Thursday, May 21, 2015

Raking, baling, watching the sky

bales on the right, raked hay on the left.  Lots of work ahead
 Haying weather is really a roll of the dice around here; most of the local farmers don't bother with trying to guess, they just round-bale the first cutting of hay and wrap it, and sell it as silage.  Wrapped bales don't really have to be picked up on any sort of schedule; you'll see them out in the fields for weeks or months until the farmer gets around to it.

The unfortunate part of that is that I don't have a round baler... but this year I watched the weather and saw a little window coming up that looked like haying weather.  So I cut the grass and crossed my fingers; tedded it, and tested it every day for moisture content.   This morning I thought it might work out, so I raked a row and tuned up the baler for bale length and weight.  Around noon the hay tested at 17% moisture, and the race is on.
First cutting has some seed heads and some weeds.  2nd cutting will be finer and better quality
So I had a guy on the tractor baling, and I was working with a crew of four to pick up the bales and toss 'em on a wagon.  One driver, one on the wagon, two people tossing bales up to the wagon deck.   The truck pulling the hay wagon followed the baler, slowly falling behind, until we'd baled about 850 bales.  Took 3 hours to put all of the baled hay into the barn, and then we quit for the night.  If it doesn't rain tonight we'll bale and stack the remainder tommorow.  If it does rain I'll use the grass head on my forage chopper to pick it up, and feed the wet grass to the cows while the field regrows.

I need about a bale a cow a day.  So my herd of 25 cows needs 25 bales a day, or roughly 750 bales a month in hay.  The non-growing season is about 5 months long, so my goal for this year is 3,750 bales of hay stacked and in the barn by september.

If I can get this cutting into the barn without mishap, I'll be more than half-way there.  Crossing my fingers and hoping it doesn't rain tonight.  20% probability.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Make hay while the sun shines: new tedder!

Bought a bigger hay tedder at the auction on saturday.  There were two six-basket tedders at the auction, and the other one sold for $6500, so I was figuring this one (that had highway wheels) was going to go for as much or maybe more... but it didn't.   the Fella th800 that I bid on ended up selling for $2200.  Part of the reason that it went so low is that it was missing teeth; about 10 of them were broken, and the tires were in very poor shape.  But someone had greased it, and all of the bearings looked good, and the hydraulic cylinders didn't leak, so...

My old tedder is only a 2 basket, so a 6 basket is a substantial steup up, with a working width around 20'.  So it only took 2.5 hours to ted the main field.  Big improvement.

$110 in replacement teeth, $400 for new tires all around, $60 in assorted nuts and bolts (replacing the shear bolts with proper grade, replacing too-long bolts with the proper length, replacing standard nuts with lock nuts where called for, about 2 hours of wrench time and it's out on the field tedding.

The unit itself seems to be missing a guard rail that goes around it; the mounting brackets are still there, so I'll probably make a replacement out of electrical conduit when I'm done tedding the field.

New hay tedder from bruce king on Vimeo.

"i will make sure to post this conversation in a review!"

I get questions on email all the time; the blog has international reach, so I'm never sure where the person I'm talking to is.   These emails are edited only to remove the persons name and location, and presented in the order that they were received:  I offer this conversation with no further comment

Subject: pig
From: Rachel xxxx <>
Date: Sun, May 17, 2015 4:13 pm
To: "" <>

How much can I expect to pay for a smaller half pig

From:"" <>
Date:Mon, May 18, 2015 at 7:41 PM
Subject:RE: pig
You can eat a pig at any size; a half-pig at regular slaughter size is about 100lbs, and from that you get about 75lbs of cuts, sausage, a ham and bacon.

Subject: Re: RE: pig
From: Rachel xxxx <>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2015 7:43 pm
To: "" <>

I am actually just interested ina 70 lb whole pig for rotisserie.  how much could I expect to pay

From:"" <>
Date:Mon, May 18, 2015 at 7:47 PM
Subject:RE: RE: pig

The price varies by region.  We sell that size pig for $220 live at the farm gate.  We charge $60 to kill, scald, scrape, gut and chill the pig so that it is bbq ready.  

Are you local to the seattle area?
Bruce / 206 940 4980

Subject: Re: RE: RE: pig
From: Rachel Syson <>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2015 7:48 pm
To: "" <>

yes we live in xxxxxx

From:"" <>
Date:Mon, May 18, 2015 at 7:51 PM
Subject:RE: RE: RE: pig

The closest pig that I've got to that size is a 110lb pig, that will dress out at 85lbs.  If you'd like us to hold that pig for you and have it ready on a particular date we'll need a deposit of $50, with the balance due on pickup.  You're welcome to come and look at the pig and drop off a check, or mail me a check.  

Bruce King
28611 139th avenue NE
Arlington WA 98223

206 940 4980

Subject: Re: RE: RE: RE: pig
From: Rachel xxxx <>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2015 7:54 pm
To: "" <>

so I would not need it until aug 8th and im assuming it will no longer be that size

From:"" <>
Date:Mon, May 18, 2015 at 10:53 PM
Subject:RE: RE: RE: RE: pig

I'm going to give up on this conversation.  this is a little like pulling teeth.  

From:"Rachel xxxx" <>
Date:Tue, May 19, 2015 at 5:18 AM
Subject:Re: RE: RE: RE: RE: pig
Wow you have to be the most unprofessional person I have ever met. I am so sorry that I have never done this before I just wanted to make sure I was giving you all the details you needed. I will make sure and put this conversation up on a review for others to decide which of us is in the wrong here. I am so glad I did not do buisness with you.

From:"Rachel xxxx" <>
Date:Tue, May 19, 2015 at 5:25 AM
Subject:Re: RE: RE: RE: RE: pig

..... also in the future if you don't want to do buisness with someone just say so, there is no reason to be nasty, you must be a very misserable personal to be so rude for no reason. I feel sorry for you