“It is solstice time now, with long days and strong sun. Last week, the forecast promised exactly what we were hoping for: a three-day window of no rain in which to get a huge load of hay mowed, tedded, raked, and baled. Courtney, Asa, and Chad each took a team of horses and a sickle bar mower up the road to the 150-acre field and mowed and mowed through the sticky heat until there were 2,000 bales worth of grass on the ground.
That much hay will feed our animals for a whole winter month, and has a street value, in our neighborhood, of about $8,000 — provided it doesn’t get wet before it gets to the barn, which renders it more or less worthless.
Of course, placing such a big bet attracted the attention of the puckish god of agriculture, who, last Friday, crooked his finger at the baler, and broke it. Severely. While Chad and Liam began loosening bolts, Mark drove to Champlain for parts, and I nervously hit refresh on the NOAA weather website. Saturday looked iffy, with a chance of thunderstorms that climbed from 20% to 40%. Two good things happened after that.
Our neighbor, Fred Holland, appeared in the field with his baler, and got a thousand bales in for us, out of the goodness of his heart. It was humid and nearly a hundred degrees, and he baled until one of his tire popped. On Saturday, with our baler back in service, most of our crew came in to help, and we went to the field as soon as the dew was dry. Around noon the clouds gathered ominously around the Boquet hills, and a cooling breeze carried the smell of rain.
The radar showed a band of thunderstorms headed directly for us, and the radio warned of downpours and hail. But then that same puckish god must have taken pity on us, because just before the storm hit us, the clouds parted…” [Continue reading more of Kristin Kimball talking about Essex Farm.]