would be ruined.
There have only been a couple of days in the whole of this month when it has been possible to bale any hay and we took full advantage, working late into the night and bringing in the bales by moonlight.
Today we weren’t expecting rain until 4pm so we were working furiously to get the last of it done. Typically the heavens opened up at 2pm and it was a race against time to get them all loaded onto the trailer and into the dry barn. We can only hope that they were dry enough to prevent rot and spontaneous combustion!
Despite the bad start we have 333 bales to feed the beasts over winter and the problem facing us now is where to put them.
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Smithy Croft, Strichen, Fraserburgh, AB43 6SL. United Kingdom