July 23, 2011

Home for Haying

On Tuesday night, after only three weeks on the road this round, we arrived back home for another break! What a treat to be back so soon! For those new to my blog, Malcolm and I stay out on the road for 5-6 weeks at a time usually, and then come home for a week or two for a break. So any extra home time is MUCH appreciated!

It was so good to sleep in our "real" beds again...
...and to eat at home instead of on the road!
We love all aspects of being home, even the chores that have to be done become fun instead of mundane (though I still resist the need to scrub tubs). Paris's personal favorite household chore is laundry. She loves doing laundry!
There's lots going on here to keep us all busy. The trip home was made with a purpose other than just taking a break from the road. We came home to help Malcolm's parents with the haying. Really, Malcolm is the help. I don't know how to run any of the machinery (though I plan to learn one of these days). But I can make lunches and run errands for parts.

Between household chores and haying chores, I've been sneaking out to the pasture to visit Dawn and "little bit." I've been wracking my brain for a name for the new filly, and coming up with nothing!
She still thinks I'm awfully interesting...

But a tad bit scary too. The picture above is the closest she's dared to get to me, and I made the mistake of clicking the picture at that moment, which of course caused a quick back up. Thoughtless of me, I know! Impulse...
But we're working on getting acquainted a little at a time.
Yesterday it was time to move the swather (the piece of machinery that mows the hay) to another field down the road. I love the way hay smells when its baking in the sun! Our summer's are short, but they sure are beautiful!
Malcolm's Dad has been baling, while Malcolm swaths, and then his Mom and I have been running errands and relaying messages and fixing food, etc. Malcolm really likes haying. He finds great pleasure in making straight rows and neat, tidy bales.
I guess all that rain in May and early June (and you know there was lots of it) at least came in handy for something. The hay this year is fabulous! There is TONS of it! One of the fields has produced more bales than anyone can remember.
They've gotten a lot done, but there is still a lot to go still!

Yesterday afternoon, I had returned home from delivering a late lunch and was down at the corrals with the mare and foal, when Malcolm's mom drove down in the pickup to tell me the swather had broken and we had to run to Bowman to get a part. It took both of us because the parts store was going to be closed by the time we got there (Bowman is an hour away) and they were going to sit the part outside the door for us, but it was heavy. So we both went to help each other load it.

As we were leaving, there were storm clouds banking up to the north and west and we were under a tornado watch till 9:00pm. We were hoping it would rain at home where the hay is already cut and baled because its getting kind of dry here. But the catch was we didn't want it to rain east of us, where we still had a lot of hay on the ground that wasn't baled yet.

We got to Bowman and picked up our part, grabbed a couple of Vanilla Bean Frappe's, (because you have to treat yourself to one since you came all the way to town!) and headed home. The clouds were really impressive, and bizarre, and not too friendly looking. We kept hoping to get home before the storm broke, but no such luck. We hit heavy rain about half way home and within moments we were being pummeled with hail. The lightening was zipping around everywhere and it was just not a pleasant evening for a drive!

The hail passed over within a few minutes without causing damage to the truck, and then the rain let up. We debated whether we were supposed to take the part to the hay field, or whether Malcolm and his Dad would have gone home. When we got to the turn where we had to make a decision, we decided to head home. It didn't look like it had rained as hard in our area, but it was still pretty soppy.
And sure enough, Malcolm and his Dad were home. They'd come in just a little before the storm hit. It had stopped raining when we got home, and the clouds were breaking up, though looking no less threatening.
Malcolm and his Dad were glad to see us home. It hadn't rained horribly there, but the wind had blown badly. While driving home, we hadn't been in much wind, which is uncommon in storms around here, but at home, it had been horrendous! Malcolm's Dad said the gusts had to have been close to 70mph. Do you see the wagon frame on the right side of this picture?
Malcolm and his Dad stood in the kitchen and watched it roll across the yard until it ran into the bridge on the left. You know that had to be some powerful wind to move that!

There was evidence of the winds strength all over the place!
There were tree limbs a half mile down the driveway where there aren't any trees! And as bad as that was, what was in the fore front of all our minds, was all that beautiful hay that had been cut over the last couple days. The mood was rather sombre, as Malcolm and I climbed into the Jeep and drove over to the hay fields to check on things. On the way, we stopped to admire the sunset peaking through the ragged remains of the storm clouds.
 The sunset was beautiful, but, as feared, the hay fields were not. And though we expected some damage, we were not expecting this...
All those beautiful windrows from the earlier pictures? GONE! And not just tossed about or blown crooked. In this particular part of the hay fields, the hay was GONE! It looked like it had been baled and hauled out of there already.

Down in the lower part of the field, we found a mess! It was, to say the least, discouraging.
it was getting too dark for pictures, but you can still tell the field is a disaster
But that's the way the wind blows, the cookie crumbles, etc. You take the good with the bad, and being the perpetual optimist that I am (annoyingly so at times) I had to point out that if the swather hadn't broken down mid-afternoon, we'd have had a lot more hay on the ground. Everything happens for a reason, I guess. At least it was the hay blown all over and the trees broken up, instead of the buildings!

