Tag Archives: green

Baling hay

I do find things on the farm that are interesting and though many people think having a big tractor can do anything (well I use to) but the tractor is only a tool to get things done, it lifts, pulls, drives, tows and lifts to name a few. But in order to get things done you need the attachments much like a mix master to have a complete system.

We don’t have a baler, we employ sub contractors in to do this. They work hard, sitting and driving for hours and hours while the moisture is good to bale the hay that was raked and is lying on the ground. They can do 20 hours days if the weather conditions are right and they have job after job to do.

He came all day and left after we went to bed, we helped him move his Ute so that when he finished he didn’t have a 10 kilometre walk back to his Ute to go home in when he moved paddocks after dark. we bale the hay so that we can keep it and feed it out to our stock to align with our farming practices, which is to keep everything as natural as possible.

Farming for us is a whole of life from birth to death for our animals, the farm has been developed to consider nature, the environment and the animals. This makes it a business enterprise that is sustainable, clean and green. Our meat reflects the care and planning the farmer does with all the decisions that he makes.

Hay raking whilst the sun shines

When growing up I knew where eggs, meat and produce came from, my parents gave us a very rounded education. I knew hens laid eggs, lamb, beef, chicken were producers of the meat that we eat and farmers grew crop so that we could have food. My grandfather on my mothers side was a fisherman and we use to travel into the ocean in South Australia and fish with him, fillet them and cook them to eat.

Until I married a farmer I never knew how much they had to know to bring this food to the supermarket shelves and to our tables. They have to consider animals first and foremost if they produce meat for human consumption, their care and welfare are never far from farmers minds. In producing crop to sell and people to eat they need to know soil types, rainfall and what will and won’t grow to a saleable quantity. They also need to know how to drive really big tractors, trailers and trucks so that they are safe and they can and do use these as tools of trade.

The first time I was bogged (by the farmer) on the property I asked to be taught how to drive a tractor so that if one day I was needed to rescue someone, him or pull equipment I could do it safely and thus have gone on to learn most of the tractors on the farm. I have also been taught how to mix formula for baby lambs and calves so that I can feed them and raise them when they are orphaned. Nothing scientific but like humans too much bring stomach issues and too little brings starvation.

The farmer tells me most days and did before I moved here what he’s up to, not because I am interested (which I am) but for work health and safety and also if I ever feel like driving out to him I know where to look, find him and or bring him a coffee if I feel like being nice. I have taken him, coffee, morning and afternoon tea and sandwiches for the days he is out for hours at a time.

This year he got the crop in when we had good rain, the last 3 have been below average rainfall and things have been difficult. The paddocks have been dry and we have had to purchase feed stuff for the cattle and sheep. But the farmer likes to grow our own feed stuffs for the animals and at one stage last year when it was very dry (it was a drought actually) all he wanted to do was get out on the tractor and plough the soil, plant seed and watch it grow to reap it, bale it and feed it out.

We have had good rains this year and I went out to film him raking, I knew raking was not about your garden style rake but something bigger even before I did see one as he told me it needed the tractor to pull the rake. But one could be forgiven for thinking there were tools made like the garden variety rake that were attached to a big stick and then pulled along by a tractor , but alas, no here it is.

Why do we rake hay? I ask these questions even though I think I’m supposed to know but it is to take any moisture out of hay, especially as it has rained since it was cut. When baling hay they work on moisture content, if too high they stop. packing approx 600kilos of hay into a bale when wet or too green is a recipe for disaster. They can cook from the inside out and combust. I fed last year while the farmer had a break off the farm, when hay is baled it is done in brick sections in the baler and I pushed my bare arm through the brick and it was burned. I then realised the bales were too hot. After feeding out I took the tractor and took the bales one by one and placed them on the ground away from each other so that if they did catch fire we wouldn’t lose much and it wouldn’t spread very far.

It’s a great day in the Upper South east, firstly I have internet proper been about 8 weeks and the farmer is out working hard whilst I do book work. Have a great season.

hay-raking

Animals in real life

My day starts and ends with feeding 3 orphaned animals and I watch them and pat them as I do it (as best I can holding two bottles)  We currently have Coco, Johnny the merino lambs and Turnbull the Angus bull and they live in our now animal nursery and I watch them for signs of disease, growth and any other conditions that may affect them.I noted this morning Turnbull is without his identifiable red collar, we know who he is and he isn’t likely to get out of the nursery for sometime, he is thriving and doing better since the lambs have arrived.

Coco is still in her coat as she is little and Johnny has taken to finishing his bottle and pushing Coco away to get more milk. This is farming in real life Turnbull will also push his way past both lambs if he finishes drinking first to get more milk, it’s a game of balance and quick sucking by the lambs now, other than this they have become good friends. Even the Golden Retriever makes friends with baby animals, the lambs think he is their mum, I can hear when he heads up to the chicken coup as the lambs run up the fence calling him.

goldie-meets-lambs-14-09-2016

Giving Johnny a lick whilst turnbull and Coco look on.

I know we see the pictures from the Royal Shows where all the animals look clean and are beautifully kept, they are for shows, that is what they are bred for. They are cared for, washed and in some cases blow driers are used to fluff up or down hair, so that you will find them attractive and see the breeder and either buy it or look for the progeny.

They are the show case of that farmers annual work, so you will buy the semen to impregnate your females with or the animal itself. They are also the show case of agriculture teachers who work with students and animals in schools to get them to understand farming, animal husbandry and farming enterprises. They pick the best of the best ways to show these animals and understand how upset students can be when it is taken off to have it’s carcass scored.

Animals in real life though, are always well cared for on most farms are not like that in real life, they live in grass so on some days the sheep can look green in the colour of their wool, they live on red dirt in other districts and throughout Australia so their wool can take on a red look. If it’s muddy they take on the colour of that dirt and mud, that is why wool is a widely sort after textile, as it’s washable, absorbs dyes and is easily cleaned.

I know who knew farmers were not roaming around paddocks making sure that animals were washed, dried and groomed? We are out in the farm (mostly the farmer is) checking on mis-mothering of animals, helping to birth animals and in the worst of cases having to euthanase them. He will sit with binoculars watching the rears of cows checking for size of birthing, to make sure that it happens as well as it should. He can tell the difference between a front or rear foot presentation and knows instinctively whether or not he will be required to pull. He is mostly successful with live births but sometimes stillborns are delivered.

We also have chooks with a rooster, which I don’t like, they become protective of the hens and can fly at you. The one we have currently jumps on a tin as soon as he sees me and I have gone into the pen waving a shovel at it, on one occasion I threw the scrap bucket at it as he flew at me and attacked me. I was lucky I was wearing jeans that day or he would have scratched my legs, stupidly I had to then walk back into the coup and collect the bucket, now I keep the shovel handy, my Melbourne niece and nephew were a bit horrified at this.

This is farming, this is animals and we are all part of the kingdom that needs to share and get along, be it with or without a shovel in my case with the rooster or shoving past 2 little lambs to get more milk. Life is not always about looking the best, thinnest or being the smartest, it is about existing with each other to enjoy the opportunities in front of you with others.