Our field was baled this week and there was enough hay for two and a half jumbo bales. I cannot tell you how happy I was to have round bales in our field. There used to be a field on our drive to Nebraska that took my breath away every fall. It was full of hay bales, and every time I drove by on the interstate I would think, "I should risk my life sometime and pull over to get a picture."
Thankfully I never did that. But I still love a field full of bales. Even a field full of two bales...
This field has been a bit of a test in patience and has left us with great feelings of lack of control. You might remember we had to wait and wait and wait to get it planted in the first place. Due to a super late spring, super busy farmers and it's small size (four acres isn't enough to gain much interest) we had a terrible time finding someone we could hire to plant it for us.
Then when did find someone, we couldn't find the right seeds. So instead of alfalfa with oats as a cover crop we planted alfalfa and barley (on the seed dealer's advice). It wasn't cheap either (for the labor or the seeds). But we'd only have to do this once and the alfalfa would grow for 3-5 years, making a small sum with each cutting. A few days after it was planted we had major flooding in the area, and half of the seed ran to the corner of the field.
When it was time to harvest the barley, we were told it was too green. We were told to wait a few weeks. But weeks turned into months and we couldn't get the guy to come back and finish the job. If the cover crop wasn't removed it would smother the alfalfa next Spring.
It's funny to be in a place of utter dependence. It's not a common place to be. But this field left us with our hands tied. We don't have a tractor. We are smack in the middle of learning everything from scratch.
Luckily for us, we recently met a neighbor down the road who took pity on us. The same one who gave us his cattle's manure for our garden. In a last ditch effort, Rory stopped by, explained our predicament and asked for help. When he heard our sad song, he started working on our behalf. He sent his guy to come and cut the barley. Then he sent his son to come and rake the barley. And the third night his son came back to bale it. We're covering his costs and he's getting the hay bales... but we are so, so grateful for his help. So grateful!
Tonight our farmer friend came to get the two bales, he told us some terrible-but-somehow-fitting news that the barley should have been cut way sooner. In fact, barley shouldn't have been planted at all. Barley overwhelms other crops. He doesn't think the alfalfa has much of a chance to come back next Spring. He recommends tilling it all under, and starting over next year. It's too bad because we have spent so much money on this field. So much money. And we're going to start next Spring in the same place we started this year.
Except that we have learned a lot. And we have found a farmer friend who has been generous and kind.
Sometimes things don't go as planned. This field would be one of those things. But how adorable are these pictures? Worth a thousand bucks?
We'll keep telling ourselves that.