“We cut 80 acres of hay last Friday and no sooner was the last row laid down than the next day’s forecast changed from sunny to chance of rain. It takes three clear days in a row to make hay. On the first day, the grass is cut. On the second, it is tedded – fluffed – with a giant spider-like implement that spreads the hay out so the sun can get to it. On the third day, when the grass has dried to about 16% moisture, it is raked into windrows, baled, and hauled out of the field to shelter.
Any rain will delay the process and reduce the quality of the hay. That’s why we watch the forecast so carefully before we mow. But we have found that forecasts are unreliable on years as wet as this one. Rain begets rain. The soaked ground gives up moisture to the laden air, which needs only a small excuse to get rid of it again.
The first storm on Saturday went to the north, just nicking us. Then, a storm popped up to our west out of nowhere. We could see it on the radar, a green blob with a red heart, moving straight toward us as though drawn by sinister force. It began as a light shower and then it started to beat on the roof and waterfall from the eaves, dropping an inch on us in two hours. There are few things that make one feel as puny and powerless as the sound of hard rain on 80 acres of cut hay.
The sun came out again on Monday…” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.
- Essex Farm: Haymaking (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm’s Nathan Henderson’s “Drafting a Future” Radiostory (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm to Host “Celebratory Spring” Farm Tour (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Haymaking Frenzy (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)