We got home just in time to slip inside before another drowning downpour  arrived with more lightning.
And so, since everything was so sodden this morning, instead of haying we spent all morning and half the afternoon dragging tree branches out of the yard, and raking up twigs.
Between the branches in the yard, the ones tossed into the pasture, and the limbs broken up in the trees that had to be gotten out with a chain saw, we ended up moving three big piles of limbs and branches. To look at them, you'd think there weren't any trees in our yard anymore! And though we didn't lose any trees, several of them have taken on an entirely different look.

(perpetual optimist kicking in again) On the bright side, Lucy and Zadie sure did enjoy having us hang out with them in the yard today!
Its only been in the high 70's today but its really humid! Not good conditions for the hay to dry out. Hopefully we'll be able to get back to work by morning, though I don't know how much, if any, of the hay that was down can be salvaged. Time will tell.
We finished the yard, and I visited with Dawn and her filly before turning them back out. I'd just left them in the corral for the evening when we had to leave for Bowman yesterday before the storm. She finished off an entire square bale over night, but was still eager to start grazing when I turned her back out, thus the expression, "eats like a horse."
During lunch, we watched little bit play and kick and run big circles around her mama.
Tomorrow, if time allows, I think it will be Sky's turn to get some attention. He was happy to visit with me across the fence the other afternoon, so I think I'll give him an opportunity for some closer interaction and give little bit and her mom a break.

Despite good intentions, I never seem to manage to blog consistently when I'm home. Just too many things I want to do, and too many things that come up that have to be done. But I have big ideas about posting again in a couple days or so. Hopefully I'll be able to make that happen! Until then, welcome to all you knew readers, and I'll be back for a visit with everyone soon!


texwisgirl said...

sorry you were hit with the storms in the middle of haying! but i'm SO jealous you're having such a good crop (ours in Texas is absolutely pitiful this year!) but hopefully you can rake some of those windrows and salvage some bales from the mess. LOVE that last picture of the horses with the bales in the background. just beautiful.

enjoy your time at home - as long as it lasts!

Michaele said...

Another wonderful and well written post. I loved ALL the photos. How very sad to have all the hay blown away!! I am still trying to get my mind around that. As far as the tree limbs, I know all about that! Wonderful last photo. So beautiful.

Louise said...

I'm sorry that you lost all of that hay. It's the way of farming, as you say. Your hay fields are so big, compared to the much smaller fields around here. It looks like they stretch as far as you can see. Little Bit is adorable. Look at the butt on her in that last picture! She's going to have some push from behind.

Shirley said...

Beautiful filly, love that last photo. The sunset is spectacular! Good thing you didn't hit that fierce wind when you were driving.

small farm girl said...

Wow! I've never heard of storms taking your hay away. lol. That's some wind!
Your pictures are beautiful!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Clouds and sunset pictures - awesome. Damaged hay - ugh. Your foal is darling!

gowestferalwoman said...

Sarah! Thought of you and your hubby while reading this article http://www.secondact.com/2011/07/trucking-as-a-second-career/

But you have better photography here :) Love your new baby!

Ann said...

what kind of dog is he?

Meagan said...

That looked like quite a storm! That sunset picture sure was beautiful though!! :-) I hope you were able to salvage some hay and I'm glad you are getting to do all the fun things you love being on the ranch!!

MTWaggin said...

I love the naked butt picture of Paris in the laundry, the lovely sunset (they are the best after storms unfortunately) and that cute foal and her Momma. Glad I found your blog!

goatgirl said...

I like the name Little Bit. She is a beauty.

Kim Clemons said...

I am heart broken for you all about your hay. Down here in the coastal Houston area we are in such an extreme drought (all over Texas actually), that the hay I'm buying for $9.00 a bale is all brown and dry mostly. It's been a long while since I've been able to get fresh, green hay. My horses and donkeys really don't even want to eat it. They just kind of shuffle it around. It's a big waste really. The pastures haven't fared well being so dry either. They are weedy mostly. No rain to help the grasses grow. In Central Texas (Austin area) my Mom tells me the horses are looking so thin this year because of the dry conditions. It's very sad down here for pasture animals. On another note, I have a name for your baby little bit. I think she looks like a Moon Pie. That is in keeping with Dawn and Sky too! I had a gelding named Moon Shadow. He was a b/w paint. I loved that horse. I called him Moonie. You could go with Moonie or just Pie as short, but Moon Pie as a whole name. Just my two cents worth. Love your blog!

Cynthia Eloise said...

who would have ever thought about all that hay being blown away before it was baled. bazaar. what a freaky little storm. then look at the beautiful sunset. thanks for the pixs and sharing your busy day.